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RAVENS PASS OFFENSE VS. TEXANS PASS DEFENSE
While Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco struggled with consistency during the regular season, the Texans' pass defense engineered a remarkable turnaround under defensive coordinator Wade Phillips. A year after allowing an NFL-worst 267.5 net passing yards per game, the Texans surrendered only 189.7 yards per game through the air, the third-lowest total in the NFL. Phillips was a big part of that, but so was an upgrade in defensive personnel. The Texans signed cornerback Johnathan Joseph, and he had a team-high four interceptions. They signed free safety Danieal Manning, and he had 59 tackles and two interceptions. They drafted defensive end J.J. Watt, and he had 5 1/2 of the Texans’ 44 sacks. They moved Connor Barwin from defensive end to outside linebacker, and he had a team-high 11 1/2 quarterback takedowns. Their defense will be a serious test for Flacco, who has completed 53.3 percent of his passes and thrown four touchdown passes to seven interceptions in seven career playoff games. He did throw for 305 yards in the earlier meeting against Houston, and he'll get one of his top targets back as wide receiver Anquan Boldin returns after a two-week absence. Boldin (above) torched the Texans for eight catches and 132 yards in October.
October 16, 2011