Texans vs. Ravens: Baltimore Grinds out a Close Victory Despite QB Joe Flacco's Struggles, 17-13
Houston played better than Baltimore for most of this game, but the Ravens defense shutout Houston in the second half, and they won their first home playoff game since 2000.
If it wasn't for Houston committing four turnovers though, then they would have had a shot at advancing to the Championship game next week in place of the Ravens.
Instead, Baltimore will advance with a 20-13 win today over Houston, and will play the New England Patriots next Saturday.
Houston shouldn't hang their heads though. It was a miraculous run by the AFC South champions as they made their first ever trip to the playoffs in franchise history. They just lost to a better Ravens team.
If you glance at the box score though, you have have thought Houston would have advanced. They had almost 100 more total yards than the Ravens, sacked Joe Flacco a career high five times, and held Ray Rice to only 60 yards rushing.
Instead, Houston remains winless against the Ravens and are 0-6 all-time against the AFC North division champs.
You can look to a few reasons why Houston lost this AFC Divisional Game. They committed four costly turnovers, and had three penalties for 20 yards, while Baltimore committed none.
Those two keys ended up being the deciding factor.
For the game, Houston got off to a bad start due to costly turnovers and bad special teams play. The Texans took the opening kick off 60 yards in which it set up a 40-yard Neil Rackers field goal to give the Texans an early 3-0 lead.
After stopping Baltimore on a three-in-out, punt returner Jacoby Jones made a huge mistake by trying to catch the punt off the bounce. He was immediately hit and fumbled the ball. Ravens corner Jimmy Smith recovered at the two yard line, and the Ravens scored three plays later on a 1-yard touchdown strike from Joe Flacco to tight end Kris Wilson. That was Wilson's first reception of the season.
The Texans then had two straight three-in-outs while a 48-yard Billy Cundiff field goal for Baltimore was sandwiched in there.
Baltimore then scored two possessions later on a 10-yard touchdown pass to Anquan Boldin. That made the score 17-3, and the Ravens had 14 of those points off of turnovers.
Houston though finally decided to get going, and scored 10 straight points to close the half including a touchdown run by Arian Foster right before the half to make the score 17-13.
The 17-13 score stayed that way for most of the second half until Billy Cundiff nailed a 44-yard attempt late in the fourth quarter. That gave Baltimore the deciding 20-13 lead.
Houston's TJ Yates threw two costly interceptions on two straight possessions following the field goal, and that sealed the game for Baltimore. Ladarius Webb picked off his second of the day, and Ed Reed made a great interception at the goal line on a deep heave by Yates towards Andre Johnson.
If Baltimore wants to prevail past New England and go to the Super Bowl, then they better improve against the run, and be more efficient on offense.
Arian Foster rushed for 132 yards on 27 carries,and they let Andre Johnson go off for 111 yards on 8 receptions.
Joe Flacco was only 14 for 27 with 176 yards and two touchdowns. Ray Rice was held to 60 yards on 21 carries and was pretty much a non factor today.
The one thing that the Ravens can be thankful for is that they won't face a defense this good the rest of the post season. Houston ranked second in total defense in the NFL while their next opponent New England was 31st.
The Ravens kept the streak going for home playoff teams, as a road team has yet to win a playoff game this year.
Most recent updates:
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- View all updates
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