Ravens Suffer Blowout Loss


Head Coach John Harbaugh had trouble finding the exact words to describe Sunday's blowout loss to the Texans.

His team was dominated on both sides of the ball, and the Texans rallied behind 29-unanswered points in the first half to deliver the Ravens a crushing 43-13 loss in a battle of the top AFC teams. It was the largest margin of defeat Baltimore has ever suffered during the Harbaugh era.

"I'm not sure what to say about that, other than that they got after us and they beat us," Harbaugh said. "They played excellent and we did not."

Terrell Suggs, who returned to the field for the first time after tearing his Achilles tendon during the offseason, was direct in his assessment.

"There's no sugar coating it. Call a spade a spade. They whooped our [butt]," Suggs said.

There was little that went right for the Ravens, who could hardly move the ball on offense and struggled just as much defensively. The Texans beat the Ravens through the air and on the ground, and the 43 points they scored was the most the Ravens have allowed since 2007.

Even the return of Suggs, the reigning Defensive Player of the Year, wasn't enough to give the Ravens a much-needed defensive boost after the team lost linebacker Ray Lewis and cornerback Lardarius Webb to injured reserve.

"What weren't they able to do today?" Harbaugh asked about the Texans offense. "They ran the ball, they threw, they protected.  It was about as complete a performance as you could have."

The Ravens offense didn't do the defense any favors.

Early miscues put the Ravens in a hole that they could not overcome, and forced them to become one-dimensional by eliminating the run game. In the first half, the Ravens had just one scoring drive, which came on their opening possession.

After that, the offense had four three-and-outs, an interception returned for a touchdown and a safety. It didn't convert on a third down until the third quarter.

The safety came on a Texans sack in the first quarter, which cut the Ravens lead to 3-2. The Texans then scored on their ensuing possession and quarterback Joe Flacco threw a pick six on the Ravens' next drive. Suddenly the score was 16-3, and the Texans had all the momentum.

"They got the safety, then they got the pick six, and then they were rolling," Suggs said. "The defense, we had some success early, but we have to be able to sustain that success."

From that point, the rout was on.

The Ravens offense couldn't muster much of anything, and the Texans were marching up and down the field.

"When you make the mistakes that we made early, and play the way that we played early, the game got out of hand early," safety Ed Reed said. "There's no way you're coming back on a professional team like that, that's fighting like that at home. It's impossible in a sense to do that on the road."

The offensive struggles are the latest road woes for the Ravens, who have scored just one touchdown in their last 10 quarters away from M&T Bank Stadium.

Flacco was off the mark and had his worst performance of the season, finishing with 21-of-43 passing for 147 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. He had pressure in his face for much of the day and had four passes tipped or batted down at the line.

After the game, Flacco didn't have an explanation for what has caused the offense to struggle so much on the road.

"We all could have done things better, starting with myself," Flacco said. "I don't really have an answer for you. I think that's just the way it works out. These guys are a good team. We didn't play up to the level we expected."

Reed said the Ravens need to thoroughly examine themselves to determine why they have struggled this season on the road.

"We're two different teams right now on the road, versus at home," Reed said. "We need to look at everything, from upstairs to downstairs. Everybody needs to look at themselves, make those corrections that we need to make and look at how we call plays, what plays we call, what mistakes we made defensively, what mistakes we made offensively, things that put ourselves in a hole."

The Ravens now get a much-needed bye before traveling to Cleveland for a Week 9 matchup with their division rivals.  The bye comes at the right time for the Ravens, who are dealing with injuries to Suggs, Reed (chest, shoulder), Haloti Ngata (knee) and Kelechi Osemele (ankle).

The break also gives them time to assess what went wrong and try to fix it for the coming weeks.

"I'm concerned about everything," Harbaugh said. "You can talk about pretty much everything today. What aren't we concerned about? The good thing is that it's the NFL. Sometimes you get tossed out of the bar, and we did today.

"We got to coach better. We have to play better than what we have [so far] to accomplish what we want to accomplish. It's a good time to have a bye week to work that out."

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