The Baltimore Ravens are shifting on to the AFC Championship sport after a dominant 34-10 win over the Houston Texans on Saturday afternoon.
Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson delivered an MVP-worthy efficiency on offense, whereas the Ravens protection utterly shut down rookie quarterback C.J. Stroud and the Texans offense.
Listed here are three takeaways from the Ravens’ huge win.
1. Lamar Jackson has a signature playoff efficiency
The large narrative coming into Saturday’s sport for the Ravens was the actual fact they have been solely 1-3 within the playoffs with Lamar Jackson as their beginning quarterback whereas his passer ranking had dropped 30 factors from his profession common season efficiency (from 98 within the common season all the way down to 68 within the playoffs).
Effectively, Jackson and the Ravens put all of that to relaxation on Saturday.
Jackson was not excellent, however it was by far the very best playoff sport he has performed in his profession ending the day by going 16-for-22 with 152 yards, two landing passes, 100 yards speeding, two speeding touchdowns and most significantly, zero turnovers.
Not solely did Jackson have very pedestrian numbers in his playoff profession general, he had thrown extra interceptions (5) than touchdowns (three) in his postseason profession going into Saturday. He wanted a sport like this, and he delivered in an enormous manner. Now he has the Ravens again within the AFC Championship sport for the primary time for the reason that 2012 season and is only one win away from reaching his first Tremendous Bowl.
The Ravens will host the winner of Sunday’s Buffalo Payments vs. Kansas Metropolis Chiefs sport subsequent Sunday.
2. Texans made large mistake earlier than sport even started
Houston didn’t do a lot proper on Saturday, and its errors started earlier than the opening kickoff.
The Texans received the toss, and as a substitute of deferring their determination to the second half they determined to take the soccer and attempt to ship a message with their offense.
As an alternative, they went three-and-out, gave the ball to Baltimore and allowed the Ravens to march down the sector for a 53-yard Justin Tucker subject purpose to open the scoring. That call would loom giant within the second half. The Texans had managed to wrestle all the momentum away from Baltimore within the second quarter and went into the half with a 10-10 sport. However due to their determination to take the opening kickoff, Baltimore bought the soccer to begin the third quarter. That was when the sport utterly flipped in Baltimore’s favor. An enormous kickoff return out towards mid-field gave the Ravens prime subject place and resulted in a go-ahead landing on a Jackson run only a few performs later.
Baltimore by no means let up after that and took full management of the sport.
Would the sport have gone in another way if Houston began the second half with the ball? Perhaps not. However there isn’t a denying what it did for the Ravens.
3. Ravens protection is dominant
As spectacular because the Ravens offense was on Saturday, the protection was the true story. They have been dominant in each sense of the phrase, utterly shutting down the Texans’ operating sport and continuously pressuring Stroud. They didn’t sack him, however he was by no means snug within the pocket and continuously attempting to scramble to make performs on the run. It didn’t work.
The Ravens completed the common season with the No. 1 scoring protection within the NFL and so they appeared the half on Saturday.
The one factors Houston managed got here on a 51-yard subject purpose and a 76-yard punt return by Steven Sims. Aside from that, the Texans offense was non-existent.
Much more spectacular for Baltimore is it did that with out the companies of one in all its high cornerbacks, Marlon Humphrey.
With that protection the Ravens are going to be a extremely tough workforce to knock out this postseason if Jackson performs the way in which he did on Saturday.