Ravens slip past Texans 20-13, advance to AFC championship

Arian Foster and Andre Johnson nearly sent the Ravens home, but Lardarius Webb was having none of it.

In front of a Ravens record 71,547, Webb picked off Texans rookie quarterback T.J. Yates twice, including once midway through the fourth quarter, and the Ravens held on to beat Houston 20-13 and advance to the AFC championship game.

The Ravens put up 17 unanswered points in the first quarter, but then didn’t score for nearly 45 minutes. They were bailed out by their defense and special teams (which recovered nicely after allowing a 60-yard kickoff return to start the game), and now will head up to Gillette Stadium to take on the Patriots for a spot in the Super Bowl.

You have to figure the Ravens won’t stand much of a chance next weekend if their offense plays like it did today.

Baltimore had just 227 yards of total offense, including only 109 after halftime, and they had just 11 first downs on the afternoon. Joe Flacco was sacked five times and went just 14-of-27, but in the end, it was enough.

At times, Yates looked very much like a rookie making just his seventh career start. Webb’s two picks and one by safety Ed Reed with under two minutes left in the fourth quarter allowed the Ravens to milk enough clock to escape with the win.

Foster rushed for 132 yards and a touchdown - by far the most rushing yardage ever allowed by the Ravens in a postseason game. The previous high was set by the Titans’ Eddie George, who had 91 rushing yards back in the 2001 playoffs.

Johnson added 111 receiving yards on eight catches, and the Texans’ dynamic rookie duo of defensive end J.J. Watt and outside linebacker Brooks Reed combined for five sacks of Flacco.

Very few of the Ravens’ wins this season have been pretty. This one certainly wasn’t, but John Harbaugh and company are now heading to their second AFC Title Game in four seasons.

Back with postgame reactions in a bit.

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