Here we go, with the Texans having first possession. I’m personally feeling a little nervous, even with all of Houston’s key injuries. I don’t know why, and I hope it’s unfounded.
WR Derrick Mason sighting, catching a big catch for a 1st down on a 3rd down conversion try. That’s his first catch as a Texan. He got hit pretty hard, though.
Houston RB Arian Foster gashing the Ravens D for a big first down. Need to button him up if they want to be successful today.
The Ravens D finally holds on a 3rd and long, and the Texans punt. And what a beaut it was, with CB/KR Lardardius Webb letting it go, and having it bounce very close to the goal line backwards. The Ravens offense will start about as deep in their own territory as you can.
Ravens QB Joe Flacco must want to make that completion percentage everyone is harping on look better. He’s 2-2 thus far.
I like what I just saw out of Flacco there, around midfield. Felt the pressure, and he had good footwork, stepping up in the pocket, resetting, and finding WR Anquan Boldin for a first down reception. And as I finish typing that, what could have been a really nasty play develops as the pocket disintegrates and Flacco desperately flings the ball forward on his way down for an incomplete pass.
If I were the Texans, I might take DT Antonio Smith out. Two personal fouls after the play on the goal line? Inexcusable behavior.
4:28, Ravens 7, Texans 0:
With a little help from the aforementioned personal fouls, the Ravens strike first on a QB sneak for Flacco. Thoughts on that drive: it really pains me to say this, but I agree with Dan Dierdorf. The Ravens have to shore up their pass protection, especially on the weak side. Flacco is going to get killed out there with how much time they’re giving him. On the plus side, Flacco is responding to the criticism levied on him these past two weeks. Also, the more we see of FB Vonte Leach, the better. What an addition there. I’m a little sad he couldn’t punch it in on his carry at the goal line, that would have been sweet for him, I’m sure.
4:35, End of the 1st quarter, Ravens 7, Texans 0:
Nothing to add, since nothing really happened in that short amount of time. Ravens K Billy Cundiff send the kickoff in to the blasted seats, though. And Gumbel and Dierdorf spent pretty much the entire lead up to the end of the quarter talking about Texans WR Andre Johnson being on the sideline. Also of note: Flacco’s completion percentage rose 2 points!
Texans convert a couple of 3rd downs, but ultimately punt back to the offense. I’d like to see a 3 and out put up by the Raven’s defense soon, it would make me feel a little better. The Texans are definitely throwing the pass rush some wrinkles, including triple teaming DT Haloti Ngata.
After a sack backs them up, the Ravens have to punt from the back of the end zone. Part of me feels that Ravens P Sam Koch could still probably put it in the opposing 20 from there, but not this time. He only gets it to about midfield (which is still, for those paying attention, a good 60 yard punt), so after a short runback the Texans start in Ravens territory.
Texans opt to go for it on a 4th and short, and are brutally rebuffed. That’s more like it, defense.
And just like that Flacco is stripped and the Texans recover. The offensive line has got to get it together, there was no protection there. Flacco should have protected the ball better in traffic, but that traffic got there too quick.
5:01, Ravens 7, Texans 7:
Welp, I didn’t like that, nope, not at all. Texans get the fumble recovery TD, my least favorite type of garbage TD there is. All luck, really, to have your RB cough it up and have it land right by a teammate in the endzone who falls on it. But, I suppose with how it was going the Texans would have punched it in eventually.
Flacco takes a timeout after a montage of all the hits he’s taken so far. And the look in his eyes…I don’t want to say deer in the headlights, because that’s not it, not at all. Way too much anger in them. But he’s definitely not happy, and why should he be? He’s gotta feel like Paul Blake in the movie Necessary Roughness. ”Was it Flattop again? Maybe we should think about blocking that guy.”
Dear Mr. Dan Dierdorf,
Get your glasses updated.
Ray Rice, and the rest of the world who saw that play. “Clean tackle/hands on the shoulder pads” my rear end.
5:18 Ravens 10, Texans 7:
Cundiff is true from 43 yards out, and the Texans will get the ball back with 1:50 to go and all three timeouts. 2-minute drill time.
There’s that 3 and out I wanted. Ravens get it back with :31 to go.
