A week after a truly terrible showing in Kansas City, the Texans put together a slightly more acceptable performance against the other AFC Juggernaut, the Baltimore Ravens. It was still not nearly good enough to win. Lamar Jackson’s offense did what it needed to do despite the Texans’ defensive line showed dramatic improvement. Four sacks and five tackles for loss kept the Ravens’ run game honest and forced Lamar to pass.
Unfortunately, that was something the Ravens welcomed, keeping drives alive time and time again with perfectly placed passes to nearly every receiver and tight end on their roster. While the Texans’ defense was significantly better than last week, it could not finish or contain the passing game.
Two turnovesr by the Texans’ offense didn’t help either. Wide receiver Keke Coutee fumbled a short pass from Deshaun Watson deep in their own territory; it was recovered by Raven linebacker L.J. Fort and returned for a touchdown. Shortly afterwards, Watson was baited by cornerback Marcus Peters into an interception. Both of these turnovers proved instrumental in keeping Houston’s chances of a comeback thin. Even when they weren’t turning the ball over, the Texans’ offense was still just as uninspiring as it was last week.
Houston tried time and time again to establish the run, failing nearly every single time, forcing Watson into plentiful third and long situations. Utilizing their speed and talent at receiver was still not something considered, a dink and dunk style preferred that proved insufficient before halftime. The good news is that the few times the Texans pushed the ball downfield, it worked! All of their deep completions put the Texans in scoring position, and were the only reason the game was under control until the fourth quarter.
Ultimately, the last few minutes of garbage time symbolize this game perfectly. The Texans, desperate to get the Ravens off the field, forced third down after third down (even a few fourth and shorts). But, regardless of their efforts, Baltimore was able to keep drives alive with a clutch run or quick pass every time their possession was threatened. After giving up a score and getting the ball back, the Texans were exhaustively conservative with the ball in situations where they hand no business to be. Brief moments of success were followed by two yard runs into the A-Gap, bad passes, or sacks. It reminded me of that DeVotchKa song that goes “How It Ends.” You already know how this will end.
Improvement on both sides of the ball is encouraging, but it was too little, too late to beat the Ravens.
Next Sunday at 12;00 PM, the Texans play the 2-0 Steelers and their absolutely nightmarish defense.
Pray for Deshaun.