Texans must put loss to Ravens behind them with Indy up next

<p>
              Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson, right, fumbles the ball while being sacked by Baltimore Ravens outside linebacker Matt Judon during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 17, 2019, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
            </p>

HOUSTON (AP) — The Houston Texans couldn’t do much right in a blowout loss to the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday.

They don’t have time to dwell on the embarrassing 41-7 defeat with a visit from the Indianapolis Colts coming on Thursday night; the winner will be in first place in the AFC South.

“We have to turn the page quickly,” coach Bill O’Brien said. “We have to correct the mistakes and move forward very quickly. It didn’t start well. We didn’t get off to a good rhythm. I just need to do a better job with this team.”

Receiver DeAndre Hopkins agreed and stressed the importance of beating the Colts if the Texans hope to reach their goal of winning the division.

“It is a must-win Thursday,” Hopkins said. “Everyone knows that. We have to move forward. What we want is still ahead of us. So, that means focusing on the Colts now.”

Deshaun Watson had a chance to strengthen his case for MVP in a matchup against another young, dual-threat quarterback, Lamar Jackson. Instead Watson had his worst game of the season, finishing with 169 yards passing, 12 yards rushing and two costly turnovers.

It didn’t help that he played behind a line that allowed six sacks, including five times in the first half. A.J. McCarron came in late with the game out of hand and was sacked once as the group which had been protecting Watson better in the last few games reverted to its old struggles.

“Nothing really to it,” Watson said of the sacks. “They just played hard. They had a scheme up front, and that was pretty much it.”

While Watson couldn’t get anything going, he was far from the only one who struggled. Houston’s running game, which had been a strength team this season, had a tough day, too. Carlos Hyde, who ran for 160 yards in Houston’s last game, managed just 65 yards rushing, 41 of those yards coming on a TD run with the game out of reach.

“We got behind, and it was 14-0. We tried to stick with the run, but eventually we had to try to throw the football to gain positive yards,” O’Brien said. “We just couldn’t do much of anything.”

WHAT’S WORKING

After Sunday’s clunker of a game, it’s hard to say that much of anything is working. While Watson’s turnovers contributed to Houston’s loss, he did a good job of spreading the ball around and completed passes to seven players. If he can clean up his mistakes this week, his ability to get everyone involved in the offense should be good for the Texans.

WHAT NEEDS HELP

Houston’s offensive line needs to find a way to be more consistent. The unit had allowed just seven sacks combined in the previous five games before struggling to protect Watson on Sunday. For him to be successful, the group must get back to what it was doing and figure out a way to keep him off the ground.

STOCK UP

Hopkins had a good day despite the struggles of the offense. He had seven receptions for 80 yards, and five of those catches resulted in a first down.

STOCK DOWN

K Ka’imi Fairbairn’s tough season continued when he missed a 43-yard field goal. That came after he missed a field goal and an extra point in Houston’s last game.

INJURED

WR Will Fuller missed his third straight game with a hamstring injury and it’s unclear when he’ll return. … S Mike Adams received a concussion during pregame warmups on Sunday and did not play. … CB Lonnie Johnson Jr. hurt his right foot against the Ravens … S Justin Reed left in the third quarter with a shoulder injury and didn’t return.

KEY NUMBER

4.1: The Texans managed just 4.1 yards a play against Baltimore in their worst offensive outing of the year.

NEXT STEPS

Watson will have to shake off his subpar performance. He helped the Texans win four of their previous five games. Houston’s secondary must shore up after allowing four touchdown passes against the Ravens. The group will be helped if the Texans can generate more of a pass rush against Indianapolis.