The Baltimore Ravens (9-6) laid an egg in Houston against the Texans (8-7), losing 25-13 in a game the Ravens had to have to keep control of their playoff fate.
The Ravens much maligned secondary actually held up well against Andre Johnson and DeAndre Hopkins. It was the offense that was completely inept and cost the Ravens a chance to maintain their “win and in” path.
Joe Flacco had what feels like his worst game as Raven behind an offensive line that was physically outmatched. Flacco was rattled by J.J. Watt and the rest of the Texans defensive line. He never got comfortable in the pocket and missed throws that he normally makes. Flacco can have his inaccurate moments, but he was missing throws by large margins that made you wonder if he was feeling OK. He finished 21-50 with two second-half touchdowns and three interceptions. At one point he was 4/22 with three picks.
You have to give credit to the Texans. Their defensive line, behind another MVP-like performance from their leader J.J. Watt, came out and dominated a Ravens offensive line that has been solid all year protecting Flacco. They also made a genius move by bringing in Case Keenum, who was on the St. Louis Rams’ practice squad a week ago. Keenum, 26, has a familiarity with the Texans, having started over half of the season last year. Keenum was able to come into a building to a facility and players that he knows well.
It wasn’t all Flacco’s fault. The running game couldn’t muster more than a yard on most carries and the receivers had trouble separating, a theme that has become all too familiar. Sometimes you have to remind yourself that Torrey Smith is lined up out there. As a unit the offense had just 31 yards on 28 plays in the first half.
The Ravens took too long to make the proper adjustments on offense. It wasn’t until late in the fourth quarter that we saw some screens to nullify Watt and the Texans rush that was beating on Flacco all game.
Now, the Ravens will need to win next week at home against the Cleveland Browns and get some help to avoid missing the playoffs for the second straight year. In addition to a win, the Ravens will need the Cincinnati Bengals to lose their last two games (they play Denver Monday Night) or a San Diego Chargers loss in Kansas City.