Baltimore Ravens vs. Houston Texans: Hero and Zero of the Game

     Both the Baltimore Ravens and the Houston Texans had a record of 5-1 coming into this Week 7 match-up.  This game was a rematch of the January 15, 2012 playoff game, in which the Ravens beat the Texans by a score of 20-13.  What a difference a season makes, as the Texans were frustrating hosts for the Ravens’ feeble offense and injury depleted defense on Sunday.  Here are the players who played the most heroically on both teams, and the player who is most responsible for the Ravens’ embarrassing blowout loss.

     According to merriam-webster.com, the main definition of a hero is, “a mythological or legendary figure often of divine descent endowed with great strength or ability.”

     Defensive end turned linebacker Terrell Suggs fits that description to a ‘T.’  Suggs, also known by the nickname “T-Sizzle,” won the 2011 Defensive Player of the Year award with a career high of 14 sacks recorded on the 2011 season.  This game against the Texans was his 1st game returning to the field from a torn Achilles tendon only five months after having surgery to repair the injury.  Five months is a very short time for the Achilles tendon to recover for the vast majority of people, including most professional athletes.  But Suggs has been exceeding others’ expectations of him for years with single-minded determination, not to mention the physiological qualities that Suggs possesses.

     Suggs only participated in three practices prior to Sunday’s game, so his efficacy to rush Texans’ quarterback Matt Schaub and disrupt the Texans’ offense was unknown going into the game.  It did not take Suggs long to make an impact.  On the 7th play of his afternoon, Suggs recorded a sensational sack of Schaub and went onto record four tackles in addition to the one sack, two hurries of Schaub, and one batted ball on a total of only 31 snaps.  Suggs represented the lone bright spot for the Ravens on either side of the ball on Sunday.

     Honorable mentions for the Heroes of the game go to the Houston Texans’ defense.  Texans’ Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips and his vicious Texans’ defense had a literal field day against the Ravens.  With about five minutes remaining in the 1st Quarter, the Texans’ defense began to assert their dominance over the Ravens’ offensive line, when outside linebacker Connor Barwin sacked Ravens’ QB Joe Flacco in the end-zone for Houston’s 1st 2 points of the game.  It was Barwin’s 1st sack of the season. 

     Rising star JJ Watt, tipped a Joe Flacco thrown ball that ended up in the hands of Texans’ corner-back Johnathan Joseph for a pick 6.  Antonio Smith, a defensive end for the Texans, recorded two sacks on two consecutive plays in the 4th quarter.  And last but certainly not least, the man with the greatest name currently in the NFL, Texans’ rookie outside linebacker Whitney Mercilus even got in on the action, altering another Flacco pass that was intercepted by Texans’ safety Glover Quin.  All in all, an amazing and complete performance by the Texans’ defense, who walked off the field as heroes and as winners.

     Joe Flacco had a performance that was well under his usual standard of excellence and was the Zero of the Game by a wide margin.  Flacco completed less than 50% of his passes, and finished with a pathetic 147 yards passing and a quarterback rating of 45.4, devastating Flacco fantasy owners throughout the land.  The Ravens will limp into their bye week after this loss and try to regroup against the Cleveland Browns in Week 9.