The Baltimore Ravens entered Week 11 at 7-2 on a five-game winning streak to face the 6-3 Houston Texans. Both Lamar Jackson and Deshaun Watson enter the game as two of the top MVP candidates of the season. Who will prevail in the game of the week?
The Texans received the ball to start the game. The defense of the Ravens set the tone of the entire game on the opening drive as OLB Matthew Judon forced a fumble on a sack on the fifth play of the drive. Rookie Jaylon Ferguson recovered the fumble at the 41-yard line.
The offense was unable to capitalize on the turnover as Justin Tucker uncharacteristically missed a 43-yard field goal. Houston took over at the 34-yard line. Seven plays later, the Texans faced a 4th-&-2 at Baltimore’s 33-yard line, but was unable to convert it on a deep pass to wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins. There was potential pass interference from cornerback Marlon Humphrey but nothing was called even after a challenge from head coach Bill O’Brien.
Neither team could find success on offense in the first quarter, as the Ravens stalled again. On 4th-&-4 at the 37-yard line, head coach John Harbaugh elected for a fake goal which was snuffed out and stopped short, giving the ball back to Houston at the 37-yard line. Baltimore’s defense continued to flex its muscles as DT Brandon Williams sacked Watson on first down. Williams would be flagged for roughing the passer on the next play, however, giving the Texans a new set of downs at the 48-yard line. Watson was unable to connect with wide receiver Kenny Stills on third down, leading to a punt.
After their slow start, the Ravens offense finally started clicking with a 10-play drive that went 90 yards and ended in a touchdown pass from Jackson to WR Seth Roberts, giving Baltimore the 7-0 lead.
The defense continued to get to Watson, sacking him on consecutive downs to lead to a punt. It was ILBPatrick Onwuasor who made the sack on second down and OLB Tyus Bowser on third down.
The offense was officially rolling after their first touchdown, as they marched 70 yards down the field on seven plays, ending in Jackson connecting with TE Mark Andrews for his second passing touchdown of the day. Baltimore led 14-0 going into halftime after a missed field goal from the Texans.
The Ravens began to pull away with another touchdown on the opening drive of the third quarter. It only took six plays to go 78 yards and ended in a 25-yard touchdown pass to RB Mark Ingram.
The defense stifled the Texans yet again on their next drive. Judon sacked Watson for his second of the day on third down. Baltimore extended their lead to 24-0 with a 34-yard field goal. Watson’s struggles against the Ravens defense continued on the next drive as he threw an interception to ILB Josh Bynes. Baltimore had to settle for another field goal after the turnover, this time from 46 yards to extend their lead to 27-0.
After the Texans offense failed to convert on fourth down, the Ravens scored yet another touchdown. Jackson connected with Ingram through the air for his second touchdown and Jackson’s fourth. Jackson was pulled from the game with a little under ten minutes remaining in regulation and leading 34-0.
The defense wouldn’t be able to finish with a shutout, however, as running back Carlos Hyde found the end zone for a 41-yard touchdown. The Ravens quickly responded with another touchdown of their own in the form of a 63-yard run by running back Gus Edwards.
Baltimore’s defense finished the game with a sack by Tyus Bowser on backup QB A.J. McCarron. The defense finished with a season-high seven sack as both Bowser and Judon had two sacks, while Williams, Onwuasor, and Ferguson all had one. Jackson finished with 222 passing yards with four touchdowns on 24 attempts and 86 rushing yards on nine carriers. Edwards led the team in rushing yards with 112 yards on eight carriers. Andrews led all receivers with 75 yards on four receptions.
Jackson continues to strengthen his case for league MVP every week. Baltimore extends their win streak to six games now and will face the Los Angeles Rams on Monday Night Football next week.