Flacco Leads Soaring Ravens Past Texans 41-13

Offense starting to click with Flacco

The Baltimore Ravens' offense is starting to look as good as their stifling defense.

Rookie Joe Flacco threw two touchdown passes, Willis McGahee ran for 112 yards and two scores and the Ravens pulled away from the Houston Texans in the second half for a 41-13 win at Reliant Stadium on Sunday.

The Ravens (6-3) have won four in a row and are tied with Pittsburgh atop the AFC North.

"That's a quarter of your season, winning all your games," cornerback Samari Rolle said. "I don't think a lot of people figured we would be at this point. But we can't get complacent. We've just got to keep going."

Baltimore held the sloppy Texans to 75 yards rushing and had four interceptions off Sage Rosenfels, who started for injured Matt Schaub.

The Ravens also reached 40 points on the road for the first time since 1999 and have averaged 33.5 points in the past four games -- and they felt like they could've scored more in Houston.

"We're seeing signs of what we're capable of," said Flacco, who completed 15 of 23 passes for 185 yards. "But as far as all of us are concerned, we can get a lot better. We can kind of see down the road and see where we're trying to get to."

The Texans (3-6), meanwhile, have lost two in a row after winning the previous three. They collapsed in the fourth quarter after Rosenfels threw a 60-yard touchdown pass to Kevin Walter late in the third to make it 19-13.

But a pass interference penalty on Houston's Eugene Wilson gave the Ravens a first-and-goal at the 1, and Flacco threw a touchdown pass to Todd Heap with 14:03 left. Flacco found Derrick Mason for the 2-point conversion that put Baltimore up 27-13.

"Those are always big drives, to answer their score and stop the momentum," Flacco said. "They were starting to feel like they were going to get back in the game. We still had the lead, so we just knew we needed to go back down there and do what we've been doing all game."

Linebacker Ray Lewis then intercepted Rosenfels for the second time and Heap caught another touchdown pass, this one from Troy Smith. Rolle picked off Rosenfels' next throw and McGahee scored 2 minutes later.

"When the defense gives you the opportunity to have a short field and go in and really put it away, it's good to know we're able to do that," Flacco said.

Even more encouraging for the Ravens is that McGahee and Rolle are healthy again and contributed immediately. McGahee has overcome knee, rib and ankle injuries this season and Rolle returned after missing six games with a neck injury.

The Ravens will get a true gauge of how good they are next week, when they visit the defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants -- but the four-game winning streak has filled the locker room with confidence.

"We're just slowly but surely setting ourselves up for next month -- December -- and we'll see where it goes from there," said receiver Derrick Mason, who played the second half with a dislocated left shoulder.

The Texans failed to pick up a first down on their first two possessions and Flacco found Yamon Figurs open for a 43-yard touchdown with 7:05 left in the opening quarter.

Kris Brown kicked a 23-yard field goal for the Texans, but the Ravens got a safety on Houston's next series when rookie Duane Brown was called for holding in the end zone.

Rookie Steven Hauschka's 54-yard field goal put Baltimore ahead 12-3. It was the first field-goal attempt of his NFL career and the second longest in Ravens history.

"He didn't even hit that ball as well as he wanted to," said Baltimore coach John Harbaugh. "But you kick it straight and it's got a chance to go in."

The Ravens opened the second half with an 11-play, 75-yard drive, which McGahee finished with a 1-yard touchdown run. Walter caught his sixth touchdown pass of the season with 3:01 left in the third quarter, but Houston gained only 57 yards the rest of the game.

The Texans had high hopes for the franchise's first playoff berth in the preseason. But with Schaub expected to miss up to three more weeks with a knee injury and three of the next four games coming on the road, Houston will be hard-pressed to even match last season's 8-8 record.

"It would be one thing if we knew we couldn't be a good football team," said receiver Andre Johnson, who was held to seven catches for 66 yards. "But we know we have a good football team. We just haven't been able to put it all together."

Notes: Ravens WR Derrick Mason dislocated his left shoulder in the first quarter but returned after halftime. He finished with three receptions for 41 yards. ... Texans WR Andre Johnson had seven receptions for 66 yards.

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