Texans - Ravens: 5 reasons for the win

1. In a blunder-packed performance that had the feeling of two inept football teams slugging it out to determine who would be deemed the worst in the NFL, the Baltimore Ravens managed to somehow pull off an underwhelming, 16-15 victory over the Houston Texans on Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium.

In dramatic fashion, rookie wide receiver Mark Clayton broke free in the final minute and quarterback Kyle Boller got him the football by smartly recognizing an all-out blitz. Clayton's 35-yard reception set up kicker Matt Stover's 11th career game-winning field goal. His 38-yard boot with six seconds remaining kept Baltimore (4-8) from losing to the Texans (1-11), who are primed to win the Reggie Bush sweepstakes with the first overall pick in the draft. Following Kris Brown's 39-yard field goal with 1:34 remaining, the Ravens had no timeouts. When Jamal Lewis got out of bounds after a 7-yard catch, it saved them some valuable time. Then, Boller hit tight end Todd Heap for 24 yards before finding Clayton for an 11-yard gain. After spiking the football to stop the clock, the oft-criticized Boller crisply hit Clayton in stride. His impressive catch-and-run was finally enough to clinch it.

2. Athletic outside linebacker Adalius Thomas' 20-yard interception return for a touchdown followed defensive end Jarret Johnson's deflection of a David Carr pass to give Baltimore a 13-9 advantage with 7:16 remaining. The Ravens sacked Carr five times and limited him to a 47.7 passer rating as Pro Bowl pass rusher Terrell Suggs led the way with a season-high three sacks.

3. The Ravens overcame a pair of questionable decisions by return specialist B.J. Sams to fair-catch a kickoff at his own 10. Afterward, Sams repeatedly said he was acting on orders from special teams coordinator Gary Zauner. The fair catch sparked boos from the crowd and caused shouting matches on the sidelines between coach Brian Billick and Zauner as well as teammates along with Zauner yelling at Sams. Sams made another ill-advised choice when he took the football out from four yards inside the end zone with 1:08 left and only got to the 17.

4. Despite allowing stocky running back Domanick Davis to consistently overpower them for 155 yards on 29 carries, the Ravens got it done when it counted in the red zone. The Texans went 0-for-3 with no touchdowns inside the Ravens' 20-yard line.

5. The Ravens were able to overcome four fumbles, eight penalties and mustering only 73 rushing yards against the NFL's last-ranked run defense largely because the Texans fumbled five times and were penalized 11 times for 93 yards.

In addition to being a long time contributor to RavensInsider, Aaron Wilson writes for the Carroll County Times in Westminster Maryland.

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