A dominant defensive effort, coupled by an equally impressive rushing performance, propelled the Ravens to a 33-16 win over the Texans on Sunday. Baltimore's defense forced a pair of turnovers while sacking Deshaun Watson four times, while the Lamar Jackson-led Ravens' offense rushed for 230 yards on 37 carries.
The Ravens took a 20-10 halftime lead into the locker room thanks to touchdowns on both offense and defense. The Ravens, following a turnover on downs by the Texans, added to their lead moments after a Justin Tucker field goal, with Jackson hitting Patrick Ricard from a yard out. Houston quickly responded with their first score, as a 38-yard completion to Brandin Cooks set up Watson's 10-yard touchdown pass to Darren Fells.
A 26-yard completion from Jackson to Marquise Brown set up Tucker's second field goal. Baltimore then extended its lead to 20-7 after L.J. Fort returned Keke Coutee's fumble 22 yards for a score. The fumble was forced by All-Pro cornerback Marlon Humphrey. Marcus Peters' interception moments later put Baltimore in position to add to its lead before halftime, but consecutive sacks by the Texans, including J.J. Watt's second sack of the half, forced Jackson and the Ravens to punt. The stop helped set up Ka'imi Fairbairn's 44-yard field goal just before halftime.
Baltimore started the second half by adding to its lead with a 47-yard field goal by Tucker. Houston responded on its next possession with a field goal. While the Texans struggled to find pay dirt, the Ravens had no such issues. That was made clear on Baltimore's ensuing possession, as Mark Ingram on a fourth-and-1, took the direct snap and bolted 30-yards to make it a 30-13 game.
Here's a closer look at how the Ravens were able to leave Houston with their 14th consecutive regular season win.
Why the Ravens won
Baltimore's running game gashed Houston's defense to the tune of a 6.2 yards per carry average. Gus Edwards led the way with 73 yards on 10 carries, while Jackson, Ingram and Dobbins combined to run for 157 yards on 27 carries. The Ravens' defense was equally impressive, sacking Watson four times while recording two turnovers. And while there aren't many things Ravens fans won't like about the win, some may not like the amount of hits Jackson endured on Sunday. Jackson, along with being sacked four times, had a team-high 16 carries. Dobbins, a second-round pick in the draft, had just two carries in Sunday's game. Dobbins did put the finishing touches on Sunday's win with his 44-yard run.
Why the Texans lost
Watson, simply put, was not put into many situations to be successful on Sunday, as Houston often asked him to run play-action against a Baltimore defense that had no issues getting into the Texans' backfield. Houston, without Duke Johnson, had little success on the ground, which made things even harder for Watson and his receivers. Defensively, the Texans, along with getting pushed around in the running game, failed to force a turnover. Two bright spots for Houston were Watt, whose two sacks moved him past Warren Sapp for 41st on the all-time list, and Cooks, who caught five passes for a game-high 95 yards.
It was a 13-7 game before Fort's scoop and score gave Baltimore a 20-7 lead. Along with scoring a touchdown, the Ravens' defense allowed just 51 rushing yards while holding Houston to 3-of-9 third down efficiency.
Play of the game
After a Houston field goal cut the Ravens' lead to 10 points, Ingram's touchdown run essentially put the game out of reach. The Ravens, during the game's final minutes, imposed their will on Houston via their rushing attack, ending the game with 17 straight running plays.
"Our team, we haven't played our best ball yet. We have a lot of room for improvement, but we find a way to grind out and make things happen. As a defensive player, watching the offense take a nine-minute drive and add to the lead, you can't ask for anything better than that. That's ideal. It's just fun playing with this team." -- Ravens defensive lineman Calais Campbell, a five-time Pro Bowler who signed with the Ravens this offseason
Baltimore will put their 2-0 record on the line against the defending champion Chiefs on "Monday Night Football." The Chiefs, after beating the Texans in Week 1, needed overtime defeat the Chargers on Sunday. The Texans will now head to Pittsburgh to face a Steelers team that is 2-0 for the first time since 2017.
To relive the action in real time, check out our live blog below to see how the Ravens were able to notch their second win of the season.