Stover kicks Ravens into title game

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. --- As grudge matches go, this was worthy of the WWE. The Baltimore Ravens survived 13-10 against the Tennessee Titans Saturday thanks to Matt Stover's 43-yard field goal with 53 seconds remaining.

Two teams with an extreme dislike for each other never stopped pounding it out in the wind and rain. The difference: Baltimore forced three turnovers and never gave away the ball.

And when Joe Flacco led a 51-yard drive in the dying minutes to set up Stover's winning kick, the Ravens (13-5) were headed to the AFC Championship Game. Led by the first rookie quarterback to win two playoff games, the Ravens will play at Pittsburgh or San Diego next week for the right to go to the Super Bowl.

Baltimore's postseason run looks eerily similar to when it won the championship after the 2000 season. Back then, it also was a wild card and also won in Tennessee on the way to the title.

This victory was engineered by a brutal defense that forced mistakes by the Titans (13-4), who had the league's best record this season.

The nasty words never stopped flowing. But the Ravens backed it up with just enough points, climaxed by the winning kick from the last member of the Ravens who played when the franchise was in Cleveland.

Flacco almost had a major blunder on Baltimore's next-to-last series when he nearly stepped out of the back of the end zone while passing. Few replays were shown at LP Field, and Titans coach Jeff Fisher dismissed the play afterward.

"We lost as a result of our own self-inflicted mistakes," he said. "We just didn't take advantage of our opportunities today."

Baltimore led the league with 34 takeaways, won the turnover battle in last week's 27-9 victory at Miami, then did so again Saturday. Perhaps the biggest Tennessee turnover came with about 9 minutes to go when former Atlanta Falcon Alge Crumpler fumbled near the Baltimore goal line. Fabian Washington recovered, preventing the Titans from taking a late lead.

TODAY'S GAMES

- 1 p.m.-- Philadelphia at N.Y. Giants (Fox-Ch. 54)


- 4:30-- San Diego at Pittsburgh (CBS-Ch. 12)

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patriciathomas
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patriciathomas 01/11/09 - 10:29 am
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Baltimore wanted this game

Baltimore wanted this game more and played like it. Good game to watch.

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