After blowing a 21-0 lead, Baltimore gets a pick six to beat Houston
POSTED: 1:30 a.m. HST, Dec 14, 2010
HOUSTON » The Baltimore Ravens almost blew another one, until their trademark defense saved the game.
Josh Wilson intercepted Matt Schaub's pass and returned it 12 yards for a touchdown in overtime, lifting the Ravens to a 34-28 win over the Houston Texans last night.
The Ravens stayed one game behind Pittsburgh in the AFC North despite blowing a 28-7 lead in the second half
"There's always plays that define where you go," linebacker Ray Lewis said. "For us to get that win the way we got it, I'm telling you, if you're not happy, there's something wrong with you."
Schaub threw a 5-yard touchdown pass to Andre Johnson and a 2-point conversion to Jacoby Jones with 21 seconds left in regulation to cap the unlikely rally.
Baltimore lost fourth-quarter leads in each of its four losses and had to punt after its only offensive series of overtime. Houston started from its 12, and Schaub was trying to connect with Jones on second down when Wilson picked it off and ran into the end zone.
"I still kind of can't believe that really happened," Wilson said. "I was just saying 'Catch the ball, catch the ball, catch the ball,' and game over."
Houston has lost six of its last seven.
The Ravens seemed to have the game well in hand when rookie David Reed returned the second-half kickoff 103 yards for a touchdown, a franchise record.
Houston mounted two time-consuming drives in the third quarter, but only came away with field goals. Yet the Texans' defense, ranked among the league's worst in every category, held the Ravens to four first downs in the second half and kept Houston's comeback hopes flickering.
The Texans' offense finally came alive after a listless first half. Schaub went 24-for-41 in the last two quarters after going 7-for-21 in the first half.
He threw a 7-yard touchdown pass to Jones with 6 minutes left to finish a 99-yard drive, the longest in team history.
The defense forced another Baltimore punt with 2:54 left, and Schaub launched the tying drive with a 16-yard completion to Kevin Walter. Schaub went 8-for-10 in the 95-yard march, and also scrambled for a first down.
Johnson managed to keep his toes inbounds on the spectacular 5-yard touchdown reception that made it 28-26, and Jones grabbed Houston's first 2-point conversion of the year to tie it.
"This football team has lost a lot of close games by some crazy situations," Baltimore coach John Harbaugh said. "Now you're down here playing Monday night football and this place was electric. We quieted it down for a little while, but obviously it got amped up in the second half."
The Texans lost fourth-quarter leads in their previous four losses, all because the defense gave up long pass plays.
This time, the usually reliable Schaub made the late-game mistake that cost Houston a chance to win.
The Ravens seemed as relieved as they were thrilled after Wilson scored. Players on the sideline stormed onto the field, while linebacker Terrell Suggs took off his helmet and walked up to Schaub for a quick conversation. Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco also sought out Schaub and shook his hand.
Flacco threw two touchdown passes to Derrick Mason, and Willis McGahee also scored in the first half.
On Mason's second score, he sidestepped Jason Allen, then came out of his left shoe on a 26-yard reception with just under 2 minutes before halftime. That score, making it 21-0, was set up when Chris Carr picked off a deflected pass from Schaub.
The New York Giants made sure Brett Favre's replacement struggled early and often.
Brandon Jacobs ran for a go-ahead touchdown midway through the second quarter, Eli Manning threw a lead-padding TD just before halftime and Ahmad Bradshaw added a 48-yard run to help the Giants beat Minnesota 21-3 yesterday.
The Giants sacked Favre replacement Tarvaris Jackson four times, knocking him out of the game late in the third period and again in the final seconds.
New York moved back into a first-place tie with Philadelphia in the NFC East. Minnesota, which went to the NFC title game last January, was eliminated from the playoff race.
|Total Net Yards||253||489|
|Time of Possession||31:18||31:47|
PASSING--Baltimore, Flacco 22-33-0-235. Houston, Schaub 31-62-2-393.
RECEIVING--Baltimore, Rice 8-66, Mason 6-78, Boldin 3-41, Houshmandzadeh 2-23, L.McClain 2-20, Dickson 1-7. Houston, Johnson 9-140, Daniels 5-91, Walter 5-57, Jones 5-52, Foster 4-25, D.Anderson 3-28.
MISSED FIELD GOALS--Houston, Rackers 52 (SH).