We all knew that going into the Ravens' nest and getting an upset victory would be a tall order. But there's no doubt the Texans were very much in this game and had multiple chances to take the lead and carve out a victory, or at least make the contest a lot closer than the final score indicates.
There were some very promising moments. The defense came up with four sacks and two takeaways. For a minute or two it looked like they might start hemorrhaging rushing yards but they held things together to keep hope alive for the offense.
Lamar Jackson was his crafty self often enough to inflict damage but never got rolling. Houston actually outgained the Ravens, holding Baltimore to 265 total yards. Yet the Ravens were able to hit some key running and passing plays when it mattered.
At the start, Houston got the ball after a three-and-out by the defense and was aggressive, going for a 4th and one at the Texans 47. But Stroud was sacked. The D stood up, as Steven Nelson picked off Lamar Jackson, thanks, in part to some Anderson pressure.
The Texans couldn't move the ball and punted, setting up a Ravens 71-yard TD drive that was their longest of the day. After that, it felt like the Texans could dance on the big stage and hold their own with their perennial playoff team hosts.
His second field goal was delivered as time expired in the first half. It pulled Houston within one and there was a golden opportunity to seize momentum with the kickoff going in their direction in the 3rd quarter.
The opening second half possession went in the wrong direction and the game gradually got away from the Texans. Baltimore scored and went for two, following a Texans offside penalty on the extra point.
Houston would come up short on another 4th down attempt on the minus side of the field. That was followed by another Ravens score which pushed the deficit to 16.
The teams traded field goals after that and we ended with a 16-point loss. As I write this, it's important to note that there were some good things to build on here.
Stroud was definitely under some pressure but still delivered an accurate ball on the majority of drop-backs. If we see week one to week two improvement, that'll bode well, as the AFC South schedule gets going.
There are no moral victories. But the Texans held their own and manufactured chances to stay in the game if not jump out in front. The injuries are an issue. That's life in the NFL. We're just getting started and they have to find a way to keep improving. It's a young group that needs to grow and they'll get plenty of opportunities from week two and on to do it.