Ravens 3

(9-7, 3-5 away)

Colts 20

(14-2, 7-1 home)

Coverage: CBS

8:15 PM ET, January 16, 2010

Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, IN 

1 2 3 4 T
BAL 3 0 0 03
IND 3 14 0 320

Top Performers

Passing: P. Manning (IND) - 246 YDS, 2 TD, 1 INT

Rushing: R. Rice (BAL) - 13 CAR, 67 YDS

Receiving: D. Mason (BAL) - 4 REC, 64 YDS

Manning, Colts ignore layoff as four turnovers doom Ravens

Associated Press

INDIANAPOLIS -- Peyton Manning beat the Ravens and buried a myth.

Say goodbye to the bye-week blues.

In his first game since winning an unprecedented fourth NFL MVP award, Manning threw for two touchdowns Saturday night in the Indianapolis Colts' 20-3 victory over the Baltimore Ravens. The decisive win came after a playoff bye, something that had been a plague, not a respite, for Manning and his teammates.

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"I don't think it matters if you've had a bye or you're playing home or away," Manning said when asked about Indy's previous 0-3 record after sitting out the wild-card round. "This myth that you can't win after a bye week, I haven't believed in it."

The Colts (15-2) will host the AFC championship next Sunday against San Diego or the New York Jets.

"Whoever it is, we know it's going to be a challenge and we have to step it up another notch," coach Jim Caldwell said.

Manning and the other Colts starters got lots of rest when the rookie coach sat them for long portions of the final two regular-season games, both losses after they had opened 14-0. Then they had the bye, a reward for owning the league's best record.

But previously a curse for the Colts.

"There's no question how the guys used the off week," Manning said. "We kind of called it preparation week. I thought we had good preparation coming into this game, thought we came out sharp and kind of set the tempo from the get-go."

Not quite from the outset. When the Ravens (10-8), who routed New England in the wild-card round, marched 87 yards for an early field goal, the All-Pro quarterback's sour face told it all.

Ravens Grounded

The Ravens' offense has struggled to solve the Colts defense over the past two seasons.

W-L 0-3
Possessions 31
Points 21
TDs 0
Turnovers 11

By halftime, the scoreboard told it all: Indianapolis 17, Baltimore 3.

It didn't get any tighter, even though Ed Reed got his fourth career interception of Manning in the third quarter. Reed was stripped of the ball by a sprinting Pierre Garcon, the intended receiver, at the end of a 38-yard return. Dallas Clark recovered, and Reed was robbed of another pick five plays later because of a pass interference call on Corey Ivy.

The Ravens' vaunted defense was self-destructing, and Manning gave it another push toward the offseason with a 14-play drive to Matt Stover's 33-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter.

Directing a patient offense, Manning finished 30-of-44 for 246 yards. He showed the Ravens there's a price to pay for keeping the ball out of his hands: Once he gets it, he doesn't give it back -- at least not until he's gotten the Colts plenty of points and a playoff win.

The last time the Colts hosted the conference title game was three years ago, when they won their only Super Bowl representing Indianapolis. That championship victory came in Miami, the same site as next month's Super Bowl.

Indy's 18th-ranked defense gave Manning lots of help, shutting down a running game that romped for 234 yards against the Patriots. Even when Ray Rice, who had 159 yards rushing a week ago, burst through for a 20-yard gain, Raheem Brock forced a fumble and the Colts recovered. It was Indy's third of four takeaways.

"Our defense did a tremendous job," Caldwell said. "Anytime you hold that offense the way they run the ball, and Ray Rice, under 100 yards, our defense did indeed play hard and well, tackled well, and they were opportunistic. It was a heck of a performance."

Baltimore, with rookie Joe Flacco at quarterback, won two road games last January to get to the AFC championship game, where it lost to Pittsburgh. Flacco struggled in this postseason and was intercepted twice Saturday night.

Fast Facts

• The three points allowed is the fewest by the Colts in the postseason since the 1971 Divisional playoffs vs. the Browns (three).

• Saturday was the first time Peyton Manning won a playoff game after a first-round bye.

• With the Saints win earlier Saturday, 2009 is the first time since 2004 that the No. 1 seed in each conference advanced to the conference championship.

• The Ravens lost their eighth straight game vs. the Colts, including the postseason.

• Ray Rice was the second player in the Super Bowl era (along with Joseph Addai in Super Bowl XLI) with 60 rush yards, 60 receiving yards, and 9 catches in a playoff game.

• Rapid Reaction

-- ESPN Stats & Information

Stover, the career scoring leader for Baltimore who joined Indianapolis in October, also had a 44-yard field goal. Billy Cundiff had a 25-yarder for the Ravens' only points.

The Colts have won eight straight against Baltimore, a city they once called home. The last time they were so stingy in a playoff game was as the Baltimore Colts 39 years ago, a 20-3 win over Cleveland -- where the Ravens once lived as the original Browns.

"The better team won today," Rice admitted. "You shouldn't be afraid to say that."

The Ravens threw a wrinkle at Indianapolis on their first possession, using a no-huddle offense for portions of the 15-play drive that kept Manning on the sideline for nearly 8 minutes. What Baltimore didn't do was finish the drive with a touchdown, and it was fortunate to get Cundiff's field goal after Antoine Bethea dropped an interception at the goal line.

Manning must have been jealous of that series, because he soon led the Colts on an 8-minute, 75-yarder, converting a fourth-and-4 pass to Joseph Addai along the way. His pinpoint throw to Collie in the left corner of the end zone -- the kind of pass that has become a Manning trademark -- made it 10-3.

Then it was back to the quick pace the Colts are known for. After Baltimore's three-and-out, Manning needed just 1:23 to make it 17-3. The drive was aided by Ray Lewis' personal foul on a helmet-to-helmet hit against Collie in the end zone, and Wayne then leaned in with a 3-yard pass with 3 seconds remaining in the half.

Following its impressive first possession, Baltimore had the ball for less than 4 minutes in the opening half, gaining 9 yards in the second period.

"We didn't play well enough to win this game against this team on this day," coach John Harbaugh said. "They played defense the way they always do, they just played it well."

Game notes

It was Indy's first postseason win since the Super Bowl in January 2007. ... Manning is 8-8 in the playoffs. ... Baltimore has never allowed a 100-yard rusher in 13 playoff games. ... Indy allowed a league-low 13 sacks, but gave up two on Saturday.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


Team Stat Comparison

1st Downs1222
Passing 1st downs
Rushing 1st downs
1st downs from penalties
3rd down efficiency
4th down efficiency
Total Plays5571
Total Yards270275
Yards per play4.93.9
Total Drives912
Yards per pass
Interceptions thrown
Sacks-Yards Lost
Rushing Attempts
Yards per rush
Red Zone (Made-Att)0-22-3
Fumbles lost
Interceptions thrown
Defensive / Special Teams TDs00

Passing Leaders


Rushing Leaders


Receiving Leaders


Scoring Summary

indFG10:48Matt Stover 44 Yard Field Goal is Good
Drive info: 10 plays, 54 yds, 4:16
balFG3:00Billy Cundiff 25 Yard Field Goal is Good
Drive info: 15 plays, 87 yds, 7:47
indTD2:06Austin Collie 10 Yard Pass From Peyton Manning (Matt Stover Kick is Good)
Drive info: 14 plays, 75 yds, 8:00
indTD0:07Reggie Wayne 3 Yard Pass From Peyton Manning (Matt Stover Kick is Good)
Drive info: 8 plays, 64 yds, 1:23
indFG13:30Matt Stover 33 Yard Field Goal is Good
Drive info: 14 plays, 56 yds, 7:21