Ravens earn rematch vs. Broncos; Seahawks, Texans move on
The Baltimore Ravens wanted one long final ride for Ray Lewis.
They also wanted Denver. They got it.
Having disposed of Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts, they now face a far more imposing challenge – Peyton Manning and the streaking Broncos.
Anquan Boldin set a franchise record with 145 yards receiving, including the clinching touchdown in the Ravens' 24-9 victory Sunday over the Colts in an AFC wild-card game in Baltimore. The win delays star linebacker Lewis' retirement for at least another week as Baltimore (11-6) heads to top-seeded Denver (13-3) next Saturday.
The Broncos beat the Ravens 34-17 three weeks ago.
"I wanted Denver," Boldin said, "because they beat us. We'll make it different."
And he wanted the Broncos because it prolongs the Ravens' pursuit of their first NFL title since the 2000 season, when Lewis won the first of two Defensive Player of the Year awards.
"I came to Baltimore to win a championship," Boldin added. "We all did."
Lewis, who made 13 tackles Sunday, ended his last home game in Baltimore at fullback, of all things, for the final kneel-down. He then went into a short version of his trademark dance before being mobbed by teammates.
He followed with a victory lap, his right arm, covered by a brace, held high in salute to the fans after playing for the first time since tearing his right triceps on Oct. 14 against Dallas.
Seahawks 24, Redskins 14: Wild-card weekend is over in the NFL playoffs, and Seattle's Russell Wilson is the lone rookie quarterback remaining.
And, Wilson's Seahawks made a pretty good case that they might be here a while.
Wilson teamed with Marshawn Lynch to lead Seattle to a 24-14 comeback victory over the Washington Redskins, who finished the game without Robert Griffin III — their star rookie quarterback who reinjured his right knee.
The Seahawks (12-5) overcame a 14-0 first-quarter hole – their biggest deficit this season – and will visit the top-seeded Atlanta Falcons (13-3) next Sunday.
Texans 19, Bengals 13: Arian Foster gained 140 yards, becoming the first player with at least 100 yards rushing in his first three postseason games, in the Texans' home win on Saturday. He scored on a 1-yard run and also had eight receptions.
"It only takes one week to turn things around in the NFL and we did that," said Foster, whose team lost to Minnesota and Indianapolis to slip to the AFC's third seed.
Cincinnati (10-7) gained only 198 yards and had 12 first downs. Its touchdown came on Leon Hall's interception return.
"It's hard to put it into words," Hall said. "It's disappointing. I mean, we had a good year, but it didn't end how we wanted it to and how we planned it to. At the end of the day, they made the plays that won the game for them."
With a second straight wild-card loss in Houston, the Bengals extended one of the NFL's longest playoff droughts. They haven't won a postseason game since the 1990 season.
They got two field goals from Josh Brown, and Andy Dalton overthrew an open A.J. Green in the end zone late in the fourth quarter.
Along with Foster's touchdown, the Texans got four field goals from Shayne Graham.