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Ravens beat Colts 23-16 to edge closer to playoff berth

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BALTIMORE (AP) Joe Flacco threw for 237 yards and two touchdowns, Justin Tucker kicked three field goals and the Baltimore Ravens moved a step closer to securing a playoff berth by beating the Indianapolis Colts 23-16 on Saturday.

The Ravens (9-6) scored on their first two possessions and held off the skidding Colts (3-12) in a windy, rain-soaked second half.

Baltimore will reach the playoffs as an AFC wild card by defeating Cincinnati at home next Sunday. Striving for their first postseason berth since 2014, the Ravens have won five of six following a 4-5 start.

Indianapolis made it tough on Baltimore, closing to 16-13 in the third quarter before Flacco threw a 4-yard touchdown pass to Maxx Williams with 8:40 remaining.

It was 23-16 when Anthony Walker blocked a Ravens punt, giving the Colts the ball at the Baltimore 27 with 2:36 left. Indianapolis moved to the 10 before a third-down sack and a fourth-down incompletion ended the comeback bid.

Flacco, who went 29 for 38, has thrown for seven TDs with just one interception over his last four games.

The Colts have lost six in a row for the first time since 2011, when they opened 0-13. That was the year before they drafted quarterback Andrew Luck, whose absence this season with a shoulder injury contributed heavily to the team’s slide into the AFC South cellar.

Jacoby Brissett completed 16 of 33 passes for 215 yards and Frank Gore had 68 yards rushing and a touchdown catch for Indianapolis. More importantly, the Colts did not commit a turnover against a team that leads the NFL with 33 takeaways.

Adam Vinatieri kicked three field goals for the Colts, but he had one blocked and came up short on a 60-yard try at the end of the first half.

Flacco went 16 for 22 for 157 yards to help the Ravens take a 13-7 halftime lead.

After kicking a field goal on its first possession, Baltimore blocked a field goal try by Vinatieri. The Ravens then launched a 71-yard drive that ended with Flacco tossing a 6-yard touchdown pass to Michael Campanaro for a 10-0 lead.

Brissett answered with a 14-yard TD pass to Gore, and Tucker kicked a 39-yard field goal for Baltimore after the two-minute warning.

Tucker connected from 36 yards out to increase the lead to 16-7 with 5 1/2 minutes gone in the third quarter, but Vinatieri kicked a pair for the Colts to make it 16-13.

BLOCK THAT KICK

Baltimore’s Tony Jefferson swatted away a 38-yard FG try in the first quarter, the 13th blocked kick by the Ravens since 2014 and their fifth over the past two seasons. It was the first time the Colts had a FG blocked since Nov. 3, 2013. Vinatieri later came up short on a 60-yard try before connecting from 48 and hitting the right upright on a successful 38-yarder.

INJURY UPDATE

Colts: WR Donte Moncrief (ankle), CB Rashaan Melvin (hand) and TE Jason Vander Laan (concussion) were among seven players on the inactive list.

Ravens: WR Jeremy Maclin (knee) was on the inactive list. … CB Jaylen Hill (right knee) left in the third quarter and did not return.

UP NEXT

Colts: Wrap up this unpleasant season at home against Houston on New Year’s Eve.

Ravens: Seek their first sweep of Bengals since 2012. Baltimore won the Super Bowl that season.

For more NFL coverage: http://www.pro32.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP-NFL

Watch Denver Broncos vs. Indianapolis Colts live on TNF

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The Indianapolis Colts host the Denver Broncos on Thursday Night Football in a battle of two former contenders whose seasons have gone wrong.

Following a strong start, the Broncos went 1-8, as their typically astute defense has struggled to keep opponents out of the end zone. Denver’s offense has not helped the team’s cause either. The Broncos have failed to find clarity at quarterback with Trevor Siemian, Brock Osweiler, and Paxton Lynch all seeing time.

Road to Super Bowl LII: Stream, start time, highlights and more

The Colts have had their own deficiencies this season without star quarterback Andrew Luck. Jacoby Brissett has provided admirable coverage under center with 11 touchdowns and seven interceptions, but he has not been able to keep up with a Colts defense that has let up the second-most points in the NFL this season.

