Flacco's seventh completion of the half to Mason went for a 10-yard touchdown to stake the Ravens to a 17-3 lead with 37 seconds left in the half. Lining up in the slot, Mason stutter-stepped to fake safety Sean Jones and get open in the end zone.

Flacco threw to Mason on 13 of his 35 pass attempts, completing eight passes for 87 yards (both team highs). This came a week after they had a heated exchange on the sidelines at Carolina.

"Joe and I have been together a long time," Mason said. "If him and I have a dispute, it's just a dispute. He's not going to lose faith in me, and I'm not going to lose faith in him. It's like pitch and catch between us. As long as I'm here and as long as Joe's here, I don't think anything is going to change."

The third quarter was a frustrating one for the Ravens because of the officials. Ray Rice's 76-yard touchdown run -- which would have put the Ravens up by 21 points -- was negated by a questionable illegal block in the back by wide receiver Anquan Boldin. Replays showed Boldin barely getting a hand on safety Sabby Piscitelli.

"It wasn't a hold at all," Boldin said. "It was a bogus call."

Later in the quarter, Cory Redding's first career interception -- which would have put the Ravens at the Tampa Bay 11 -- was overruled by a replay challenge because he didn't have possession of the ball when he went to the ground. Redding said the turnover was broken up by a teammate.

"That's right, Ray [Lewis], you stripped the ball," Redding said with a laugh. "I had the interception, but it was all good. We won the game, and that's all that matters."

Other than that late touchdown, the Ravens' defense rattled the young Buccaneers. Their pass rush hurried quarterback Josh Freeman (17-for-37 for 162 yards) all game. Their front seven quieted bruising running back LeGarrette Blount (55 yards).

Now, the Ravens' focus turns to the Steelers and a prime-time game that transcends the regular season.

"We're 8-3 going into a championship game, and you can't ask for nothing better than that," linebacker Terrell Suggs said. "The Bucs came in, and they're a good team. But they ran into a team of destiny."



Baltimore Sun reporter Kevin Van Valkenburg contributed to this article

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