Since the Texans' inception in 2002, they have only met the Ravens five times during the regular season, but a rivalry is building.
Since 2010, the teams have faced each other three times – including one playoff game – and all three have been hard-fought, close contests. Their 2010 matchup on Monday Night Football may have kick-started the rivalry.
Coming into the game in December of 2010, the Ravens were preparing for a deep run into the AFC playoffs. At 8-4, Baltimore was trying to regroup from a heartbreaking defeat on home turf the week before to their division rivals, the Pittsburgh Steelers. Needing a bounce-back win, the Ravens traveled to Houston to get back on track.
The Ravens defense was a force in 2010. Finishing 10th overall, the Ravens were fifth against the run, led by their heart-and-soul leader, Ray Lewis. Ed Reed would eventually finish with eight interceptions and lead the NFL, despite missing the first six games of the season after offseason hip surgery. Joe Flacco was in his third year at the helm on the Ravens offense, and he was having his best season to date.
Houston started the campaign with much hope and promise. Looking for the franchise's first playoff appearance, the expectations were heightened by the Texans' 4-2 start to the season. Then came the bye week. Then came losses in five of their next six games. Suddenly, Houston was in a tailspin. While struggling in the win-loss column, Houston had the NFL's leading rusher, Arian Foster, who was in the midst of a breakout season. Foster, who would finish with 1,616 yards on the ground, paced the offense – an explosive one at that – along with perennial Pro Bowl wide receiver Andre Johnson.
This one had all the emotions the Ravens could take. Baltimore jumped out to a 21-0 advantage in the first half, only to see their lead evaporate in the second half. The Ravens held on for dear life as Houston climbed all the way back and tied the game at 28 with just 21 seconds left. Baltimore would get the final word in overtime, as the defense made a huge play to seal the victory, 34-28.
Stat of the game
Kick returner David Reed's 233 return yards. Reed, who returned one of the kicks 103 yards for a touchdown, posted the second-highest kickoff return yardage in franchise history.
Player of the game
Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson. The Ravens did not have much of an answer for one of the league's best receivers. Johnson posted nine catches for 140 yards and two touchdowns on the day.
Play of the game
Football's definition of a "walk-off" play is when a player scores a touchdown in overtime. Cornerback Josh Wilson had his own walk-off moment. On the Texans' first possession of overtime, Wilson stepped in front of a Matt Schaub pass at the Texans' own 12-yard line and walked into the end zone for a touchdown that ended the contest and sent the Ravens' bench into a frenzy.
Quote of the week
Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh following the game on his team finding a way to win: "Don't think it's easy to go on the road. Our guys overcame a tough situation and they found a way to win, and in December, that's really what matters. Do we have things we are worried about? Do we have things to work on? Absolutely. At this point in time in the season, you've got to find a way to win. Tonight, we did that."
What it meant
A win for the Ravens on Monday Night Football in Houston jump-started a four-game winning streak to end the regular season. Finishing the campaign at 12-4, the Ravens earned an AFC wild-card berth for the third-straight year. They would go on the road in the wild card round and beat the Chiefs, 30-7, before falling at Pittsburgh in the divisional round, 31-24.