- Jamison Hensley, ESPN Staff Writer
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Defensive streak: The Ravens haven't allowed a touchdown since surrendering seven in the season opener in Denver. It's the first time the Ravens have stopped teams from reaching the end zone in back-to-back games since the start of the 2010 season. Baltimore has not allowed a touchdown in 25 straight drives, a span of 124 minutes, 30 seconds. And while holding teams without a touchdown, the Ravens' defense has scored itself on linebacker Daryl Smith's interception return. Equally as impressive is the fact the Texans had scored touchdowns on all seven of their red zone trips entering Sunday's game. But Baltimore held Houston to field goals on both of its drives inside the 20-yard line.
Second-half charge: Sluggish start, effective finish. That has been the storyline for the Ravens' work-in-progress offense the past two weeks. In the first half against the Browns and Texans, Baltimore converted only three of 14 third downs (21.4 percent). In the second half, the Ravens have converted 13 of their 18 third-down chances (72.2 percent). It wasn't the same formula. Against the Browns, the Ravens moved the chains when Joe Flacco started to get wide receivers Marlon Brown and Brandon Stokley more involved. Against the Texans, Baltimore picked up first downs by throwing more to Torrey Smith. The Ravens defense has been just as strong on third downs. The Texans were 1-for-4 on third downs in the second half Sunday.
Running on empty: The Ravens were held to less than 3 yards per carry for a third straight game. Flacco mentioned after the game that the Ravens believed they could run the ball against the Texans, but they averaged 2.4 yards per carry. The Ravens didn't have Ray Rice (hip), although they weren't effective when he played the first two games. Backup Bernard Pierce had little running room and didn't break many tackles. Take away his 25-yard run and Pierce managed 40 yards on his other 23 carries, a 1.7-yard average. The Ravens are averaging 2.6 yards per carry this season. Only the Jacksonville Jaguars (2.4 yards per carry) have been worse.
Offense-minded defense: Smith's 37-yard interception return was the first pick-six of his 10-year career and the 42nd in Ravens history. The Ravens' 30 touchdowns off interception returns since 2003 are the most in the NFL and two more than anyone else in the league (the Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers each have 28). Since 1996, the Ravens' defense has recorded 53 touchdowns, scoring at least one in each of the franchise's 18 years of existence. Baltimore is 42-7 (.857) when scoring a defensive touchdown.