M&T Stadium: A house of horrors of the Houston Texans

The Texans would rather attend the ball in Masque of the Red Death than play at M&T it would seem…

When the Baltimore returned to pro football in 1996, after Art Modell solidified himself as perhaps the biggest traitor in Cleveland history, they had so many options for renaming the new team (Cleveland managed to keep the team name, history and colors, unlike some OTHER organizations). The list initially started at 100, but whittled down to three. They could have been the Americans or the Marauders, but instead, the citizens of Baltimore went with the Ravens. While the species Corvus Corax is quite common to Baltimore and is hardly a small sparrow, the decision had more to do with the use of the raven in literary works by the city’s greatest writer, Edger Allen Poe.

While the mascot is a homage to a poetic inspiration for Poe, the Houston Texans could be excused for thinking that the Ravens channeled more of Poe’s horror stories. The home of the Ravens, M&T Stadium, rates just as scary as the House of Usher or any of the dark, gothic mansions that set the stage for his 19th century works. In the 21-year history of the Houston Texans, they have never won a game in Baltimore. Prior to this Sunday, the Texans logged six total visits to Charm City. Baltimore is 6-0. Here’s how those matchups went:

Regular Season (0-5):

2005: HOU 15 – BAL 16

Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Houston’s first trek to Baltimore came during the lost season of 2005. The Texans came into the matchup 1-10. Baltimore wasn’t a whole lot better, sitting at 3-8. A scintillating David Carr vs. Kyle Boller matchup graced the TV sets in both cities. Yet, even with both teams at the bottom tier of the standings, the matchup was competitive. Houston actually held a 15-13 lead after a Kris Brown 39-yard FG with 1:08 left. Unfortunately for Houston, that was 1:02 too long. Baltimore drove down the field and with 0:06 on the clock, Matt Stover hit the game-winning 38 yard FG. Houston wasted a 155-yard rushing effort by Domanick Williams (nee Davis), mainly by not scoring a single TD. The lost season continued for Houston.

2011: HOU 14 – BAL 29

Photo by Larry French/Getty Images

Houston would go nearly six years before a return trip to Baltimore. This matchup promised to be a more quality engagement, albeit early in the season. Houston came in at 3-2, looking to sustain a strong start to a season for once, and Baltimore countered with tough, physical play at 3-1. Baltimore would dominate offensively, as Joe Flacco torching the Texans’ secondary for 305 yards and the team rushed for 113 yards. The defense sacked Schaub four times and held the dangerous Texans rushing attack to 93 yards. However, Baltimore also turned the ball over twice, keeping Houston in the game. Houston was only down 14-16 coming into the fourth. However, Baltimore would score 13 unanswered points, and Houston left Charm City at .500, and with more concerns about the trajectory of its season.

2013: HOU 9 – BAL 30

Photo by Larry French/Getty Images

Both teams came into this game 2-0, and another battle royal between two AFC contenders figured to entertain the masses. Throw in the subplot of Houston Safety Ed Reed returning to Baltimore and it figured to be a quality matchup. Instead, the game turned into a precursor to the self-immolation of the Kubiak regime in Houston. Schaub threw a pick-six in his second straight game, erasing a 6-3 lead for Houston. If it wasn’t the turnovers, it was the penalties. Officials flagged the Texans for 14 penalties for 113 yards. Houston was shut out in the second half as Baltimore accepted Houston’s generosity. The Texans would start their soul-crushing 14-game losing streak for the season.

2017: HOU 16 – BAL 23

Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

The 2017 season for Houston is mainly regarded as a lost one. With the season-ending injuries to Deshaun Watson and JJ Watt, Houston lost most of its star power and any chance for a third straight AFC South title/playoff trip. Still, they came to Baltimore at 4-6, not completely out of the playoff picture, mainly on the strength of DeAndre Hopkins and Jadevon Clowney. The Ravens, while not quite having the season they desired, also had playoff aspirations at 5-5. This game figured to all-but-eliminate the loser from playoff consideration. Houston actually took the early lead in this matchup 7-0, but the Baltimore defense/special teams and three turnovers from Tom Savage were enough to enable Baltimore to hold off Houston. That Houston set the high-water mark for points in Baltimore was of no consolation. Once again, a loss in Baltimore sparked a losing streak that would last until the end of the season (6).

2019: HOU 7 – BAL 41

Kenneth K. Lam/Baltimore Sun/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

This matchup offered the promise of being not only a good one, but perhaps the start of a great NFL QB rivalry. The Ravens, now under the helm of Lamar Jackson, came in 7-2. Houston, fresh of its first London win, came in a 6-3. The last time the two QB met, in college in 2016, they played one of the best games of that year. However, their first pro meeting proved far less competitive. After seeing a potential early TD wiped off the board after a failed pass interference challenge, Houston could not contain Baltimore, who picked apart the Texans’ defense like a table full of steamed crabs. Baltimore logged 491 yards of total offense, holding Houston to less than half of that (232) and racking up 7 sacks. The Ravens held a 34-0 fourth quarter lead before Carlos Hyde provided a 41-yard TD to avoid the shutout, but not the embarrassment. At least Houston managed to win the very next game.

Playoffs (0-1):

2011 Season: HOU 13- BAL 20

Set Number: X86760 TK1 R4 F54

When these teams met for the second time in the 2011 season, TJ Yates, a mere third stringer before, led Houston’s attack. Baltimore carried the momentum from its earlier win to a second seed in the AFC. Houston was just coming off its first playoff appearance, a 31-10 destruction of the Bengals. Most didn’t figure Houston to get out of Charm City with the win. Houston didn’t help matters when Jacoby Jones committed perhaps the worst special teams blunder in team history, muffing a first quarter punt that enabled Baltimore to gain momentum, turning a 3-0 deficit into a 17-3 second quarter lead. Yet, the Texans defense and running game came to play. JJ Watt and Brooks Reed both logged 2.5 sacks of Joe Flacco, and Arian Foster pounded the Ravens for 132 yards rushing. That defense and running game brought Houston within four at the half. Down 13-20 late in the fourth quarter, TJ Yates went for broke with a desperation heave to Andre Johnson, only for it to result in his third INT of the day. Baltimore survived this game, only to lose a heartbreaker against New England the following week in the AFC Championship. For Houston, it was perhaps the most heartbreaking loss in Baltimore, as most regarded the 2011 squad as the best chance to date of Houston making a Super Bowl appearance.

Only visits to the New England Patriots’ home field of Gillette Stadium (0-7 regular season and playoffs) yield more pain and suffering for the Texans (although the Texans did finally log a win at Foxboro this August, albeit in the preseason). That is the history facing CJ Stroud, Will Anderson Jr, DeMeco Ryans and the 2023 Texans. Most figure on Houston making that 0-7. Perhaps only Gary Kubiak’s debut game, against Philadelphia in 2006, which has never lost to a Houston-based NFL team ever, was a tougher draw. Still, if Ryans is looking to get his reign as Texans’ coach off to a good start, it would be hard to top finally logging a victory in Baltimore.