Defense leads the way in win over Texans

Defense leads the way in win over Texans
September 22, 2013, 4:15 pm
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Doss talks punt return TD vs. Texans

Final score: Ravens 30, Texans 9

Game Recap: Everything changed for the Ravens after a sluggish first 25 minutes. Trailing 6-3 less than five minutes before halftime, the Ravens took the lead when linebacker Daryl Smith intercepted a Matt Schaub pass and returned it 37 yards for a touchdown. That got the Ravens rolling and they never stopped. Tandon Doss followed with an 82-yard punt return for a touchdown that put the Ravens ahead, 17-6, just over a minute before halftime. That was plenty for the Ravens’ defense, which was outstanding from start to finish. The Ravens have gone two consecutive games without allowing a touchdown.

On the same day that Ray Lewis was inducted into the Ravens Ring of Honor, his former defensive colleague Ed Reed returned to Baltimore in a Houston uniform. Reed started but did not have an impact on the game.

Key moment: Smith’s interception. It was the first turnover that the Ravens’ defense created this season, and it dramatically changed the game. The offense was struggling. The Ravens were losing. The crowd was grumbling. All of that changed when Smith read Schaub, and stepped in front of a pass intended for Owen Daniels. Sometimes linebackers drop chances for interceptions, even easy ones. But Smith made the grab, and added the icing by making the touchdown run. Doss’ punt return was huge. But Smith’s play lit the spark for the Ravens.

Ravens Players of the Game:

Offense: Bernard Pierce (24 carries, 65 yards, one TD)

Torrey Smith (five catches, 92 yards) also played well. But this was a big game for Pierce, stepping in for the injured Ray Rice. The Ravens needed a solid game from Pierce, and he made some tough runs, and looked just as strong late as he did early.

Defense: Daryl Smith (Interception return TD)

The entire unit was outstanding, including Terrell Suggs, Haloti Ngata, and Lardarius Webb. But Smith’s interception and touchdown give him the edge. The signing of Smith during free agency looks more important every month. The Ravens were thin at inside linebacker when Ray Lewis retired and Dannell Ellerbe left during free agency. But Smith has been a standout since the start of training camp.

Injuries

Add nose tackle Terrence Cody (knee sprain) to the growing list of Ravens injuries. He never returned after suffering his injury in the first half. The Ravens are fortunate to have depth on the defensive line, because Chris Canty (groin), Brandon Williams (toe), and Cody are all hurting. The Ravens hope to get Canty back next week, but Marcus Spears played well in Canty’s absence.

Running back Shaun Draughn has a high ankle sprain. His status for next week against the Bills is uncertain.

From the Locker Room

Ravens LB Daryl Smith on his interception – “I guess it’s sort of like a dream. You catch it, and it’s just kind of hazy. I just remember catching it and running as fast as I could. And getting in there, I’m not a dancer or nothing like that. I just gave them a little something and just went on back to the bench.”

Ravens QB Joe Flacco - “The last two weeks, we (the offense) haven’t been great, but we’ve managed to win football games. I think that’s the sign of a pretty good team.”

Texans safety Ed Reed - “Nobody wants to lose. But we played against a great team today. We knew who we were facing. We knew what we were walking into. You can’t make the mistakes that we made. We need to grow from it.”

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