Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 12/17/12
BALTIMORE -- The Denver Broncos are on fire. The Baltimore Ravens are starting to feel some heat. Broncos cornerback Chris Harris returned an interception 98 yards for a touchdown, and Eric Decker caught a 51-yard touchdown pass, leading Denver to a 34-17 rout over the Ravens in front of 71,317 at M&T Bank Stadium. Peyton Manning went 17-for-28 for 204 yards and a touchdown, Knowshon Moreno ran for 118 yards and a score, and Decker added eight catches for 133 yards for Denver. The Broncos (11-3) earned their ninth victory in a row, tied for the third-longest winning streak in team history. "We just try to get better every week," Broncos coach John Fox said. "We're not measuring ourselves now. Right now, our guys have responded very well to just improving every week, and we've kept it as simple as that." The Ravens (9-5) fell to 0-3 in December. They've dropped consecutive home games for the first time since 2007, but they still hold a one-game lead in the AFC North with two games to play. "The most important thing to understand (is) every goal that we have, starting with our first goal, which is to win the AFC North, is in front of us," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. "It's still there. Every dream that we have, which is the ultimate dream, is still available to us." Baltimore quarterback Joe Flacco completed 20 of 40 passes for 254 yards with two touchdowns, an interception and a fumble. Tight end Dennis Pitta had seven catches for 125 yards and two touchdowns in a losing cause. Harris' key play, which came just before halftime, was the longest interception return for a touchdown in Denver's regular-season history. Harris cut in front of wide receiver Anquan Boldin, picked off Flacco's pass and then outran the Ravens quarterback down the sideline. "Just made a mistake, there's no other way to put that," Flacco said. "That really hurt us." Harris said, "I didn't really expect him to throw that out-route, but he threw it to me, and I just wanted to make sure I scored." The touchdown gave Denver a 17-0 halftime lead. Baltimore's Justin Tucker kicked a 45-yard field goal early in the third quarter, but Decker and Moreno followed with scores less than 2 1/2 minutes apart, increasing Denver's lead to 31-3. The Broncos put up the lone points in a first quarter dominated by the defenses. After a Flacco fumble gave the Broncos the ball at their 47-yard line, Matt Prater booted a 27-yard field goal to give Denver a 3-0 lead. Denver boosted its lead to 10-0 early in the second quarter on a Jacob Hester 1-yard touchdown run. The Ravens did next to nothing offensively through the first quarter and a half, going more than 21 minutes without a first down while compiling just 23 yards over their first five possessions. Baltimore was playing its first game since firing offensive coordinator Cam Cameron earlier in the week. Just before halftime, with the Broncos ahead 10-0, the Ravens had the ball at the Denver 4-yard line with 30 seconds left and all three timeouts remaining. However, instead of the Ravens slicing their deficit to seven or three points, Harris' interception increased Denver's lead to 17. The Ravens left the field to boos, something they heard frequently in the second half as well. NOTES: The Ravens were without a host of normal starters. Linebackers Ray Lewis, Jameel McClain and Dannell Ellerbe, safety Bernard Pollard and guard Marshal Yanda all missed the game. Wide receiver Torrey Smith and backup running back Bernard Pierce left the game with concussions. ... A moment of silence was held before the game in honor of those killed in the recent shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. ... With the victory, Manning became the first quarterback in the Super Bowl era to record nine 11-win seasons.
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