Tampa, FL (SportsNetwork.com) - Joe Flacco threw for a career-high five touchdowns in a near-flawless performance that propelled the Baltimore Ravens to a 48-17 rout of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Flacco ended each of Baltimore's first five possessions with scoring strikes as the Ravens (4-2) roared out to a 38-0 halftime lead. The Super Bowl XLVII MVP finished the day with 306 yards and no interceptions on a 21-of-29 completion rate.
"Definitely a fun day," Flacco said. "When we got opportunities, we really capitalized. You definitely don't get those (types of games) too often. It was very enjoyable. I don't know if I've ever had five touchdown passes in a game before."
Torrey Smith caught two of Flacco's touchdown passes and Steve Smith had another while amassing 110 yards on five receptions. Justin Forsett added 111 yards on the ground on just 14 carries for a Baltimore offense that bounced back strongly from last week's sluggish performance in a loss at Indianapolis.
Mike Glennon put up a personal-best 314 yards and two touchdowns on 24-of-44 passing for Tampa Bay (1-5), though most of the damage came with the outcome already decided in the second half. The second-year quarterback was intercepted once and sacked five times while under heavy pressure for much of the game.
"The bottom line, the Ravens played better than us," said Glennon. "There's nothing else really to say. They out-executed us, they outplayed us and obviously the score showed it."
Louis Murphy had seven catches totaling 72 yards and a touchdown in the lopsided defeat, with Mike Evans recording four receptions for 55 yards and garnering Glennon's other TD pass.
Baltimore's offense was clicking right from the start. Forsett ripped off a 52-yard run to the Tampa 15 on the second play from scrimmage, and Torrey Smith beat Brandon Dixon on a slant route to haul in Flacco's 15-yard delivery two snaps later for a 7-0 lead just 1:49 into the contest.
Tampa Bay's opening possession ended in a hurried Glennon being intercepted by Jimmy Smith, who returned the pick 31 yards to the Buccaneers' 22-yard line. Flacco and Torrey Smith then teamed up for another score, a 9-yarder on 3rd- and-goal to cap another brief 4-play series.
After the Buccaneers failed to gain a first down on their next drive, Baltimore effortlessly marched 50 yards in seven plays and reached the end zone again through the air, as Flacco split two defenders down the middle for a 17-yard connection with Kamar Aiken that put the Ravens up 21-0 with only 10 minutes elapsed.
"For Joe and the wide receivers and the offensive line to do what they did early is just historic," Ravens head coach John Harbaugh stated. "A lot of hard work pays off, and it paid off in the execution of our passing game today."
Tampa Bay went three-and-out once more on its ensuing trip, and Flacco tossed TD pass No. 4 after the resulting punt. Following a 30-yard pass to Owen Daniels that put the ball at the Bucs' 20, rookie Michael Campanaro snared his first career catch with a leaping 19-yard grab in the end zone.
Baltimore outgained the Buccaneers by a whopping 224-20 margin in total yards for the first quarter, and the carnage continued into the second.
Getting the ball back near midfield after another Tampa Bay drive went nowhere, the Ravens increased the lead to 35-0 when Steve Smith got behind Alterraun Verner and cradled Flacco's perfectly placed deep ball for a 56-yard touchdown just over a minute into the period.
The Buccaneers finally got a stop on Baltimore's next sequence, though excellent starting field position helped set up Justin Tucker for a successful 46-yard field goal that made it a 38-0 game.
A 33-yard hookup from Glennon to Vincent Jackson gave Tampa Bay its first red-zone trip of the day late in the first half, but a holding penalty and a sack by Terrell Suggs forced Patrick Murray for a 45-yard field goal attempt that was pulled wide to the right.
The 38-point halftime deficit was the largest by a home team in the modern football era, eclipsing a 37-point differential San Diego faced against Buffalo in 1962.
"Whether (the Ravens) were running the football (or) passing the ball, our defense didn't get anything done," said Buccaneers head coach Lovie Smith. "It was total domination on their part. We're a better football team than that and I thought we'd play better. We had some injuries in key spots that hurt us a little bit, but it shouldn't have been that type of game."
Tampa Bay finally got on the board via a 47-yard Murray field goal to begin the second half, just narrowly missing a touchdown after Jackson couldn't keep his feet in bounds for a would-be acrobatic 29-yard catch. Glennon then engineered a 7-play, 92-yard trek the next time Tampa Bay had the ball, hitting on 3-of-4 attempts that included a 17-yard bullet to Evans that trimmed the lead to 38-10 with 5:46 remaining in the third quarter.
Baltimore responded by churning out 80 yards in 11 plays, with the drive highlighted by three Steve Smith catches that gained 43 yards and finished off by a Bernard Pierce 4-yard touchdown run near the end of the third.
The Buccaneers countered with a 6-play, 76-yard series in which Glennon made good on three more throws, the last a 3-yard toss to Murphy for Tampa Bay's final points.
Jacoby Jones took the ensuing kickoff 58 yards to near midfield, however, leading to Tucker's 49-yard field goal midway through the fourth quarter.
Flacco's five TD passes tied a Ravens record set by Tony Banks against Jacksonville on Sept. 10, 2000. They all came in the game's first 16 minutes and three seconds, the fastest of any quarterback in NFL history. Ben Roethlisberger had five in a span of 28:09 against Baltimore in 2007 ... The Ravens also set new team records for most points in a first quarter (28) and first half (38) ... Steve Smith posted his eighth career 100-yard game against Tampa Bay and fourth this season, tying Michael Jackson (1996) and Mark Clayton (2006) for the most by a Raven in a campaign ... Forsett registered his first 100-yard rushing game since a 130-yard effort at St. Louis while with Seattle on Nov. 29, 2009 ... Aiken, whose TD catch was the first of his career, left the game in the third quarter with a concussion.