Houston can't let Ravens be big-play team

Reputations last, and I don’t think many people think of the defensive-minded Baltimore Ravens as a big-play offense.

The Texans did their part to change that in the regular-season loss in Baltimore on Oct. 16 — Joe Flacco threw a 51-yard pass to Torrey Smith and a 56-yard pass to Anquan Boldin and Ray Rice had a 27-yard run.

“You got to give them credit,” Gary Kubiak said. “Flacco put up a lot of deep balls that they went up and got and made the play that we did not make. They have been a big-play offense. They’re running the ball so well with Rice, and Vonta (Leach) is doing just a hell of a job, so it sets up for them to get the ball down the field when they do play action, those type of things. We got to stop the run first. You better stop the run against these guys first, or you’re not going to get on the field. Stopping the big play with their receivers was an issue for us the first time, and hopefully we can correct it this time.”

Have they really been a big-play offense? I thought it was Kubiak paying the typical over-the-top tribute to an opponent, but I asked Matthew Willis of ESPN Stats & Information for a run down.

The Ravens have had 13 20-yard rushes this season: Nine from Rice, three from Ricky Williams and one from Flacco. Here are the five longest.

Rice – 70, Week 17 at Bengals

Rice – 67, Week 13 at Browns

Rice – 59, Week 11 vs. Bengals

Rice – 53, Week 3 at Rams

Rice – 51, Week 17 at Bengals

Flacco’s longest was 31 yards, Williams’ was 28.

The Ravens had 17 30-yard completions, and 45 of 20-plus yards. Here are the five longest:

Flacco to Torrey Smith, 74, Week 3 at Rams

Flacco to Anquan Boldin, 56, Week 6 vs. Texans

Flacco to Ray Rice, 52, Week 4 vs. Jets

Flacco to Smith, 51, Week 6 vs. Texans

Flacco to Smith, 49, Week 11 vs. Bengals

Simple and obvious formula for the Texans: If they give up the sort of big plays that they put on that list, they can’t win Sunday. If they don’t, they’ll have at least a chance.