PITTSBURGH — Baltimore quarterback Joe Flacco tossed two second-half touchdowns and the Ravens maintained their dominance on the road in the postseason, defeating the Pittsburgh Steelers 30-17 on Saturday night in the AFC wild-card game.
In the NFC wild-card game, Cam Newton threw for 198 yards and two touchdowns and Carolina’s defense set an NFL record for fewest yards allowed in a postseason game as the Panthers defeated the Arizona Cardinals 27-16.
Baltimore (11-6) sacked Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger five times and kept the NFL’s second-ranked offense off-balance the entire night. Roethlisberger passed for 334 yards, but the Steelers (11-6) settled for field goals while the Ravens kept scoring touchdowns against their rivals in the AFC North division.
Flacco hit Torrey Smith for an 11-yard score in the third quarter and found Crockett Gillmore with a 21-yard pass in the fourth one play after Terrell Suggs picked off Roethlisberger. The Ravens won in Pittsburgh for the first time in the postseason.
Baltimore heads to top-seeded New England next Saturday.
Two years after leading the Ravens to the franchise’s second Super Bowl title — with wins at Denver and New England along the way — Flacco did what he always seems to do when the calendar flips to January.
Flacco’s seven road playoff wins are the most by a quarterback since 1970. He completed 18 of 29 passes for 259 yards and the two scores. The Ravens gained a measure of revenge after the Steelers knocked them out of the postseason in 2008 and 2010 at Heinz Field.
Pittsburgh played without All-Pro running back Le’Veon Bell, out with a hyperextended right knee. Fill-ins Ben Tate, Josh Harris and Dri Archer managed just 43 yards on 15 carries as the Steelers’ four-game winning streak came to an abrupt and decisive end.
In the day’s other playoff game, Carolina got its first win in the postseason in nine years and Newton’s first playoff victory since entering the league as the No. 1 overall pick in the 2011 draft.
Jonathan Stewart ran for 123 yards and a touchdown for the Panthers (8-8-1), who will play at top-seeded Seattle next weekend if Dallas beats Detroit on Sunday. If the Lions win, the Panthers play at Green Bay.
The Panthers held Arizona (11-6) to 78 yards, intercepted Ryan Lindley twice and sacked him four times. The Cardinals managed 12 yards in the second half and had eight first downs for the game.
After a 9-1 start, Arizona’s once promising season was undone by a rash of injuries, including to quarterbacks Carson Palmer and Drew Stanton. The Cardinals lost five of their last seven games.