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New England at Baltimore

Patriots get going early, roll past Baltimore

CBSSports.com wire reports

BALTIMORE -- The New England Patriots put on a performance worthy of a division winner.

Making it even sweeter was that it came at the expense of the defending Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens, who bounced New England from the postseason last season.

Logan Ryan had two interceptions, LeGarrette Blount scored twice and the playoff-bound Patriots breezed to a 41-7 victory Sunday, ending the Ravens' four-game winning streak and diminishing their postseason hopes.

The previous time these two teams met, the AFC title hung in the balance and Baltimore used a strong second half to pull out a 28-13 victory.

In this one, New England took a 17-0 lead early in the second quarter and never let up behind a defense that forced four turnovers and had four sacks.

The Patriots (11-4) were assured their fifth straight AFC East title before the game started when Miami lost at Buffalo. It's the 11th division crown for New England coach Bill Belichick, tied with Don Shula for most since the 1970 merger.

"Happy to win the AFC East," Belichick said. "Hopefully, we can build off this game."

Tom Brady completed 14 of 26 passes for 172 yards and a touchdown. He has led his team to 11 division titles, two more than any other starting quarterback in NFL history.

"They're all special. It's hard to come by, and this team's really fought hard all year," Brady said. "We've earned it. Eleven wins in the NFL's not easy, and to win a division title's not easy."

The loss eliminated the Ravens (8-7) from contention in the AFC North and dropped them into a tie with Miami and San Diego for the final AFC wild-card slot. Baltimore closes the regular season at Cincinnati, which displaced the Ravens as division champs.

"We got to go in there and win. That was going to be the case no matter what," said Ravens coach John Harbaugh, who is in danger of missing the postseason for the first time in his six seasons with Baltimore.

It was the Ravens' most lopsided loss since a 37-0 defeat at Pittsburgh in 1997. Things went so bad for Baltimore that Justin Tucker's run of 33 straight field goals ended when he went wide left on a 37-yarder with 14:19 remaining.

Joe Flacco went 22 for 38 for 260 yards and two interceptions for the Ravens, who fell to 6-2 at home.

Wearing a brace on his left knee after being injured last week in Detroit, Flacco had difficulty escaping the unyielding pressure applied by New England's defensive front.

"I don't think he played well," Harbaugh said.

Refusing to use the brace as an excuse, Flacco said, "I would have liked to play better. The brace had nothing to do with anything."

Baltimore trailed 20-0 late in the third quarter when Ray Rice was stuffed for no gain on a fourth-and-1 at the New England 4. That effectively ended any chance of a comeback.

The Ravens scored on a 1-yard quarterback sneak by Flacco with 9:21 left, enabling Baltimore to avoid its first shutout loss since 2002, against Tampa Bay.

It was of very little consolation to the defending champs.

"It's a tough pill to swallow," safety James Ihedigbo said. "Definitely a frustrating loss."

New England scored on a 7-yard run by Blount with 2:05 to go to make it 27-7, then added another touchdown when an errant snap eluded Ravens backup quarterback Tyrod Taylor and Chandler Jones recovered the ball in the end zone.

Tavon Wilson capped the scoring with a 74-yard interception return with 40 seconds remaining.

Baltimore's previous three games were decided by three points or fewer, but it became evident early that this one would not be close.

New England went up 7-0 on its second possession. A 34-yard pass interference penalty against Jimmy Smith put the ball at the Baltimore 1 before Blount bulled into the end zone.

Three plays later, Flacco threw into double coverage and was intercepted by Ryan at the New England 47. After completing a 34-yard pass to Danny Amendola, Brady connected with Shane Vereen for a 4-yard score.

The Patriots quickly got the ball back, and Stephen Gostkowski kicked a 45-yard field goal on the first play of the second quarter to make it 17-0.

Shortly after halftime, the Ravens went for it on fourth-and-3 at the New England 39 and Flacco threw an incomplete pass.

Baltimore's next possession ended with Ryan's second interception of the game and fifth of the season. Seven plays later, Gostkowski kicked a 42-yard field goal.

Flacco tried to rally the Ravens, but after a 42-yard completion to Torrey Smith produced a first down at the New England 13, he couldn't get into the end zone.


New England DB Devin McCourty left with a head injury, and Vereen left with a groin injury. ... Tucker's miss was his first since Week 2. ... Baltimore finished with more yardage, 358-300.

Copyright 2016 by STATS LLC. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC is strictly prohibited.
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Sun. Dec. 22Final
Pass: T. Brady (14-26, 172) J. Flacco (22-38, 260)
Rush: L. Blount (16-76) R. Rice (11-40)
Rec: J. Edelman (7-77) T. Smith (3-69)
Scoring Summary
TDLeGarrette Blount runs for 1 yard (Stephen Gostkowski kick is good). Drive: 6 plays, 64 yards in 2:47.
TDShane Vereen catches a 4 yard pass from Tom Brady (Stephen Gostkowski kick is good). Drive: 6 plays, 53 yards in 3:26.
FGStephen Gostkowski makes a 45 yard kick. Drive: 6 plays, 37 yards in 2:23.
FGStephen Gostkowski makes a 42 yard kick. Drive: 7 plays, 19 yards in 3:10.
TDJoe Flacco runs for 1 yard (Justin Tucker kick is good). Drive: 9 plays, 90 yards in 2:48.
TDLeGarrette Blount runs for 7 yards (Stephen Gostkowski kick is good). Drive: 9 plays, 48 yards in 4:32.
TDChandler Jones makes a 0 yard fumble return (Stephen Gostkowski kick is good).
TDTavon Wilson makes a 74 yard interception return (Stephen Gostkowski kick is good).
Players of the Game
San Francisco

T. Smith
Rec 3
Yds 69
Avg 23.0
TD 0
New England

L. Blount
Rush 16
Yds 76
Avg 4.8
TD 2
New England
T. Brady14/2617210
L. Blount1676214
S. Ridley155408
S. Vereen2604
B. Bolden1606
J. Edelman777019
D. Amendola245034
A. Dobson121021
B. Bolden216012
M. Hoomanawanui1909
S. Vereen1414
J. Flacco22/3826002
T. Taylor1/4201
R. Rice114008
T. Taylor339025
B. Pierce103106
B. Scott21109
J. Flacco2011
T. Smith369042
M. Brown451021
E. Dickson444017
D. Pitta434015
B. Pierce327015
R. Rice223013
J. Jones111011
B. Scott1202
V. Leach1101
Complete Player Stats
Other Games
MIA 0 Final
BUF 19
NO 13 Final
CAR 17
MIN 14 Final
CIN 42
DEN 37 Final
HOU 13
TEN 20 Final
JAC 16
IND 23 Final
KC 7
CLE 13 Final
NYJ 24
CHI 11 Final
PHI 54
TB 13 Final
STL 23
DAL 24 Final
WAS 23
NYG 23 Final
DET 20
ARI 17 Final
SEA 10
PIT 38 Final
GB 31
OAK 13 Final
SD 26
ATL 24 Final
SF 34