October 18, 2017

Raiders 28, Texans 23

Up next on the schedule for the Oakland Raiders was a trip to Houston to take on the Texans.  The Raiders were coming off a tough 24-20 loss to the New York Giants and the Texans were coming off a 27-24 loss to the Arizona Cardinals.  After starting the year 2-0, the Texans had lost seven straight games.  The Raiders won the toss and deferred to the second half.  Kicker Sebastian Janikowski kicked the ball five yards deep into the end zone and return man Keshawn Martin returned it to the 21-yard line.  Rookie quarterback Case Keenum took to the air on first down and threw a screen to wide receiver Andre Johnson.  The defense wasn’t fooled and Johnson was thrown for a loss of three yards.  On second down, running back Ben Tate ran up the left side for a gain of 11 and that set up a third and two from the 29.  Keenum completed a short pass to tight end Garrett Graham.  As Graham was fighting for more yardage, safety Charles Woodson knocked the ball loose and it was recovered by cornerback Phillip Adams.  Adams headed up the left side and then cut back up the right side and was finally dragged down at the Houston 16-yard line.

That was very good field position for the Raiders and rookie quarterback Matt McGloin.  Three carries by running back Rashad Jennings gained 11 yards and gave the Raiders a first and goal at the five.  A false start on guard Lucas Nix moved them back five yards and from the ten, Jennings carried the ball again for a gain of four.  He got the call again on the next play and was stopped for a gain of one.  By this time, I was wondering if we were ever going to see McGloin throw a pass.  Well, he finally did and it went for a five-yard touchdown to wide receiver Denarius Moore.  Janikowski made the point after and the Raiders led 7-0 with 9:26 remaining in the first quarter.

Both teams punted on their next possessions and with four minutes to go in the first quarter, the Texans got the ball back at their five-yard line.  On first down, Keenum came under some heavy pressure from defensive tackle Stacy McGee and his pass floated into the hands of linebacker Nick Roach.  The Raiders got the ball back at the Houston 16 and on first down, McGloin looked for and found wide receiver Rod Streater in the end zone for another Raider touchdown.  Janikowksi made the point after and the Raiders led 14-0 with 3:45 to go in the first quarter.

Well, the Raiders couldn’t have asked for a better start.  But they’ve been here before.  Their 14-point leads don’t seem to last very long.  Streater was penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct after the touchdown and Janikowski kicked off from the 20.  Martin fielded it at the four and returned it 36 yards to the 40.  A short run by Tate and a 34-yard completion to Graham set the Texans up at the Oakland 23.  Tate was then thrown for a loss of two and that was followed by an incomplete pass.  On third and 12 from the 25, the Raiders brought the heat and Keenum was sacked for a loss of 15 yards by defensive end Lamarr Houston.  That moved them out of field goal range and punter Shane Lechler got off a high punt that was fair caught at the 11.  The Raiders were flagged for holding and that moved them back to the six-yard line.

Two plays gained eight yards and on third and two, Jennings was stopped for a gain of one.  Marquette King got off a nice 64-yard punt that was fielded at the 21 by Martin and returned four yards.  But another flag was thrown and the Texans were called for holding.  That moved them back to their 15-yard line.  Keenum went right to work and found Johnson down the middle for a gain of 34 yards.  Two more runs by Tate gave them a third and one from the Oakland 42.  On third down, Keenum was flushed out of the pocket and ran to his right.  As he was heading out of bounds, he launched a deep ball down-field and it was caught by Graham for a touchdown.  For some reason, Woodson let Graham get behind him and he was wide open for the easy score.  Kicker Randy Bullock made the point after and the Raiders now led 14-7 with 11:52 to go in the second quarter.

That score was followed by a lot of ineptness for both offenses.  King and Lechler were definitely getting their exercise in this game.  With a little over three minutes to go, King hit a 47-yard punt that was bobbled by Martin at the 13-yard line.  Sometimes when a punt returner bobbles a catch, it can actually turn out to be a good thing for his team.  This time it was.  Martin returned the punt straight up the middle for an 87-yard touchdown.  Bullock made the point after and the score was knotted at 14 with 2:54 to go in the second quarter.  Remember what I was saying about the Raiders and 14-point leads?

The Raiders gained three yards on their next possession and punted again.  The Texans took over at their 24 with a little over two minutes remaining.  Tate gained 26 yards on two carries and completions to Johnson and Graham moved them to the Oakland 38.  They made it down to the 33 when the drive stalled.  Bullock was brought into the game to try a 51-yard field goal.  Before the kick, the announcers were saying how bad a year Bullock was having and that he had little chance of making such a long attempt.  Well, what the hell do they know about anything?  Bullock nailed the kick and the Texans now led 17-14 at halftime.

