Week two of the 2014 season matched up the Houston Texans visiting the Oakland Raiders. The Texans were coming off a 17-6 win over the Washington Redskins and the Raiders were coming off a 19-14 loss to the New York Jets. Kicker Sebastian Janikowski blasted the ball through the end zone and the Texans started at their 20-yard line. Two carries by running back Arian Foster gained 12 yards and the Texans had a first down at their 32. From the 32, quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick completed a short pass to wide receiver Damaris Johnson and that was followed by a pass interference penalty on cornerback Chimdi Chekwa. That gave the Texans another first down at their 37. Foster was thrown for a loss of two by linebacker Sio Moore on the next play. But Fitzpatrick completed a nine-yard pass to Foster and another nine-yard pass to wide receiver Andre Johnson to move the Texans into Oakland territory. On second and four from the Oakland 41, Foster ran right up the gut for what looked like a 41-yard touchdown. Replay showed he was down at the one-yard line. That wasn’t much of an obstacle for the Texans to overcome as Fitzpatrick found defensive end J.J. Watt WIDE OPEN in the end zone for a touchdown. Kicker Randy Bullock made the point after and the Texans led 7-0 with 9:37 to go in the first quarter.
The Raiders continued their trend of what they did last week. That means they went three and out once again. Punter Marquette King punted and the Texans got the ball back at their 30-yard line. An eight-yard run by Foster and a seven-yard pass to wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins got the Texans moving and they were heading into Oakland territory again. On third and eight from the 47, the Raider defense brought the blitz and Fitzpatrick went deep over the middle for tight end Garrett Graham. He hauled in the pass for a gain of 26 and a first down at the Oakland 27. Two short carries by Foster set up yet another third down situation. This time, Fitzpatrick found Johnson again and the pass was caught for a gain of ten and a first down at the 13. Fitzpatrick hooked up with Johnson one more time and the Raiders were flagged for offside to make it second and one from the four-yard line. Foster got another carry and was brought down at the one. A delay of game penalty moved the Texans back five yards, but that didn’t really matter. Foster got the call again and he ran right up the middle for another Texan touchdown. Bullock made the point after and the Texans led 14-0 at the end of the first quarter.
The Raiders started at their 17 and on second down, quarterback Derek Carr ran up the right side for a gain of 41 yards. That was the spark the offense needed and a short run by running back Darren McFadden and a seven-yard completion wide receiver Andre Holmes gave them a first down at the Houston 31. Things were looking good, right? WRONG! The spark they had was quickly extinguished as Carr threw into tight coverage and the pass was picked off by cornerback Kareem Jackson. He returned it 65 yards to the Oakland 24-yard line. This time, the Raider defense did their job and kept the Texans out of the end zone. They had to settle for a field goal and the 33-yard attempt was good. That put the Texans up 17-0 with 10:30 to go in the first half.
The Raiders got a few first downs on their next drive. But they only got as far as their 47-yard line. King punted and the Texans got the ball back at their 24. The Raider defense did another admirable job on this drive and the Texans were forced to punt. Punter Shane Lechler got off a high punt that was downed at the Raider 13-yard line. With 2:27 to go in the half, the Raiders would be happy just to get in field goal range. A six-yard run by McFadden and a five-yard pass to wide receiver James Jones netted a first down at the 24. From there, Carr completed passes to Jones and wide receiver Rod Streater and that put them at their 45. From the 45, Carr found Jones on the right side where he made a nice catch at the Houston 29. He was hit and the ball came loose. He scooped it up and headed for the end zone. Before he got there, he was hit again by cornerback Johnathan Joseph and the ball was knocked loose again. The ball was recovered by safety D.J. Swearinger at the three-yard line. You want to talk about total deflation? That’s exactly what I felt. Deflation, anger, frustration and the feeling that it was going to be another long year for the Raiders. At the end of the first half, the Texans led 17-0.
The Raider started the second half from their 24 and were putting together a nice drive with some good running by McFadden and completions to Jones and fullback Marcel Reece. But this drive would also come to an end due to the fact that tight end Mychal Rivera couldn’t hold on to the ball. On third and 13 from the Houston 38, Carr found Rivera on the left side. After Rivera caught the pass and started to head up-field, the ball was knocked out by Swearinger and recovered by Joseph. It looked he was going to score, but he was pushed out of bounds at the Oakland 21. Five plays later, Fitzpatrick found Hopkins in the end zone. Bullock made the point after and the Texans now had a commanding 24-0 lead with 8:29 to go in the third quarter.
The Raiders did nothing with the ball again on their next possession and King punted. The Texans started their next drive at the Oakland 45. They got as far as the 21 and had to settle for a field goal. The 39-yard attempt was good and the Texans were now up 27-0 with 3:14 to go in the third quarter. Carr spread the ball around to four different receivers on their next drive and McFadden contributed some tough running to move the ball to Houston 32. From there, Carr went deep for wide receiver Denarius Moore. The pass was incomplete, but the Texans were flagged for pass interference. That put the ball at the two-yard line and McFadden finished the drive with a two-yard touchdown run. Janikowksi made the point after and the Texans led 27-7 with 14 minutes to go in the game.
The Texans started at their 20 and stuck to their ground game as Foster had four carries and running back Alfred Blue had seven. All that running ran the clock down and moved the Texans down to the Oakland 28. That’s where the drive stalled and Bullock was brought in again for a 46-yard field goal attempt. The kick was good and the Texans increased their lead to 30-7 with 4:46 to go in the game. The Raiders would score once more with 13 seconds left as Carr found Jones in the end zone for a nine-yard touchdown. Janikowski made the point after and the final score was Texans 30 Raiders 14.
For the Texans, Ryan Fitzpatrick had an efficient game as he completed 14 of 19 for 132 yards and two touchdowns. Andre Johnson led all receivers in receptions with six and receiving yards with 74. The ground game was where most of the damage was done. As a team, the Texans ran the ball 46 times for a total of 188 yards. Arian Foster led the way with 138 yards on 28 carries and a touchdown. Defensively, cornerback A.J. Bouye led the Texans in solo tackles with seven.
For the Raiders, Derek Carr completed 27 of 42 for 263 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. James Jones led the team in receptions with nine and receiving yards with 112 and a touchdown. He also led the team in fumbles with two on the same play. That’s something you don’t see every day. As a team, they rushed for 101 yards on 17 carries. 41 of those yards came on one carry by Carr. He was the leading rusher with 58 yards on four carries. Defensively, safety Tyvon Branch led the team in solo tackles with ten.
Well, that was a nightmare. In fact, it was an absolutely horrible nightmare. Guess what? Unless some things change drastically in Oakland, this is going to get worse. Up next is a trip to New England to take on the Patriots and then off to England to play the Dolphins. When I looked at the schedule earlier in the year, I thought they’d be okay if they could split the first four games and go into the bye week with a two and two record. Well, I don’t think that’s going to happen. I’ll be out of town next weekend, but hope to have an article on the game against the Patriots up by Tuesday. Until then, take it easy.
The Raider Guy