Some wondered if the Baltimore Ravens would be rusty from a bye week, and those doubters were silenced Saturday.
The top-seeded Ravens knocked off the Houston Texans Saturday, 34-10, in the AFC divisional round.
Both teams kicked field goals early, and the Ravens’ Nelson Agholor scored the first touchdown early in the second quarter.
Houston later forced a big three and out, and the Texans didn’t wait much longer to make their next big statement. Steven Sims returned a punt 67 yards to tie the game at 10. Despite the huge momentum swing, the rest of the game was all Baltimore.
The Ravens got good field position on the opening kickoff of the second half, and Lamar Jackson scored a 15-yard rushing touchdown on the sixth play of the the half’s initial drive.
Baltimore then forced a punt, the Ravens drove down the field again and Jackson found Isaiah Likely for a 15-yard score, making it a 24-10 game. The Ravens defense remained stout, forcing a three and out, and it was rinse and repeat for Baltimore.
The Ravens went on an 11-play, 78-yard drive, this one also ending in a Jackson run from 8 yards out. A Houston turnover on downs all but iced it.
Jackson reminded everyone why he is very likely going to be the MVP, running for 100 yards on 11 carries, two for touchdowns. He also completed 16 of his 22 passes for 152 yards and two more scores.
The Texans had a strong season with likely Rookie of the Year C.J. Stroud, but it was an unusally rough day for the offense. It converted just four first downs in the second half, three of which came on the Texans’ first possession. Stroud was 19-for-33 for 175 yards, and the Texans had just 213 total yards of offense to Baltimore’s 352.
The Ravens ran for for 229 yards, with Justice Hill putting up 66 and Gus Edwards adding another 40. Of Houston’s eight possessions, not including a kneel-down to end the first half and a garbage-time final drive, five ended in punts, one ended in a missed field goal and another ended in a turnover on downs.
The Ravens advanced to their first AFC championship since the 2012 season, when they eventually won the Super Bowl. Saturday’s victory was also Jackson’s second in the playoffs.
Baltimore will host the winner of Sunday’s Bills-Chiefs game that will be played at 6:30 p.m. ET in Buffalo.