4:36 PM EST, January 15, 2012
Kevin Cowherd, columnist: Credit the defense with the win that sends the Ravens on to New England. Corner Lardarius Webb had a great game and safety Ed Reed finally made a big play on theTexans' final drive to seal the win. The offense looked sluggish and unfocused at times, despite a few terrific throws by Joe Flacco. But a win is a win, especially wen it gets you into the AFC Championship game.
Peter Schmuck, columnist: For the last three quarters, this looked like the 2000 team all over again. The Ravens defense gets most of the props for this one, and the offense will have some soul-searching to do before the Ravens head north for the AFC title game.
Kevin Van Valkenburg, staff writer: In the end, survival is all that matters, right? It wasn't exactly pretty. The Texans defense was more physical than Baltimore's offense for most of the day. But it doesn't really matter right now, does it? Baltimore made enough plays to win. They'll have to make a lot more next week. They'll definitely have to rush the passer better, and be more consistent on offense. But enjoy the win, however ugly it was. The Texans are a good football team. The Ravens were still a little bit better.
Ron Fritz, head of sports: Take away the Texans’ mistakes and the Ravens are sitting home next weekend. But give the Ravens credit for scoring two touchdowns off of Texans’ turnovers. The Ravens took advantage of a rookie quarterback to move on to face the Patriots. They Ravens will need a better offensive effort to keep up with Tom Brady and the Patriots.
Chris Korman, Ravens editor: This is why home-field advantage was so important to the Ravens. The Texans were rattled by the environment early, and the Ravens pounced. Then, after they'd crawled back into the game, the Texans -- making their first playoff appearance -- simply couldn't overcome a veteran, playoff-tested team with the crowd behind it. There will be plenty of consternation about the way the offense played, but the Patriots won't be able to bring the same level of pressure.
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