The Houston Texans' fourth-quarter comeback was quickly extinguished in overtime when Baltimore Ravens cornerback Josh Wilson intercepted Matt Schaub's pass and returned it for a touchdown for a 34-28 win.
The Ravens leaped out to a three-touchdown lead in the first half, but the Texans crept back late.
Schaub, who was less than stellar in the first half, came on strong in the fourth and led the Texans to tie the game in the final seconds. Andre Johnson pulled in a 5-yard leaping grab in the end zone, to bring the Texans to within two. Schaub hit Jacoby Jones for the 2-point conversion to tie it 28 with 21 seconds left in regulation.
But the Texans' never-say-die effort was not enough to finally overcome the Ravens. Baltimore was led by big-time playmakers all night.
Derrick Mason was a major factor
Mason, 36, exploited the last-ranked pass defense in the league. Anquan Boldin was double-covered most of the game, giving ample opportunities for Mason. The veteran wide receiver made a fool of rookie cornerback Kareem Jackson, scoring two touchdowns on six catches for 78 yards. Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco utilized a majority of his passing threats, hooking up with six different receivers.
Baltimore's defense looks unstable
Although the Ravens' defense made a crucial play when needed, it's hard to ignore the Texans' late surge. Schaub completed half of his 62 pass attempts, throwing for nearly 400 yards and three touchdowns. Baltimore looked uninspired and exhausted in the fourth quarter. Texans running back Arian Foster eclipsed the 100-yard mark for the seventh time this season.
Ray Rice punishes Houston's defense
The Rutgers product was relentless for every one of his 54 rushing yards. The Ravens' offensive line didn't have a great push up the middle to break Rice free, but his presence was still felt. Rice was heavily involved in the passing game, catching six passes for 78 yards.
Ravens' special teams were critical to success
To win close games in December, all three phases must be on point. Rookie kick returner David Reed from Utah proved pivotal in the third quarter, taking the opening kickoff in the second half 103 yards for a touchdown.
You can't stop Texans' Johnson
Playing on a high ankle sprain first suffered in Week 3, Johnson continues to be a game-changer. The Ravens had no answer for him, evidenced by his nine catches for 140 yards and two touchdowns. Johnson uses all of his 230-pound frame to box out defenders for open space.