Instant Analysis: Much-needed win for Ravens over the Giants
Ravens wide receiver Torrey Smith, right, makes a catch in front of Giants cornerback Corey Webster in the first quarter. (Gene Sweeney Jr., Baltimore Sun / December 23, 2012)
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Mike Preston, columnist: The Ravens showed resiliency after getting embarrassed last week, and the Giants quit for the second straight week.
Peter Schmuck, columnist: Obviously, this is the Ravens team everybody has been waiting to see -- a well-oiled offensive machine and a ball-hawking, quarterback-harrassing defense that turned the defending Super Bowl champions into a bunch of guys wondering if they're still a playoff team. The Ravens didn't back into anything. They won their second straight AFC North title in resounding fashion, and Joe Flacco rebounded with one of the best games of his career.
Ron Fritz, sports editor: Happy holidays, Baltimore. The Ravens just gave you the gift of a home playoff game. Impressive performance by the Ravens' offense against a team that also had to win. Good things happen when the Ravens give the ball to Ray Rice.
Matt Vensel, reporter: The Ravens aren't done yet. Against a desperate but overmatched Giants team, the Ravens played arguably their most complete game of the season. Joe Flacco, Ray Rice and the offense were in complete harmony and the defense kept getting off the field. They can feel good about clinching the AFC North title this way.
Aaron Wilson, reporter: Behind a resurgent offense that repeatedly found the weak link in the New York Giants' secondary by attacking suspect cornerback Corey Webster, the Ravens snapped a three-game losing streak Sunday and won the AFC North division title for the second consecutive year.
The Ravens handily defeated the defending Super Bowl champions, 33-14, at M&T Bank Stadium as Pro Bowl running back Ray Rice (107 yards) and rookie Bernard Pierce (123 yards) combined for a season-high in rushing yards as both eclipsed the century mark. Pierce had an impressive 78-yard run in the second half.
The offense was sharp, piling up more than 530 yards of total offense with a quicker, get-the-ball-out-of-his-hand approach by quarterback Joe Flacco, who had one option pitch to Rice and rolled out more than usual.
Flacco played with a confidence that had been practically nonexistent over the previous three games.
Wide receiver Torrey Smith made a speedy recovery from a concussion, catching a touchdown and repeatedly gaining separation behind Webster.
Before he left the game with a shoulder injury, Anquan Boldin caught seven passes for 93 yards on seven targets.
Defensive coordinator Dean Pees sent the house after struggling Giants quarterback Eli Manning.
The blitzing approach was effective as Baltimore finished with three sacks and a total of nine quarterback hits.
New York entered the game as the top pass protecting unit in the league with just 16 sacks allowed.
The pressure appeared to make Manning gun-shy as he didn't stand firm in the pocket.