Christopher T. Assaf, Baltimore Sun
September 22, 2013
What happened: This rout was a surprise after the Ravens had turned in two subpar performances and the Texans, widely favored before the season to finish first in the AFC South, had won their first two games. After allowing two quick field goals, the Ravens took a sudden lead with a field goal, an interception returned for a touchdown and an 82-yard punt return for a score. They had an underwhelming offensive performance, settling for three field goals and scoring only one touchdown.
Performance of the game: Once again, Daryl Smith came to play. The 31-year-old returned the interception of Matt Schaub 37 yards for the touchdown. He added a game-high 10 tackles, with seven solo, a pass defended and a quarterback hit.
Turning point: Things looked bleak as the offense once again was having a rough day, held scoreless for the first 20 minutes of the game. But after a 28-yard field goal with 4:11 left in the first half, Smith and Tandon Doss reached the end zone in a span of 1:54 to put the Ravens up, 17-6. On the first drive of the second half, the Ravens went 80 yards and got a 1-yard touchdown run by Pierce to take a 15-point lead.
Key stats: The Texans went 3-for-12 on third down yet led in total yards, 264-236. While possession time was about equal, the Texans racked up 14 penalties for 113 yards to the Ravens' 10 for 87.
Quote: "Any time you can start off slow like that, have some help from your defense and your special teams, that really propelled us today," Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco said. "We are a young team. We have a lot of new guys, and we were thin at the running back position today. We are going to have some growing pains throughout the first couple of weeks."