Texans at Ravens final score: Lamar Jackson headlines Baltimore’s beatdown of Houston

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Entering Sunday, the Baltimore Ravens and Houston Texans both had young star quarterbacks, big names on defense and the look of favorites to win their divisions en route to a playoff push. Only one of them showed up to play on Sunday, however.

It was supposed to be Deshaun Watson against Lamar Jackson in a battle of potential MVP candidates, with Bill O’Brien set to ride his team’s ground game — and top-five run defense — in Baltimore, but the Texans came in having never beaten the Ravens on the road and played as if they wanted to uphold that record. The Ravens, meanwhile, ran wild in a 41-7 victory to secure their standing atop the AFC North.

The Texans were robbed of a big first down early on thanks to a pass-interference no-call in the end zone, but other than that, they didn’t do much to inspire confidence against a Baltimore pass rush that logged five sacks of Watson in the first half alone. Jackson, meanwhile, started slow but heated up to his MVP standard, guiding the Ravens to a 14-0 halftime lead and then rolling early in the second half to push the Ravens all the way to a 27-point lead in the third that they extended in the final period.

Let’s take a deeper dive into how the Ravens embarrassed the Texans in front of a raucous home crowd.

Why the Ravens won

Lamar Jackson wasn’t particularly accurate on a number of his early passes Sunday, floating the ball high even on some crucial completions, but that didn’t matter in the slightest. Why? Because outside of those first 10 or so throws, he was absolutely golden. Credited with 13 straight completions at one point, he put the ball exactly where it needed to be on the first two of his three touchdown passes, taking advantage of a banged-up Texans secondary. He was even more dangerous on the ground, taking nine carries 86 yards to lead Baltimore in rushing and injecting serious momentum into Greg Roman’s offense with Michael Vick-esque moves down the field.

While Mark Ingram wasn’t at his best carrying the ball, he still combined with Gus Edwards for a whopping 160 yards against one of the NFL’s top run defenses. Speaking of defense, Baltimore was just as impressive, capitalizing on Houston’s line by racking up seven sacks, including five in the first half alone, to throw Watson off balance and control the game entering the second half.

Why the Texans lost

In a battle of two MVP-caliber QBs, Watson turned in a dud of a performance. It wasn’t all his fault, but the main reason Houston looked like trash in such an important game was that Watson also looked like trash for much of the day. That’s not an overstatement. Part of his appeal is his ability to extend plays, but he held the ball far too long in the first half, and his worst throw of the afternoon — a rookie-mistake pick thrown off his back foot and across the line — pretty much put the nail in the coffin. He just didn’t look capable of lifting the Texans.

And the blame should fall mostly on Houston’s offense, because we always knew they were going to have some problems containing Jackson’s legs. Whether it was Watson’s fault or Bill O’Brien’s or someone else’s, the Texans also lost in part because they abandoned DeAndre Hopkins for, like, 75 percent of the game despite the No. 1 wideout hauling in four first-down catches in the opening half-quarter. They finished averaging just about 4.1 yards per play, in contrast to Baltimore’s 7.7 mark.

Turning point

Can a turning point come after one team is already up 24 points? The thing is, the Texans didn’t really look out of it during the first stretch of the game. They turned it over on downs 13 yards outside of the red zone in the first but then forced their own turnover on downs right afterward. They missed a 43-yard field goal going into halftime but still trailed just two scores. But things really turned ugly when Watson forced a second-down pass from the Texans’ 45. Driving toward Ravens territory with a chance to get back on track in the third, Watson evaded some pressure before trying a pass across his body, off his back foot and on the move. The ball wound up going right into the hands of Ravens LB Josh Bynes, setting up another Justin Tucker field goal and killing any momentum Houston may have been building.

Play of the game

Baltimore was already up 21-0 with about nine minutes to go in the third, but Jackson stole the show with an incredible 39-yard scramble that must’ve left the Texans defense — and anyone else in the building — speechless. Sweeping to his left on a designed option run, the QB escaped a couple of would-be tackles at the line of scrimmage before exploding down the field, juking a few more Texans and then capping it off with a ram into a Houston safety to put Baltimore in business all the way inside the red zone.

Quotable

“Lamarkable!”

CBS’s Ian Eagle quipped this during Jackson’s highlight-reel run on Sunday, and it’s enough to sum up this entire game, not to mention this 2019 Ravens season. For all the questions about the QB’s accuracy — and there were some legitimate ones on a few of his early throws against Houston — Jackson was yet again an MVP-caliber leader in a big game. His team is now clearly in front in the AFC North. And the days of Joe Flacco seem like distant memories. Baltimore is a serious contender, and it mostly has its young, star quarterback to thank.

What’s next

The Ravens (8-2) will hit the road in Week 12, visiting the Los Angeles Rams (5-4) for a “Monday Night Football” matchup on Nov. 25. The Texans (6-4), meanwhile, won’t have much time to think about their ugly loss in Baltimore, as they’re set to host the rival Indianapolis Colts on Thursday. Houston lost to Indy by seven points the last time the AFC South foes met, so Week 12’s rematch will prove crucial to the division race.

Relive all the action from Sunday’s rout below.



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