BALTIMORE (AP) — Neither the soggy field nor the Detroit Lions’ porous defense could stop Ray Rice.
Rice ran for a career-high 166 yards and a touchdown, and the Baltimore Ravens enhanced their playoff hopes Sunday with a 48-3 victory on a cold, rainy day.
Baltimore (7-6) built a 20-3 halftime lead behind the play of Rice, who had 155 yards rushing on only nine carries and four catches for 53 yards. His 59-yard touchdown run made it 17-3, and the Ravens cruised to the finish in handing the hapless Lions (2-11) their 19th straight road loss.
Rice was pulled early in second half, and his backups continued the assault. Le’Ron McClain scored from the 3 and Willis McGahee added touchdown runs of 6 and 19 yards to make it 41-3 entering the fourth quarter.
Backup quarterback Troy Smith ran in from the 15 with 5:02 left to cap the rout.
The five rushing TDs was a single-game record for the Ravens, who finished with a team-record 548 yards and ruined the homecoming of Detroit coach Jim Schwartz, a Baltimore native. The 48 points tied a team mark, set in 2005 against Green Bay.
Rice has 1,041 yards rushing this year and 69 catches for 652 yards. As a rookie last season, he had a combined 727 yards.
Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco, who was ineffective in a loss to Green Bay last Monday, went 13 for 20 for 230 yards and a touchdown before leaving in the fourth quarter.
Baltimore needed a win to stay in the wild-card hunt. The top two teams in the race, Denver and Jacksonville, both lost Sunday.
The Lions lost running back Kevin Smith to a serious knee injury in the fourth quarter. Smith’s left knee seemed to give out as he was running downfield after catching a pass from Daunte Culpepper.
Culpepper, starting in place of injured rookie Matthew Stafford, couldn’t produce a first down in the second half until the first play of the fourth quarter — and that was on a Baltimore penalty after Kevin Smith lost seven yards on a fourth-down run.
Culpepper was 16 for 34 for 135 yards and two interceptions. Kevin Smith finished with 69 yards on 21 carries.
The Ravens missed a chance to make a statement on their opening possession. Rice ran 52 yards to the Detroit 14, then lost a fumble on third down.
Three plays later, Dawan Landry had an interception wiped out by a roughing-the-passer penalty on Trevor Pryce. But the Lions wasted the second chance when Jason Hanson missed a 45-yard field goal try.
Baltimore went up 3-0 when Billy Cundiff kicked a 38-yard field goal after a 19-yard run by Rice and a 20-yarder by McClain.
It became 10-0 when Derrick Mason caught a short pass over the middle, was sandwiched by Phillip Buchanon and Marvin White, then emerged to run for a 62-yard touchdown.
Detroit’s best drive of the day — 15 plays, 69 yards — ended with a field goal. Then, after a third-and-10 pass to Rice went for exactly 10 yards, Rice sprinted up the middle for a 59-yard TD and a 17-3 lead.