BALTIMORE (AP) - In each of their earlier victories this season, the Baltimore Ravens ambushed their opponents early and cruised to the finish.
Against the Houston Texans, the Ravens delivered the brunt of their punishment at the end.
Baltimore pulled away to a 29-14 victory Sunday, allowing only 58 yards and three first downs in the final 15 minutes while outscoring Houston 13-0.
``What you want to do is wear people out early, and then you want to run over them late,' coach John Harbaugh said. ``You get them a little more tired, and it is a little tougher to defend the run at the end of the game.'
Ray Rice ran for 101 yards, all but 16 of them in the second half.
``He ended up running for 100 yards,' Houston coach Gary Kubiak said, ``but a lot of the damage was done late when they were pulling us away there.'
Baltimore's defense played a big part, too. Despite failing to produce a turnover for the first time in 10 games, the Ravens held Houston scoreless for the final 21 minutes.
``I think it was really encouraging to see how (we) responded to a tight game in the fourth quarter,' Harbaugh said. ``To come out and win the fourth quarter in that fashion is a huge statement. You have to do it on both sides to be able to do that. I don't think they got too many first downs in the fourth quarter, did they?'
Three, to be exact - none during the final 11 minutes.
Joe Flacco threw for 305 yards and Billy Cundiff kicked five field goals for the Ravens (4-1), who remained alone atop the AFC North with their third straight win.
``This is the kind of game we needed,' Rice said. ``We needed to be in a fight against a good team.'
Flacco had two turnovers, but he also had two completions over 50 yards to put Cundiff in position to score. Cundiff connected from 43, 48, 25, 33 and 40 yards to tie a Ravens record for field goals in a game.
Though the Texans (3-3) were without wide receiver Andre Johnson and linebacker Mario Williams, they led briefly in the third quarter. But Baltimore was too tough down the stretch.
Matt Schaub went 21 for 37 for 220 yards for the Texans, 0-5 against Baltimore since entering the NFL in 2002. The 14 points were the fewest by the Texans since a 10-point performance against the New York Giants on Oct. 10, 2010.
Arian Foster gained only 49 yards on 15 carries and managed only 17 yards on the ground in the second half.
``I think the offense could have done a better job,' he said. ``There were yards out there on the field that we left. I played terrible. I didn't play a good game; it was obvious. That will never happen again.'
The Texans (3-3) didn't use the absences of Johnson (hamstring), Williams (torn pectoral muscle, gone for the season) and fullback James Casey (chest) as excuses.
``It's part of the game. You deal with it, move on,' Schaub said. ``The next guy's got to be ready to make a play.'
Houston trailed only 19-14 until the Ravens went on a 66-yard drive that ended with a 4-yard touchdown run by Ricky Williams with 4:01 left.
Flacco completed 20 of 33 passes and Anquan Boldin had eight catches for 132 yards, including a 56-yarder.
``Anquan was able to do some things in the slot,' Flacco said. ``There was just enough separation to enable me to get the ball in there. He made some big catches, especially on that big long one.'
Baltimore is 13-1 in its last 14 home games. The Ravens are 3-0 at M&T Bank Stadium this season, beating Pittsburgh, the New York Jets and Houston by a combined 98-38.
Baltimore had 32 yards rushing in the first half and finished with 113. Houston, meanwhile, converted half its 10 third-down tries in the first half but was 1 for 6 after halftime.
``Early on we were getting them to third-and-long and they were converting. It was a little bit frustrating,' Ravens linebacker Jarret Johnson said. ``We just kept grinding.'
Rice began the third quarter with an 18-yard run after gaining only 16 yards on eight carries before halftime. That sparked a 47-yard drive for a 48-yard field goal and a 13-7 lead.
Houston moved in front for the only time with a six-play, 80-yard drive. Schaub had completions of 20 yards to Kevin Walter and 16 yards to Foster before throwing a perfect 32-yard touchdown pass to Jacoby Jones, who got behind safety Ed Reed in the end zone.
Baltimore went back ahead on the following series, using a 51-yard pass from Flacco to rookie Torrey Smith to set up a 25-yard field goal and a 16-14 advantage.
After a Houston punt, Flacco found Boldin open down the left sideline for a 56-yard gain, and Cundiff kicked his fourth field goal.
The Texans' next series ended when safety Bernard Pollard, a former Houston starter, broke up a third-down pass to Foster at the Baltimore 30.
Houston never threatened after that.
``We were right there in the game where we wanted to be at 19-14, on the road against this team,' Kubiak said. ``We didn't make the plays and they did.'
Notes: The Ravens held a moment of silence before the game to mark the passing of Patricia Modell, wife of former owner Art Modell. They also had flags flying at half staff. ... With his first-quarter sack of Schaub, Ray Lewis became the first player in NFL history with 40 sacks and 30 INTs. ... Houston failed to score on its first possession for the first time in five games.
The Associated Press News Service
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