Ravens earn wild card

The Baltimore Sun

The last time the Ravens played their final game of the regular season with a wild-card playoff berth on the line was Jan. 7, 2002. It also happened to be the first Monday Night Football game in Baltimore in more than two decades. The game was in January because it had been postponed after the Sept. 11 tragedy. The Ravens, defending Super Bowl champions, made sure they didn't miss the playoffs by hammering the Minnesota Vikings, 19-3.

WHAT HAPPENED: : Using a tried-and-true formula of unrelenting defense (they forced four turnovers), a punishing running game and the reliable leg of kicker Matt Stover, the Ravens (10-6) earned the fifth seed in the AFC and the right to begin their title defense against the Dolphins in Miami. On defense, the Ravens gave their best performance of the season, limiting a loaded Vikings offense to 179 total yards and 10 first downs. In the final three quarters, the Ravens allowed Minnesota to drive into their territory just twice. The Ravens' running attack produced a season-high 212 yards and helped them control the clock for 33 1/2 minutes.

KEY STATS: : The Ravens ran the ball on 42 of 71 plays. ... Ravens quarterback Elvis Grbac threw for only 160 yards but had no turnovers. ... Ravens running back Terry Allen gained a season-best 133 yards. ... Stover hit field goals from 21, 20, 38 and 20 yards.

QUOTABLE: : "Offense wins games, defense wins championships. Just ride us, baby. We'll get you to the Super Bowl." - Ray Lewis, Ravens linebacker

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