Both teams punted on their first possessions of the second half.  With 10:34 to go in the third quarter, the Raiders got the ball at their 27-yard line.  From the 27, McGloin went deep to Streater and the catch was made for a gain of 36 yards.  On third and nine from the Houston 36, McGloin found fullback Marcel Reece across the middle for a gain of 16 and a first down at the 20.  Jennings ran up the middle for a gain of four, but a holding call moved them back to the 26.  From there,  McGloin threw a perfect pass to tight end Mychal Rivera for another Raider touchdown.  Janikowski made the point after and the Raiders now led 21-17 with 8:13 to go in the third quarter.

The Texans gained a grand total of one yard on their next possession and punted again.  The Raiders took over at their 41 and hoped to add to their lead.  An offside penalty on the Texans got them off to a good start and a ten-yard run by Jennings moved them to the Houston 44.  But the Texans were up to the challenge this time and they stopped Rivera short of a first down.  That meant it was time for Janikowksi to try a 54-yard field goal.  Before this kick, the announcers were singing praises for Janikowksi.  They talked about how he was the all time leading scorer for the Raiders and how accurate he was from 50 yards out.  Well, all that hype led to his kick hitting the left upright.  All I could do was shake my head.  The score remained 21-17 and the Texans took over at their 44.  They went eight yards and Lechler punted again.  The kick went through the end zone and the Raiders started at their 20.

From the 20, Jennings took a direct snap and ran up the left side.  The blocking was good and it looked like it would be a good play.  It turned out to be an excellent play as Jennings showed speed that I didn’t know he had.  He outran the defense for an 80-yard touchdown.  Janikowski made the point after and the Raiders now led 28-17 with 2:26 to go in the third quarter.

After another touch-back, I began to hear “BOOOOOO!”  The reason for all that booing was that Keenum was pulled for Matt Schaub.  It’s pretty obvious what the people in Houston think about Mr. Schaub.  They managed to gain 27 yards on this possession and were forced to punt.  After three plays, the Raiders punted the ball right back to the Texans.  Starting at their 31, Schaub completed deep passes to Graham and Martin to move them down to the Oakland 23.  On third and 11 from the 24, Schaub looked for Johnson, but the ball hit cornerback Mike Jenkins in the back.  He was flagged for pass interference and if he would have turned around, he most likely would have had a very easy interception.  But he didn’t turn around and the Texans now had a first and goal at the ten-yard line.  They gained two yards on the next three plays and Bullock made his 26-yard field goal attempt.  That made it 28-20 with 12:13 left in the game.

The Raiders took over at their 20 and on third and eight from the 22, McGloin put one up the right side for wide receiver Andre Holmes.  Holmes caught it for a second, lost control, regained control and came down out of bounds.  It was ruled incomplete, but the replay showed that he got his elbow down before he went out of bounds.  It was a close call and Raider head coach Dennis Allen challenged it.  After further review, it was ruled incomplete.  That meant King had to punt again.  This time, the punt went only 39 yards and the Texans took over at their 39.

Completions to Martin, Johnson and Graham quickly moved them to the Oakland 29.  The Raiders weren’t attacking like they were earlier in the game and Schaub had all day to find an open receiver.  On first down from the 29, Tate rumbled up the middle for a gain of 16 and the Texans were looking good.  But Tate was thrown for a three-yard loss on first down and that was followed by two incomplete passes.  Bullock was brought in for another field goal attempt and his 30-yard kick was good.  The score was now 28-23 with 8:02 to go in the game.

A nice timely drive here would be a good thing for the Raiders.  Take some time off the clock and cruise to victory, right?  Wrong.  There is no such thing as “cruising to victory” for the guys in silver and black.  They ran three plays, gained four yards and took 57 seconds off the clock.  That was highly unimpressive.  The Texans got the ball back at the 30 and Schaub threw three straight incomplete passes.  The Houston faithful were really getting on his case now.  So, with 6:30 to go, the Raiders started at their 16 and once again had the opportunity to eat some more clock.  Three carries by Jennings netted a first down at the 26.  After that, they went backwards.  McGloin was sacked by defensive end J.J. Watt for a loss of 11 yards.  That “drive” took almost three minutes off the clock.  Wow.  King was brought into the game for the 11th time and the punt was fair caught by Martin at the Houston 36.

