HOUSTON – The Houston Texans rebounded from their only loss of the season with perhaps their most complete game of the year.
The Texans scored a franchise-best 43 points and the defense dominated in a win over the Ravens that gave Houston (6-1) the best record in the AFC heading into its bye week.
Now the Texans have a week to rest and recharge before returning to their quest for the Super Bowl when they host Buffalo in two weeks.
"We got a long way to go," coach Gary Kubiak said. "We're almost at the halfway point. We got a good football team. We got to freshen some guys up. We got a long, hard road ahead of us, but we got some good character on this team, just need to keep working."
Connor Barwin started Houston's scoring Sunday when he sacked Joe Flacco in the end zone for the team's first safety since 2009. A tipped pass by J.J. Watt on the first play of the second quarter led to an interception by Johnathan Joseph which he returned 52 yards for a touchdown.
The Texans had 181 yards rushing and added another 239 passing.
"Everyone contributed all across the board, all three phases," tight end Owen Daniels said. "We were as balanced as we could be offensively, running the ball and throwing the ball. We were pretty darn good on third downs, staying on the field was huge to keep their offense off the field. Our defense made some huge plays and got things rolling for us. When they're scoring points it just makes things easier for us. It was a very well-rounded game for our team."
Houston was coming off a 42-24 loss to Green Bay last week in which the offense struggled and the defense allowed Aaron Rodgers to throw six touchdown passes. On Sunday, the Texans held Baltimore to a season-low 176 yards.
"You're tested sometimes," defensive coordinator Wade Phillips said. "You're tested mentally. You get beat down sometimes. You get knocked down ... you've got to get back up and fight. That's what they did. That game was a tremendous accomplishment."
The offense was helped by a season-high nine catches by Andre Johnson. He finished with 86 yards receiving, which is the most he's had since gaining 119 yards in Week 1. Kubiak thinks he'll get better as the season progresses, and offensive coordinator Rick Dennison agrees.
"He went through just a little bit of a slump, but he's working his tail off every day," Dennison said. "(Sunday) he was really explosive. He did a great job of catching the ball and getting up field."
It also didn't hurt that Kevin Walters and Daniels both added more than 50 yards receiving and a touchdown on Sunday.
"(Daniels) has had a tremendous year catching the ball," Dennison said. "It's hard for people to cover underneath and we know that especially with having Andre outside and them having to work their coverage around him. Owen has done a great job and we're working him down the field."
Daniels has 33 receptions for 416 yards and four touchdowns this season.
The win gave Houston its best start through seven games and was the second-most lopsided victory in team history. Phillips loves the start the Texans have gotten off to this season.
"It's really nice to have a team that does things that have never been done before," he said. "It's an accomplishment. It's something that you strive for — records to be broken and that kind of thing. We've been able to do that this year and that's pretty impressive."
The Texans were undefeated in September, but Kubiak likes his team's performance more this month considering Houston played through a season-ending injury to star linebacker Brian Cushing.
"I really think October was even better than September," he said. "I know that's hard to believe, but when you looked at (playing) New York, Green Bay, and Baltimore in the month of October and for us to get out of it 2-1 and to lose a player like we lost, I think it was a (heck) of a month.
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