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NFL PLAYOFFS

It's Manning who still owns the Ravens

He passes for 246 yards and two touchdowns in a 20-3 victory over Baltimore.

January 17, 2010|By Jamison Hensley

Reporting from Indianapolis — Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning is causing more heartache for Baltimore fans these days than Bob Irsay.

The Ravens were once again outdone by the four-time NFL most valuable player, who threw two touchdowns in the top-seeded Colts' 20-3 victory Saturday night in an AFC divisional playoff game.

The sixth-seeded Ravens (10-8) failed to score a touchdown against Indianapolis for a third consecutive time and failed to stop Manning enough in the red zone.

The Colts (15-2) stopped their run of choking in the playoffs as a high-seeded team -- they had been 0-3 after first-round byes -- and will play host to the winner of today's San Diego Chargers-New York Jets game in next Sunday's AFC championship game.

Manning has now beaten the Ravens eight straight times, including twice in the playoffs. He stopped their Super Bowl run in January 2007 despite not having a stellar game. And he did it again Saturday in more Manning-like fashion.

His decisive blow came in the final two minutes of the first half, when he threw both of his touchdown passes to give the Colts a commanding a 17-3 halftime lead. Manning completed 30 of 44 passes for 246 yards against a Ravens secondary that had lost two starting cornerbacks during the regular season.

Ravens safety Ed Reed nearly turned the game around twice in the third quarter. But his first interception ended with him fumbling and his second one was negated by Corey Ivy's pass-interference penalty.

Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco didn't look injured, as he did like last week, but he didn't look like himself. He completed 20 of 35 passes for 189 yards and two interceptions.

By the end of the night, it was another painful reunion with the Colts, who were moved from Baltimore on March 28, 1984 (9,425 days ago) by Irsay.

A 3-3 game turned at the end of the first half. The key play was when the Colts decided not to kick a 52-yard field goal and converted a fourth-and-four with a short pass to running back Joseph Addai. Five plays later, Manning found a wide-open Austin Collie for a 10-yard touchdown with two minutes left in the half.

The Colts held, got the ball back at their 36 with 1:26 left on the clock, and marched down the field with help from the Ravens.

Domonique Foxworth interfered with Reggie Wayne to stop the Indianapolis wide receiver from running past him on a double move.

Two plays later, Ray Lewis broke up a pass in the end zone by throwing his shoulder into Collie's head, but the Ravens' middle linebacker was called for unnecessary roughness. Referee Carl Cheffers explained that it was "a blow to a defenseless receiver." Lewis could be heard responding, "That's football."

Manning eventually threw a three-yard touchdown pass to Wayne, who beat Ivy to the inside and extended the ball across the goal line before Lewis delivered a hit.

jamison.hensley@baltsun.com

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