A Rested Baltimore Ravens Looks Forward To The Texans
The impact of an NFL hit can be the equal of a small car accident on the human body. Imagine being on the Baltimore Ravens defense and going through a car crash every 49 seconds for an entire NFL season, some rest would be in order. Because they took the number 2 seed in the AFC during the regular season, the Baltimore Ravens got to watch football over the weekend instead of playing it – it was a luxury they did not take for granted.
The mere fact that the Ravens are somewhat rested may be the worst thing in the world for the Texans.The Ravens and Texans last met on Oct. 16, a 29-14 Baltimore victory at home. The Texans have changed a bit since then, most notably at quarterback, where T.J. Yates has taken over for injured Matt Schaub.
The Texans understand the importance of the rest the Ravens just got because they have been coping with injury-related obstacles all season. For a change, they escaped Saturday’s 31-10 win over Cincinnati without any players significantly hurt.
Star receiver Andre Johnson looked like his old self against the Bengals, catching five passes for 90 yards, including a second-half touchdown. Johnson was on the field for about 40 plays, and Kubiak said he came out of the game fine after missing nine games in the regular season with injuries to both hamstrings.
One of the games Johnson sat out was Baltimore’s 29-14 win in Week 6, in which Houston set season lows for points and total yards (293) that held up through the end of 2011. Matt Schaub was the quarterback in that game, not rookie T.J. Yates, and the Texans were playing for the first time without outside linebacker Mario Williams, who tore a chest muscle the previous week. Houston still led 14-13 in the third quarter, before the Ravens pulled away in the fourth.
The Ravens also held Arian Foster to 49 yards rushing in the first meeting, though Foster was also Houston’s top receiver that day, with six catches for 52 yards. If Baltimore can bottle up Foster again, the pressure will fall on Yates, the fifth-round draft pick thrust into a starting role after season-ending injuries to Schaub and backup Matt Leinart.
Yates is 1-1 in two road starts, rallying the Texans past the Bengals in Cincinnati on Dec. 11, but then losing to Indianapolis 11 days later.
Kubiak has firsthand experience for what Yates can expect on Sunday. He was Denver’s offensive coordinator in 2000, when the Broncos met the Ravens in Baltimore in an AFC wild-card game. The Ravens won 21-3 on their way to the Super Bowl.