HOUSTON (CBS Houston) – What has been an incredible ride for the Houston Texans and their fans came to an end during Sunday’s AFC Divisional Playoff game against the Baltimore Ravens.
The team that had overcome injuries to key personnel to arrive at the franchises’ playoff berth could not overcome four costly turnovers which led to their 20-13 loss to the Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium.
Rookie quarterback T.J. Yates looked poised to pull off another improbable victory but in the end he three interceptions, two of which the Ravens converted into 10 points. He threw costly picks in the first 7 1/2 minutes to Lardarius Webb and Ed Reed that helped turn a four-point deficit into a seven-point disadvantage.
And then early in the first quarter Jacoby Jones fumbled away a punt return at the Texans 2 that the Ravens promptly turned into a touchdown to go ahead 7-3. Then later in the first quarter, Yates threw the first of his interceptions, which set up a 10-yard touchdown pass from Flacco to Anquan Bolden that sent the Ravens into halftime with a 17-3 lead.
In all, the Ravens benefited from 17 points off of Texans turnovers Sunday to ruin what was otherwise a superb defensive game.
“I can’t have the turnovers,” said Yates, who completed 17 of 35 passes for 184 yards, no touchdowns and three interceptions for an NFL rating of 28.8. “If we don’t turn the ball over like that , we have a chance to win. We still had a chance to win.
“If I’d done a better job of protecting the football, I really think we would have come out with a win today.”
The Texans seemed to have the Ravens on the ropes much of the day with an impressive ground attack led by running back Arian Foster and a defense that pressured quarterback Joe Flacco and gave running back Ray Rice little room to work.
The Texans, led by rookie defensive end J.J. Watt & Co., sacked Flacco five times and limited Rice to just 60 yards rushing. The biggest defensive play came in the third quarter when linebacker Tim Dobbins came in and stuffed Rice on a fourth-and-goal run attempt for no gain to thwart a scoring drive.
Foster, meanwhile, was a workhorse for the offense with 132 yards and one touchdown on 27 carries. He became the first running back to go over 100 yards rushing against the Ravens in the postseason.
The Ravens, who are now 9-0 at home, move on to the AFC Championship Game where they will face New England for the right to move on to the Super Bowl. The Texans ground-breaking season ends at 11-7.