By VAN HOLLAND
The defending Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens were in dire need of a game-changing play and Daryl Smith was there to provide that. Smith stepped in front of Houston Texans' tight end Owen Daniels, intercepted Matt Schaub's pass and took it 37 yards for a touchdown to propel the Raven's to a 30-9 victory Sunday.
"Two huge plays by the defense and the special teams," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. "We do feel we're as far along as we could possibly be with this group. We haven't given up the big plays."
Tarboro native Shaun Draughn made his Ravens debut and gave all the production that he could despite playing with an inured ankle that he suffered on his first carry. He had two kick returns for 53 yards and had four carries for 2 yards. His longest kick return was 31 yards.
On Draughn's first official carry as a Raven, he was tackled and while going down a Texans defender fell on Draughn and forced him to twist his ankle and strain his achilles. He stayed in the game and tried to stretch it out.
"I had an injury like this one before and that's what it feels like," Draughn said. "The pain was moving around. It doesn't feel too bad right now, I think I will be back next week. I'll be good. I may have to take off Monday and Tuesday."
Draughn was used on a series where starting running back Benard Pierce was on the sideline stretching out his calf.
The Ravens won despite playing without Ray Rice for the first time since 2008. Watching from the sideline with a strained hip flexor, the three-time Pro Bowl running back was replaced by Pierce, who rushed for 65 yards and a touchdown.