Football Night in America

Start time: 7:30 p.m. ET

TV channel: NBC

Live stream: NBCSports.com, NBC Sports app

Broncos vs. Colts

Start time: 8:30 p.m. ET

TV channel: NBC

Live stream: NBCSports.com, NBC Sports app

McCoy scores to seal Bills’ 13-7 OT win over Colts

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ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — LeSean McCoy scored on a 21-yard run with 1:33 left in overtime to secure the Buffalo Bills’ 13-7 win over the Indianapolis Colts in a wintry, white-out setting best suited for snow shoes and sled dogs.

Mush!

McCoy finished with 156 yards rushing and topped the 1,000-yard mark for the sixth time in his career on a slick, snow-covered field.

The Bills’ sideline erupted after McCoy’s touchdown, with numerous players running on to the field to either make snow angels or engage in celebratory snowball fights.

Road to Super Bowl LII: Stream, start time, highlights and more

Buffalo (7-6) stayed alive in the AFC playoff picture, while the Colts (3-10) were mathematically eliminated from playoff contention.

The game began in nearly white-out conditions with a major lake-effect storm blowing in off nearby Lake Erie. The snow fell so hard a half-hour before kickoff it was nearly impossible to see New Era Field’s west-end scoreboard from the east-end stands.

McCoy’s touchdown came on Buffalo’s second possession of overtime. Facing third-and-2, McCoy found a crease up the middle and had enough footing to cut to his left and scamper into the end zone untouched.

It was a topsy-turvy game played in a snow-globe setting , with a regular parade of work crews taking the field with snow blowers on their backs to clear the yard lines.

Early in the third quarter, fans were even treated to a rare metrological event of “thunder snow,” as lightning flashed over the stadium. The game was not stopped.

So much snow accumulated on the roof of the first-level suites that fans began building snowmen.

Colts receiver Chester Rogers disappeared into a snowbank in the end zone after being unable to stop on a deep pass from Jacoby Brissett. Rogers made the catch, but couldn’t keep both feet inbounds.

Injuries became an issue for Buffalo, with rookie quarterback Nathan Peterman leaving in the third quarter to be evaluated for a head injury. Peterman was starting in place of Tyrod Taylor, who was sidelined by a bruised left knee.

Joe Webb finished the game.

The Bills scored first on Peterman’s 8-yard pass to Kelvin Benjamin in the final minute of the second quarter.

And it took the Colts nearly 59 total minutes to find the end zone before Brissett capped a 19-play, 77 yard drive by hitting tight end Jack Doyle for a 3-yard touchdown with 1:16 left. The Colts went for the win and Brissett faked a handoff to Marlon Mack, then hit a wide-open Doyle for the 2-point conversion. The play was negated by an offensive pass interference penalty against receiver Kamar Aiken.

That led to the Colts scrambling to settle for a 43-yard point-after attempt into the wind. Indianapolis used its final timeout for players to clear a spot for Adam Vinatieri. The NFL’s oldest layer hit a 43-yard wobbler that hooked in from the right and just sneaked over the crossbar.

Vinatieri, however, missed a field-goal wide left from the exact same spot with 1 second remaining after the Colts regained possession when Matthias Farley intercepted Webb’s pass over the middle with 52 seconds left.

GORE MILESTONES

Gore finished with a career-high 36 carries for 130 yards. It was his first 100-yard game in 15 outings, since gaining 101 yards in a 34-6 win at Miami on Dec. 12. It was also Gore’s 42nd career 100-yard game, tying him with O.J. Simpson for 16th on the NFL list.

The 97 combined rushing attempts were the most in an NFL game since the Chiefs and Bears combined for 100 attempts in Week 10 of the 1981 season.

NO PASSING

The Colts ran the ball 17 straight times before Brissett attempted his first pass, a short completion to Marlon Mack, who turned it into an 11-yard gain with 6:13 left in the second quarter.

The Colts didn’t attempt a pass in the first quarter, becoming the first NFL team to do so since the Panthers against Tampa Bay in Week 5 of last season. The last time the Colts failed to attempt a pass in one quarter was in a 27-13 win against Tennessee on Dec. 18, 2011.

That victory was their first of the season to end a 0-13 start.

UP NEXT

Colts: Host Denver Broncos on Thursday night.

Bills: Close out home schedule hosting Miami Dolphins on Dec. 17.

More AP NFL: http://pro32.ap.org and https://twitter.com/AP-NFL