On a day when the reigning NFL MVP struggled to get the ball in the end zone as frequently as he usually does, the Ravens' defense proved to be the game-changer with two turnovers in a 33-16 win at the Houston Texans, including a 22-yard fumble return for a touchdown by linebacker L.J. Fort.
As the football world focuses on Jackson’s highlights, the Ravens' defense has quietly flexed with some impressive streaks:
Baltimore has held teams to 21 or fewer points for 13 straight games, the longest current active streak in the NFL.
The Ravens have forced a turnover in 15 consecutive games, which is also the longest current active streak in the league.
Baltimore has now scored seven defensive touchdowns in its past 12 games.
In a span of 10 minutes, the Baltimore defense turned a 3-0 lead into a 20-7 lead. It started with the Ravens’ fourth-and-1 stop in Houston territory, which led to Jackson’s 1-yard touchdown pass to Patrick Ricard four plays later.
Then, Baltimore cornerback Marlon Humphrey punched away the ball from Keke Coutee, and Fort picked up the loose ball. Fort raced to the right sideline and launched himself to get the ball just inside the pylon for the score.
The Ravens put constant pressure on Deshaun Watson, sacking him three times and intercepting him once.
QB breakdown: Jackson was more effective than electric. He didn't throw multiple touchdown passes for the first time since Week 13 last season against the San Francisco 49ers. Jackson also was sacked four times, which is one shy of his career worst. But he completed 18 of 24 passes (75%) and ran for 57 yards. Jackson is now 21-3 as an NFL starting quarterback.
Pivotal play: Sure, the Fort touchdown was the pivotal play. But the backbreaking play came early in the fourth quarter when running back Mark Ingram II took a direct snap and ran 30 yards virtually untouched for the touchdown. With Jackson lined up wide left, Ingram ran between terrific blocks from offensive lineman Patrick Mekari and fullback Ricard. At that point, no Ravens running back had broken a run longer than 14 yards this season. Ingram delivered his third-longest touchdown run during his two seasons with Baltimore.
Promising trend: Baltimore continues to jump out on teams, and this team is getting close to being the all-time best at it. The Ravens have now led at halftime in 11 straight games, and they can tie the NFL record if they accomplish the feat again next week against the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs. Four teams have led at halftime in 12 consecutive games: the Rams (1952-53), Oilers (1961-62), Chiefs (1968-69) and Steelers (2004-05).
Eye-popping stat: The Ravens won their 14th straight regular-season game. The last time Baltimore lost in the regular season was Sept. 29, 2019, against the Cleveland Browns. That's 357 days ago. During that streak, Baltimore has won seven in a row on the road and have outscored teams 238-106. That's an 18.8-point average margin of victory.