The Baltimore Ravens still haven’t got things figured out on offense, but the team is back over .500 and in the thick of the postseason race after picking up a 23-16 win over the Houston Texans in Week 12.
Houston had its chances to win, but turned the ball over twice in the last five minutes to clinch a loss against the Ravens.
Here were the big winners and losers on the night:
Ravens’ playoff chances
The Buffalo Bills put the pressure on by getting a big win over the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday, but the Ravens held serve and stay ahead of the Bills in the AFC Wild Card race thanks to a conference record tiebreaker.
Ravens cornerback Jimmy Smith entered the night with some of the best coverage stats in the NFL. Opposing quarterbacks had just a 39.6 passer rating throwing his way, but that number will certainly go higher once the numbers put up by Hopkins are added.
The fifth-year wide receiver managed to rack up 125 yards on seven receptions and picked up a few big pass interference penalties on a Baltimore defense that struggled for much of the night.
Smith probably could’ve landed in the losers section here, but Hopkins makes a lot of people look bad.
The 35-year-old linebacker is somehow still producing in his 15th NFL season and added two more sacks to his career tally Monday. It pushed his 2017 total to 9.5 sacks and got him to 124 in his prolific career, putting him at 18th all-time.
But no sack was more important than his strip sack of Tom Savage in the fourth quarter that gave the Ravens the ball back with less than five minutes left.
With half of a sack in the last five weeks of the season, Suggs can notch the seventh double-digit sack season of his career.
The former No. 1 overall pick has developed into one of the NFL’s most un-blockable defensive forces. His skills were on full display against the Ravens, with the Texans moving Clowney all over the front seven to wreak havoc.
He finished the game with just one sack, but his impact went way beyond that and he was easily the most disruptive force on the Houston defense.
The Ravens punter is one of the better players at his position and had a good night punting the ball for Baltimore. But the reason he’s in the win column is this beautiful fake punt that resulted in a 22-yard gain and sparked the Ravens offense.
That throw set up Baltimore’s first touchdown of the night and gave Koch a nice 118.8 passer rating. Elite.
Texans’ playoff chances
At 4-6, the Texans were actually still alive in the weak AFC Wild Card race. Getting to 5-6 and knocking the Ravens down a peg would’ve put Houston right in the mix, but at 4-7 they’re two games back and don’t have the tiebreaker against one of the teams at the top.
That’ll probably do it for the Texans, who probably need to win out to have a chance.
Nobody expected this to be a shootout and the Joe Flacco vs. Tom Savage duel lived up to the pillow fight that most thought it would be.
Savage led the pair of quarterbacks with 252 passing yards, but he threw two interceptions and fumbled. Flacco didn’t make any big errors, but managed just 141 yards on another brutal day of offense for the Ravens.
After 11 starts in 2017, he has nine touchdowns. For perspective, that’s less than half of the 19 touchdowns Deshaun Watson threw in just seven games.