Again, the Raiders brought little pressure and Schaub had all day to throw.  He found wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins for seven yards and Johnson for 35 more.  Just like that, they were at the Oakland 35-yard line.  Then Schaub found Tate for nine yards and Tate ran up the right side for a gain of 15.  It was now first down at the 11.  A short run by Tate made it second and eight from the nine.  Schaub completed another pass to Tate and he was dragged down at the two.  He was hit hard by Woodson and the ball came loose, but Tate was able to recover it.  Tate got the call on the next play and he was stopped for a loss of one yard.  So, it all came down to fourth and two from the three-yard line.  Schaub took the snap and threw to the right side and it fell incomplete.  I thought that was it.  I thought the Raiders had a win.  Not yet.  The Texans were flagged for a false start and there was no play.  They moved them back five yards and Schaub looked for Johnson across the middle.  The pass hit safety Usama Young and the ball was bouncing around in his arms.  This was no time for a juggling act.  A Texan receiver could have come up and taken the ball away from him.  That didn’t happen and the ball fell to the ground.  The Raiders ran out the clock and came away with a 28-23 win.  After that play, Johnson and Schaub had a heated exchange on the sideline and Johnson ended up heading to the locker room before the game was over.  I haven’t seen a player do that since Randy Moss when he was with the Vikings.

Like I said, it’s never easy for the Raiders to get a win, but they got one.  The win improved them to 4-6 and the Texans lost their eighth straight game to fall to 2-8.  For the Raiders, Matt McGloin completed 18 of 32 for 197 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions.  Rod Streater led the team in receptions with six and receiving yards with 84 and a touchdown.  Jennings was the workhorse on the ground again and he gained 150 yards on 22 carries and a touchdown.  As a team, the Raiders rushed for 165 yards on 31 carries.  Defensively, Mike Jenkins led the team in solo tackles with ten and he also added two tackles for a loss.

For the Texans, Case Keenum and Matt Schaub combined to complete 25 of 49 for 304 yards.  Keenum had one touchdown pass and one interception.  Andre Johnson led the team in receptions with ten and Garrett Graham had the most receiving yards with 136 and a touchdown.  Ben Tate carried the ball 19 times for 88 yards and he also had 29 yards receiving.  All totaled, the Texans had 90 yards rushing on 20 carries.  Linebackers Jeff Tarpinian and Darryl Sharpton led the team with seven solo tackles each.

This game was eerily similar to what happened the last time the Raiders visited Houston.  In 2011, long time owner Al Davis passed away and the Raiders hung on to win on the last play of the game as safety Michael Huff made the game-winning interception in the end zone.  Last week, the Raiders lost another legend before playing the Texans.  This time it was tight end Todd Christensen.  As fate would have it, the Raiders squeaked out another win in Houston.

Christensen played college ball at BYU and was drafted by the Dallas Cowboys in the second round of the 1978 draft.  He played fullback and was doing very well until a broken foot landed him on injured reserve.  The next year, the Cowboys wanted to convert him to tight end, but he refused and the they waived him.  He was picked up by the Giants, played one game and was cut.  After being unclaimed, the Oakland Raiders signed him and he went on to win two Super Bowl rings and excel at the tight end position.  In his career, Christensen caught 461 passes for 5,972 yards and 41 touchdowns.  After retiring, he went on to do color commentary at NBC from 1990 to 1994.  He died of complications following surgery in a Utah hospital.  He was only 57 years old.  Rest in peace, Todd.

Up next for the Raiders is a home game against the Tennessee Titans.  Hopefully they will take the Titans seriously and not be overconfident like they were against the Eagles a few weeks ago.  If they can contain running back Chris Johnson, they might just be able to improve their record to 5-6.  I’ll be traveling next week, but I hope to have an article up by Tuesday.  Until then, take it easy.

The Raider Guy

Patriots 41, Texans 28

The last game on the playoff schedule had the Houston Texans heading up to New England to take on the Patriots.  The Texans were coming off a 19-13 win over the Cincinnati Bengals and the Patriots had a first round bye.  These teams met in week 14 of the regular season and the Patriots shredded the Texans by a score of 42-14.  The Texans won the toss and elected to receive.  That was a good idea as return man Danieal Manning fielded the kick six yards deep in the end zone and returned it to the Patriot 12-yard line.  From the 12, running back Arian Foster ran up the left side for a modest gain of three yards.  On second down, quarterback Matt Schaub threw a pass to fullback James Casey and the ball went right through his hands and fell incomplete.  On third down, Schaub looked for wide receiver Andre Johnson and that pass was also incomplete.  With such great field position, the Texans had to settle for a field goal attempt from kicker Shayne Graham.  His 27-yard attempt was good and the Texans had an early 3-0 lead.

