Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Derrick Mason (85) catches… (US Presswire )
Houston — Derrick Mason's rant after the Ravens' loss to Pittsburgh revealed only a level of frustration and no great secrets. Underachieving offense? Check.
But Mason put himself out front as dissatisfied with the way the offense was playing. And Monday night, he rose to the challenge.
After he dropped a deep ball on the Ravens' first possession when he had a clear path to the end zone, the 14-year veteran came back to catch two touchdown passes from Joe Flacco in the first half to help open a 21-7 lead.
They were vintage Mason catches, too.
The first came on a third-and-6 play at the Houston 9 yard line. He ran a skinny post -- one of his favorite patterns on the goal line -- to take Flacco's pass at the back of the end zone between linebacker Kevin Bentley and safety Troy Nolan. That made it 14-0.
Two possessions later -- after an interception by cornerback Chris Carr set up the Ravens in Houston territory -- Mason again converted a third-down play, this time at the goal line along the sideline.
As Mason leaped for Flacco's pass, cornerback Jason Allen fell, clearing the way for a 26-yard touchdown. That made it 21-0.
"I'm disappointed that I dropped the pass," he said after the Ravens survived the Texans in overtime, 34-28. "I'm disappointed after I was critical of the offense last week. ÃƒÂ‚Ã‚Â… I was more [bleeped] off at myself than anybody else was. I take full responsibility.
Last week, Mason reiterated that he was compelled to speak out because the level of play by the offense was unacceptable, as both coach John Harbaugh and offensive coordinator Cam Cameron later acknowledged.
"Everybody understands and realizes that it's true [that the Ravens have underachieved], considering what we have on the offensive side of the ball," Mason said. "And I'm not saying we are a bad offense -- we just haven't played good at times and we need to be more consistent and we need to execute better for longer stretches of the game."
Mason admits that his sporadic outbursts always contain an element of truth and are never intended to diminish a teammate.
"I'm going to make a statement," he said last week. "If you like it, fine. If you don't, what the hell. You're not going to stop me from playing the game the way I play it. And you're not going to stop me from saying what I got to say because there's some truth in everything I say.
"Whether it be [that] I'm getting on myself, I've never thrown anyone under the bus when I've said anything. I've always put myself in the equation, I've always said something to the fact if I need to be a better player or whatnot. You take it for what it's worth."
The two-touchdown night for Mason was his first of the season. He now has five touchdowns in the last six games.