Vancouver Sun

Tough D has Ravens, Panthers moving on


Never count out the Baltimore Ravens in the playoffs.

In their sixth trip in seven seasons with John Harbaugh as coach and Joe Flacco at quarterbac­k, the Ravens beat archrival Pittsburgh 30-17 Saturday night in an AFC wildcard game.

That sends Baltimore to New England, a place the Ravens twice have won in the post-season, including in the 2012 season when they won the Super Bowl.

“We’re definitely familiar with playing up there, but that doesn’t really mean anything,” Flacco said of Gillette Stadium. “They’re a good football team, and we’re going to have to be on top of everything to go in there and get a victory.”

In the NFC game, the Carolina Panthers, the second division winner with a losing record in NFL history, also became the second such team to win a postseason game.

Emulating the 2010 Seattle Seahawks, Carolina (8-8-1) got its first playoff victory in nine years by holding Arizona to 78 yards in a 27-16 win. That was the lowest yield in a post-season game.

“We know who we are — menacing, stifling and we are going to get after you,” cornerback Josh Norman said. “We know when there is blood in the water and when there is, our sharks are going to eat.”

Ravens 30, Steelers 17

At Pittsburgh, Flacco tossed two second-half touchdowns in the bitter AFC North rivalry. Flacco hit Torrey Smith for an 11-yard score in the third quarter and Crockett Gillmore with a 21-yard TD pass in the fourth period one play after Terrell Suggs picked off Ben Roethlisbe­rger. The Ravens won in Pittsburgh for the first time in the post-season; Pittsburgh had been 9-0 in third games of a season against the same opponent.

Baltimore (11-6) sacked Roethlisbe­rger five times and kept the NFL’s second-ranked offence off-balance. Roethlisbe­rger passed for 334 yards, but the Steelers (11-6) settled for too many field goals.

“The big thing is we have a good team and we didn’t hurt ourselves tonight,” Flacco said. “We didn’t have a lot of possession­s early. We made the most of them by getting some kind of points.”

Flacco’s seven road playoff wins are the most by a quarterbac­k since the 1970 merger.

Panthers 27, Cardinals 16

Fourth-year quarterbac­k Cam Newton threw for 198 yards and two touchdowns for his first playoff victory, and Jonathan Stewart ran for 123 yards and a touchdown on a rain-soaked afternoon. Carolina won its final four regular-season games to take the NFC South.

After a 9-1 start, Arizona’s once-promising season was undone by a rash of injuries, including to quarterbac­ks Carson Palmer and Drew Stanton.

Third-stringer Ryan Lindley went 16 for 28 for 82 yards with two intercepti­ons and one TD pass.

Visiting Arizona (11-6) started a series of laterals on the final play and lost 19 yards, making for the record.

 ?? CHUCK BURTON/THE ASSOCIATED PRESS ?? Carolina’s Jonathan Stewart celebrates Saturday’s win.
CHUCK BURTON/THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Carolina’s Jonathan Stewart celebrates Saturday’s win.

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