NFL: Ravens 16, 49ers 6
BALTIMORE ó Big brother got the best of little brother in a unique NFL duel.
The Baltimore Ravens tied a franchise record with nine sacks and beat the San Francisco 49ers 16-6 Thursday night, giving John Harbaugh reason to celebrate after the first NFL game featuring brothers as opposing head coaches.
The Ravens (8-3) chased, hindered and battered Alex Smith for much of the night despite playing without middle linebacker Ray Lewis, the teamís leading tackler and spiritual leader.
Lewis was inactive for a second straight game with a foot injury.
Terrell Suggs had three sacks for Baltimore, which moved a half-game ahead of the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC North.
The nine sacks tied a franchise record, accomplished twice previously.
San Francisco (9-2) had its eight-game winning streak broken under rookie coach Jim Harbaugh.
John, 49, and Jim, 47, grew up dueling each other in all sorts of games. Competing this time on a national stage, John secured an emotional win over his little brother.
During the final minute, John got a Gatorade bath from his players ó twice. After the final whistle, the brothers hugged at midfield.
Baltimore broke a 6-6 tie with a 76-yard, 16-play drive that lasted more than 71/2 minutes and ended with an 8-yard touchdown pass from Joe Flacco to tight end Dennis Pitta with 14:56 left. Flacco went 4 for 4 for 34 yards and a touchdown on third down during the drive.
Billy Cundiff wrapped up the scoring with his third field goal, a 39-yarder with 4:16 remaining.
In a game dominated by both defenses, Flacco finished 15 for 23 for 161 yards and Ray Rice ran for 59 yards on 21 carries.
Smith completed 15 of 24 passes for 140 yards and an interception. He never could get into a rhythm against an aggressive defense that rarely let him set up in the pocket.
The 49ers began the third quarter with a 13-play drive that lasted 71/2 minutes and produced a 52-yard field goal by David Akers for a 6-6 tie. The key play was an 18-yard completion from Smith to Michael Crabtree on a third-and-17 from the San Francisco 26.
The Ravens responded with their lone touchdown drive of the game.
Baltimore sacked Smith four times in the first half.