So close and yet so far away. That was the story for the Houston Texans on Monday Night Football in Baltimore, where the host Ravens held on for a 23-16 win over the Texans.
Many things went right for Houston, but unfortunately scoring more points was not one of them. On a big night from DeAndre Hopkins, the offense posted the most passing yards of any Ravens opponent. The defense played quite well most of the night too.
Yet the Texans are now 4-7 and effectively eliminated from the AFC playoff race.
Here are four instant reactions from the tough loss.
Tom Savage was great, except when he wasn’t
This sounds either simplistic or crazy, but it really felt that way. Savage made some great throws and excellent decisions. The quarterback completed 22 of his 37 pass attempts for 252 yards. Many of those throws were perfect strikes delivered when and where they needed to be. His pocket presence and field vision have never been better.
There’s always a “but” with Savage, and in this one it was the turnovers. Terrell Suggs strip-sacked Savage in the fourth quarter and Baltimore recovered, ending a promising drive with the Texans trailing by just three.
The second of his interceptions equaled game over. This is one of the worst decisions Savage has ever made, and he’s made quite a few bad ones…
Special teams remain an issue
One early special teams series of blunders gave Baltimore the lead in the second quarter. Chris Thompson muffed a punt to pin the offense deep in its own territory. A rare bad punt from Shane Lechler set up the Ravens in great field position. Houston’s defense held, but…
These issues are not a new development. While the errors haven’t been as glaring this season as last, they’re still more of a liability than an asset.
Injuries continue to mount
Just in the first half, three more starters departed with injuries. Left tackle Chris Clark, running back Lamar Miller and outside linebacker Brennan Scarlett all left hurt.
Miller returned, but Clark and Scarlett both remained sidelined. Both were missed, too. Clark was having arguably his best game of the year as a blocker, aside from a false start penalty. Scarlett had two tackles behind the line in the run game and was making an impact in setting a hard edge and winning battles versus blockers.
Hopkins & Clowney dominated
Deandre Hopkins and Jadeveon Clowney played exceptional games on national television. Both proved their worthiness of Pro Bowl berths with tour de force performances in the loss.
Hopkins caught seven passes for 125 yards. Most of those came at the expense of Jimmy Smith, one of the league’s better cover corners. The Texans wideout proved he can carry the offense.
Clowney was amazing. This was but one of his stellar plays.
The stars came to play, but their teammates just couldn’t give enough to help the Texans get the road win.