Baltimore Ravens & Carolina Panthers Win Wild-Card Games
The Baltimore Ravens and the Carolina Panthers each advanced in the NFL playoffs on Saturday. Here’s a recap of the day’s games:
Baltimore 30, Pittsburgh 17
Joe Flacco threw two second-half touchdown passes, and the Baltimore Ravens rolled past the Steelers, 30-17, in Pittsburgh in the AFC wild-card game on Saturday. Baltimore (11-6) advanced to face top-seeded New England in the AFC divisional round next Saturday.
The Ravens took a 7-3 lead on Bernard Pierce’s 5-yard run in the second quarter, and they never trailed again. Flacco dissected the Steelers’ defense for 259 yards and the two scores, while Baltimore sacked Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlisberger five times and intercepted him twice.
Roethlisberger finished with 334 yards passing and a touchdown. Antonio Brown led the Steelers with nine catches for 117 yards. With Pittsburgh’s leading rusher Le’Veon Bell sidelined with a knee injury, Steelers running backs gained just 46 yards on Saturday.
Steve Smith caught five passes for 101 yards for the Ravens, who became the first team in NFL history to win three wild-card games as a No. 6 seed.
Carolina 27, Arizona 16
Carolina scored 14 points in the third quarter, and the Panthers rallied past the Arizona Cardinals, 27-16, in the NFC wild-card game on Saturday. Carolina (8-8-1) set an NFL record for fewest yards allowed in a postseason game on the way to the victory in rainy Charlotte.
Arizona led 14-13 at halftime thanks to two first-half touchdowns set up by Panthers’ turnovers, but Carolina scored on consecutive drives early in the third quarter to take the lead for good.
After Fozzy Whittaker scored a 39-yard touchdown on a screen pass from Cam Newton, the Panthers recovered a fumble by Cardinals’ kick returner Ted Ginn on the ensuing kick-off. Newton tossed a 1-yard TD pass to Mike Tolbert a few plays later to put Carolina up 27-14.
Newton finished with 198 yards and the two scoring passes, and Jonathan Stewart ran for 123 yards and a score for the Panthers.
Carolina held Arizona to just 78 total yards of offense on the game. They sacked Cardinals’ quarterback Ryan Lindley four times and intercepted him twice.
The Panthers will visit Seattle next week if Dallas beats Detroit on Sunday in the other NFC wild-card game. Carolina will play at Green Bay if the Lions beat the Cowboys.