Welp, the AFC is wide open again. Funny how things change in a week’s time during October. One week, the Texans and Patriots are losing while the Ravens are booking their Super Bowl trip. Now, the Texans seem like the top dog, the Patriots reclaimed first place in the AFC East and people are wondering if the Ravens can hold off the Steelers in their own division. A rather drastic change I’d say. The Texans whooped on the Ravens 43-13. It wasn’t even that close.
What’s sad, is that the Ravens actually had the lead early in the game. It was 3-0 before it was 3-2 after a Joe Flacco safety. Then it was 9-3 after a Kevin Walter touchdown with 30 seconds left in the first quarter. Then, less than 45 seconds of game play later, Jonathan Joseph was returning a Flacco interception 52-yards to the house. 16-3 before the Ravens even knew what hit them. The Ravens wouldn’t get back on the board the rest of the half.
In fact, it was 29-3 before before Flacco hit Tandon Doss for a 15-yard score. About eight minutes later, Arian Foster found the end zone to push the score to 36-10. Ball game.
Much like every other Ravens loss in recent history, Ray Rice had limited touches with only 14 (nine rushing:five receptions). We all know the stat. The Ravens are just about unbeaten when Rice gets north of 20 touches. He is one of the premier running backs in the NFL today. I understand Torrey Smith and Anquan Bolden are a solid receiving duo, but when you have a player as dominant as Rice, you need to incorporate him in as many ways as possible. Regardless of the score.
Ray Rice had 52 total yards. While Houston still has one of the better defenses in the NFL, Rice wasn’t utilized nearly enough throughout the course of this game and it cost them. I understand the Ravens just lost two of their best players on the defensive side of the ball, but there’s no excuse for this offense to put up 13 points. That shows a lack of leadership on that side of the ball. It shows a weak locker room pouting because their emotional leader Ray Lewis isn’t there to hype them up for a game. Maybe I’m overreacting. Or maybe the Ravens, even with T-Sizzle back, are a team on the decline without Ray Lewis and Lardarius Webb.
The Texans have to feel confident after this win that the AFC is theirs for the time being. They head into their bye with one loss coming against a team which went 15-1 a season ago. Nothing to be ashamed of even though they were blown out. Chicago and New England are their two toughest games the rest of the way out. If they can find a way to beat either of those teams, there’s no reason they shouldn’t feel confident heading into the postseason. Hell, they almost made it to the AFC Championship last season with their third string quarterback. They already have plenty of reason to feel confident.
While there’s plenty of football left to be played, maybe this is Houston’s year to get to the promise land.