In an NRG Stadium without any fans, the Houston Texans fell 33-16 to the Baltimore Ravens in their first home game of the 2020 season.
Houston outgained Baltimore 200 to 172 net yards in the first half, but a pair of turnovers plus a failed fourth-down attempt in their own territory led to a 10-point deficit before halftime.
"Obviously, it's a team effort," General manager and head coach Bill O'Brien said. " We've got a long way to go and a short time to do it so we really have to improve. We turned it over and then we don't get any takeaways and then they run the ball again so we have to figure this out very quickly."
Deshaun Watson completed 25-of-36 passes for 275 yards, with one touchdown and one interception. His passer rating was 89.5 and he rushed for 17 yards on five carries. Brandin Cooks led the team with 95 yards receiving on five catches. Darren Fells scored the lone touchdown for Houston.
The Texans defense sacked Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson four times. J.J. Watt tallied two of those sacks, and also had a couple tackles for loss, three quarterback hits and a batted pass. Zach Cunningham finished with a sack and led the defense with 15 tackles (10 solo).
The Texans defense held the Ravens to just a field goal through the first quarter. On their final possession of the first quarter, the Texans gave Baltimore a short field after an unsuccessful fourth-down attempt at their own 34-yard line.
"We felt like we needed possessions in the game so we decided to go for it," O'Brien said. "We put a play out there, they called timeout. We changed the play, the play didn't work and so we didn't convert it. That's just the way it works. They did a better job than us on that and we need to work hard to improve."
Jackson needed just four plays to find the end zone. Fullback Patrick Ricard rushed for a one-yard touchdown with 13:00 left in the second quarter as the Ravens took a 10-0 lead.
Watson responded with a touchdown drive of his own. He found Cooks for a 38-yard completion, and a few plays later connected with Fells on a 10-yard score. It capped a seven-play, 75-yard drive. The Texans closed in on Baltimore, down 10-7 in the second quarter.
The Ravens then scored another ten unanswered points. Back-to-back drives in the second quarter ended in turnovers for Houston and yielded a defensive touchdown for Baltimore.
"We gave them a defensive touchdown early on that kind of separated the game where we kind of had the momentum and we -- who knows what we could have done that drive that, I think it may have been, I think it was 13-7 at the time, and they scored it was 20-7," Watson said. "And then the next drive of course, the interception Marcus Peters made. But we stopped them and went down and I think we kicked a field goal at two minute, but, yeah, it's tough."
After Justin Tucker's second field goal of the game, Keke Coutee fumbled a catch on the Texans next possession. Ravens linebacker L.J. Fort scooped up the ball and returned it 22 yards for quick touchdown. Watson and the offense were driving down the field, but a pass intercepted by Marcus Peters ended the following possession. The Texans defense came up with a big stop, which included two sacks on Jackson on the drive.
With just over one minute left in the half, the Texans converted four first downs and moved the ball 58 yards down the field. Ka'imi Fairbairn kicked a 44-yard field goal as time expired and the Texans headed into halftime trailing 20-10.
The Ravens pulled away in the second half after successfully converting two fourth downs in the fourth quarter.
"Yeah, I thought we did a pretty good job early on in the game with the run defense and we were doing some things that we wanted to do, and obviously in the fourth quarter we didn't," Watt said. "In the fourth quarter we didn't stop the run. We gave up some big runs. The 4–and-one we gave up the touchdown, and then we gave up the long one there. That obviously isn't going to help the run defense or the stats or anything. So got to be able to finish the game, not just start it."
On fourth-and-1, a direct snap to Mark Ingram resulted in a 30-yard touchdown run and a 30-13 lead with 12:04 left in the game. Jackson rushed up the middle to convert a second fourth-down attempt in Baltimore territory. Tucker added his fourth field goal of the day, a 20-yard kick.
Watson and the offense moved the ball but were held to a pair of field goals in the fourth quarter. Fairbairn was 3-for-3 on the day, making his final two kicks from 35 and 45 yards.
With the loss, the Texans fall to 0-2 on the season. They will travel to Pittsburgh to face the Steelers in Week 3.