The Texans defense swarmed and harried Lamar Jackson, but the Ravens put together a strong third quarter to win 25-9 in Week 1 of the 2023 NFL season.
On the opening drive in Baltimore, the Houston Texans defense forced a three-and-out for Lamar Jackson and the Ravens offense. DE Jonathan Greenard sacked Jackson on third-and-2 for a loss of seven yards. Baltimore was forced to punt from its own nine-yard line.
The Texans also punted on their opening series, but after the Ravens were flagged for running into punter Ty Zentner, decided to go for it on fourth-and-1. A costly sack on C.J. Stroud set up Baltimore's offense on a short field at the Houston 36-yard line.
Jackson and the offense drove down to the Houston 25-yard line before Steven Nelson intercepted a pass intended for rookie WR Zay Flowers on third down. Stroud and the offense took over at the Texans 15-yard line. Stroud escaped a sack and connected with Tank Dell on third down but a holding penalty negated the play. Noah Brown's catch on third-and-13 came up short for the first down to end the drive and force a punt.
The Ravens scored the first points of the day after J.K. Dobbins rushed for a four-yard touchdown with one minute remaining in the first quarter. Jackson scrambled 10 yards and connected with Flowers on a 21-yard pass on the nine-play, 58-yard scoring drive.
END OF FIRST QUARTER: Texans 0, Ravens 7
Early in the second quarter, Pitre's quarterback hit on Jackson resulted in an intentional grounding call on the Ravens. The Texans offense started at their own 16-yard line.
Stroud made three third-down plays to veteran WR Robert Woods, the longest for 13 yards, to extend the drive. He also connected with Nico Collins for a 14-yard completion. Ka'imi Fairbairn kicked a 35-yard field goal to cap off a 15-play, 67-yard drive that lasted 8:54. Baltimore held onto a 7-3 lead over Houston with 3:56 left in the second quarter.
Houston would get one more possession with just over a minute remaining in the first half. Stroud completed passes for first downs on back-to-back plays. On third-and-7, Dell caught a pass for 10 yards. Woods made a play for a 19-yard gain to get the Texans into field-goal range. On third-and-15, a roughing the passer penalty gave the Texans a fresh set of downs with 0:25 remaining.
Stroud found Woods for a seven-yard pass and spiked the ball to stop the clock with 0:05 remaining. Fairbairn added his second kick of the game, a 38-yard field goal, as time expired in the first half and the Texans closed in on the Ravens.
END OF SECOND QUARTER: Texans 6, Ravens 7
At the start of the second half, the Texans announced that S Jalen Pitre was out with a chest injury.
Jackson was 5-of-5 for 64 yards on his first possession of the second half. Dobbins left the game with an injury, but Justice Hill broke out for a big third quarter. The Ravens extended their lead to two scores after Hill's two-yard touchdown run and ensuing two-point conversion. The Texans trailed 15-6 with 9:55 remaining in the third quarter.
The Ravens run game continued to build momentum with runs by Gus Edwards and another touchdown run by Hill on the next drive. A defensive pass interference call on Derek Stingley Jr., covering Odell Beckham Jr., gave Baltimore a 17-yard gain and first-and-goal at the six-yard line. Hill scored his second rushing touchdown of the game and the Ravens pulled away 22-6 with 5:21 left in the third quarter.
Beckham's first catch of the game came in the final minute of the third quarter, but he wouldn't get another chance on the drive which ended abruptly on the next play. Jackson fumbled the ball and Texans safety M.J. Stewart, in for Pitre, recovered for the Texans.
END OF THIRD QUARTER: Texans 6, Ravens 22
Fairbairn added his third field goal of the day, a 36-yarder, to cap off a six-play, 14-yard drive. The Texans capitalized on the short field at the Baltimore 32-yard line following the fumble recovery. Houston trailed 22-9 with 13:47 left in the fourth quarter.
Will Anderson Jr. recorded the first sack of his NFL career in the fourth quarter, bringing down Jackson for a loss of six yards on third down.
The Ravens defense recorded its first takeaway in the fourth quarter. After RT George Fant, who stepped in for Tytus Howard on IR, went down with an injury, Michael Deiter entered the game. The next play, David Ojabo landed a strip sack on Stroud and recovered the ball for Baltimore. Three plays later, Beckham's 29-yard catch gave the Ravens possession at the Houston nine-yard line. The Texans defense held the Ravens to a field goal after TFLs on consecutive plays by Tavierre Thomas and Greenard.
FINAL SCORE Texans 9, Ravens 25