Texans fall to Ravens 33-16

Deep dive: Texans' loss to Ravens came down to these 3 factors

Offensive line among the disappointments for Texans in loss. Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

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."

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.

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The Texans are moving in the wrong direction. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

1. This team started incredibly slow and outside of a couple of drives in the second half disappointed. The defense got worked by the Chargers' star players, and the offense sputtered too often. It was really a summary of the season up to this point which is to say inconsistency.

2. Davis Mills was shaky early. The first drive interception was tough to stomach. The pocket got messy as he tried to drive the ball and he floated one up there. It gave the Chargers an easy drive for seven points.

3. One of the early offensive mistakes erased a scoring opportunity. Kenyon Green got nailed for a holding call that erased one of the best passes and catches between Brandin Cooks and Davis Mills all season. The rookie’s mistake was compounded the very next play when the offense allowed Mills to be sacked. It was a 40-yard swing that led to a punt.

4. Another third down penalty led to a mishap for the Texans. Laremy Tunsil gets a false start on third down to make it third and 10. The shovel pass to Rex Burkhead goes for six yards and then the Texans botch the field goal. Back-to-back drives and third-down penalties affected the offense and ended with no points. That was all just in the first quarter!

5. The Texans were abysmal with short yardage in key spots yet again. In the second quarter, Pep Hamilton opted for a pass on fourth and one. Davis Mills never got the play off and was sacked. After the game, Mills said the team wanted to catch the Chargers off guard running when most expected a pass, but Rex Burkhead was the running back. It was again a situation, a key and critical moment, that the team trusted Burkhead over the more dynamic Dameon Pierce.

6. The Chargers were very chunky on offense against the Texans. There were 16 plays that went for at least ten yards for the Chargers of their 67 plays. Mike Williams and Austin Ekeler were fantastic for Los Angeles.

7. The pass rush was non-existent for the Texans. This was one of the more disappointing aspects of the day to consider the Chargers were playing a rookie right guard, their center is injured but playing, and the left tackle was a backup left tackle. Nothing seemed to get home on an injured Justin Herbert. The Texans recorded just two quarterback hits in the game.

8. The linebackers got worked again. This is the absolute weakest unit on the team right now. They look like they’re easily exploited by most opposing offenses.

9. It was a rough day for the rookie class of the Texans. Derek Stingley was handled by Mike Williams on multiple occasions in key spots. Kenyon Green allowed a big sack and had a holding penalty erase a huge play. Jalen Pitre was the target of some offensive success in the Chargers' passing game.

10. Not all the rookies had a bad day. Dameon Pierce is so much fun to watch. He has the chance to be a truly impactful player for this team. His 75-yard touchdown scamper gave the team some juice, and he constantly fights and gets extra yards when the ball is headed his way. He finished with 14 carries and six catches for 20 total touches.

11. The Texans need teams to help them stay in games, and even then, it is a challenge. The tough part about where the Texans are through four games is there are some positives to look at and point to, but not enough to say the team is surely headed in the right direction. There surely has to be some adjustment by the team when the season is where it is after nearly a quarter of the year. The current direction isn’t going to lead anywhere positive soon.

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