Ravens Reversing 4th Quarter Trend

In Baltimore’s four wins, it has outscored the opposition 23-0 in the final period.

Posted by Billy Jones on Wednesday, October 19th, 2011 at 10:53 am | Categories: Billy Jones, Week 6 vs Texans

Sunday’s fourth quarter against the Houston Texans played out differently than it did in the 2010 matchup between the teams.

With a 16-14 lead at the end of the third quarter, the Ravens turned up the heat on Houston in the fourth quarter, outscoring the Texans 13-0. In the final frame, Baltimore put the game away by getting 62 yards on the ground from Ray Rice and limiting the Houston offense to just 58 yards – a far cry from last year’s game where Houston racked up 194 yards of offense.

The Ravens knew how important it was to make sure that they shut the door on Houston in order to avoid a repeat of what happened last year against the Texans.

“I’m happy we came out with a win,” Haloti Ngata said after the game. “We definitely didn’t want to have the same thing happen that we did last year—like they come back, tie it up and [go to overtime]. It was great throughout the whole game.”

Last season, the Ravens surrendered fourth quarter leads nine times – including in all four regular season losses – and lost big double digit fourth quarter leads against New England (10 points), Buffalo (10 points) and Houston (15 points).

To add insult to injury, Baltimore was outscored by their opponents 119-80 in the game’s final 15 minutes during 2010.

The key to closing out opponents is as much about offense as it is about defense, and staying aggressive when they have the ball has been crucial to the Ravens’ fourth quarter success.

“You can’t shut down [on offense] and try to hang on and win a game,” Joe Flacco stated following Sunday’s win. “Teams have the ability to make some plays on defense. So you have to keep it going, you have to mix it up and really be aggressive. We have been able to keep our aggression and really convert on some plays with big runs and big passes.”

The Ravens have used that aggressive style of play to put up impressive fourth-quarter numbers in 2011. In Baltimore’s four wins, it has outscored the opposition 23-0 and dominated the time of possession by a whopping average of 9:01 to 5:59, including a lopsided 12:37 to 2:23 against the Jets on Oct. 2.

Going forward, the Ravens know that a well-rounded effort in the fourth quarter – like the one they put forth against Houston – will go a long way in determining the final outcome of games.

“I’m proud of our team,” Harbaugh said. “The way we handled ourselves in the fourth quarter running the ball, playing defense, making some big completions, that was big for us. Putting a game away like that in the fourth quarter, it’s really important to be able to do that against a good football team.”

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