Defensive coordinator Greg Mattison said Thursday that the loss of strong safety Tom Zbikowski late in the first half came at a major cost to the Ravens last Monday in Houston, forcing the team into difficult matchups.
"The difference in the halves was totally losing Tom Zbikowski," Mattison said. "[It] affected a great deal of what we called because he was our dime [back] in that game and we didn't feel like you could put a linebacker on Owen Daniels. And that was evident as the game went on when we did try to play some man against them and did try to play some coverage on them -- you got a total mismatch right there on one of the better tight ends in the league."
Daniels had five catches for 91 yards in the game, but also had several drops. He was targeted 11 times, only three fewer than Andre Johnson.
The other problem Mattison identified was making three nose guards active for Houston's run game and having the Texans bail on it with a 21-point deficit. That led to rushing with only three and four players for much of the second half.
"All of a sudden, when they went into a passing fest and you lost one of your pass rushers, Cory Redding ... [and] our choice was at that point to try to rush two nose guards or even three nose guards and one end, and try to pressure with that ...
"We thought our best deal was to be able to rush three at times and to rush four and try to make sure we didn't give them a big play because the worst thing that could happen at that point was for them to score fast."