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Ravens Hold Off Buccaneers, 17-10

The Baltimore Ravens held off the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 17-10 to move to 8-3 on the season and set up a showdown with their AFC North division rivals next week on prime time TV at M&T Bank Stadium. The Ravens dominated the game from the beginning until the final minutes when the Buccaneers scored on a long drive to make the final score closer than what it seemed. Up 17-3 at halftime by virtue of two nice Joe Flacco touchdown passes, the Ravens might not have scored in the second half, but they kept the Buccaneers out of the end zone until that final drive late in the fourth quarter. After Tampa Bay came within one score, Baltimore used a punishing ball control running game behind Ray Rice to make sure that the Bucs’ offense never got the ball back as the clock ticked down to zero.

However, the loss came at a heavy price, as the game was brutal to each team as players on both sides had to be helped from the field not to return and their status for next week’s critical contest won’t be known for a while. The Ravens injuries include strong safety Dawan Landry (concussion), fullback LeRon McClain (ankle) and left tackle Michael Oher (knee).

Joe Flacco led a balanced offense, throwing for 289 yards and two TD’s on 25 completions in 35 attempts and Ray Rice totaled 132 yards rushing and receiving. Flacco’s two TD passes went to TE Todd Heap for 65 yards on a busted assignment that had him wide open and he outran the fast-closing defense to the end zone, and WR Derrick Mason, who schooled the Buccaneer defensive backs assigned to him all day.

Until we know the extent of the wounded Ravens’ injuries, we will have to focus on what the Ravens will need to do next Sunday evening when they host the Pittsburgh Steelers, who at 8-3 are tied with the Ravens atop the AFC North by virtue of their 19-16 overtime victory in Buffalo over the Bills earlier in the day.