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Ravens vs. Texans: 3 game ball candidates

Standout performers from a Week 1 victory

Houston Texans v Baltimore Ravens Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

The Baltimore Ravens opened the regular season with a 16-point home victory over the Houston Texans. The Ravens worked through a sluggish offensive start and allowed zero touchdowns on the day en route to another multiple-possession Week 1 win.

Here are some of the top performer’s from today’s action. Who gets your vote for being the game ball recipient?

WR Zay Flowers

In his first ever regular season game, Flowers was the primary focal point of the Ravens’ offense. The electric rookie validated the hype train behind him from this summer and dominated the team’s receiving production on the day.

On the Ravens’ third drive of the game, Flowers reeled in a 21-yard reception on 3rd & 5 to set the Ravens up in scoring position at the Texans’ 11 yard line. Then he rushed for three yards on the following play, which preceded a J.K. Dobbins rushing touchdown to give the team a 7-0 lead just before the end of the first quarter.

Their first possession of the second half started with a Flowers’ 20-yard catch, then he gained 19 yards on a catch-and-run a few plays later on another third down. The drive ended with another touchdown and two-point conversion to expand the lead to 15-6.

Flowers finished with nine total receptions for 78 yards and added another nine yards on two carries via end-around sweep plays. Much of his yardage, unsurprisingly, came after the catch, as he forced missed tackles in space and extended plays.

Flowers was creeping towards the 100-yard mark before losing eight combined yards on back-to-back screen catches defensively that were blown up. Nevertheless, it was a strong debut for the first-round pick.

LB Patrick Queen

Queen had an active Week 1 performance that began with a huge fourth-down stop in the first quarter. Following a roughing the kicker penalty on Ar’Darius Washington, the Texans opted to attempt a conversion on 4th & 1. Queen blitzed and immediately got behind the line of scrimmage, wrapping up C.J. Stroud for an 11-yard sack.

Unfortunately, the Ravens weren’t able to capitalize with points — but it was a big play nonetheless.

The fourth-year linebacker had no noticeable lapses in coverage or run defense. Instead, he was frequently around the ball and consistently tackled well. Queen had a key pass breakup in the third quarter against Texans’ wide receiver Robert Woods. On 3rd & 16, Queen tracked Stroud’s pass attempt and made a late dive to dislodge the ball and force a punt.

Queen finished with 11 total tackles on the day, tied for third most on the team and of any player on either team. He had one tackle for loss with a sack, pass defended, and quarterback hit, encompassing a solid all-around performance.

LB Roquan Smith

Queen’s running mate and All-Pro linebacker partner similarly had an impressive showing in the season opener. Smith was the game’s leading tackler with 16 overall, eight of which were solo, and recorded two tackles for loss, one sack, and a quarterback hit on Stroud.

On the Texans’ play from scrimmage, Smith blitzed as a free rusher and deflected Stroud’s pass attempt, which the quarterback caught himself before being downed quickly for no gain. His sack at the very end of the third quarter was especially key as well.

Following a lost fumble by Jackson, the Texans moved to the Ravens’ 8 yard line and had an advantageous first-and-goal scenario. Smith then sacked Stroud for an 11-yard loss to push them out of immediate goal-to-go position. They wound up settling for a field goal a few plays later and the Ravens preserved their double-digit lead.

Smith, like Queen, was also strong in run support and helped limit the talented Dameon Pierce to just 38 rushing yards on 11 attempts. The Texans were never able to establish the run game and Smith was a big reason why.


Which player gets your vote for "game ball" recipient from Week 1?

This poll is closed

  • 37%
    Zay Flowers
    (164 votes)
  • 20%
    Patrick Queen
    (89 votes)
  • 39%
    Roquan Smith
    (175 votes)
  • 2%
    (10 votes)
438 votes total Vote Now