HOUSTON -- On a day of competitive, close early games, this wasn’t one of them. A few thoughts:
What it means: The Ravens and Texans came into this one tied for the best record in the AFC at 5-1. No other AFC team entered the day above .500. But this was truly a one-sided affair. Yes, the Ravens got Terrell Suggs back after a stunning six-month recovery from an Achilles tear. But they still couldn’t make up for the loss of Ray Lewis and Lardarius Webb. They gave up 29 unanswered points and 258 yards in the first half to trail 29-3 at halftime. It didn’t get much better in the second half.
What I liked: Not much. Up until midway through the third quarter, Joe Flacco was horrible. He had two passes tipped that resulted in interceptions, one of which Johnathan Joseph returned for a touchdown that gave the Texans a 16-3 lead early in the second quarter. The Ravens abandoned their running game early and lost their starting right tackle, rookie Kelechi Osemele, who was carted off the field in the first half with a leg injury. That meant left tackle Michael Oher moved to right tackle and backup Bryant McKinnie stepped in at left tackle.
What I didn’t like: The defense. Yes, the Ravens have been decimated by injuries. But they gave up 36 points through the first three quarters, the most since allowing 37 to the Indianapolis Colts in 2007, according to ESPN Stats & Information. They got little pressure on Matt Schaub and created no turnovers. Even worse, the offense couldn’t build any momentum to alleviate pressure on the defense after giving up a safety midway through the first quarter.
Suggs was unreal: Seriously, the man is a freak of nature. Sure, he looks like he’s put on a few pounds during his rehabilitation. But no one aside from maybe Suggs himself thought he would be back on the playing field this early. In November, maybe. But Week 7? That was insane. On his seventh play of the game, Suggs sacked Schaub. He played approximately 35 snaps in the first half, and more in the second even though the game was out of hand. We will see how he bounces back following his first game action, but it was an impressive return.
What’s next: A long, quiet flight home to Maryland and then a bye week. Couldn’t come at a better time. The Ravens must regroup. They’re still 5-2. After the bye, they travel to Cleveland in Week 9 to face a Browns team they beat 23-16 in Week 4.