The Ravens began the 2012 season on a strong note, blowing out the Bengals in convincing fashion on Monday Night Football. Quarterback Joe Flacco threw for 299 yards and two touchdowns and running back Ray Rice had 93 total yards and two touchdowns on 13 touches as the Ravens had their highest-scoring game since a 48-3 win over the Detroit Lions on Dec. 13, 2009.
The Ravens defense forced four turnovers — three from Eagles quarterback Michael Vick — but the offense couldn’t capitalize. Flacco led two touchdown drives in the first half to give the team a 17-7 halftime lead, but the Eagles defense kept the Ravens out of the end zone over the final 38:32. Vick, who had 371 yards passing, finished with a 1-yard touchdown run with 1:55 remaining, and the Eagles held on to win as the Ravens floundered on a potential game-winning drive.
Week 3 (Sept. 23) at M&T; Bank Stadium: Ravens 31, New England Patriots 30
Playing less than 24 hours after his younger brother died in a motorcycle accident, Ravens wide receiver Torrey Smith put on one of the best performances of his young career, hauling in six passes for 127 yards and two touchdowns. Flacco, who passed for 382 yards and three touchdowns, found Smith for a 5-yard score to cut New England’s lead to 30-28 with 4:01 remaining, and kicker Justin Tucker clinched the one-point win with a 27-yard field goal as time expired.
Week 4 (Sept. 27) at M&T; Bank Stadium: Ravens 23, Cleveland Browns 16
The first game of the 2012 season for the regular NFL officials ended without incident. Browns quarterback Brandon Weeden had one final chance to tie the game from 18 yards out, but his desperation pass sailed out of the back of the end zone to seal the seven-point victory for the Ravens. Flacco threw for one touchdown and rushed for another to lead the offense. Ravens cornerback Cary Williams returned an interception 63 yards for a touchdown in the third quarter.
It wasn’t pretty, but the Ravens got it done. Tucker hit three field goals and the defense did the rest. The Ravens held Chiefs quarterbacks Matt Cassel and Brady Quinn to a combined 124 yards on 11 of 17 passing, intercepted Cassel twice and forced two fumbles. Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles rushed for 140 yards on 31 carries, but the Ravens held him out of the end zone for the entire game as his team failed to score a touchdown in three trips into the red zone.
Week 6 (Oct. 14) at M&T; Bank Stadium: Ravens 31, Dallas Cowboys 29
With the Ravens clinging to a 31-23 lead, Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant hauled in a 4-yard touchdown pass with 32 seconds left to cut the his team’s deficit to two points. The Cowboys failed on the two-point conversion attempt that would have tied the score, but Dallas recovered the onside kick and nearly won the game. Cowboys kicker Dan Bailey’s 51-yard field-goal attempt sailed wide to the left of the upright, however, to seal the Ravens’ fourth straight win.
The Texans defense stifled the Ravens in one of their worst offensive performances of the season. The Ravens scored a field goal on their opening drive, but Texans linebacker Connor Barwin’s sack of Flacco for a safety sparked a run of 29 unanswered points from Houston. The Ravens finally put an end to that run with a touchdown drive to start the third quarter, but by then it was too late. Flacco finished with just 147 yards passing and two interceptions.
Week 9 (Nov. 4) at Cleveland Browns Stadium: Ravens 25, Browns 15
Browns kicker Phil Dawson’s five field goals accounted for all of Cleveland’s 15 points as the Ravens captured their 11th consecutive win against AFC North competition. It was a struggle on offense for most of the game — Flacco passed for just 153 yards — but rushing touchdowns from Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce were key in the win.
Week 10 (Nov. 11) at M&T; Bank Stadium: Ravens 55, Oakland Raiders 20
The Ravens might have struggled offensively a week earlier, but they showed no ill effects from that game in their blowout of the Raiders. The team scored a franchise-record 55 points in the win, and it was Flacco and the passing game that led the way. The quarterback threw for 341 yards, passed for three touchdowns and ran for one more. And Jacoby Jones capped off the victory with a 105-yard kickoff return for a touchdown.
Week 11 (Nov. 18) at Heinz Field: Ravens 13, Pittsburgh Steelers 10
Despite the absence of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, the Steelers challenged the Ravens before falling three points short. Pittsburgh backup quarterback Byron Leftwich rushed for a 31-yard touchdown in the first quarter, and the Ravens failed to score an offensive touchdown in the game. Jones scored a return touchdown for the second straight week, however, taking a punt back 63 yards.
