Ugly Wins Are The Ravens Way

When it comes down to winning games, the Ravens know how to "win ugly." Such was the case last week, and could be the case this week.

Suggs says Sunday was a typical Ravens win
The Sports Xchange

   The second-seeded Baltimore Ravens got their first postseason win at home since 2006. But it wasn't easy.

   The defense had to make three consecutive stands in the final quarter before Baltimore emerged with a 20-13 victory over the Houston Texans in an AFC divisional playoff game on Sunday.

   "I think it was a Ravens-type victory," outside linebacker Terrell Suggs said. "I always say this: 'There's a right way to do things, there's a wrong way to do things, and then there's the Ravens' way to do things.' It wasn't really pretty, but hey, we're not really a pretty team. We got the 'W' and on to the AFC Championship."

   If you're looking for pretty, check out the top-seeded New England Patriots, Baltimore's opponent on Sunday.

   The Ravens put forth a physical, frustrating performance that didn't wow observers, but did cement their place in their second AFC championship game in four years.

   The offense at times spun its wheels in the turf at M&T Bank Stadium, gaining just 227 yards, converting just 4-of-16 chances on third down, and averaging just 2.8 yards per carry.

   The defense was similarly uneven, failing to sack rookie quarterback T.J. Yates even once and allowing a 100-yard rusher and receiver to Arian Foster (132 rushing yards and one touchdown) and Andre Johnson (111 receiving yards).

   But the key was turnovers. Baltimore fumbled three times, but recovered each loose ball. Yates tossed three interceptions, and punt returner Jacoby Jones muffed a punt, and the Ravens turned three of those takeaways into 17 points.

   "You always want to play a little better, and the film is not going to lie," said running back Ray Rice, who was handed the ball 21 times but managed just 60 rushing yards. "We know we have some things to work on. They had a great pass rush, and they got inside of us a little bit, but you have to take what's there and there wasn't a lot there today. Our guys did a great job of blocking them. We'll get it corrected. It's just another week that we have to get it corrected. We always like to say we strive for perfection. We realize nobody is perfect, but we are trying to get there."

   Now the Ravens get to strategize against a Patriots squad that obliterated the Denver Broncos, 45-10, on Saturday night and is eager to make amends for a 33-14 thumping by Baltimore in the 2009 postseason.

   "You win the game no matter what," coach John Harbaugh said unapologetically. "That's what it really boils down to in a situation like this. This football team won the game no matter what. It wasn't perfect by any stretch, but they found a way to win the football game."

   TRENDING: The Ravens had not allowed an opposing running back to rush for 100 yards for 15 consecutive post-season games. That streak ended on Sunday as Arian Foster gained 132 yards on 27 carries. The streak had been the third-longest active one in the NFL.

   UNDER THE RADAR: With Foster gashing the heart of the Ravens defense, nose tackle Brandon McKinney's size (6-2, 345 pounds) allowed him to contribute three tackles and perhaps seal his role in a rotation with starting nose tackle Terrence Cody.

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