Texans vs. Ravens: Week 2 Review

Baltimore Ravens Ngata sacks Houston Texans Schaub

By: Shasky Clarke

Ravens (2-1) 30, Texans (2-1) 9

Recap

Unlike in the first two games of the season, The Houston Texans failed to make a second half comeback in Baltimore, losing by 21 points against the Ravens. The Texans defense put up another strong performance, limiting the Ravens offense to 16 points and a mere 4.1 yards per play.

Houston, however, was again victimized by an interception return for touchdown and an extreme special teams blunder. This time, the Texans passing game never got off the ground, struggling all game to protect quarterback Matt Schaub. The offense went 3-for-12 on third downs and the team committed 14 penalties for 113 penalty yards.

Certain things are becoming a trend. Houston’s pass protection is a clear liability. The passing game has been largely inconsistent and has been good for one bone-crushing turnover per game. Special teams have had its issues.

But the team has largely outplayed its opponents statistically. Armed with an above average overall offense and unequivocally elite defense and, barring injury concerns involving left tackle Duane Brown and wide receiver Andre Johnson, look to still be a top ten team.

Next week will be a test at home against arguably the best team in the league, the Seattle Seahawks.

Houston Passing Game Woes

Matt Schaub will shoulder too much blame for the passing game’s poor performance. But against a Raven defense that has not given up a touchdown since week one’s Manning massacre, he didn’t receive much support from either his offensive line or his receivers.

Left tackle Ryan Harris, left guard Wade Smith, and right tackle Derek Newton were all taken to task by Baltimore’s talented defensive front. As expected, Ryan Harris (replacing injured Pro Bowler Duane Brown) and Derek Newton were not up to the task competing against the elite bookend duo of Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil. But Wade Smith has continued to surprisingly struggle to handle both quickness and power, routinely getting beaten by the likes of Haloti Ngata and Arthur Jones.

Further, wide receiver Andre Johnson suffered a significant shin bruise in the second quarter. Hobbled and eventually unable to return to the game, the Texans’ group of pass catchers failed to get much consistent separation against tight Raven man coverage.

There were simply too many third and longs, a nightmare down and distance against the fierce Ravens pass rush. Penalties helped to back up the offense or negate positive plays.

Pass protection is paramount but the offensive line lacks top depth. Unfortunately, getting Duane Brown back is the best improvement that can be made in the short-term. As a result, the offense has to continue to run the ball, use play action and roll outs to create space for pass catchers and execute the short passing game to stay on schedule and out of third and long situations.

Special Teams Issues

Coming off a game in which Texans kicker Randy Bullock went 0-for-3, the Houston punt coverage unit yielded a game-turning 82 yard punt return touchdown to Tandon Doss. The good news is that Bullock has bounced back, nailing all three of his field goal attempts. Further, future Hall of Fame punter Shane Lechler continues to dominate, reliably pinning opponents deep and averaging over 50 yards per kick.