Ravens need a wild-card berth after pounding by Patriots

Sun Dec 22, 2013 10:10pm EST
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By Steve Ginsburg

BALTIMORE (Reuters) - The New England Patriots pounded the Baltimore Ravens 41-7 on Sunday to leave the defending Super Bowl champions in a precarious tie for the AFC's final wild-card spot.

Quarterback Tom Brady completed 14 of 26 passes for a modest 172 yards and a touchdown and LeGarrette Blount rushed for 76 yards and two scores in the Patriots' lopsided victory.

In having their four-game winning streak snapped, the Ravens (8-7) conceded the AFC North title to Cincinnati and are tied with Miami and San Diego for the wild-card.

Even the Pittsburgh Steelers, at 7-8, have a prayer but need Baltimore, Miami and San Diego to lose next week.

The Ravens outgained New England 358-300 but were done in by four turnovers, four sacks and nine penalties.

"Offensively we were moving the football. We just couldn't score," said Ravens receiver Torrey Smith. "That's been our Achilles heel. You can't win games as an offense if you're not scoring touchdowns."

Ravens tight end Dennis Pitta agreed.

"You can point to a million different things but they just made the plays and we didn't," he said. "This is football. Sometimes the ball doesn't go your way."   Continued...