HOUSTON (AP) — Terrell Suggs was back, but the Baltimore Ravens were no match for the Houston Texans without Ray Lewis and Ladarius Webb.
Matt Schaub threw for two touchdowns, Arian Foster ran for two more and the defense had a score and added a safety to lead the Houston Texans to a 43-13 win over the Ravens on Sunday.
Suggs, an outside linebacker who was selected last season’s defensive player of the year, played for the first time since surgery in May to repair a torn right Achilles tendon. But the defense wasn’t the same without star middle linebacker Lewis and top cornerback Webb, who were both placed on the injured reserve during the week.
The Ravens gave up their most points since a 44-20 loss to Indianapolis in 2007, and Houston’s 43 points were the most in franchise history.
“We can’t come here and make mistakes like we made and expect to be in the game,” safety Ed Reed said.
But the problems weren’t limited to the defense as the Ravens (5-2) lost to Houston (6-1) for the first time in seven meetings. Joe Flacco was 21 of 43 for 147 yards with two interceptions, and Ray Rice was held to a season-low 42 yards rushing.
“I’m not sure what to say about that other than they got after us and they beat us,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. “They played excellent, we did not.”
The Ravens led 3-0 in the first quarter after a 51-yard field goal by rookie Justin Tucker. It was his third of more than 50 yards this season, which is the most in a season in team history. He made it four with a 54-yard field goal in the fourth quarter.
Houston’s offense couldn’t do anything early. It was OK though as the defense got the Texans on the board. Connor Barwin took down Flacco in the end zone for his first sack of the season and a safety to make it 3-2 in the first quarter.
The Texans started clicking on offense on the next drive, but not without a small hiccup. Schaub badly overthrew a wide-open Kevin Walter before finding Walter four plays later for a 25-yard touchdown reception to give Houston a 9-3 lead late in the first quarter.
J.J. Watt tipped a pass on the first play of the second quarter which Johnathan Joseph returned 52 yards for a touchdown to extend Houston’s lead to 16-3.
Tipped balls were a problem all day for Flacco.
“That’s what they do,” Harbaugh said. “They do a great job with that. We worked on it all week, trying to get their hands down and we were unable to do it. It was a little disappointing.”
The Ravens were encouraged by the play of Suggs, who had four tackles and a sack Sunday.
“It looked to me like he played really well,” Harbaugh said. “He was in probably surprisingly good football shape for as little football as he’s played. It’s going to be a plus for us and he’s only going to get better.”
Suggs was disappointed that his first game back was such a lopsided defeat, but thinks the Ravens should be encouraged with their 5-2 record entering their bye week considering all the injuries they’ve had.
“We know we’ve got some work to do,” he said. “This is a very emotional time for us. Losing probably one of the greatest middle linebackers in the game and losing your starting corner, that’s going to hurt. We’ve got some young guys that have got to step up. I’ve got to get healthy, I’ve got to get better.”
Reed, who said this week that he’s been playing with a torn labrum in his right shoulder, left in the fourth quarter with a chest injury. He said he felt fine after the game.
Schaub found tight end Owen Daniels in the back of the end zone on a 1-yard touchdown reception about six minutes before halftime. The play was reviewed and upheld to make it 23-3. That drive was helped by a nifty 20-yard reception by Garrett Graham.
Whitney Mercilus tipped a pass which Glover Quin intercepted by getting one hand on it and grabbing it as he fell to the ground. Houston capitalized on the turnover with a 29-yard field goal to lead 29-3 at halftime.
Flacco finally got the Ravens in the end zone with a 15-yard touchdown pass to Tandon Doss to cut Houston’s lead to 29-10 with about 10 minutes left in the third quarter.
Foster scored in his team-record ninth straight game on a 1-yard run later in the third quarter to leave Houston up 36-10.
He added another score in the fourth quarter to extend the lead to 43-13.
NOTES: The announced attendance was 71,708, the largest regular-season crowd in Texans’ history. Baltimore rookie RT Kelechi Osemele was carted off the field in the second quarter with a brace on his right leg. The team said X-rays on his ankle came back negative and he returned to the game in the second half.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)