Week 12 (Nov. 25) at Qualcomm Stadium: Ravens 16, San Diego Chargers 13, OT
Trailing by three with 1:37 left in regulation, the Ravens faced a fourth-and-29 play with the game on the line. Flacco threw a short pass to Rice, who ran through the Chargers defense to pick up the first down, and Tucker hit the game-tying field goal as time expired. Tucker struck again late in overtime, giving the Ravens a come-from-behind win. Rice finished with 164 total yards on 29 touches.
Week 13 (Dec. 2) at M&T; Bank Stadium: Steelers 23, Ravens 20
The Ravens again faced the Steelers without Roethlisberger, but they weren’t victorious this time. Third-string quarterback Charlie Batch helped Pittsburgh score 10 unanswered points in the fourth quarter, leading the Steelers from a 20-13 deficit to a 23-20 victory. Flacco completed less than 50 percent of his passes for just 188 yards, and Rice rushed for 78 yards and a touchdown despite only having 12 carries.
Week 14 (Dec. 9) at FedEx Field: Washington Redskins 31, Ravens 28, OT
The Ravens forced star quarterback Robert Griffin III to leave the game after suffering a knee injury late in the fourth quarter, putting rookie backup Kirk Cousins in the game with the Redskins trailing by eight points in the game’s closing minutes. But Cousins completed an 11-yard touchdown pass to Pierre Garcon and rushed for the two-point conversion to tie the game. Kai Forbath hit the game-winning field goal in overtime, sending the Ravens to their second straight loss.
Week 15 (Dec. 16) at M&T; Bank Stadium: Denver Broncos 34, Ravens 17
The Broncos leaned on their running game and their defense to blow out the Ravens for their ninth straight victory. Denver went into halftime up by 17 points after cornerback Chris Harris returned an interception 98 yards for a touchdown, and the Broncos outscored the Ravens, 31-3, through the first three quarters. Tight end Dennis Pitta was the lone bright spot for the Ravens, catching seven passes for 125 yards and two touchdowns.
Week 16 (Dec. 23) at M&T; Bank Stadium: Ravens 33, New York Giants 14
The Ravens ended their three-game losing streak with a bang. They throttled the defending Super Bowl champions, clinching their second consecutive AFC North title. Flacco threw for 309 yards and Pierce and Rice ran for 123 and 107 yards, respectively, as the Ravens racked up 533 total yards of offense. Their defense was stout, too, holding Giants quarterback Eli Manning to just 150 yards passing.
Week 17 (Dec. 30) at Paul Brown Stadium: Bengals 23, Ravens 17
With the division title and No. 4 seed in the playoffs already clinched, the Ravens coasted through their regular-season finale. Flacco played just 16 snaps before John Harbaugh turned to backup Tyrod Taylor to finish off the game. Taylor threw for 149 yards through the air and gained 65 more on the ground, and Pierce rushed for 89 yards on 22 carries in a losing effort.
Ray Lewis recorded 13 tackles in the final home game of his career, leading a Ravens defense that stymied the Colts all afternoon. Indianapolis quarterback Andrew Luck completed 28 of 54 passes for 288 yards and an interception, The Colts’ only points came from kicker Adam Vinatieri’s three field goals. Flacco passed for 282 yards and running backs Rice and Pierce rushed for a combined 171 yards on 28 carries.
AFC divisional round (Jan. 12) at Sports Authority Field: Ravens 38, Broncos 35, 2OT
Flacco and the Ravens kept up with Peyton Manning and the high-powered Broncos offense. Manning threw three touchdowns and Trindon Holliday scored two return touchdowns — one on a kickoff and one on a punt — but Flacco and the Ravens matched them every time. Flacco hit Jacoby Jones for a 70-yard touchdown to tie the game with less than a minute to play, and Justin Tucker converted a 47-yard field goal in the second overtime for the victory.
AFC championship (Jan. 20) at Gillette Stadium: Ravens 28, Patriots 13
The Ravens made Patriots quarterback Tom Brady look ordinary on his home field, holding him to less than 6 yards per completion and intercepting him twice. Flacco threw three second-half touchdowns —two to Anquan Boldin — to lead the Ravens from a six-point halftime deficit to a 15-point win. Lewis had 14 tackles in the game, and the Ravens defense held New England scoreless in the second half as they advanced to the Super Bowl.