Ravens Roll Over Texans, 41-13
Monday, November 10, 2008
HOUSTON, Nov. 9 -- The Baltimore Ravens have won four straight, rookie Joe Flacco is showing the poise of a veteran and Ray Lewis looks as good as ever.
Scary thing is, the Ravens think they can get much better.
Flacco threw two touchdowns and Lewis had a pair of interceptions to lead the Ravens to a 41-13 victory over the Houston Texans on Sunday.
The Ravens (6-3) have scored at least 27 points in a team-record four consecutive games. Sunday was the first time they have scored more than 40 points on the road since 1999.
"We can still grow immensely," Flacco said. "We're getting better and better each week. Our main goal is to improve each week and hit our stride right when it counts most."
Flacco was 15 of 23 for 185 yards with touchdown passes to Yamon Figurs and Todd Heap, keeping his composure despite being under heavy pressure most of the day.
"He doesn't get flustered," Ravens Coach John Harbaugh said. "Momentum swings don't affect him too much. He comes out and plays the next series and takes care of business. That's the kind of person he is. He played well when he had to."
Willis McGahee returned after missing last week with an ankle injury to run for 112 yards and two touchdowns. His second score came on a four-yard run in the fourth quarter set up by an interception by Samari Rolle.
This game was supposed to be played Sept. 14, but it was postponed because of Hurricane Ike and both teams had their byes that weekend instead.
"They took our bye week, so we had to come out there and show 'em that they can throw obstacles at us and we'll just try to overcome them," McGahee said. "We're trying to be in the playoffs this year."
With their sixth victory, the Ravens have eclipsed last season's win total.
Lewis's first interception came in the third quarter and his second one led to Heap's second touchdown. Troy Smith threw that 14-yard pass to make it 34-13 with about seven minutes left.
The Texans (3-6) had a penalty- and mistake-filled day with Sage Rosenfels playing for the injured Matt Schaub. In his first start earlier this season, he led the team to a 17-point lead before his fourth-quarter turnovers allowed the Colts to rally for a win.
His errors started early in this one and he never had a lead to lose. He was intercepted four times, with the first one coming in the end zone in the first quarter.
"I did the best I could [but] I made too many mistakes," Rosenfels said. "I blame myself for the mistakes I made, but I can't do it all. I'm probably trying to be too aggressive and trying to make too many things happen."
Baltimore got a safety because of rookie Duane Brown's holding penalty in the end zone that came while trying to keep Rosenfels from being sacked when he held the ball too long. The same fans that chanted his name when Schaub would struggle, booed him most of the day Sunday.
Houston finished with 10 penalties for 76 yards.
Lewis intercepted Rosenfels with about six minutes left in the third quarter and returned it 29 yards. The Ravens couldn't convert and Houston got the ball back after Matt Stover missed a 50-yard field goal attempt.
The Texans didn't waste any time, with Rosenfels finding Kevin Walter on a 60-yard touchdown pass on the next play to make it 19-13 late in the third.
But the Texans couldn't do anything right after that, allowing Baltimore to capitalize on Rosenfels's errors and score 22 unanswered points.
"We just fell apart at a certain point in the football game," Texans Coach Gary Kubiak said. "We played a tough football game against a good team until late in the third quarter and then we just self-destructed."
McGahee stretched Baltimore's lead to 19-6 early in the third quarter with a one-yard touchdown run. That score was set up when Houston's Morlon Greenwood was flagged for pass interference in the end zone.
Figurs gave Baltimore an early lead on a 43-yard touchdown catch in the first quarter. The Ravens were facing third and 13 when Flacco found a wide open Figurs for his first career touchdown.
Rookie Steven Hauschka's 54-yard field goal put Baltimore ahead 12-6 at halftime. It was the first field goal attempt of his NFL career and the second longest both in Ravens history and at Reliant Stadium.
What looked like a touchdown on a 58-yard catch and run by Steve Slaton was brought back because of a holding penalty on tight end Owen Daniels in the second quarter. Jacoby Jones caught a career-high 45-yard pass on the next play to get Houston to the 5-yard line.
The Texans failed to move the ball after that and settled for a 23-yard field goal by Kris Brown to make it 7-3 midway through the second quarter. Brown also had a 48-yard field goal just before halftime.
Ravens wide receiver Derrick Mason dislocated his left shoulder in the first quarter but returned after halftime. He finished with three receptions for 41 yards.