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2012 NFL Playoffs: Ravens Get Four Takeaways To Beat Texans

James Santelli |
January 15, 2012 | 2:43 p.m. PST

Senior Sports Editor

Ed Reed had two big fourth-quarter plays in the Ravens' win. (Keith Allison/Creative Commons)
Ed Reed had two big fourth-quarter plays in the Ravens' win. (Keith Allison/Creative Commons)
The Baltimore Ravens' defense picked off Texans quarterback T.J. Yates three times en route to a 20-13 home victory in the AFC Divisional Playoffs.

Check out the important factors in Baltimore's win:

GAME MVP: Lardarius Webb, CB, Ravens: The third-year corner got four pass deflections and two interceptions, including a crucial fourth-quarter pick to stop a Texans drive around midfield. Honorable mention goes to safety Ed Reed, who picked off an ill-advised heave to the pylon by Yates with two minutes left and the Texans down a touchdown. Reed also knocked away a last-gasp Hail Mary by Houston to end the game.

GAME LVP: Jacoby Jones, PR, Texans: Jones is usually a pretty good punt returner: he averaged 10.6 yards per punt return this season. But Sunday was not his day, giving him Least Valuable Player "honors." He had no catches at receiver and his six returns went for only four yards. That included a muffed a first-quarter punt at the Ravens' 12-yard line, which was recovered by Baltimore's Cary Williams. That put the Ravens on the doorstep to take a 7-3 lead.

CAPITALIZING: The Ravens scored 17 of their 20 points off Texans turnovers. Bad times for a Houston team that had the third-fewest turnovers in the AFC this season, and didn't give the ball over at all in their Wild Card win over Cincinnati.

NO MISTAKES: While the star of the show in Baltimore was the Ravens D, credit must be given to the offense for not making any real miscues. The Ravens didn't turn the ball over (despite three fumbles), nor did they commit any penalties.

NUMBERS GAME: Mistakes killed a Texans team that seemed to play better than the Ravens on Sunday. Houston's offense averaged 5.0 yard per play compared to Baltimore's 3.6 per play. RB Arian Foster racked up 132 yards on 27 carries and a touchdown, and WR Andre Johnson collected 111 of his team's 184 receiving yards. The Texans also sacked Joe Flacco five times (2.5 apiece for J.J. Watt and Brooks Reed) in a losing effort.

WHAT'S NEXT: The Ravens will head to Foxborough, Mass. next Sunday to take on the New England Patriots in the AFC title game. That game will pit the best offense in the AFC (Tom Brady's Pats) against the best defense in the AFC, according to Football Outsiders' team efficiency rankings. The winner, of course, heads to the Super Bowl in Indianapolis.


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