Texans vs. Ravens: Winners and Losers from Baltimore's Win vs. Houston
The Ravens were balanced all afternoon in this contest, which is key to them remaining successful.
There were several players who were key to the Ravens' victory.
Let's take a look at which players made the biggest impact, both positively and negatively.
Winner: Joe Flacco
Joe Flacco made a couple of mistakes, but he responded the way winners do.
He threw the ball very well, and kept Houston's defense guessing throughout the game. He completed 20-of-33 passes for 305 yards.
While he didn't throw for any touchdowns, his play kept the Texans defense honest which opened up running lanes.
Joe is poised and is a leader for this team when needed most.
You can tell the team rallies around him which doesn't show up in the stat sheet!
Winner: Ray Rice
Is there anything this guy can't do?
Ray Rice is a threat to run the ball, but he is also an awesome receiver out of the backfield.
He ran for 101 yards on 23 carries, an average of 4.4 yards a carry. On top of this, he had five catches for 60 yards.
The Texans knew he was coming, just as all of the Ravens' opponents do each week.
As usual it didn't make a difference—even Chuck Norris can't stop Ray Rice!
Winner: Ray Lewis
The ageless wonder is at it again!
Ray Lewis was all over the place Sunday; it seemed as though there was more than one of him out there.
He finished with 12 tackles and a sack in a game where I thought he may struggle against a stout Texans offensive line.
His physical fitness level seems as high as ever, and his passion for the game is second to none.
Anquan Boldin has always been a very good receiver, but he is turning into one of the biggest threats in the league.
While he has been overlooked at times since moving to Baltimore, he showed today that he still deserves top-tier props. He was able to stretch the defense and isn't afraid to take a hit over the middle to pick up the tough yards.
Boldin had an impressive eight catches for 132 yards, an average of 16.5 yards a reception.
Who says he needs Larry Fitzgerald to take pressure off of him to succeed?
Winner: Billy Cundiff
Yep, a kicker played a huge role in this game!
Billy Cundiff made five field goals today, along with two extra points.
Accounting for 17 huge points for the Ravens, he was just as important as anybody anyone else on that field.
Somebody ask Skip Bayless if he still thinks the league should eliminate field goals because kickers aren't athletes.
Loser: Ravens Offense on Third Down
I gave credit where it was due; now I have to point out what should be improved upon.
The Baltimore Ravens were terrible on third down, converting only three times out of 11 opportunities.
Had Houston taken advantage of this as they should have, the outcome would have been much different.
Loser: Ed Reed
One of the best safeties in the league, Ed Reed gave up an easy touchdown to Jacoby Jones.
I know this seems picky because it happens to all players occasionally, but this should have been a routine play for someone of his caliber. He got fooled and misjudged the play, allowing a scrambling Matt Schaub to get the Texans back into the game.
Had Andre Johnson and Mario Williams been able to play, this mistake may have cost the Ravens the game.
Winner: Matt Schaub
Matt Schaub is a gamer.
He was on the run all afternoon and took a few huge shots from the Baltimore Ravens defense, yet didn't throw an interception.
He was limping after one of these big hits, and responded by hooking up with Jacoby Jones on a 32-yard touchdown strike over Ed Reed.
As he has shown in the past, this team is never out of a game as far as he is concerned.
Loser: Arian Foster
Supposedly recovered from his injured hamstring, Arian Foster still looks slow out there.
He ran the ball 15 times for only 49 yards which is unacceptable from a back as good as he is. Even worse, he had a ball knocked out of his hands at a crucial point in the game and smiled after the play.
I don't know about you, but this doesn't impress me at all.
For a game of this magnitude that could affect Houston's playoff position down the road, Foster didn't seem too concerned about his lack of production.
Loser: Houston Texans Defense
Mario Williams' injury may completely ruin this defense.
The Houston Texans gave up a total of 402 yards on Sunday, 289 passing and 113 rushing.
The Achilles heel for this team in the past has been their defense. This had started to improve, but now they are without the best player on their defense for the remainder of the season.
Expect the Texans to struggle on defense from here on out, possibly missing the playoffs altogether.