How our reporters and editors saw the Ravens’ 23-16 win over the Houston Texans on Monday Night Football:
Mike Preston, columnist: The Ravens didn't come out with a lot of energy against Houston, but still won the game. The defense played well, but the unit gave up some passing yards. The key here is that the Ravens have put together two wins in a row and that's important at this time of the season. But eventually they are going to need a stronger passing game. They have run into two backup quarterbacks in the past two weeks but that should change Sunday when the Detroit Lions come to town.
Edward Lee, reporter: The Ravens' tried-and-true formula of defense and Justin Tucker cemented their 23-16 win against the Texans on Monday night, but the offense continued its spotty play. That may work against opposing offenses quarterbacked by guys like Brett Hundley and Tom Savage, but the next two weeks will bring Matthew Stafford and Ben Roethlisberger to the forefront. The offense needs to do something different to alleviate pressure from the defense.
Childs Walker, reporter: This was certainly not the commanding effort the Ravens hoped for in a vital game. Quarterback Joe Flacco was outplayed by Tom Savage, and the secondary struggled to one of its poorest performances of the season. But give the Ravens credit for stifling Houston’s solid running attack and making clever in-game adjustments to neutralize Jadeveon Clowney. And hand the game ball to Terrell Suggs, who’s still pulling off game-clinching strip sacks at age 35. We already knew he was an inner-circle Ravens Hall of Famer, but he proved it again.
Peter Schmuck, columnist: Nobody is going to hang a painting of this game in The Louvre, but the Ravens just needed the 'W' to remain in the theoretical sixth AFC playoff slot, since they currently hold the conference-record tiebreaker over the 6-5 Bills. It was a workmanlike effort that benefited from three Houston turnovers and a mistake-free game by the Ravens offense. Joe Flacco put up relatively modest passing numbers, but made some plays with his legs and fired up the crowd with a big 25-yard run near the end. Now, they must get ready for a real challenge, since the Detroit Lions are very much alive in the NFC playoff hunt.
Ron Fritz, sports editor: A win is a win, no matter how bad it looked. The Ravens forced turnovers and played exceptionally well on special teams, just the way they like to win. The offense doesn’t have a playmaker and it will cost them at some point, but the Ravens’ tried-and-true formula for winning came through again. Not sure the defense can contain Matthew Stafford of the Lions on Sunday like it has the backups recently. Maybe the Ravens offense will show up.