After that possession, the Patriots punted twice and the Texans followed suit.  But with 4:29 to go in the first quarter, the Patriots put together a nice drive on the strength of running back Stevan Ridley from their 35.  Ridley had two carries for 12 yards and caught a pass for 13 more yards.  From the Texan 40, quarterback Tom Brady threw a short pass to running back Shane Vereen and he took it 25 yards down to the Texan 15.  Brady then hooked up with tight end Aaron Hernandez for a gain of 14 to set up a first and goal at the one.  Vereen took it in from the one for a touchdown.  Kicker Stephen Gostkowski made the point after and the Patriots led 7-3 with 1:28 remaining in the first quarter.

The kickoff went nine yards deep in the end zone and the Texans got the ball at the 20.  Completions to Johnson and Foster moved the Texans quickly to their 47.  But the next three plays gained exactly zero yards and they punted again.  The punt was fair caught at the 16 by wide receiver/return man Wes Welker.  Speaking of Mr. Welker, on third and eight from the 18, he caught a pass for a gain of 30 yards.  Then Vereen ran off left tackle for 22 more and a first down at the Texan 30.  Two more carries by Vereen got them another first down at the 16.  But, an unsportsmanlike penalty on wide receiver Brandon Lloyd moved them back 15 yards.  They managed to get down to the 19, but the drive stalled there.  Gostkowski made his 37-yard attempt and the Patriots now led 10-3 with 10:16 to go in the first half.

After another Texan punt, the Patriots started from their 20.  A 13-yard pass to Welker on third and 11 kept the drive alive and Brady found Lloyd for seven more yards.  A six-yard carry by Ridley and a 47-yard pass to Welker made it first and goal from the eight-yard line.  On first down, Brady tossed a pass to his left and Vereen caught it for an eight-yard touchdown.  Gostkowski made another extra point and the Patriots went up 17-3 with 3:38 to go in the half.

On the kickoff, Gostkowski was penalized for a horse collar tackle and that set up the Texans at the Patriot 47.  Two carries by Foster set up a first and goal from the seven-yard line.  Three more carries got them six points as Foster found the end zone from the one-yard line.  Graham made the point after and the Texans now trailed 17-10 with 1:15 to go in the half.

The Patriots netted exactly four yards on their next drive and punted.  With 24 seconds remaining, the Texans had the ball at their 38 and three timeouts.  A nine-yard pass to Casey and an 11-yard pass to Daniels had them in Patriot territory with precious seconds ticking away.  From the Patriot 42, Schaub found Daniels for a gain of five and they called their final timeout with two seconds left.  Graham came on and his 55-yard field goal was good.  That made it 17-13 as the half came to a close.

The Patriots got the ball to start the second half and started their next possession at their 31.  Two passes to Welker and two to Hernandez had them rolling into Texan territory.  From the 12, Ridley ran for a gain of four yards.  Ridley got the call again and this time he crossed the goal line for another Patriot touchdown.  Gostkowski made the point after and the Patriots went up 24-13.

The teams punted on their next possessions and the Texans took over at their ten with just under nine minutes to go in the third quarter.  A false start penalty pinned them back to their five.  Schaub tossed a short pass to Foster who took it up the left side for a gain of 28 yards.  A short run by Foster and a loss of nine on a sack made it third and long again.  On third and 16, Johnson caught a pass at midfield for another first down.  If the Texans wanted to stay in this game, they had to get some points on this drive.  Foster ran for seven more yards and Casey caught a pass for five yards and a first down at the Patriot 39.  On third and eight from the 37, Schaub had time and threw a pass right down the middle that was caught by Rob Ninkovich at the 31.  There’s only one problem with that.  Ninkovich is a Patriot.  He returned the ball to the 37.  Three carries by Ridley, and passes to Hernandez and Lloyd put the ball at the Texan five-yard line.  On first down, Brady looked for Lloyd and found him for another touchdown.  Gostkowski made the point after and the Patriots now had a very comfortable 31-13 lead.

