It didn't take long for
to make his presence known.
The first ball quarterback
threw in the wide receiver's direction ended up as a 21-yard completion that led to a
48-yard field goal and a seven-point lead that the
eventually turned into a 20-13 win against the
Sunday in an
divisional playoff game at M&T Bank Stadium.
It was quite an entrance for Boldin, who was playing in his first game after sitting out the final two contests of the regular season due to surgery to repair a partially torn meniscus in his knee.
"Yeah, I felt good," Boldin said. "I went to Joe before the game and told him, 'If you see me out there in one-on-one coverage, just throw it up. I'll make a play.' Fortunately, he was able to do that."
Boldin, who led the offense in receiving with 887 yards, led the Ravens against Houston in yards (73) and tied running back
for the team lead in receptions (four).
His 10-yard touchdown grab gave the team a 17-3 advantage with 1:08 left in the opening frame.
"[H]e brings that energy," said Flacco, who had completed just seven of 26 passes to wide receivers in Boldin's absence. "Obviously, he was able to catch a couple balls early on and move the chains a little bit for us. I think any time you get a guy back like that, everybody on our offense sees that and gains confidence from it and gains a little bit more energy from it."
Now Boldin, who played for the 2008
team that advanced to
XLIII, gets a chance to help the Ravens get to Super Bowl XLVI.
"For me, my vision is much bigger than this game," he said. "I came here for one reason and one reason only — that's to win a championship. We felt like Houston was in our way today, and we wanted to go out and make enough plays to win."
confirmed that he spoke to his brother
, 36-32, Saturday evening.
"We talked last night after the game," John Harbaugh said in his post-game comments. "He was pretty happy. I was happy for him. But I couldn't get quite as happy as he was. He was fired up, and I think he was really proud of his team. I'm proud of him. I'm proud of Jim. I'm proud of his staff over there. But I haven't been thinking that much about him, to be honest with you."
Birk shoots down CBS report
Prior to Sunday's contest, former NFL general manager and current CBS Sports analyst
would retire after this season, his 14th in the league and third with the Ravens.
Birk, who was recently named the team's
Man of the Year, disputed the report.
"I don't know. It could be 100 percent true or it could be zero percent true, and there's probably no in-between," said Birk, who at 35 is the second-oldest player on the roster behind inside linebacker
. "No, I haven't made that decision yet, and I don't know Charlie Casserly. I mean, I know who he is, but he didn't talk to me, and that's all I can say."
Wilson makes impact
As the blocking tight end and a special-teams contributor,
doesn't usually get many chances on offense.
But the eight-year veteran took advantage when he caught a one-yard pass on a play-action fake by Flacco to give the Ravens a 7-3 lead in the first quarter.
"I try to make a play every time I get an opportunity," said Wilson, who made his first touchdown grab since Jan. 17, 2010 in an AFC divisional contest for the
. "I came off and I blocked the D-end, and once I saw the corner go up to play Joe, I kind of snuck in behind him. Joe found me and made a play."
Jones bails out Ravens
The running joke in the press box inside M&T Bank Stadium was that Houston punt returner
could have been named the Ravens' Most Valuable Player.
It was Jones' ill-timed decision to attempt to field a
punt on the bounce that led to Jones muffing the punt and rookie cornerback
recovering the fumble at the Texans' 2-yard line. Three plays later, Flacco found Wilson for the touchdown.
"I was really trying to hurry and grab it and get down, but it hit off my face mask, and I let it roll," Jones said. "Of course, I'm upset about it. It's a turnover. That's a play we didn't make, and they went down and scored. The defense played lights-out, and I think that touchdown they scored is off me."
E. Reed downplays ankle injury
intercepted his eighth pass in 10 postseason contests and knocked down four passes, but he injured his left ankle when he landed on it awkwardly after his final pass breakup.
But Reed said the injury was minor, adding, "I rolled my ankle, pinched it real bad. I was able to walk off at the end, once it was all said and done."
suffered a leg injury, but his injury is not considered serious.
and his 12-year-old son,
, attended Sunday's game with tickets left by Ravens linebacker
. "The seats were phenomenal. We were so close to the field," Lasley said. "What an amazing experience for Ayden. This is something that will live in his heart forever." Lasley's son was reportedly reprimanded last week by his school for wearing a "Ball So Hard" sweat shirt — an homage to Suggs' fictional alma mater — to Southampton Middle School in Harford County. … The Ravens are 3-0 this season and 8-0 since 1998 when leading by at least 14 points after the first quarter, according to
. … With field goals of 48 and 44 yards Sunday, kicker
went 19-of-19 at M&T Bank Stadium this season. … The Ravens were not penalized once against Houston, marking the first time the club had finished a playoff game without incurring a penalty. The previous best had been two penalties against the
in last year's AFC wild card round. … The Ravens deactivated cornerbacks
, outside linebacker
and four more rookies in wide receiver
, running back
. … Houston deactivated quarterback
, wide receiver
, free safety
and tight end