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Instant analysis: Ravens find way to beat rugged Texans

FootballBaltimore RavensJoe FlaccoHouston TexansRay RiceAnquan BoldinBilly Cundiff

Ken Murray, reporter: The Ravens struggled to finish in the red zone, but their run/pass  balance was terrific and Joe Flacco hurt Houston deep. The defense gave ground grudgingly, and allowed too many third-down conversions. But when the Ravens needed to make a stop, they almost always did. Billy Cundiff and Sam Koch made it a complete team win.

Kevin Van Valkenburg, reporter: It wasn't always pretty, but I was impressed with the way the Ravens rose to the occasion to grind out a victory. Yes, they struggled in the red zone for most of the day, Flacco made some inaccurate throws, and the offensive line didn't provide Flacco with great protection. But the Ravens still found a way to win. Flacco hung in there and made some big throws, none bigger than the beautiful bomb to Anquan Boldin. That drive may not have resulted in a touchdown, but it helped Baltimore take back control of the game. And the drive the Ravens used to ice the game in the fourth quarter -- which included two perfect throws by Flacco and a great run by Rice -- was one of the best drives the offense has put together all season.

Peter Schmuck, columnist: The Ravens knocked off one of the toughest opponents remaining on their schedule with a balanced attack that featured some big plays by Joe Flacco and a 150-plus all-purpose performance by Ray Rice. This is the kind of offensive gameplan that will take the Ravens deep into the postseason.

Ron Fritz, Head of sports: The Ravens’ coaching staff made the adjustments needed at halftime and the Ravens put away a stubborn Texans team. It was a hard-fought win for the Ravens.

Chris Korman, Ravens editor: Joe Flacco looked the part of a Super Bowl-caliber quarterback, making sound decisions quickly and the most difficult throws with ease. His long heave to a streaking Anquan Boldin -- who played like the physical, game-changing wide receiver he's usually been -- seemed to convince the Texans that there would be no epic comeback this season. Ray Rice made clutch plays, as always, and the offensive line was better -- tougher -- than the Texans' talented front seven. The lack of execution in the red zone will be much discussed, but the Ravens clearly continue to evolve into one of the better teams in the league.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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FootballBaltimore RavensJoe FlaccoHouston TexansRay RiceAnquan BoldinBilly Cundiff
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