The Baltimore Ravens were able to expose a weak Texans’ offense as they limited the Texans to three Randy Bullock field goals en route to a 30-9 victory in Baltimore.
This game marked the return of safety Ed Reed. “Reeeeeeeeeeeed,” serenaded Ravens fans as the Houston Texans’ safety jogged onto the field.
“So much love and the memories I have here in this city,” Reed said. “Like family, man. They’ll always be there. It’s something you cherish as a player. Not everybody gets that welcome. Not everybody gets that welcome when you come back.”
Reed, playing his first game since arthroscopic hip surgery in April, got the start for his new team. It just happened to come against Baltimore, the city where he spent the first 11 seasons of his career and it sounded like the makings of a storybook ending.
The Ravens had scored only three points in 27 minutes and trailed the unbeaten Texans. Ray Rice was unavailable; the offense was struggling and the crowd was quiet. The defending Super Bowl champs were in dire need of a game-changing play, and Daryl Smith was there to provide it. Smith stepped in front of tight end Owen Daniels, intercepted Matt Schaub’s pass and took it 37 yards for a touchdown.
Less than two minutes after Smith’s pivotal touchdown, Tandon Doss scored on an 82-yard punt return. Just like that, the Ravens were on their way to a lopsided victory against one of the AFC’s top teams.
“Two huge plays by the defense and the special teams,” coach John Harbaugh said.
Baltimore got only four first downs and 65 yards of offense in the first half, yet went to the locker room with a 17-9 lead. Houston led 6-3 before the interception return with 2:39 left in the first half. The Texans compiled only 107 yards of offense in getting shut out in the second half. After scoring seven touchdowns in their first two games, the Texans were limited to three field goals by Randy Bullock.
Schaub went 25 for 35 for 194 yards and an interception. He played much of the second half without Pro Bowl wide receiver Andre Johnson, who bruised his shin. “I did not think he could run the way he needs to play, so we took him out,” Kubiak said. Schaub’s most lamentable throw was the one that Smith took the other way. “Poor decision on my part,” Schaub said. “You got to be better in that situation, especially late in the half.”
The game featured the return of Reed and Ray Lewis, who starred for years with Baltimore. Lewis was inducted into the Ravens Ring of Honor at halftime, and Reed made his debut with Houston at free safety after signing with the Texans as a free agent in March.
Reed long has been part of great defensive performances by the Ravens. This time, he was on the opposite end. “Baltimore has a great defense,” Reed said. “I told the guys coming into this game, defensively they’re going to know every move that you’re making, everything that you’re doing.”
Despite the score the Texans’ defense only allowed one touchdown. The game was decided on big plays. Baltimore made the big plays and the Texans did not.
“For the most part, we played a great game defensively, but there were a few plays we’d like to have back,” Joseph said. “We can’t let the small things take away from what we’re trying to accomplish – getting off the field on third down, not communicating, having a mishap in coverage.”
The Texans will look to rebound as they face Seattle on Sunday.