The only plays that the Ravens defense would want to forget are the two long touchdown passes allowed in the final minute of the first and second halves.

Take away Brandon Lloyd's touchdown catches of 42 and 44 yards and the Ravens held the Broncos to 228 passing yards. The secondary left with a sense of vindication in a battle between the top-ranked pass defense against the top-ranked passing attack.

"It wasn't so much that they played bad today," Ravens cornerback Chris Carr said. "I think we did a good job of shutting them down. We worked very hard. We watched a lot of film. They ran a lot of stuff that we were expecting."

The Ravens' offense controlled the game by totaling 415 yards, running the ball 47 times (second most in team history) and holding on to it for 36 minutes, 17 seconds (to the Broncos' 23:43).

The only blemish on an otherwise impeccable game plan occurred on the Ravens' opening drive.

On fourth-and-goal from the 1-yard line, the Ravens made a curious call, attempting to throw the ball to defensive tackle Haloti Ngata in the corner of the end zone.

Harbaugh called it a "double whammy" because the Ravens didn't score and Ngata got banged up on the play (he did return to play on defense).

"People can say, 'Why is he out there on offense?' Because you're trying to win those plays," Harbaugh said. "You try to put your guys in position, within reason, to do that."

The Ravens went back to a hard-nosed attack for the rest of the game. After that fourth-down mishap, offensive coordinator Cam Cameron called running plays on their next seven snaps inside the 10-yard line.

Rice's 1-yard touchdown run on the second play of the fourth quarter staked the Ravens to a 24-7 lead.

Being able to punch the ball in from 1 yard away is one of the best ways to show an offense's toughness.

"They know we're going to run the ball in there. We know we're running it straight at them," said Flacco, who made more critical plays on his feet (20 yards on five runs) than with his arm (14-for-25 passing for 196 yards) Sunday. "It's just a matter of putting your head down and getting the job accomplished."

The Ravens now head to New England (3-1) after their latest beatdown of the Broncos.The Ravens' average margin of victory over Denver in Baltimore is 17.2 points. The combined score of the meetings the past two seasons has been 61-24.

"Sure, they're one of the most physical teams in the league," Broncos cornerback Champ Bailey said. "But sometimes their toughness overshadows the talent that they have. They aren't just tough; they're a good team."

jamison.hensley@baltsun.com

Twitter.com/jamisonhensley

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