The Ravens beat the Texans 25-9 in their season-opening game at M&T Bank Sunday. For a full recap, click here.

Read on for the initial takeaways from The Baltimore Banner’s sports staff.

Offense fizzles

The Ravens’ offense had hummed in season openers under Lamar Jackson. Which made his struggles Sunday — with a quarterback-friendly offensive coordinator in Todd Monken, an upgraded wide receiver room and an injury-marred Houston defense — all the more surprising. This was a game won with situational football, not exciting football. If the injuries to Baltimore’s offensive line are significant, it could be hard for Jackson to get comfortable in Monken’s system. That’s bad news considering the pass-rush groups looming on the Ravens’ schedule.

— Jonas Shaffer, Ravens beat reporter

The Baltimore Banner thanks its sponsors. Become one.

Zay Flowers delivers

On a day when receiver Odell Beckham Jr., one of the most famous athletes in the world, made his return to football, it was Zay Flowers, the Ravens’ prized first-round rookie receiver, who stole the spotlight. Flowers did everything: caught passes, made defenders miss and took handoffs. He finished with nine receptions for 78 yards, both team highs. The offense looked clunky and confused for most of the game in offensive coordinator Todd Monken’s new system, but Flowers was the anomaly. The Ravens have struggled to find productive first-round receivers, but in his first game Flowers showed they may have finally gotten one.

— Kris Rhim, Ravens beat reporter

Leaning on what has worked

While it was positive to see a few big catches out of Zay Flowers and Odell Beckham Jr., it’s clear the Ravens aren’t fully up to speed on some of the new aspects after starters got no preseason action. While losing J.K. Dobbins is a huge blow, the Ravens’ run game — which has been one of the league’s best throughout the Jackson era — will ease the evolution into Todd Monken’s fully realized passing attack (Dobbins had one touchdown Sunday, while Justice Hill added two). Getting Mark Andrews back as soon as possible should help a lot, too.

— Kyle Goon, sports columnist

Expected struggles

The downside of Baltimore’s decision not to play its starters and established veterans in the preseason was apparent. It wasn’t the sharpest offensive outing for the Ravens in the regular-season debut for Monken. Although much of the offseason buzz has been on the Ravens’ new air attack and receiving weapons, the rushing attack was still their bread and butter and the main source of points against Houston, with three touchdowns on the ground for running backs. The Ravens won a game they should’ve, but they didn’t deliver on expectations.

The Baltimore Banner thanks its sponsors. Become one.

— Aron Yohannes, sports reporter

Reasons to worry

The Ravens looked a lot like a team that didn’t really use its starting units in preseason games — which they are. A John Harbaugh-coached squad won’t be this sloppy for long — the penalties were egregious, 13 for 106 yards — and the offense needs time to grow into whatever it will become (it also needs Andrews back). The defense looked mostly fine against ... well ... the Texans. That’s not really saying much.

But there’s no way around the larger issue here: Injuries to LT Ronnie Stanley, RB J.K. Dobbins and S Marcus Williams could be a huge deal. Andrews is working his way back, as is defensive back Marlon Humphrey. But it’s also generally true that, if you aren’t healthy to start the season, you rarely get all the way there during the course of it. Football is a brutal sport, and the best teams always have a next-man-up mentality. But there’s only so much talent to go around in this league, and the Ravens may need to replace players will Pro Bowl-level talent.

— Chris Korman, sports editor

More From The Banner