With a 10-yard touchdown pass from Deshaun Watson to Darren Fells, the Houston Texans trailed the Baltimore Ravens 10-7 with 9:45 to play until halftime.
However, that was the only time the Texans crossed the goal line on Sunday while the visiting Ravens returned a fumble recovery for a touchdown and got a long scoring run from Mark Ingram to take a 33-16 win and drop the Texans to 0-2 on the season.
Houston had the ball for nearly 10 minutes less than Baltimore and crossed midfield on only half of its 10 drives. Twice the Texans’ drive ended at the Ravens’ 26-yard line and two drives ended inside the opponents’ 20, with only the one touchdown to show for it.
Watson acknowledged those drives that go deep into enemy territory need to be finished with touchdowns instead of field goals, especially against high-caliber teams.
“We just didn’t capitalize and with a great team like Baltimore, they did a heck of a job of containing us from getting into the end zone,” the Houston quarterback said in his postgame press conference. “Those red-zone drives, you always want to get points but with a great team like that. We gotta get touchdowns.”
He also said the scoop-and-score that put the Ravens ahead 10-0 early in the second quarter was a game-changer.
“We’ve got to start faster and continue to start faster. Gave them a defensive touchdown early on that kind of separated the game where we had some momentum and who knows what we could have done with that drive,” Watson said.
Texans defensive end JJ Watt also talked about how playing from behind is not ideal.
“It is very difficult. You want to get out to a fast start, a positive start, and we didn’t necessarily do that,” Watt said. “These past two weeks you’re playing against two very good teams, two very good quarterbacks, two very well-coached teams, two great offenses so you can’t put yourself behind and you have to play extremely well if you do, and these two weeks we haven’t done enough to win these games.”
Houston head coach and general manager Bill O’Brien agreed that much improvement needs to happen quickly in all aspects of the game.
“We have to get better quickly in all areas. Have to coach better, play better; it’s a long season, but we have to get better very quickly here,” O’Brien said. “We go to Pittsburgh, so we have to work really hard this week to improve and then we need play a lot better than we’ve been playing against Pittsburgh. We don’t really have any other choice.”
The Steelers own a 4-2 series advantage dating back to 2002 and have won two of the three matchups this decade: 34-6 in 2017 and 30-23 in 2014. The Texans won 17-10 in 2011.
In Watson’s eyes, just one win is needed to provide the spark that he hopes leads to multiple wins.
“Positivity, love, and execution,” he said of what needs to happen this week. “We have to stay positive through all the negative that’s gonna come our way. We gotta continue push forward. We can’t look at the record. It’s a new week and a new opportunity.”