BALTIMORE, Maryland (Reuters) - The Baltimore Ravens defeated the Houston Texans 20-13 in the National Football League (NFL) divisional playoffs on Sunday to earn a date with the top-seeded New England Patriots in next week's AFC Championship game.
With the Ravens clinging to a 17-13 lead, Billy Cundiff booted a 44-yard field goal with 2:56 left in regulation to hike the lead to seven points and provide the final margin.
The Ravens, unbeaten in nine games at home this season, were unable to get a first down and punted, giving Houston a last chance with 48 seconds left. Houston drove to the Baltimore 43 but surrendered the ball on downs.
"We knew what was coming," said Baltimore's 13-time Pro Bowl linebacker Ray Lewis. "This young team they are so freaking fiery and they got so many great pieces over there and I just take my hat off to them just simply the way they came out and fought today."
Baltimore's Joe Flacco completed 14 of 27 passes for 176 yards and two scores, while Ray Rice, who led all running backs this season with 2,068 yards from scrimmage, rushed for just 60 yards on 21 attempts.
Texans running back Arian Foster provided the offensive fireworks with 132 yards on 27 carries and a touchdown but Houston could not overcome four costly turnovers.
Yates completed 17 of 35 passes for 184 yards but tossed three interceptions.
The Ravens held a 17-13 lead at the half despite 95 yards rushing and a score on 15 carries by Foster, who had an easy time slicing through the NFL's second-ranked rushing defense.
Houston's Neil Rackers kicked a 40-yard field goal on the game's opening drive but the Ravens scored the next 17 points on two Flacco scoring passes and a 48-yard field goal by Cundiff.
A 33-yard field goal by Rackers and a one-yard score off right tackle by Foster late in the second period trimmed the Ravens' lead to just four points at intermission.
"We came out and we knew it was going to be tough," said Lewis. "They made some plays, we made some plays but at the end of the game we made the plays that counted."