Rice Won’t Apologize For A Win

The offense struggled Sunday, but the Ravens did enough to get the victory over Houston.

Posted by Garrett Downing on Sunday, January 15th, 2012 at 8:04 pm | Categories: 2011 Season Gameday, Divisional Vs Texans, Garrett Downing

Whether they were running or passing, the Ravens offense had a tough time moving the ball all afternoon in Sunday’s divisional-round game against the Houston Texans.

Baltimore went three-and-out eight times throughout the game and scored just three points in the second half.

For Ray Rice, it was one of his least productive days of the year.

The running back averaged just 2.9 yards per carry, his fourth lowest total of the season, and had to fight for every single yard.

Still, he sees his struggles within a bigger picture.

“I’m never going to apologize for a win,” Rice said.

Rice’s teammates emphasized the same point, explaining that all that matters is they got the 20-13 victory over Houston and will advance to play New England in the AFC championship game next Sunday.

Rice finished the day with 21 carries for 60 yards, and he didn’t have a rush longer than 10 yards.

There were few holes for him to work with, and the Texans front seven got into the backfield for much of contest.

“That was probably the best defense I’ve seen all year running the ball.” Rice said. “It was tough sledding today and we knew it was going to be a challenge.”

The Ravens, one of the best running teams in the NFL in the back-half of the season, struggled at times to even come up with one yard on the ground.

Rice was stuffed at the goal line on a fourth-down play in the third quarter, and fullback Vonta Leach couldn’t get a yard late in the fourth quarter when the Ravens needed one first down to seal the game.

“We need to find a way to get those guys blocked,” Head Coach John Harbaugh said after the game. “They had a number of all-out line blitzes in the second half against us, in those situations.”

When the Ravens passed, they didn’t fare much better.

Flacco finished 14-of-27 for 176 yards and two touchdowns, but he was also sacked five times and had to avoid pressure in the pocket for most of the afternoon.

“It’s a premier pass rush team, and we didn’t do a great job always of blocking,” Harbaugh said.

“We would have liked to have won more battles up front today, that’s for sure, but the important thing is we got the win,” center Matt Birk said. “Tomorrow in meetings we’ll have plenty of things to look at and plenty of things to work on this week.”

The offense was able to get two touchdowns, but both of those scoring drives were set up with great field position because of turnovers forced by the defense.

A muffed punt by Houston gave the Ravens the ball at Houston’s 2-yard line and a Lardarius Webb interception gave the offense the ball at Houston’s 35-yard line. Baltimore scored touchdowns on both of those possessions, giving them a 17-3 lead early in the game.

“We got some turnovers early on that allowed us to put the ball in the end zone, or have the chance to put the ball in the end zone and we were able to capitalize on them,” Flacco said. “That ended up being a pretty big part of the game.”

As the Ravens head into the AFC championship game facing a New England team that has one of the best offenses in the NFL, the Ravens know their offense will have to produce more in order to come away with a victory.

“We’re going to have to make sure we prepare well all week and bring our A-game up there,” Flacco said. “As an offense, you have to go in there and put points on the board too.”

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