Texans fall to Ravens 33-16
Sep 22, 2020, 9:21 am
For the first time since 2018, the Houston Texans have opened the season 0-2 following their 33-16 defeat to the Baltimore Ravens.
Before moving on to their Week 3 matchup against the Pittsburgh Steelers, here is a deep dive into the Texans' second consecutive loss this past Sunday.
Houston's run defense was actual good...until the final 12 minutes
In an attempt to capture their first win of the 2020 season, the Houston Texans' top priority heading into Week 2 against Baltimore was to contain Lamar Jackson and stop the run.
The Texans' defensive scheme was no different from any other opponent competing against the Ravens for the week. But there was a greater sense of urgency for Houston coming off a season opener loss to the Chiefs — in a game where they allowed a rookie running back to erupt for 138 yards on the ground.
Defensive Coordinator Anthony Weaver and future Hall-of-Famer J.J. Watt took responsibility for the Texans' inability to stop the run inside Arrowhead stadium and promised their efforts would be better heading into Week 2. And for the most part, Houston succeeded in their game plan up until the 12:05 mark of the fourth quarter.
The Ravens held the ball on 4th-and-1 deep inside the Texans' territory when running back Mark Ingram received a snap in shotgun formation. Prior to the snap, the Texans held the Ravens to a total of 98 rushing yards — 44 at the half — while a mixture of Watt (twice), Zach Cunningham and Charles Omenihu got to Jackson four times behind the line of scrimmage.
As Ingram proceeded to pick up the first down, Baltimore's offensive line created a large gap that resulted in a 30-yard touchdown run for the three-time Pro-Bowl running back. With the game now out of reach, Ingram celebrated his first touchdown of the year by karate-kicking a banner that hung right in front of the Texans' Bull Pen selection.
After Ingram's touchdown, the Texans would go on to give up 102 yards on the ground. Their suitable defensive performance became an afterthought by the 230 rushing yards the Texans allowed inside NRG Stadium by the time the final whistle sounded.
"I thought we did a pretty good job early on in the game with the run defense and we were doing some things that we wanted to do, and obviously in the fourth quarter we didn't," Watt said. "In the fourth quarter we didn't stop the run. We gave up some big runs. The 4–and-one we gave up the touchdown, and then we gave up the long one there. That obviously isn't going to help the run defense or the stats or anything. So got to be able to finish the game, not just start it."
Mark Ingram direct snap run to the CRIB 😤 It was 4th and 1 (via @NFL) https://t.co/FLubd3xRGf— Bleacher Report (@Bleacher Report)1600641963.0
Two turnovers too many
Houston's offense appeared rubbishy for the second consecutive week. Their running game was nonexistent as Houston only recorded 51 yards on 11 carries (3.0 AVG). Will Fuller — who totaled 112 yards on eight receptions against the Chiefs — failed to record a catch on Sunday and was limited due to an aggravated hamstring. The only positive takeaway from the Texans' offensive showing on Sunday was the connection between Deshaun Watson and Brandin Cooks — as the tandem connected on five receptions for 95 yards.
But the Texans might've endured a subpar offensive performance if not for two critical turnovers. Separated by six points midway through the second quarter, a fumble by Keke Coutee and an interception by Watson resulted in back-to-back touchdowns for the Ravens. It's the reason the Ravens held a 13 point advantage for the majority of the contest.
"Keke [Coutee], just keep your head up and keep working," Watson said. "That's something that we didn't want but, hey, it happened. And we got to keep pushing forward. We got to go on to the next play."
The right side wasn't the "right side"
The Texans failed to get anything going following the back-to-back turnovers due to the offensive line's inability to handle Baltimore's defensive pressure. The Ravens sent a pass rush 14 times, nine of which came from Watson's right side. The results concluded with Houston's franchise quarterback being taken down four times behind the line of scrimmage.
"I think at times when they knew, when we were down late there and there's really no threat of the run when you're in a two-minute offense there at the end," head coach and general manager Bill O'Brien said. "We can do better — obviously. Everything needs to improve. But I thought at times that we pass blocked well, but we need to improve overall, no doubt about it."
Coty M. Davis is a reporter for ESPN 97.5 Houston/SportsMap covering the Houston Texans. He is also the co-host of Locked On Texans, a part of the Locked On Podcast Network. Follow Coty on Twitter @CotyDavis_24.