BALTIMORE — The Ravens dominated the Houston Texans, 34-10, in the divisional round of the AFC playoffs on Saturday at M&T Bank Stadium.
Here is their Report Card
Quarterback — Quarterback Lamar Jackson led the Ravens to four consecutive scoring drives in the second half to pull away from Houston after the game was tied, 10-10, at halftime. He completed 16 of 22 pass attempts for 152 yards with two touchdowns. He also led the team with 100 yards rushing with another two scores. Jackson became the first player in Ravens playoff history with a rushing and passing touchdown in the same game. He put to rest the notion he cannot win a big playoff game.
Running backs —The Ravens could not get much going in the running game early, but they wore down the Texans. Overall, Baltimore finished with 229 yards rushing on 42 carries against the sixth-ranked run defense. Gus Edwards (10 carries, 40 yards) and Justice Hill (13 carries, 66 yards) split the load. Dalvin Cook made his Ravens debut and had a 19-yard run.
Receivers — Tight end Isaiah Likely had three targets and two receptions, but he had an acrobatic touchdown catch that took the wind out of the Texans and ended any chance of a comeback. Likely has scored six touchdowns in seven games since Mark Andrews was sidelined with an ankle injury. Rookie Zay Flowers led the team with four receptions for 41 yards, and Rashod Bateman had a 21-yard catch.
Offensive line — The Ravens struggled to handle the Texans’ blitz in the first half when Jackson was sacked three times, but they made the proper adjustments. The offensive line did better in the second half with pass protection and the run blocking was solid. Kevin Zeitler was back from a thigh injury and was a steadying force.
Linebackers — Inside linebacker Roquan Smith led the team with 7 tackles and was a force throughout the game. The Texans targeted fellow inside linebacker Patrick Queen (5 tackles) in pass coverage, and he responded with some tough tackles. Strongside linebacker Malik Harrison (4 tackles.) had one of his better games with his aggressiveness.
Defensive line — The Ravens held the Texans to 38 yards rushing on 14 carries. It’s tough to win a game when you can’t establish the run. Defensive tackle Justin Madubuike was a force in the middle and defensive end Jadeveon Clowney was disruptive against the Texans’ runners.
Secondary — Houston rookie quarterback C.J. Stroud completed 19 of 33 passes for 175 yards with no touchdowns or turnovers. The Ravens played well without cornerback Marlon Humphrey, who missed his second straight game with a calf injury. Cornerback Brandon Stephens was physical, and safeties Marcus Williams, Kyle Hamilton and Geno Stone contained the Texans’ receivers.
Special teams — Jordan Stout struggled and his short punt led to the Texans’ only touchdown — a 67-yard return by Steven Sims in the second quarter. Stout also missed a tackle on the play. Justin Tucker converted field goal attempts from 53 and 43 yards. Devin Duvernay was back in the lineup from a back injury and had a 37-yard kickoff return that led to a 15-yard touchdown run by Jackson.
Coaching — Coach John Harbaugh had his team ready to play after a first-round bye. There was some early rust, but the team finished strongly. Offensive coordinator Todd Monken collaborated with Jackson at halftime and focused on getting rid of the ball quicker and attacking the Texans in the middle of the field. As a result, the Ravens outscored the Texans 24-0 in the second half. Defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald’s game plan kept Houston’s offense scoreless after the Texans scored 45 points against the Browns last weekend.