One of NFL’s best teams coming to Reliant Stadium Sunday
The Houston Texans realized Sunday at Baltimore that they couldn’t continue to live on the edge and pull victories out on the final play of the game for the entire season. Things just don’t happen that way in the National Football League.
And it certainly didn’t happen against the defending world champion Ravens at their own house Sunday. Although Baltimore was out-statisticted and perhaps out-defensed, it didn’t prevent the proud Ravens from coasting to an easy 30-9 victory over the previously-undefeated Texans.
With less than three minutes remaining in the first half, the Ravens turned a 6-3 deficit into a 17-6 lead without making an offensive snap.
When Texans quarterback Matt Schaub threw a pass intended for tight end Owen Daniels, Ravens’ linebacker Daryl Smith jumped the route, snagged the pass and trotted 37 yards into the end zone for an easy pick-six.
After a three-and-out Houston punter Shane Lechler got off a booming 58-yard punt that was fielded by the Ravens Tandon Doss and returned 82 yards for another score. Randy Bullock booted a 47-yard field goal with 45 seconds left in the first half, making the score 17-9 and closed out the scoring for the Houston Texans.
The second-half magic that saved the Texans from being 0-3 today was nowhere to be found at M&T Bank Stadium Sunday. The Ravens blitzed from every direction possible, sacking Schaub three times, hurrying him on just about every snap and being mainly responsible for his paltry 72.8 passer rating.
“I’ve just got to be better for this football team,” Schaub lamented to the Houston Chronicle after the game. “For us to go where we want to go and be a successful team and find ourselves where we want to be at the end of this season, I’ve got to play better than I have been.”
Schaub doesn’t have much time to get his act together, either, because the Seattle Seahawks are coming to town Sunday with a MUCH better defense than what he saw thrown at him in Baltimore. The Seahawks are an early three-point favorite over the 2-1 Houston Texans.
And there is expected to be a huge entourage from the Orange area heading for Reliant Stadium in Houston Sunday to watch their two-time All-Pro home-grown product Earl Thomas operate the NFL’s stingiest defense from his free safety position. Earl is leading the Seahawks’ defense with 16 solo tackles so far this season.
Seattle will come to Houston boasting a perfect 3-0 record after annihilating the Jacksonville Jaguars 45-17 and looking much like the best team in the National Football Conference after three games. The Seahawks have allowed only 27 points in three games this season, the best in the NFL.
“I was fired up that we played just the way we should,” commented Seahawks’ head coach Pete Carroll to the Associated Press after the big win in Seattle Sunday. “A lot of people expected and asked questions about letdowns and all that type of stuff, and we didn’t see it that way at all.”
The Seahawks embarrassed the defending NFC champion San Francisco 49ers 29-3 a week before and some of the geniuses in the media predicted a letdown for the game against the lowly Jaguars, who probably are the worst team in the NFL right now.
Carroll pulled second-year quarterback Russell Wilson midway in the third period Sunday and turned the game over to the reserves. Wilson matched his career high for touchdown passes—two each to Sidney Rice and Zach Miller—as Seattle begins a stretch of four consecutive games against the AFC South, starting with the Texans on Sunday.
Longtime Houston Chronicle sportswriter John McClain, whose main job is to cover the Texans, was one of the very few media buffs from the Lone Star State to pick the Texans to lose at Baltimore Sunday.
McClain analyzed the loss and was fast to point out that the Texans failed to score a touchdown against a Baltimore defense that was torched for seven scoring passes by Denver quarterback Peyton Manning.
“If the Texans’ offense is this hapless against the Ravens, imagine how helpless it might be against a Seattle defense that specializes in pulverizing opponents and just might be the NFL’s best,” McClain wrote in Monday’s edition of the Chronicle.
McClain also graded each position giving Schaub and the Texans’ coaching staff an “F”, the offensive linemen and special teams “D”, running backs, wide receivers, tight ends and defensive backs “C” and defensive linemen and linebackers the highest grade, “B”.
The Texans’ defense did a creditable job stopping the run, limiting the Ravens to 75 yards on 31 carries for a meager average of 2.4 yards. Baltimore finished with 236 yards on 57 plays for a 4.1 average. Houston had problems reading Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco’s cadence and consequently had 14 penalties for 114 yards.
It looks to this Korner as if Matt Schaub’s days as the Texans’ starting quarterback might be numbered if he doesn’t move the team any better after the first couple of series in a game.
And maybe the Texans’ front office should swipe a page from Dallas Cowboys’ owner Jerry Jones and take the play-calling duties away from Kubiak much like the Cowboys did to Jason Garrett.
KWICKIES…New England Patriots’ quarterback Tom Brady is closing in on the NFL record of consecutive games with a touchdown pass held by Drew Brees of the New Orleans Saints. Brady has 51 from Sept. 12, 2010 to the present while Brees’ 54 was from Oct. 18, 2009 -Nov. 25, 2012. The next active player is Denver’s Peyton Manning with 25 from Nov. 21-present.
Bridge City junior quarterback Chase Shugart received an offer last weekend to play baseball for the University of Texas Longhorns. He will graduate from high school in 2015.
And speaking of the Texas Longhorns, a bit of the pressure on Head Coach Mack Brown from the big donor alumni was relaxed somewhat after Saturday’s 31-21 victory over Kansas State at Royal Memorial Stadium in Austin. The Wildcats had beaten Texas five straight times in the Big 12 series before Saturday. The ‘Horns evened their record at 2-2 for the season and stand at 1-0 in the Big 12 Conference. They are open this week and will play at Iowa State Oct. 3 for a Thursday night game.
The Atlanta Falcons put linebacker Sean Weatherspoon of Jasper on injured reserve last week but used the one-time designation that allows an injured player to return. Weatherspoon won’t be able to practice for six weeks and can’t play in a game for eight weeks. The nature of his injury was not announced.
The Southland Conference enjoyed a good weekend as seven of its eight members emerged victorious before the league swings into full gear. Lamar blanked Bacone 53-0, McNeese overpowered Weber State 43-7, Central Arkansas nipped Missouri State 17-13, Nicholls State was all over Langston 42-22, Sam Houston State whipped Incarnate Word 52-21, Southeastern Louisiana nudged past Samford 34-31 and Stephen F. Austin upset Montana State 52-38. The only SLC team to lose was Northwestern State to a Division I team, UAB 52-28.
Several Southeast Texas high school games were cancelled Friday night due to the 9 inches of rain that deluged most locations. Here are the results of some of the games of interest that were played: Shepherd 7, Diboll 6; Waco Connally 30, Mexia 20; Tyler Chapel Hill 62, Palestine 27; Groveton 16, Shelbyville 14; Humble Summer Creek 28, New Caney 0; Crosby 33, Dayton 27; Navasota 65, Lexington 0; Brenham 27, Waller 0; Barbers Hill 40, C.E. King 18.
JUST BETWEEN US…I was saddened to find out about the death of longtime local radio station KOGT disc jockey and jack-of-all-trades Richard Corder. Richard (or BBRC as he called himself) worked behind the mike for more than 50 years providing radio listeners with one of the best radio voices in the area. I first met him in the press box at a local high school football game when I first came to Orange in 1966 and he asked me to broadcast the halftime statistics and then later I provided the color for his play-by-play of football and baseball games. He was one of the nicest people I’ve ever met and will be sorely missed.