Of the four teams that won during the divisional round this past weekend, the Ravens looked the least impressive in their 20-13 victory over the Houston Texans on Sunday. Yes, as head coach John Harbaugh said, a win is a win, but Baltimore needs to make some adjustments.
Offensively, the Ravens went seven possessions without a score, converted just four of 16 third down opportunities, and had just 11 first downs. The Texans fell a dozen yards shy of out-gaining the Ravens by 100-net yards.
They allowed two rookies to combine for five sacks, 20 tackles, four for a loss, and five more quarterback hurries. Baltimore's interior linemen, which includes Pro-Bowl guard Marshall Yanda, failed to push the defensive line six inches to two feet on seven different occasions.
Despite forcing rookie quarterback TJ Yates into three costly interceptions, the Ravens allowed Texans running back Arian Foster to become the first ball carrier to gain 100-or more yards during a post season game, a span of 16 games.
The secondary, for all of their success allowed a 100-yard receiver in Andrea Johnson, and while big time players made big time plays when it mattered most, I find it hard to believe that if the Texans had Matt Schaub at quarterback, we are talking about the conference championship game.
It wasn't pretty, but as Terrell Suggs said following the game, "I always say that there's the right way to do things, the wrong way to do things, and then there's just the Ravens way to do things. It wasn't pretty, but hey — we're not really a pretty team."
I don't suspect that head coach John Harbaugh will be offering up any apologies for how the Ravens won just their second playoff game at home in franchise history, but there are certainly some issues that his team needs to address before game time on Sunday.
Because of the team's performance against Houston, odds makers have made the Ravens a deserved seven-and-a-half point underdog. However, and having said all of that, there are reasons for Baltimore’s performance yesterday. The Ravens are 13-4, a final four team, and no fluke.
This week, you will hear the so-called experts and NFL analysts tell you why the Patriots will move onto the Super Bowl. You will hear one or two voices whisper Baltimore as the winner, but for the most part, most will pick New England.
Skip Bayless of ESPN’s First Take will tell you why Ravens QB Joe Flacco is not worthy, and Steelers lover Merrill Hodge will argue all week against the Ravens on the mother-ship NFL Live. You will see way more articles and slide shows right here on Bleacher Report telling you why Tom Uggarrific (reference to the boots he wears) will decimate Baltimore's defense.
This will be a long week for Ravens fans. They are going to hear a lot of things these experts think are wrong with their team. It’s OK Ravens fans. As you hear them, think of this article, and remember that most of these pundits did not watch Flacco, Suggs and company as closely as we did this year.
Here are five statements you will most assuredly hear about your Baltimore Ravens this week, and whether they are fact, or fiction.