The Texans found themselves with terrible field position again as they started at their 14-yard line.  An eight-yard pass to tight end Garrett Graham and two short runs made it fourth and one from the 23.  When you’re down big in a playoff game, desperate times call for desperate measures.  They went for it on fourth and the zebras ruled Foster made it.  The Patriots challenged the ruling, but it was upheld and the Texans had a first down at the 24.  Three plays later, they had another fourth and one from the 33.  This time, Schaub threw it deep and it was incomplete.  The Patriots will make you pay if you turn the ball over in your own territory.  Sure enough, from the 33, Brady took the snap, looked to his left and threw a 33-yard touchdown pass to Lloyd.  That was entirely too easy.  Gostkowski made the extra point and the Patriots now led 38-13 with 13 minutes to go in the game.

Manning got loose on another kick return and was finally brought down at the Patriot 37.  A couple of runs by Foster got them down to the 25 and from the 25, wide receiver DeVier Posey caught a pass on the right side for a touchdown.  Initially it was ruled incomplete, but the Texans challenged the ruling and it was overturned for a touchdown.  Graham made the point after and the score was now 38-20 with 11:35 left.

The Patriots netted a grand total of minus five yards on their next possession and Mesko blasted a 64-yard punt that was downed at the Texan 21.  Completions to Johnson and Daniels and a 15-yard unnecessary roughness penalty on the Patriots gave the Texans a first down at the Patriot 48.  A pass to Foster and two more to Daniels made it first and goal at the four.  It took four plays to go four yards, but Schaub hit Foster with a one-yard touchdown pass.  They decided to go for two and Johnson caught the pass and the two-point conversion was good.  That made it 38-28 with 5:11 to go.

The Texans tried an onside kick and it was recovered by Ninkovich.  The Patriots stuck to the ground game to kill the clock and Gostkowski ended up making a 38-yard field goal to make the final score 41-28.  That win propels the Patriots to yet another AFC title game.

For the Texans, Matt Schaub completed 34 of 51 for 343 yards, two touchdowns and one very bad interception.  Owen Daniels led the team in receptions with nine and Andre Johnson had the most receiving yards with 95.  Although he didn’t get loose many times, Arian Foster managed to gain 90 yards on 23 carries and a touchdown.  He also had seven receptions for 63 yards and a touchdown.  The only other player credited with rushing yards was Schaub and he had one yard on one carry.  So that gives the Texans a total of 91 yards on 24 carries.  Defensively, linebacker Connor Barwin, cornerback Danieal Manning and cornerback Johnathan Joseph tied for the lead in solo tackles with three.  Barwin also had one tackle for a loss and two quarterback hits.

For the Patriots, Tom Brady completed 25 of 40 for 344 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions.  Wes Welker led all receivers in receptions with eight and yards with 131.  Stevan Ridley had a good game on the ground with 82 yards on 15 carries and a touchdown.  All totaled the Patriots ran for 122 yards on 24 carries.  Defensively, cornerback Aqib Talib led the team with nine solo tackles.

Up next for the Patriots is a rematch of last year’s AFC title game as the Baltimore Ravens will be coming to town.  In the NFC, the 49ers will be heading to Atlanta to play the Falcons.  Both games are scheduled for next Sunday and the NFC title game will kickoff at 3 eastern time.  The AFC title game will start at 6:30 eastern time.  Until then, take it easy.

 

Texans 19, Bengals 13

For the second consecutive year, the Cincinnati Bengals traveled to Houston to take on the Houston Texans to kick off the 2013 NFL playoff season.  The Texans received the kickoff and started at their 16.  After three plays, they punted and the after three plays, the Bengals punted the ball right back to the Texans.  With 12 minutes to go in the first quarter, the Texans started at their five-yard line.  Some good running by running back Arian Foster and an 18-yard completion to tight end Owen Daniels gave them a first down at the 42.  From the 42, quarterback Matt Schaub completed a pass to Foster for eight yards and wide receiver Keshawn Martin took an end around for 18 more to put the ball at the Bengal 38.  The drive was halted by the Bengal defense at the 30 and kicker Shayne Graham was called on for a 48-yard attempt.  The kick was good and the Texans had an early 3-0 lead.

Aside from a 29-yard run by running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis, the Bengals did nothing with the ball as the Texans brought the pressure on quarterback Andy Dalton.  After four plays, the Bengals punted again and the Texans took over at their 31.  Short completions to Foster and Daniels and a 19-yard catch by wide receiver Andre Johnson moved the ball to the Bengal 40.  Three straight runs by Foster and a sneak by Schaub netted a first down at the 16.  Once again, the Bengal defense stiffened and the drive stalled at the nine.  Graham kicked a 27-yard field goal and the score was now 6-0 with 13 minutes to go in the second quarter.

