NFL Playoffs: Ravens Beat Broncos in 2 OT; 49ers Rout Packers
Baltimore beat Denver in an instant playoff classic, and San Francisco dominated Green Bay in the NFC. Here’s a recap of Saturday’s NFL action:
Baltimore 38 — Denver 35 (2 OT)
Justin Tucker kicked a 47-yard field goal 1:42 into the second overtime, and the Baltimore Ravens beat the Denver Broncos, 38-35, in frigid Denver on Saturday. Baltimore’s Joe Flacco threw a game-tying, 70-yard touchdown pass to Jacoby Jones with 31 seconds left in regulation to force the extra sessions. As a result of the victory, the Ravens advanced to the AFC Championship Game, where they will play the winner of Sunday’s New England-Houston contest.
After the teams traded several possessions in the first overtime, Denver’s Peyton Manning threw his second interception of the game to Ravens’ cornerback Corey Graham at the Broncos’ 45, all but setting up Tucker’s field goal five plays later. The exciting, intense playoff game saw five ties before Tucker’s kick finally ended it.
Broncos’ return specialist Trindon Holliday returned a punt 90 yards for a touchdown to put Denver up 7-0 with 12:14 left in the first quarter. Flacco then hit Torrey Smith for a 59-yard score less than two minutes later. The teams traded two more touchdowns apiece — including Graham’s 39-yard return of his first interception of a Manning pass – before heading to halftime tied 21-21.
Holliday returned the second-half kickoff 104 yards for a score to give the Broncos a 28-21 lead. The Ravens were able to tie the game on Ray Rice’s 1-yard rushing touchdown with 20 seconds left in the third quarter. After Manning connected with Demaryius Thomas on a 17-yard score with 7:11 to play, Baltimore managed little on offense until Flacco’s fantastic fling to Jones.
Flacco threw for 331 yards and three scores. Smith had three receptions for 98 yards, including two touchdowns. Rice ran for 131 yards and a score. He shouldered nearly all of the Ravens’ carries after rookie Bernard Pierce left the game because of a nagging knee injury.
Manning finished 28 of 43 for 290 yards, three touchdowns and the two costly interceptions to Graham. Rookie running back Ronnie Hillman had 22 carries for 83 yards for Denver. He replaced Knowshon Moreno, who left the game with a knee injury.
San Francisco 45 — Green Bay 31
Colin Kaepernick threw for 263 yards and two touchdowns and ran for 181 yards and two more scores, as the San Francisco 49ers beat the Green Bay Packers, 45-31, on Saturday night in San Francisco. Kaepernick’s rushing total set an NFL postseason record for quarterbacks formerly held by Michael Vick. The 49ers advanced to next weekend’s NFC Championship Game, where they will play the winner of Sunday’s Atlanta-Seattle contest.
The 49ers led 24-21 at halftime after a turnover-plagued first-half for both teams. The Packers tied the game on Mason Crosby’s field goal with 8:25 left in the third quarter, before Kaepernick took over. His 59-yard scamper for a touchdown on San Francisco’s next offensive series electrified the home crowd and put the 49ers ahead for good.
Crabtree had nine receptions for 119 yards and two scores for San Francisco. Teammate Frank Gore added 119 rushing yards on 23 carries, including a touchdown.
Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers was 26 of 39 for 257 yards with two touchdowns and an interception.
[Scores and stats via NFL.com]