(AP) – The Houston Texans spent a lot of time in the end zone, rolling up a franchise record for points and sending a clear message to the rest of the AFC:
Last week’s embarrassing loss to Green Bay was a mere hiccup. These Texans will be a handful all season.
Matt Schaub threw two touchdown passes, Arian Foster ran for two scores and the Texans dominated a showdown of the conference’s top two teams, routing the Baltimore Ravens 43-13 on Sunday.
“We were really into what we were doing,” Texans coach Gary Kubiak said, “and we were there all day long, so it was a good team effort.”
Johnathan Joseph returned an interception 52 yards for a touchdown and the Texans (6-1) finally beat Baltimore (5-2), which was without Ray Lewis and Lardarius Webb. The Ravens had won all six previous meetings and eliminated them from last year’s playoffs.
The big win took the sting out of the 42-24 defeat to Green Bay last Sunday. Schaub completed 23 of 37 passes for 256 yards and the Texans finished with 420 yards.
Meanwhile, Aaron Rodgers and the Packers picked up where they left off by topping the St. Louis Rams 30-20. Rodgers, who threw six touchdown passes against the Texans, had three more against the Rams.
Rodgers directed Green Bay to its second consecutive turnover-free game. He also has 150 career TD passes and 42 interceptions, breaking Dan Marino’s NFL record for fewest interceptions at that milestone. Marino had 69 interceptions when he threw his 150th TD pass.
Randall Cobb caught two touchdown passes and Jordy Nelson had eight receptions for a season-best 122 yards for the Packers (4-3). Rookie Casey Hayward made his first start in place of injured Sam Shields and intercepted his fourth pass in three games.
“Winning is fun,” said Nelson, who had a 3-yard TD catch in the first quarter. “That’s why we play games. It’s great to win back-to-back games, it sounds great to say that for the first time this year, but we’ve got to stack success.”
Elsewhere, it was New Orleans 35, Tampa Bay 28; New England 29, the New York Jets 26 in overtime; Tennessee 35, Buffalo 34; the New York Giants 27, Washington 23; Pittsburgh 24, Cincinnati 17; Minnesota 21, Arizona 14; Dallas 19, Carolina 14; Indianapolis 17, Cleveland 13; and Oakland 26, Jacksonville 23 in OT.
At Houston, Terrell Suggs, last year’s defensive player of the year, saw his first action for the Ravens since undergoing surgery on his right Achilles tendon last May. Suggs sacked Schaub in the first quarter and finished with three solo tackles.
Otherwise, Baltimore’s defense seemed overmatched without Lewis and Webb, who were placed on injured reserve this week. Safety Ed Reed, who acknowledged this week that he’s been playing with a torn labrum in his right shoulder, left in the fourth quarter with a chest injury. Reed said he felt fine after the game.
Joe Flacco threw two interceptions and was sacked four times.
The Ravens gave up their most points since a 44-20 loss to Indianapolis in 2007.
“It’s not the end of the world,” Suggs said, “but it’s not something we’re going to take lightly, either.”
At St. Louis, Rodgers was 30 for 37, setting a single-game franchise completion record of 81.1 percent with a minimum of 35 attempts. He has guided the Packers to touchdowns on 12 of 14 trips inside the 20 over the last four games.
“I think their plan was to dink and dunk and catch us off guard,” Rams cornerback Cortland Finnegan said. “They made the plays when they needed to.”
Steven Jackson ran for his first touchdown of the year, and just the Rams’ 10th overall, to trim the deficit to a touchdown midway through the fourth quarter. But Rodgers made a terrific throw to Cobb for a 39-yard pass that put the Packers up by two scores with 3:06 remaining.
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