ReFo: Ravens @ Texans, Week 16
In a game with huge playoff implications for both, the Houston Texans were able to beat the Baltimore Ravens with a dominant performance up front that left quarterback Joe Flacco under pressure for most of the game.
The win for the Texans keeps their faint playoff hopes alive, while it leaves the Ravens needing a win next week at home against the Cleveland Browns, and a loss by the San Diego Chargers for them to book their place in the postseason. It was a game that featured big performances on both teams, so with that in mind, let’s take a look at the players who stood out.
Baltimore Ravens – Performances of Note
Joe Flacco, QB: -10.1
Breakdown: As rough an outing as Flacco has had all season, with the Ravens signal-caller really struggling to cope with how much pressure he was under. Too many throws missed downfield and a really poor decision on one of his three interceptions doomed him to his lowest grade of the year so far.
Signature Play: Q2, 3:50 remaining. As bad a throw as he has made all season, throwing the ball behind tight end Owen Daniels, he allowed for an easy interception by cornerback Kareem Jackson.
Pernell McPhee: +3.6
Breakdown: More of the same for McPhee in a season where he has established himself as one of the best players on the Ravens’ defense. Getting it done both as a pass rusher and against the run, he finished the game with a pair of hits and a batted pass to go along with his six tackles.
Signature Stat: Finished the game with a Pass Rushing Productivity Rating of 10.7.
Will Hill, S: +2.8
Breakdown: One of the few bright spots in a rough season for a Baltimore defensive backfield which has been hit with injury after injury, Hill had another big game for the Ravens on Sunday. Impressing both in coverage and against the run, he allowed just 4 yards through the air on passes thrown into his coverage.
Signature Play: Q1, 0:07 remaining. A nice play in coverage here by Hill saw him give up the reception to Damaris Johnson on the slant route but stop the play short of first down yardage on third down.
Houston Texans – Performances of Note
J.J Watt, DE: +15.2
Breakdown: We expected an exciting battle between the league’s premier defensive player and the right side of the Baltimore offensive line, but in the end it was a battle won easily by Watt. Spending most of his time going up against the right tackles, he gave Ricky Wagner plenty to think about before he left the game injured. After the injury to Wagner, Watt went up against rookie undrafted free agent James Hurst, and the result was as you would expect, with Watt finding success against him as a pass rusher throughout.
Signature Play: Q2, 3:50 remaining. On the Flacco interception, it was Watt who applied the early pressure, beating left tackle Eugene Monroe to the outside, drawing a holding penalty in the process.
Johnathan Joseph and Kareem Jackson, CB: +4.4 combined
Breakdown: A very strong showing from the Texans’ starting duo, with the pair combining to allow just 45 yards through the air. Jackson had the most success, allowing just the single reception while breaking up a pass and picking off two more.
Signature Stat: At 0.18 and 0.77 respectively, both Jackson and Joseph had Yards Per Coverage Snap averages below 1.0, with Jackson’s the best mark of the week so far.
Whitney Mercilus, OLB: +3.2
Breakdown: Another big performer on a Texans defense that had plenty of them on Sunday, Mercilus had one of his better games of the year. Most of his success came against the run and in coverage, but he added a pair of hurries as a pass rusher too.
Signature Play: Q1, 9:13 remaining. Chased down Flacco on a quarterback scramble, forcing a fumble that rolled out of bounds in the process.
PFF Game Ball
It’s hardly surprising but once again J.J. Watt was the best player on the field. It was always going to be tough to stop him, but when he was left alone against an undrafted rookie free agent in the second half it was a disaster for the Ravens’ offense.
Follow Gordon on Twitter: @PFF_Gordon