Despite a flat out embarrassing loss to the Green Bay Packers last week, the Houston Texans (6-1) emerged as the premier team in the AFC after handing a smack down to the injury struck Baltimore Ravens (5-2) 43-13 in front of a record crowd at Reliant Stadium in Houston.
Houston led the game 29-3 at halftime and as the afternoon progressed it became apparent that they had no intentions of letting up.The Texans scored a franchise high 43 points and it all started with an incredible offensive balance in both halves.
Donned in the Houston battle red jersey, Texans QB Matt Schaub was seeing red as he began to pick apart the secondary after the first half. He connected on a score with Kevin Walter that went for 25 yards. At one point Schaub completed 12 passes in a row. He was 19 of 32 in the first half alone. Schaub ended up with 256 yards and 2 TDs. Receiver Andre Johnson also contributed with a season-high nine catches for 86 yards.
After going with the pass for most of the first half, the Texans began to lean on the run game in the second half to kill the clock. They handed it over to arguably the best running back in the league, Arian Foster.
Foster turned in another impressive performance with 2 TDs to go along with 98 yards. He scored from one and two yards out to become the first player this season to reach double-digit scores. The man has a most valuable trait which is rare amongst the best running backs in today's game – consistency.
As we go from one side of the ball to the other, the Texans defense, under coordinator Wade Phillips, is absolutely no joke. Joe Flacco became the ninth victim of a J.J. Watt swatted pass that ended up in CB Johnathan Joseph's possession that lead to a 52 yard pick six return. Joseph's interception was the the third pick this season that the defense turned a Watt deflection into a score.
Watt was held to no sacks for the first time this season but Connor Barwin got his first of the year when he took Flacco down in the end zone for a safety.
"I told Flacco, 'It's impressive you're still in the game," Barwin said, "because I hit the s**t out of him a couple of times."
Flacco finished the game with 147 yards to go with 1 TD and 2 interceptions. Baltimore running back Ray Rice was no where to be found, as he ran the ball only nine times for 42 yards and no touchdowns.
After they lost defensive leader linebacker Brian Cushing for the rest of the season two weeks ago, the Houston defense put on a display of dominance like no other team in the AFC.
"When you lose a player and you come in last week, it's human nature to say, 'Ok, how are we going to be?' " said Houston head coach Gary Kubiak after the game. He then added "What we found out today is we can still play great defense and expect to do that the rest of the year."
Going into their bye week with a 6-1 record, the Texans proved on Sunday they are not only the AFC's best team, they are also the scariest.
The Baltimore Ravens fall to 5-2 on the season.
Zachary Hutton is the lead boxing writer and an NFL contributor for CraveOnline Sports. You can see what he's up to at his band's website myunclethewolf.com or also subscribe at Facebook.com/CraveOnlineSports.