Daryl Smith, Tandon Doss making it a vintage celebration (Ravens up 27-9)

Anyone else feel like they’re watching a mid-2000s version of the Ravens today?

The offense hasn’t found a rhythm and hasn’t a produced a big play, but Baltimore’s defense and special teams are making up for it in droves.

Daryl Smith’s 37-yard interception return for a touchdown and Tandon Doss’ 82-yard punt return for a touchdown have given the Ravens a 17-9 halftime lead after they started the game in a 6-0 hole.

Houston kicker Randy Bullock booted a 47-yard field goal as time expired in the second quarter.

The Texans absolutely dominated the first quarter, holding the ball for 12:15 to the Ravens’ 2:45. But they only came away with six points (the last three of which came on the first play of the second quarter).

Baltimore hasn’t quite gotten it together offensively, with just 65 yards and four first downs at halftime. But it hasn’t needed more thanks to Smith and Doss.

Doss’ score came on the fifth-longest punt return in team history while Smith’s was the first pick-six of his career.

The stats swing heavily in the Texans’ favor. They have outgained the Ravens 157-65, have 11 first downs to Baltimore’s four and have held the ball for 18:21 to the home team’s 11:39. But Houston has been burned by the two big plays, as well as seven penalties for 66 yards.

The Ravens haven’t fared much better in that area with eight penalties for 77 yards. Two of those were 15-yarders committed by left tackle Bryant McKinnie.

Not much to celebrate on offense today, but like the teams led by Ray Lewis and Ed Reed throughout the mid-to-late 2000s, the defense and special teams have it covered so far.

Now it’s time for Lewis’ Ring of Honor ceremony. Check back for quotes later.

Update: The Ravens offense couldn’t let the defense and special teams make all the big plays, apparently.

The unit responsible for scoring points joined the party on the first drive of the second half, putting together a nine-play 80-yard series that ended with Baltimore’s first offensive touchdown of the day and a 24-9 lead.

Joe Flacco went 3-for-4 for 77 yards on the drive and Torrey Smith made two catches for 72 yards, including a gorgeous 48-yarder in stride on the Ravens sideline.

Bernard Pierce capped it with a 1-yard touchdown run behind Vonta Leach on the left end, and Baltimore now holds a comfortable lead over Houston.

The Ravens went into halftime with 65 yards. The trumped that by 15 yards on the last drive alone.

Update II: Justin Tucker has responded nicely to his rough week last Sunday, converting his second kick in as many attempts today - this time from 45 yards out to increase the Ravens’ lead to 27-9 with 9:09 to go in the game.

That capped a 13-play, 69-yard drive, which lasted 6:15. Houston is up to 12 penalties for 103 yards. Not helping itself.