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Vandermeer's View: Texans vs. Ravens


Crossing paths with the Ravens should remind the Texans what it takes to be a consistent contender in this league. Baltimore is an organization in transition yet you get the feeling they will find a way to contend.

They are loaded with excuses not to. Ed Reed and Ray Lewis are gone. Their best tight end is out and their top two wide receivers from last year are absent. One for a few weeks, the other forever.

Yet the Ravens smashed the Texans 30-9 in a head scratching loss that brings up a bevy of questions.

Sure Houston was without Duane Brown and Andre Johnson was hobbled and ultimately sidelined. But there was plenty of firepower to avoid an anemic offensive performance that failed to produce a touchdown.

Defensively, the yardage number shines but Wade Phillips' crew couldn't get off the field enough when they needed to in the second half. The Ravens did just enough offensively as a 'pick 6' and a punt return for a score got them some separation and made the game much more comfortable for them.

We'll start this week with...

Needs work:

Matt Schaub probably can't wait to get back on the field so he can erase the memory of a second straight game with an interception returned for a touchdown. If this team is going to go anywhere, he can't continue to create perilous situations with bad throws.

Special teams - Giving up the TD return was an absolute killer. Lechler has been fantastic and Bullock went 3-for-3. But Dom Capers taught me long ago that when you give up a special teams score, you almost never win.

Takeaways - There hasn't been one since opening night and they are sorely needed. Houston is minus three in the turnover margin and good teams are rarely on the wrong side of sea level in this department.

Running game - Even when the yards have been there (like last week when they ran for 172), you get the feeling that they aren't exactly clicking.

Penalties - Gary Kubiak took the blame for 14 penalties but a veteran team has to be sharp and focused. The Texans were sloppy. Some of the flags were because Houston was aggressive on D but there are no reasonable excuses overall here.

The Good...

Hmmm - It's only week 3 and they're in a tie for first in the division. And hey, the 'peak early' thing is not part of the conversation.

Next week is a date with Seattle which has all sorts of fire breathing dragons in the front seven. Plus, the Seahawks have a mobile quarterback who will give the defense a work out. Get ready for a hotly contested affair.

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