Fittingly, this was the Ravens’ final game until after Halloween, because the Houston Texans were a nightmare for Joe Flacco and the offense.
The Texans scored as many points as Flacco had pass attempts (43) and the Houston defense had their hands all over the Ravens quarterback – and his throws – throughout the afternoon.
Wearing their “Battle Red” jerseys, the Texans defense had a great day, totaling two interceptions (one for a touchdown), four sacks, and eight quarterback hits. Most impressive though, were their 11 passes defensed.
J.J. Watt continues to prove his dominance as the NFL’s best defensive player. The second-year defensive end tipped two passes, one resulting in an interception for Jonathan Joseph, which he returned for a touchdown.
Deflecting passes for interceptions is nothing new for Watt. So far this season he’s tipped four passes which led to interceptions. According to Pro Football Focus, since 2008, no player has deflected more than ten passes in a season. Watt now has that many through his first seven games this year.
The only area where Watt didn’t excel was in sacks, where he currently leads the league with 9 ½. Somehow, during one of the worst offensive line performances in team history, Watt was shut out.
Of the 11 total passes defensed, eight were knocked down at or near the line of scrimmage. Five of the tipped passes came from players outside of the Texans secondary with the other three coming from corners or safeties batting them down while blitzing or on short passes at or near the line of scrimmage.
It’s not like Flacco is Drew Brees out there. At 6’6”, Joe shouldn’t be getting nearly this many throws batted down.
It was just one more area where there was plenty of blame to go around for the Ravens yesterday, from the coordinator, to the quarterback, to the offensive line.