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Ravens beat Texans 20-13, move into AFC title game

By David Ginsburg

Associated Press

Published: Sunday, Jan. 15 2012 3:02 p.m. MST

"I told him how proud I was. ... To come out and play the way this team has played, I think it's just remarkable," McNair said. "Where would New England have been if (Tom) Brady wasn't playing, and if Wes Welker wasn't playing, and if their best defensive player wasn't playing? Go down the list of any of these teams and ask where they would be — and they wouldn't be in the playoffs. And this team was in the playoffs."

Down 17-13 at halftime, Houston twice held the Ravens without a first down in the third quarter before driving to the Baltimore 32. From there, Neil Rackers' 50-yard field goal try hit the crossbar and dropped into the end zone.

Baltimore then launched a drive in which seldom-used Lee Evans made a sensational one-handed catch for a 30-yard gain on third-and-5 from the Houston 39. On fourth-and-goal inside the 1, Ray Rice was stuffed by linebacker Tim Dobbins for no gain.

"That's a huge play," Houston defensive end J.J. Watt said. "Those are the type of plays that win playoffs games. Obviously, we wish it had gone the other way, but those are the type of plays that you remember."

The Texans couldn't move the ball, and the Ravens took the ensuing punt at the Houston 49. But three plays netted only 4 yards, and Sam Koch punted for the seventh time.

Minutes later, the Ravens went three and out for the fourth time in five second-half possessions. Fortunately for Baltimore, the defense compensated for the team's inability to add to its early lead.

"You have to do whatever you have to do to win a football game," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said.

Webb's second interception came with 7½ minutes left and the Ravens clinging to 17-13 advantage. Baltimore moved 45 yards to get a field goal by Billy Cundiff with 2:52 left.

Houston's Danieal Manning muffled the record crowd of 71,547 by taking the opening kickoff 60 yards to the Baltimore 41. Yates then completed two straight passes, and after the Ravens stuffed Foster on a third-and-1, Rackers kicked a 40-yard field goal.

Baltimore failed to get a first down on its first possession and had to punt. Jacoby Jones inexplicably attempted to field the bouncing ball at the 13-yard line, was immediately hit by Cary Williams and lost the ball, which was recovered by Baltimore rookie Jimmy Smith at the 2.

On third down, Joe Flacco threw a 1-yard touchdown pass to Kris Wilson — the tight end's first catch of the season.

After a Houston punt, Flacco completed a 21-yard pass to Anquan Boldin to set up a 48-yard field goal for a 10-3 lead.

Later in the first quarter, Ravens cornerback Lardarius Webb stepped in front of Johnson for an interception at the Houston 35. Five plays later, Flacco tossed a 10-yard touchdown pass to Boldin in the right side of the end zone.

Yates then completed a pair of third-down passes in a 59-yard drive that ended with a field goal.

After Yates misfired on third down from the Baltimore 10, the rookie came off the field he was greeted by coach Gary Kubiak, who put a hand on the back of the quarterback's jersey while chatting.

Yates returned after a Baltimore punt to direct a 12-play, 86-yard drive that ended with a 1-yard touchdown run by Foster, who accounted for 66 yards — including 54 on the ground.

Yates went 17 for 35 for 184 yards. Johnson had eight catches for 111 yards.

Notes: Baltimore improved to 6-0 against Houston, 2-0 this season. ... It was the Ravens' first home playoff win since 2000. ... Foster ran for 285 yards in the postseason, most by a player in his first two NFL playoff games. ... With the Ravens' home win, it's the first time since the NFL went to current playoff format in 1990 that the first seven games have been won by the home team.

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