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Rice's game a gift to Ravens fans, his mother

BALTIMORE - Ray Rice won't soon forget the outstanding game he had against the defending Super Bowl champions. Neither will his mother.

BALTIMORE - Ray Rice won't soon forget the outstanding game he had against the defending Super Bowl champions.

Neither will his mother.

Rice ran for 153 yards, caught five passes for 80 yards, and scored two touchdowns to lead the Baltimore Ravens over the New Orleans Saints, 30-24, on Sunday.

"I laid my shoes over there," the third-year pro out of Rutgers said afterward. "I'm going to give them to my mom for Christmas. I'm going to sign them and give them to her on top of her other gifts."

In a game that had significant playoff ramifications for both teams, the Ravens (10-4) used a time-tested recipe to end the six-game winning streak of the Saints (10-4).

Baltimore scrapped its high-powered passing game in favor of running the ball. And its defense, which had blown eight fourth-quarter leads, banded together to make sure it didn't happen again.

"I saw the game plan. I knew we were going to run the ball today," said Rice, who exceeded 1,000 yards rushing for a second straight season.

Going in, Rice had not had a run of more than 30 yards and had reached the 100-yard mark only once this season. Against the Saints, he peeled off a 50-yard run in the fourth quarter and finished with his most yards rushing since a 154-yard effort Nov. 2, 2009, at Cleveland.

"We knew coming in that they were going to try to protect the football, try to run the ball. We just couldn't stop it," New Orleans linebacker Malcolm Jenkins said.

The Baltimore defense limited the Saints to 27 yards rushing and stopping New Orleans on its final two possessions.

"I think everybody on our defense was thinking, 'We can't let this one go,' " Ravens tackle Haloti Ngata said. "Throughout this year, we've always let teams finish us off instead of us getting off the field and letting our offense finish the game. It just felt great to have our defense stop a great offense like that."

With the score 27-24 and the Saints facing a fourth and 8 on their own 17, Ngata batted a pass thrown by Drew Brees, and Cory Redding got the interception to clinch the victory. A field goal by Billy Cundiff created the final cushion.

Brees went 29 for 46 for 267 yards and brought the Saints back from a 21-7 deficit. He threw two touchdown passes to tight end Jimmy Graham and another to wide receiver Lance Moore, but it wasn't enough to prevent the Saints from losing for the first time since Oct. 24.

It was the first time in six games that New Orleans failed to score at least 30 points.

New Orleans 7 7 3 7 – 24

Baltimore 7 14 3 6 – 30

First quarter

NO–Graham 18 pass from Brees (Hartley kick), 9:03.

Bal–Dickson 34 pass from Flacco (Cundiff kick), 4:43.

Second quarter

Bal–Rice 10 run (Cundiff kick), 14:20.

Bal–Rice 17 pass from Flacco (Cundiff kick), 10:05.

NO–Graham 1 pass from Brees (Hartley kick), :22.

Third quarter

NO–FG Hartley 47, 6:24.

Bal–FG Cundiff 33, 2:15.

Fourth quarter

NO–Moore 15 pass from Brees (Hartley kick), 11:34.

Bal–FG Cundiff 32, 10:03.

Bal–FG Cundiff 27, :09.

Attendance: 71,432.

NO   Bal

First downs 21   17

Total Net Yards 269   356

Rushes-yards 14-27   39-208

Passing 242   148

Punt Returns 1-9   2-35

Kickoff Returns 6-152   4-97

Interceptions Ret. 0-0   1-0

Comp-Att-Int 29-46-1   10-20-0

Sacked-Yards Lost 3-25   3-24

Punts 6-42.2   5-38.6

Fumbles-Lost 3-1   0-0

Penalties-Yards 5-68   10-68

Time of Possession 28:31   31:29


Rushing: New Orleans, P.Thomas 6-20, Jones 4-11, Bush 4-(minus 4). Baltimore, Rice 31-153, McGahee 7-53, Flacco 1-2.

Passing: New Orleans, Brees 29-46-1-267. Baltimore, Flacco 10-20-0-172.

Receiving: New Orleans, Bush 7-36, Colston 6-80, Graham 5-29, Henderson 3-53, Shockey 3-26, Moore 2-26, Meachem 2-17, P.Thomas 1-0. Baltimore, Rice 5-80, Dickson 2-33, Mason 1-42, Houshmandzadeh 1-15, Boldin 1-2.

Missed Field Goals: None.