Baltimore, MD, United States (4E Sports) – LeGarrette Blount rushed for two touchdowns as the playoff-bound New England Patriots boosted their chance to clinch an AFC top-two seed with a 41-7 victory over the Baltimore Ravens Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium.
Blount rushed 16 times for 76 yards while Tom Brady completed 14 of 26 passes for 172 yards and a touchdown for the Patriots, who clinched a playoff spot and a fifth straight AFC East title by virtue of the Buffalo Bills’ win over the Miami Dolphins.
The Patriots (11-4) qualified for the playoffs for 21st time in their 54-year history while coach Bill Belichick tied Don Shula for the most division titles since the 1970 NFL merger with 11.
Brady also added another record with his 11th division title, the most by a starting quarterback in NFL history.
The Patriots need to win against the Bills Sunday to assure themselves of a top-two seeding and the playoff home field advantage that goes with it.
Joe Flacco went 22-for-38 for 260 yards and two interceptions. He also ran for a one-yard touchdown as the Ravens (8-7) slipped to seventh in the AFC behind the Dolphins.
Ray Rice rushed for 40 yards on 11 carries while Torrey Smith caught three passes for 69 yards for the Ravens.
The Patriots poured it on early, taking a 14-0 lead behind Blount’s short scoring run and a four-yard touchdown pass by Brady to Shane Vereen in the first period.
In the second and third periods, Stephen Gostkowski took the spotlift as he buried field goals from 45 and 42 yards to make it a 20-0 game.
Flacco finally put the Ravens on the board with a short scoring rush after a nine-play, 90 yard drive early in the fourth.
Brady responded with a nine-play, 48-yard drive that Blount capped with a seven-yard run for a 27-7 advantage.
Then, Chandler Jones recovered a fumble by Gino Gradkowski and returned it for a touchdown for a 34-7 lead.
Tavon Wilson added to the Ravens’ misery as he intercepted Tyrod Taylor’s pass and returned it for a 74-yard touchdown.