Flacco overthrows TE Ed Dickson and is picked off, giving the Texans second life before the half ends. That one’s on Joe Cool.
5:29: Halftime, Ravens 10 Texans 7:
Failed Hail Mary from Texan QB Matt Schaub ends the half as the Ravens hold after the Flacco INT. Ravens need to clean it up, big time. The offensive line showed some signs of life, but they need to be more consistent lest they either get Flacco killed or hang him out to dry. What works for the defense is also a bit inconsistent, a ferocious pass rush that disrupts everything the offense tries to accomplish. Ravens get the ball to start the half, a strong drive ending with a TD would do wonders.
Halftime commercial rant:
I hate that Geico commercial with Redskins LB Brian Orakpo…only because the caveman is so obviously “name-dropping” when he says “You are All Pro linebacker Brian Orakpo…” for all the people who have no clue who he is without his number on his back.
Hey, there’s an idea, give it to Rice. And what’s with the facemasks on Rice today??
5:48, Ravens 13 Texans 7:
Another Cundiff FG, this time from 48 yards out, extends the Ravens lead. A steady dose of Ray Rice to start the second half, I can’t argue too much with that. Maybe there should have been a little more Ray Rice. Keep pounding the ball until they can prove they can consistently stop it, I say. If the O-Line is having problems pass protecting, let them run block.
5:56: Ravens 13 Texans 14:
I didn’t like that either. Schaub fakes out the world and on a rollout connects for a TD with WR Jacoby Jones (beating Ravens FS Ed Reed no less).
6:07: Ravens 16 Texans 14:
After a nice long pass to rookie WR Torrey Smith, the Ravens bog down in the red zone, settling for a 25 yard Cundiff FG. Still not enough pass protection, but still signs of life. On the whole, though, this is a pathetic showing from a team coming off a bye at home, against a team missing very key personnel on both sides of the ball. I guess my bad feeling wasn’t unfounded after all….not that this makes me feel better.
Finally some pass rush. Though I’m pretty sure that the Texans O-Line pass protection has a lot of holding (with no flags) helping them out. Texans punt, and the Ravens start with semi-decent field position. A touchdown here would be nice, I’m getting a little weary of the field goals. Maybe if I had Cundiff on my fantasy team…but no.
6:18 End of the 3rd Quarter:
3rd quarter wraps with the Ravens knocking on the door, again after a nice long pass from Flacco. This time, though, it was to Anquan Boldin. Like I said, I really hope they punch it in here, but after seeing the first hand off to Rice get blown up, I’m starting to wonder where the short yardage offense went.
6:21 Ravens 19 Texans 14:
Yup, another Cundiff FG. Flacco doesn’t see a ridiculously wide open Dickson on a 3rd and goal (though he did roll to his right a little from pressure and Dickson was far left), and yet another red zone trip ends with 3 instead of 6. Hey, gambling conspiracy theorists…what was the line for this game?
Ravens defense holds (speaking of holding, the officials must not be paying a bit of attention to the Houston offensive line), and the Texans punt. It sails in to the endzone and the Ravens will start on the 20. I’m starting to sound like a broken record, but I’d really like a TD out of this drive, not a FG.
The teams are trading punts right now. Schaub is finally getting some heat from the Ravens pass rush, though.
6:50, Ravens 26 Texans 14:
Ray Rice softened them up and then Ravens RB Ricky Williams waltzed in to the endzone for an almost easy TD (his first as a Raven). Finally, they get that TD I’ve been asking for since the second half started.
Just when I thought we’d get through an entire game without a red flag coming out. I was going to make a post game comment about it and everything. *shakes fist*
But hey, since the Ravens won the challenge, and even better, had it ruled an incomplete pass (they were only really challenging the spot since it would have been turned over on downs), I’ll take the delay in play any day. And I’m a poet and didn’t know it. Ravens take over.
7:05, Ravens 29 Texans 14
Make that 5 FG on the day for Billy Cundiff, this one from 40 yards. That should be called The Matt Stover Special.
Texans turn it over on downs, and without any timeouts left for them the Ravens can go in to the V formation and take the knee right to the locker room.
7:11, Final: Baltimore Ravens 29, Houston Texans 14:
Ugly win, but a win. I’m dreading listening to sports talk tomorrow, but I probably should.