Texans 43, Ravens 13: Adjustments Spark Beatdown of Longtime Nemesis; Five Reasons Why
Check out our slideshow of the Texans beating the Ravens for the first time in franchise history.
Photos by Marco Torres J.J. Swatt gets some well-deserved love.
The final score doesn't come close to showing it, but there were tense moments Sunday.
Three early possessions resulted in three Houston punts, with only a single first down to show for it. Receivers couldn't create separation. Arian Foster couldn't find holes. On the other side, Ray Rice gashed the Brian Cushing-less Texan defense for 27 yards on his first three carries. Joe Flacco opened 2-of-2 for 18 yards, picking on nicked-up Houston cornerback Johnathan Joseph.
A hangover from the crushing Green Bay loss seemed in full effect. Boos rained down from the Reliant Stadium rafters. The majority went to ex-Texan Jacoby Jones, of course, but a few toward the home team.
Then, the Texans (6-1) did what truly elite NFL teams do. They adjusted.
"We got off to a slow start, but the defense made the big play to kind of spark the team," said head coach Gary Kubiak. "The thing I was most proud of today, I think everybody pitched in. Our leaders really stepped it up."
The momentum-swinging plays, of course, were back-to-back sacks from rookie linebacker Whitney Mercilus and oft-criticized veteran Connor Barwin, the latter giving Houston its first points via a safety.
That seemed to re-energize the record crowd of 71,708 as well as the Houston offense, which responded with an eight-play, 67-yard touchdown drive, effectively starting the rout.
"I knew we were going to bounce back as soon as the week started," said quarterback Matt Schaub.
Perhaps, but it didn't look that way for much of the first quarter. Here's a rundown of what stood out as the Texans recovered, finally beating Baltimore (5-2) for the first time in franchise history.