Wounded Texans fall to Ravens 29-14
They held Ray Rice at bay for most of the game, forced the Baltimore Ravens to settle for field goals instead of touchdowns and looked anything like a team decimated by injuries.
Despite all those positives, the Houston Texans couldn't overcome their own mistakes and an unproductive fourth quarter in a 29-14 loss on Sunday.
''I think the offense could have done a better job,'' said running back Arian Foster, who was limited to 49 yards on 15 carries. ''There were yards out there on the field that we left. I played terrible. I didn't play a good game; it was obvious. That will never happen again.''
Looking past the disappointment of a hard-to-swallow defeat was about all the Texans could do. There was no insisting that a review would need to wait until Monday's film session. Everyone seemed to know what the problems were and what needed to be corrected before next Sunday's game against Tennessee.
''We didn't make the plays, and then they came back and made a couple big plays themselves on offense,'' quarterback Matt Schaub said. ''As a group, we need to look in the mirror and say, 'You know, we're going to pick up the pieces.' We're going to go and play and find a way to get our next win.''
The Texans (3-3) were without wide receiver Andre Johnson (hamstring), linebacker Mario Williams (torn pectoral muscle, gone for the season) and fullback James Casey (chest). But they wouldn't use that as an excuse.
''It's part of the game. You deal with it, move on,'' Schaub said. ''The next guy's got to be ready to make a play.''
Schaub went 21 for 37 for 220 yards for the Texans, 0-5 against Baltimore since entering the NFL in 2002. The 14 points were the fewest by the Texans since a 10-point performance against the New York Giants on Oct. 10, 2010.
Joe Flacco threw for 305 yards and Billy Cundiff kicked five field goals for the Ravens (4-1), who remained alone atop the AFC North with their third straight win. Although Baltimore's run of nine straight games with a takeaway ended, the Ravens held Houston scoreless over the final 21 minutes.
Flacco had two turnovers, but he also had two completions over 50 yards to put Cundiff in position to score. Cundiff connected from 43, 48, 25, 33 and 40 yards to tie a Ravens record for field goals in a game.
The Texans led briefly in the third quarter, but Baltimore allowed only 58 yards and three first downs during the final 15 minutes while outscoring Houston 13-0.
''I think it was really encouraging to see how (we) responded to a tight game in the fourth quarter,'' Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. ''To come out and win the fourth quarter in that fashion is a huge statement.''
Still, Houston trailed only 19-14 until the Ravens went on a 66-yard drive that ended with a 4-yard touchdown run by Ricky Williams with 4:01 left.
Flacco completed 20 of 33 passes and Anquan Boldin had eight catches for 132 yards, including a 56-yarder.
Limited to only 16 yards rushing in the first half, Rice finished with 101 yards to help Baltimore win at home for the 13th time in 14 games. The Ravens are 3-0 at M&T Bank Stadium this season, beating Pittsburgh, the New York Jets and Houston by a combined 98-38.
Rice began the third quarter with an 18-yard run, sparking a 47-yard drive that ended with a field goal and a 13-7 lead.
Houston moved in front for the only time with a six-play, 80-yard drive. Schaub had completions of 20 yards to Kevin Walter and 16 yards to Foster before throwing a perfect 32-yard touchdown pass to Jacoby Jones, who got behind safety Ed Reed in the end zone.
Baltimore went back ahead on the following series, using a 51-yard pass from Flacco to rookie Torrey Smith to set up a 25-yard field goal and a 16-14 advantage.
After a Houston punt, Flacco found Boldin open down the left sideline for a 56-yard gain, and Cundiff kicked his fourth field goal.
The Texans' next series ended when safety Bernard Pollard, a former Houston starter, broke up a third-down pass to Foster at the Baltimore 30.
Houston never threatened after that.
''We were right there in the game where we wanted to be at 19-14, on the road against this team,'' coach Gary Kubiak said. ''We didn't make the plays and they did.''
Flacco lost a fumble and threw an interception in the first half, but he also scored a touchdown to help the Ravens take a 10-7 lead.
NOTES: The Ravens held a moment of silence before the game to mark the passing of Patricia Modell, wife of former owner Art Modell. They also had flags flying at half-staff. ... With his first-quarter sack of Schaub, Ray Lewis became the first player in NFL history with 40 sacks and 30 INTs. ... Houston failed to score on its first possession for the first time in five games.