Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Baltimore Ravens edge Houston Texans 20-13 to reach AFC Championship Game

BALTIMORE — If style points and offensive fireworks meant anything, the Ravens wouldn't stand a chance of making it to the AFC Championship Game.

But playing defense and protecting the football are what they do best, and that formula led to Sunday's 20-13 victory over Houston, putting Baltimore in the AFC title game at New England.

"I always say there is a right way to do things, there is a wrong way to do things and there is just the Ravens' way of doing things," linebacker Terrell Suggs said. "It wasn't pretty, but we're not really a pretty team. We got the W and now it's on to the AFC championship."

The Ravens (13-4) had almost as many punts (nine) as first downs (11) and scored three points in the final 46 minutes. But Baltimore wasn't penalized once, didn't commit a turnover, intercepted rookie T.J. Yates three times and totaled four takeaways — two in the final eight minutes.

"If we didn't get any of those turnovers, it would probably be a different game," Ravens defensive tackle Haloti Ngata said.

Baltimore visits New England on Sunday, with the winner advancing to the Super Bowl in Indianapolis on Feb. 5.

The Patriots lead the series 6-1, but Baltimore's lone win came in the postseason.

Veteran defensive stars Ed Reed and Ray Lewis led a unit that yielded only one touchdown against the Texans and came up with big plays when needed. Lewis had a team-high seven tackles, and Reed sealed the win with the Ravens' fourth takeaway, an interception near the goal line in the closing minutes.

The Ravens finished 9-0 at home, but this was anything but easy. Baltimore led 17-3 after the first quarter, and interceptions by Lardarius Webb and Reed in the final 7½ minutes helped the advantage stand up.

Reed has eight interceptions in 10 playoff games, few bigger than the last one.

"You can't say enough about him," Ravens linebacker Jarret Johnson said. "His big plays always seem to happen when you need one."

One week earlier, in the first playoff game in Texans history, Houston didn't commit a turnover in a 31-10 home rout of Cincinnati. Against Baltimore, the Texans (11-7) couldn't hold onto the ball and quickly fell behind by two touchdowns.

Arian Foster ran for 132 yards, the first player ever to rush for 100 yards against the Ravens in the postseason. But Yates' three interceptions matched the total he had in six regular-season games and mitigated his 184 passing yards.

"I can't have the turnovers," said Yates, a third-stringer when the season began. "If I'd done a better job of protecting the football, I really think we'd have come out with the win. We did a good job of moving the ball, and we had some big plays, but you can't have that many picks."

Webb's second interception came with 7½ minutes left and the Ravens clinging to 17-13 advantage after getting stuffed on fourth and goal from the 1 late in the third quarter. Baltimore moved 45 yards to get a field goal by Billy Cundiff with 2:52 left.

Ravens 20

Texans 13


Baltimore Ravens edge Houston Texans 20-13 to reach AFC Championship Game 01/15/12 [Last modified: Friday, January 20, 2012 5:28pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Odorizzi on DL with lower back strain



  2. Bucs rookies Beckwith, McNichols cleared for training camp


    The Bucs took a calculated risk on two injured players that were discounted in the NFL draft and it may pay off.

    LSU linebacker Kendell Beckwiith (51) fell to the third round after he tore his anterior cruciate ligament in a game against Florida Nov. 19.
  3. Rays can't wave white flag



    Buck Showalter and his Baltimore Bladders were back at it against the Rays on Tuesday night at the Trop, where, the whole world knows by now, there is no bathroom in the visitors bullpen. Showalter, who mentioned it after the Orioles won Monday, agreed with us before the game: They ought to have a …

    Alex Cobb chases down a grounder by Texas Rangers right fielder Nomar Mazara in the fourth inning of Friday's game at Tropicana Field.
  4. Tim Beckham jumps into right fielder Steven Souza Jr.'s arms after his three-run home run in the second inning.
  5. Want elite college football athletes? Recruit Tampa Bay


    Now that college football watch list season is over (I think), here's one takeaway you probably already knew: Tampa Bay produces a lot of great athletes.

    Robinson High produuct Byron Pringle has gone from this performance in a high school all-star game to all-Big 12 at Kansas State.