It is a year of firsts for the Houston Texans. For the first time in franchise history, the Houston Texans are on top of the AFC. It is also the first time the Texans have started a season 6 – 1. Sunday’s win was also the first time the Houston Texans have beaten the Ravens…ever. Although this may only last one week, the Houston Texans definitely have a reason to be proud today.
Not only did the Texans beat the Ravens, they destroyed them. It is impossible to conclude anything else from Sunday’s 43 – 13 rout. Dubbed by some as the “game of the year,” for the Texans, it was more than that. It was the defining moment of the franchise.
For years, the Ravens have handed the Texans loss after loss. None stings more than last season’s divisional playoff game when the Ravens moved on to the AFC Championship game. To beat the Ravens says something. To beat them decisively is something altogether different.
On the nightly sports recaps, much of the talk was about the Ravens and their setbacks. The argument was that the Ravens lost only because of the significant gaps in their defense. At first glance, that position may seem logical. However, in a surprising move, OLB and 2011 Defensive Player of the Year Terrell Suggs started Sunday’s game for the Ravens on just three days of practice. He even recorded a sack in the first quarter, thus dispelling any myths about his play making ability. What sports pundits and fans alike must realize is that regardless of which players come onto the field on any given Sunday, the goal is to win. In the end, the Texans were the better team. They flat out beat the Ravens and now sit atop the AFC. Even Suggs had to respect the win. “We lost to a very good Houston Texans team. There’s no sugar coating it. Call a spade a spade; they whipped our (butts),” said Suggs after the game.
The win for the Texans was right on time, especially for the Texans’ defense. Following a heart-wrenching loss to the Packers in week 6, the Texans needed a spark. That spark came in the first quarter when rookie LB Whitney Mercilus recorded his first career sack allowing OLB Connor Barwin to wrap up Ravens QB Joe Flacco resulting in a safety. Barwin would also lay Flacco out later in the game prompting him to tell Flacco, “[t]hat was impressive, you’re still in the game.” The Texans’ defense made a complete 180 from the showing against the Packers. DE Antonio Smith recorded two back-to-back sacks against Flacco in the second half. DE J.J Watt looked very much poised to take over Suggs’ 2011 Defensive Player of the Year title as he tipped two of Flacco’s passes, one that was returned by CB Jonathan Joseph 52 yards for a touchdown.
On the offensive side of the ball, RB Arian Foster ran for 98 yards and two touchdowns while WR Andre Johnson recorded 9 catches for 86 yards. Even QB Matt Schaub played his part when he attempted to block Suggs to allow Foster to get a first down. Schaub would later laugh at his gaffe. But all jokes aside, even Schaub’s misguided efforts were a part of one of the greatest team efforts in Texans’ history.
Today feels different in Houston. Going into a bye week, the Texans have every right to walk a little taller today. They have finally overcome their Achilles heel and have risen to the top of the conference. While this moment may be short lived, today the Texans are the kings of the AFC and deserve to take a deep and satisfying breath.