Let Us Ease Your Mind, Week 6 Rewind v. the Ravens
The phrase the Texans are playing with “house money” is getting old because if you ask us there is not doubt in our minds that the Texans can go into Baltimore and win this Sunday. Trust me, in your mind you are doubting the notion that it could happen, because the Baltimore Ravens are the cream of the crop of the AFC and have one of the best defenses in the NFL.
Yes this is all true, but the face remains the Texans week 6 contest against the Ravens was not as bad as the 29-14 score indicated. With 4 minutes left in the 4th quarter the score was 19-14 until the Ravens added a late Ricky Williams touchdown and Billy Cundiff field goal with 1:55 left in the game.
It can be said for the Ravens that they could have done this and that better, but this is a Texans blog and they had ample opportunities to win in week 6, here are some issues with the Ravens game when we re-watched the game.
1. This was the first game without Mario Williams who tore his pectoral the week before against the Oakland Raiders, also in that game James Casey injured his pectoral also. This left the Texans without two starters and forced Lawrence Vickers into action who was still learning the offense and put a new rookie outside linebacker into the starting lineup named Brooks Reed.
2. This was the 2nd game without Andre Johnson and the offense was still trying to find its identity and the Texans were desperate for help at wide receiver they traded for Derrick Mason. Unfortunately we know the outcome of the Mason trade, but the Texans were very limited in the passing game.
3. Earlier in the game on a key 4th and 1, the Ravens Terrance Cody stopped Arian Foster in a big play at the beginning of the game. The only issue is that is was by Foster’s face mask, and the referees missed it. That moment could have proved big for the Texans offense.
4. The Texans converted 3 straight 3rd down conversions to open the game, but stalled out on an errant pass from Matt Schaub to Owen Daniels. The Texans were moving the ball at will and kept the Ravens guessing through the air. The Texans also attacked Ladarius Webb often in the contest, and used the slot receiver position to take advantage on the Ravens coverage with Bernard Pollard and slower linebackers.
5. The Texans early in the 1st quarter were putting up a big goal line stand until Antonio Smith lost his mind and got not 1 but 2 personal fouls. It gave the Ravens and extra opportunity to score, because the Texans stopped the Ravens on three separate plays from the goal line.
6. The secondary of the Texans has to play better, they gave up two huge pass plays to Anquan Boldin and Torrey Smith. The Smith catch, that set up the Ravens first touchdown, should have been challenged because the ball clearly hit the ground when Smith dove for the ball. The Texans inability to cover like we have seen later in the season made the pass rush a step to late.
7. Speaking of pass rush, they harassed Joe Flacco all afternoon. Antonio Smith, Connor Barwin and Tim Jamison made Flacco uncomfortable with all the hits they put on him. Still a step to slow, expect some changes in the game plan from the previous meeting.
8. This was probably Arian Foster ‘s worse game of 2011. He failed to get going running the ball, 15 carries 49 yards, and dropped some key passes in the game. Foster even admitted this was one of his worst games, so expect a new Foster that the Ravens did not see before.
9. The Texans defense was still learning the system and Cam Cameron, Ravens offensive coordinator, found a weakness by motioning running backs out of the backfield and lining up wide. The Texans looked confused and it left Ravens receivers uncovered, the Texans adjusted well late in the game, but it was too late.
These are just a handful of thoughts on that game on October 16, 2011, and it is apparent many things bounced the Ravens way. The Texans had their chances to win even despite losing some key players the week before. The Ravens are going to face a different Texans team this Sunday in the divisional playoff game for a trip to the AFC Championship.
Let’s hope this brings some confidence in your Texans against a vulnerable Ravens team. This is not the same Ravens defense you have seen in the past, but they are still a top AFC team. There is a possibility the Texans can come in a win, but they have plenty to correct from their previous matchup.
Here was our after game thoughts. after the Week 6 game.