Quick Hits: Ravens Get Ugly Win To Advance To AFC Championship

It wasn’t pretty, but a win is a win and the Ravens are headed to New England for the AFC Championship.  Though road games haven’t been their area of expertise this season (see Jacksonville) and they looked sloppy against T.J. (frickin) Yates, you have to be impressed with these 53 mighty mighty men.

Sunday’s 20-13 win against the Texans was a hard fought struggle that at one point looked like it was in complete control by the Ravens.  But it ended up coming down to a Hail Mary at the end of the game that allowed Baltimore to make the trek to Foxboro to face Bill Belichick and the Pats.

Suggs versus Uggs.

Here are my thoughts on the Ravens victory of the Texans in the AFC Divisional Round.

  • Who the hell is Kris Wilson? - You’ve heard of Ed Dickson and Dennis Pitta, but I bet you’ve never heard of Kris Wilson.  That’s because prior to Sunday, he hadn’t recorded a catch for the Ravens all season.  Wilson’s first catch was the Ravens first touchdown and it gave his team a 7-3 lead.  It was his only catch of the day.
  • Turnovers were big - Baltimore turned three turnovers into 17 points and relied on outstanding play from Lardarius Webb in the secondary.  Webb’s second interception crushed the Texans’ spirits and Ed Reed ended their comeback chances with a pick in the last couple minutes.  Webb became the third Ravens player to make two picks in a postseason game according to ESPN.com’s Jamison Hensley.
  • Flacco and the offense struggle - I’m still waiting for that breakout postseason game from Joe Flacco.  That game against the Chiefs doesn’t count.  While Flacco found the end zone twice, he went just 14 for 27.  His receivers dropped five balls and he was sacked five times.  He’ll have to do better than that if the Ravens have any chance of beating the Patriots.
  • Needs more Rice - The Ravens running back was handed the ball 21 times and rushed for 60 yards against Houston’s defense.  At the half, Ray Rice had recorded just eight carries and two receptions.  That’s not going to cut it.
  • Questioning Cam - With just over two minutes left in the game, Cam Cameron called a pass play on 2nd and 5 that allowed the Texans to hold their timeouts and potentially drive down the field for a game tying field goal.  The error ended up not mattering since Billy Cundiff booted a 44 yarder that gave the Ravens a seven point lead.  But it could have been costly against a tougher opponent.

I felt confident about this matchup heading into Sunday.  On the BSR Podcast, I told Patrick Guthrie he was crazy for saying this game would go down to the wire.  I was wrong.  What worries me is that the Patriots took care of their weak opponent and the Ravens kept theirs close.

Baltimore could easily get out coached in the AFC Championship despite being the team with more talent.  If the Ravens want to make it to Indy, they’ll have to do better than what we all saw on Sunday against the Texans.

 

Zach Wilt is the Founding Editor of BaltimoreSportsReport.com and Host of the BSR Podcast.  You can follow him on Twitter @zamwi or send him an email: zach@baltimoresportsreport.com.

 

Don’t miss Matt Lund’s grades for the Ravens 20-13 win over the Texans posted today at 10:30 AM.

Zach Wilt is the Founding Editor of BaltimoreSportsReport.com and host of the BSR Podcast. He's a loyal Orioles, Ravens and Capitals fan who is obsessed with baseball, loves traveling, In-N-Out Burger and Walt Disney World.

1 Comment

  1. djs

    January 16, 2012 at 9:43 am

    A few thoughts of my own:

    1. Flacco’s receivers drop five passes, the offensive line allows five sacks and countless pressures, and HE has to do better?

    2. The perosn on offense that has to step up his game is Cam Cameron. The 2nd and 5 in the 4th quarter was classic Cam. A solid mix of runs and passes moved the ball to the Houston’s 26. Rather than continue the mix, he calls for two slants which allowed Houston to keep two timeouts. Or the 3rd and 1 from the 14. Rather than giving the ball to Rice, he tries to fool the Texans by giving the ball to Leach.

    Cam has three solid WR’s and two Quality TE’s. Why won’t he devise a gameplan that spreads the ball around? Rice call still get his touches, but to beat the Patriots, all hands must be on deck. And that falls on the offensive coordinater.

    3. Terrell Suggs and Haloti Ngata are All-Pro players, among the best at their positions. But to get to the Sper Bowl, they must take their games to championship level. That means Ngata must dominate the line of scrimmage, it means Suggs must be unstoppable when rushing the passer. If they play at that level, the defense as a whole will be impossible to score upon.