Texans vs Ravens: 4 Reasons Baltimore's Tenacious Defense Will Stymie T.J. Yates
Houston Texans rookie quarterback T.J. Yates already boasts one playoff victory in his young career. His ability to play with poise even in the toughest situations has come as a pleasant surprise. Today, he faces a much tougher challenge than last week.
The Baltimore Ravens defense excels at bringing pressure and forcing mistakes. Yates can expect to see a player like Terrell Suggs chasing him all day long. Pulling off this road victory will not be an easy accomplishment.
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The last time these two teams faced off, the Baltimore Ravens compiled four total sacks. They created this pressure without Terrell Suggs recording a sack in this game. T.J. Yates can expect to see a fired up and aggressive ravens defense.
Since taking over a quarterback, Yates has yet to face a top-notch pass rush like he will face today from the Baltimore Ravens. He especially hasn't faced a player with the individual talents of Suggs, who will be looking to make life difficult for the young quarterback.
Pressure on the quarterback often leads to hurried throws and mistakes, this is especially true for young and inexperienced players.
Inability to Rely on the Running Game
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A lot of Yates' ability to find success has come because of the presence of a strong running game. After the injury to Matt Schaub, Houston put more focus on the ground game and Arian Foster. The Texans are averaging over 150 rushing yards per game, but a lot of that success has come against average defenses.
This Baltimore Ravens defense ranks second in the NFL, allowing only 92 rushing yards per game. They feature big space eaters like Haloti Ngata and Terrence Cody who excel at stuffing the run. These big defensive lineman are tough to move off the line and open running lanes against.
The defensive line is just part of the equation, as future Hall of Famer Ray Lewis also plays a major part in stuffing the run. Houston will still commit to running the football, but they will be less effective. This will put a lot of pressure on Yates.
Ed Reed's Defensive Savvy
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Ed Reed has an amazing 57 interceptions for his career. He accumulated these pics because of his football IQ, instincts and aggressive play. Reed has a knack for baiting the quarterback and making him feel his target is open. Once the quarterback feels comfortable, Reed springs into action and comes down with the interception.
Yates needs to be aware of Reed at all times, as he has fooled even the NFL's top quarterbacks. What makes Reed even more dangerous is the presence of Baltimore's pass rush. The pressure generated typically forces hurried throws and mistakes, which is all that Reed needs to change the game.
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TJ.. Yates has played terrific football this season, but the fact remains he is a rookie with limited experience. This will only be his eighth game as the starter, which players like Ed Reed and Ray Lewis surpass in years played.
The leaders on this Ravens defense have a ton of playoff experience, with some owning a Super Bowl ring. These players will not be intimidated by the situation or feel pressure. They are likely looking forward to the opportunity to play against a rookie quarterback in this situation.
Yates has done a good job of overcoming the pressure felt in his current situation. His ability to play like a seasoned vet is really impressive. However, today's game will be unlike any experience in his young football career. This is an extremely tough defense to face, especially on the road and in a playoff game.