Ravens 41, Texans 7

Texans vs Ravens: Good, bad and ugly

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In a matchup of potential MVP candidates, Deshaun Watson was outdueled by Lamar Jackson as the Ravens smashed the Texans 41-7. Here's how I saw the bloodletting:

The Good

-DeAndre Hopkins caught his 600th pass in the first quarter. Hopkins is the second youngest to catch 600 passes behind Larry Fitzgerald and the second fewest games behind Odell Beckham Jr. Incredible company to be listed with, especially considering Hopkins has played with subpar quarterback play most of his career.

-Carlos Hyde's 41-yard touchdown run was the play of the day for the Texans. It was a zone run to the right side of the line. Hyde saw a crease open, hit the hole after a slight cut to his left, and mashed the gas to the end zone. Whether it was lack of care or a business decision, a couple Ravens defenders declined trying to tackle Hyde in the open field. He did juke one defender, but Earl Thomas looked to make a business decision.

-AJ Moore Jr deserves some love. He was an undrafted rookie free agent who signed with the Patriots, but was picked up by the Texans last season, made the 53-man roster, and led the team in special teams tackles. He's leading the team in that category again this year. He made a tackle on a fake field goal in the first quarter on a fourth and four. Special teams players deserves some love, especially those that went undrafted.

The Bad

-Watson fumbled on their first possession. He managed to escape the pass rush several times while trying to make a play down the field, but was ultimately sacked and fumbled. His ability to escape and make a play got the best of him and it cost the Texans points as they were driving. The Ravens ended up missing the field goal, otherwise this would've been an ugly.

-The ended the first half with only 102 yards of total offense and gave up five sacks. Some of those sacks were on Watson for not getting rid of the ball. The Ravens defense made the Texans offense look completely inept in the first half. That 102 was the lowest in a game started by Watson.

-Missed tackles led to too many big plays for the Ravens. I know Jackson is as slippery as a fresh caught fish dipped in baby oil, but Mark Ingram and Mark Andrews aren't exactly the most nimble or fleet of foot guys. Justin Reid and Zach Cunningham were amongst the most egregious offenders on the Texans defense, but those were the ones I saw look the worst and certainly not alone.

The Ugly

-The NFL needs to do something about the refs not overturning obvious pass interference challenges. DeAndre Hopkins got his jersey pulled, grabbed, and was turned before the ball got there on a shot to the end zone on a fourth and two in the first quarter. How they could watch that play in slow motion and not rule it pass interference is beyond me. Conversely, Lonnie Johnson Jr got called for one early in the third quarter for a slight push to Hollywood Brown.

-It may be time to bring in some other kickers. Ka'imi Fairbairn missed his fifth field goal this season at the end of the first half. A 43-yard field goal isn't a gimme, but it should be far more routine than what it is for Fairbairn. He doesn't have the yips, but it's in his head and his confidence is shot.

-The Texans had just as many point as sacks given up (7). They were outgained by 245 yards and sported a paltry -142 rushing yardage differential. Oh, don't forget the two turnovers committed by Watson. This whole damn game was UGLY!!!

"This game should've been flexed to Sunday Night Football!" "How come they're playing at noon? This is a prime time game!" Yeah, right. This was the kind of game that would have been better off taking place at midnight on a Tuesday in Croatia it was so terrible. The Texans were again outmatched and appeared to be out-coached by a better opponent, They're 0-1 after the first game of a crucial three game stretch of their season. Here's to hoping Thursday Night Football versus the Colts at home turns out much better for them. Time to go back to the drawing board.

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Everyone else is doing it! Composite image by Jack Brame.

Can a professional athlete come up with a worse excuse for getting caught using performance-enhancing drugs than blaming it on a doctor?

Fans would have more respect for a player if he said the dog ate his urine test results.

Texans wide receiver Will Fuller V (as in I'm taking the Fifth) and cornerback Bradley Roby have been suspended after testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs. Both will sit out for the remaining five games of the 2020 season, plus the first game of the 2021 season.

There were many questions about Fuller heading into Year 5 of his NFL career. Up until 2020, his tenure in the NFL has been plagued with injuries, and some Texans fans clamored for him to be swapped before the 2020 trade deadline. Fuller was having his best season, and the Texans decided to keep him. In fact, Deshaun Watson said the team would've revolted if Fuller had been moved. In 11 games, Fuller has 53 receptions for 879 yards and eight touchdowns.

I'm going to cut Bradley Roby some slack because he took ownership for using a banned substance. He made it clear that it was his responsibility to know what is on the NFL's list of banned PEDs. He will probably have that list taped on his fridge the rest of his NFL career.

Fuller took a different approach, one that unfortunately resembles many other famous athletes' excuses for getting caught with PEDs; Blame a medical professional. Or somebody, anybody else.

Whether Fuller and Roby were receiving treatment from the same medical professional is unknown. More important, it's irrelevant. In 2020, how could athletes possibly blame a medical professional when a list of banned substances is hanging on the wall in every team's training room?

The answer is they shouldn't. Let's take a look at athletes with the worst excuses for juicing. Specifically for getting caught juicing.

Rafael Palmeiro (MLB) - Other than a physician or trainer, the only person more improbable to blame for a positive steroid test is your own teammate. When Palmeiro tested positive in 2005, he blamed a supposed B-12 shot (it wasn't B-12) administered by Baltimore Orioles Miguel Tejada.

Brian Cushing (NFL) - Cushing played his entire NFL career with the Houston Texans. Cushing's first positive test came in 2009. He had abnormally high levels of human chorionic gonadotropin, a human growth hormone that typically shows up in pregnant women. He later changed his excuse to "overtraining." He has since claimed the positive test was a result of a cancerous tumor. He tested positive for PEDs again in 2017.

Maria Sharapova (Tennis) - Sharapova claimed she never read an email which listed the banned substance, meldonium, she was caught taking.

Barry Bonds (MLB) - When Bonds tested positive for PEDs in 2000 and 2001, he put all of the blame on San Francisco Giants trainer Greg Anderson. Bonds said Anderson told him that he was using flaxseed oil. Flaxseed oil is not typically injected, and certainly doesn't lead to your hat size growing.

Lance Armstrong (Cycling) - Armstrong, after years of denial, admitted he used performance-enhancing drugs on an Opera Winfrey prime time special. His excuse? Every other cyclist was doing it. Oprah did not ask him if he would jump off the Brooklyn Bridge if the others did. How could anybody win seven Tour de France titles after surviving testicular cancer? They might as well have renamed the race Tour De Lance. His sad saga ended with him being stripped of his seven titles and banned for life.

Melky Cabrera (MLB) - Cabrera tested positive while playing for the San Francisco Giants in 2012. After his positive test, he paid a patsy $10,000 to create a fake website that sold fake products to try and fake his innocence. The FBI busted him and he served a real suspension.

LaShawn Merritt (Track & Field) - The famed American sprinter blamed his third positive steroid test on a testicular enlargement supplement called Extenze.

Petr Korda (Tennis) - Korda stated that his love for veal was the reason he tested positive for the steroid nandrolone. He went further saying he liked veal even more when the calf was injected with steroids. A scientist testified Korda would have to eat 40 calves every day for 20 years to equal the amount of nandrolone discovered in his system. Sounds like the Ivan Drago diet (from the first fight, when he killed Apollo Creed).

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