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Texans get first win over Ravens 43-13

Texans get first win over Ravens 43-13

HOUSTON (AP) It looks like the Houston Texans' defense will be just fine without Brian Cushing.

The Texans scuffled a week ago in their first game without the star linebacker, but bounced back Sunday with a dominant defensive performance in a 43-13 win over the Baltimore Ravens.

Matt Schaub threw for two touchdowns, Arian Foster ran for two more and the defense had a score and added a safety to help Houston bounce back from a 42-24 loss to Green Bay last week.

``When you lose (Cushing) and all of the sudden you come in last week, it's human nature to say: `OK, how are we going to be?' coach Gary Kubiak said. ``We walked out here and didn't feel good about it last week. What we found out today, we can still play great defense and expect to do that the rest of the year.''

Defensive coordinator Wade Phillips said the team needed a game like this to forget about last week.

``We wanted to come out and make a statement,'' Phillips said. ``I thought it was a great game for us.''

The win leaves the Texans (6-1) with the best record in the AFC entering their bye week.

``I think a lot of people were just seeing how we would respond after what happened last week,'' Andre Johnson said. ``I think we responded well.''

Baltimore's Terrell 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 Ray Lewis and top cornerback Lardarius Webb, who were 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 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 safety was certainly a big play,'' Phillips said. ``We were a little loose on the first series, but I thought after that we played lights out.''

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 him four plays later for a 25-yard touchdown 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 and Johnathan Joseph returned it 52 yards for a touchdown to extend Houston's lead to 16-3.

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 that 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 put Houston up 36-10.

He added another score in the fourth quarter to extend the lead to 43-13.

NOTES: Johnson had a season-high nine catches. ... 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.

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Online:http://pro32.ap.org andhttp://twitter.com/AP-NFL

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As 2018 NFL Draft approaches, Ravens to host QB Lamar Jackson per report

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USA TODAY Sports

As 2018 NFL Draft approaches, Ravens to host QB Lamar Jackson per report

With 10 days until the 2018 NFL Draft, quarterback Lamar Jackson is set to visit the Ravens this week, per Ian Rapoport of NFL Network. 

The former Heisman Trophy winner is a projected first-round pick as he has proven to have success in the air and on the ground. 

While at Louisville, Jackson had 9,043 passing yards and 69 touchdowns. He also rushed for 4,132 yards and 50 touchdowns. His NFL draft profile compares him to Michael Vick. 

RELATED: BEST QUOTES FROM RAVENS PRE-DRAFT PRESS CONFERENCE

The Ravens are in search of Joe Flacco's successor, but spending a first-round pick on a quarterback when there are other glaring needs is up in the air. However, assistant general manager Eric DeCosta isn't ruling out the possibility

"I feel like if there is a guy there that we think is really too good to pass up, we're going to take him," DeCosta told the team's website on the chance of drafting a quarterback in the first-round.

At their pre-draft press conference, GM Ozzie Newsome and DeCosta kept reiterating we could be surprised by who they pick at No. 16, if they do at all. 

While Jackson's numbers are impressive, he continues to be considered a late first-round pick as his build isn't up to typical NFL QB standards and scouts are concerned with his accuracy. What he does have in his favor is speed.

While fans are hoping for an offensive weapon, having Jackson learn under Flacco for a year (and maybe RGIII?) could rev up some excitement. 

RELATED: RGIII READY TO MOVE FORWARD AS NEW, GROWN PLAYER

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Heisman Trophy winner turned backup, Robert Griffin III fully embracing new role with Ravens

Heisman Trophy winner turned backup, Robert Griffin III fully embracing new role with Ravens

Robert Griffin III went from Heisman Trophy winner, to second-overall pick, to Offensive Rookie of the Year, to unemployed, to backup quarterback all in the matter of six years.

That's a rollercoaster of a career for a 28-year old, but RGIII is fully embracing the opportunity the Ravens have presented him with.

“I feel like I knew coming into this situation that this is Joe’s [Flacco] team," Griffin said at a press conference Wednesday.

"I understood that when I came in to work out; I understood that when I signed. I’m excited about the opportunity to learn from him. Whatever capacity the coaches ask me to help, that’s what I’m here to do. I’m here to compete, and I’m here to get better every single day – work hard. I think they saw that from me in the workout and in our general conversations together. I think they realize I’m ready for the opportunity and I’m ready for this role – whatever that role may be.”

RELATED: RGIII READY TO MOVE FORWARD AS NEW, GROWN PLAYER

Finding a backup quarterback that you can put some faith in during a time of desperation in today's league is a hard find, with the exception of the 2017 Philadelphia Eagles. 

While Griffin hasn't played since January of 2017, he offers legitimate experience that isn't being offered by typical backups. 

 "I feel like I’ve been able to get a better grasp of how to play the game in the NFL, what coaches are looking for. I think that’s a benefit, whereas in 2012 when I came in, it was more so learning everything on the fly and just going out and playing. Now I feel like I have to ability to go out and play and also know what I’m doing, be able to protect myself better, get the ball to the guys that need to get the ball and help a team win – in whatever way that is.”

The Ravens signed RGIII on a one-year contract worth $1 million - we're assuming- with hopes he'll never see the field during the regular season. Griffin made it clear he understands that role, but is looking forward to learning how to lead a team under a ten-year veteran. 

RELATED: RAVENS 2018 PRESEASON SCHEDULE

“Most of my interactions with Joe have been at midfield. I really do look forward to getting in the quarterback room with him. It’s a great opportunity for me. I still feel like I’m a young player. I’m 28, but I feel like I’m 25. He’s been through a lot of things in his career, been to the pinnacle and won a Super Bowl – Super Bowl MVP. I think that’s a great opportunity for me to learn and learn from him, and to just see the way that he attacks the game of football, the way he attacks the meeting room, practice, interacting with teammates – all those types of things – the way he leads." 

The RGIII saga in Baltimore is an open book right now, one that could come with an interesting ending.