Even before the Houston Texans felt the wrath that is the Baltimore Ravens defense, they had seen and heard what they would be facing, from their coaches, players and on the game films they had watched. The stingiest defense in the NFL in terms of points allowed earned their respect long before they were shut down on the field yesterday in the Ravens 29-14 victory.
Referred to as the "gold standard f NFL defenses" over the past decade in a story on CBS Houston by Terrance Harris of SportsRadio 610, the Ravens defense continues to defy logic by remaining at the top of the league's units year-after-year with the common denominator continuing to be the ageless wonder in the middle, #52.
Texans head coach Gary Kubiak was part of the coaching staff in Denver when the Ravens beat them in the playoffs on their way to their Super Bowl winning season of 2000-01. They knew that while LB Ray Lewis was not the same guy he was ten years ago, he is still the one every QB looks for as they approach the line of scrimmage. They recognize the long-time pairing of Lewis with safety Ed Reed, not to mention the other All-Pro players in Terrell Suggs and Haloti Ngata on their defense.
Look at what Houston's offensive coordinator Rick Dennison, who knew what he was going to face before the game, said in the article:
"I don't see anybody slowing down. You watch the film with me. You point it out because I can't find it."
Houston RB Arian Foster knew that after only rushing for 68 yards last week in their 25-20 loss to the Oakland Raiders, but probably didn't expect to be held to 49 yards by the Ravens defense yesterday. Finding out first-hand what facing this aggressive, fast and physical defense is just not something teams can practice for. It just is something teams must pay the price for when they face what continues to be, as the story says, the "gold standard."