The Baltimore Ravens have proven their worth as a defensive, conservative team in the image of their coach, John Harbaugh. But in their 20-13 win over the Houston Texans on Sunday, Ben Reiter of SI.com writes that the Ravens were "physically dominated."
For much of the game, the Texans did more than grind it out. They physically dominated at the line of scrimmage -- on both sides -- against a team whose bailiwick for more than a decade now has been physically dominating the line of scrimmage on both sides. Of the 57 players who had attempted to run against the Ravens in the playoffs, never before had one of them totaled more than 91 rushing yards. Arian Foster, the Texans tailback, gashed the Ravens for 132 yards on 27 carries.
The Ravens won't be facing a team with as much capacity for mauling up front when they head to New England to face the Patriots in the 2012 AFC Championship Game, but they could certainly do with some better pass protection than they had against the Texans. J.J. Watt and Brooks Reed combined to sack Joe Flacco five times on Sunday, and while the Patriots' defense has struggled all year, it did muster five sacks of Tim Tebow in New England's 45-10 win over the Denver Broncos on Saturday.