Four more offensive plays for the Bengals meant another punt and the Texans started at their 12.  On third and three from the 19, Schaub looked to his left and his pass intended for fullback James Casey was picked off and returned for a touchdown by cornerback Leon Hall.  Kicker Josh Brown made the point after and the Bengals now  led 7-6 with a little over nine minutes to go in the second quarter.

Foster decided to put the Texans on his back on the next drive and they rode him on a 13 play, 76-yard drive.  Unfortunately for the Texans, they didn’t find the end zone and they had to settle for another field goal attempt.  This one came from 22 yards and it was good.  That put the Texans up 9-7 with two minutes to go in the first half.  Try as they might, the Bengals couldn’t get going and punted again.  The Texans got the ball back at their 11 with a minute to go.  They got as far as the Bengal 41 and on fourth and four, Schaub looked for Daniels, but the pass was knocked away by cornerback Adam Jones.  At halftime, the stats were very one-sided.  The Texans had 250 total yards and the Bengals had 53.  To add insult to injury, the Bengals had minus seven yards passing.  Wide receiver A.J. Green was held without a catch and the Bengals were lucky to find themselves down by only two points.

More of the same for the Bengals in the second half.  Three plays netted minus one yard and punter Kevin Huber came on and punted the ball away again.  The Bengals were flagged for fair catch interference on the punt and that gave the Texans the ball at their 49.  Two runs and an 11-yard pass to Foster gave them a first down at the Bengal 27.  Schaub then hit Johnson in stride for a gain of 22.  Two plays later, Foster took it in for a Texan touchdown.  Graham made the point after and the Texans increased the lead to 16-7.

Starting at their 20, the Bengals finally realized they needed to get the ball to Green.  On first down, Dalton hit Green for five yards.  He found him open two more times for gains of seven and 45 yards.  They finally found themselves in Texan territory.  However, they would not find the end zone this time.  On third and three from the 16, Dalton’s pass was incomplete.  Brown came on and made his 34-yard field goal attempt and the lead was cut to 16-10 with eight minutes to go in the third quarter.

The Texans started at their 20 and got as far as midfield when they were faced with a fourth and one.  They decided to punt and the Bengals took over at their 11.  On second and seven from the 24, Dalton looked for Green again.  This time, Green wasn’t looking at Dalton and the pass was picked off at the 40 by cornerback Johnathan Joseph.  He returned the ball to the 26 and that gave the Texans an excellent chance to increase their lead.  A short run by Foster and passes to Daniels and Johnson gave them a first and goal from the nine.  But a holding call and more good play by the Bengal defense forced another field goal attempt.  This one was from 24 yards and it was good.  That made it 19-10 with 14 minutes to go in the game.

A good kickoff return by return man Brandon Tate set the Bengals up at their 39.  Some good runs by Green-Ellis and and an eight-yard pass to wide receiver Andrew Hawkins moved them to the Texan 39.  On fourth and one, Green-Ellis powered his way up the middle for a first down.  The drive would stall at the 29 and Brown made his 48-yard attempt to make it 19-13 with nine minutes to go in the game.

The Texans went three and out and the Bengals had one last shot to take the lead.  Starting at their 20, Dalton found Green for 16 yards and wide receiver Marvin Jones for 15 more.  Some quick running by Green-Ellis got them to the Houston 35.  On third and 11 from the 36, Green got behind the defense and Dalton put up a deep ball for him that was just out of his reach.  That made it fourth and 11 from the 35.  Instead of throwing the ball 11 yards down-field, Dalton dumped a short pass to Jones.  He caught it and was brought down three yards short of a first down.  The Texans took over, got the one first down they needed and ran out the clock.  Final Score: Texans 19 Bengals 13.

For the Bengals, Andy Dalton was pressured all day and forced many bad throws.  He completed 14 of 30 for 127 yards, no touchdowns and one interception.  A.J. Green led the Bengals with five catches for 80 yards.  All those catches came in the second half.  BenJarvus Green-Ellis led the team in rushing with 63 yards on 11 carries.  All totaled, the Bengals had 80 yards on 16 carries.  Defensively, safety Reggie Nelson led the team with nine solo tackles and two tackles for a loss.  The Bengals led the league in sacks, but they hardly ever got to Schaub and registered zero sacks in this game.

For the Texans, Matt Schaub completed 29 of 38 for 262 yards, no touchdowns and one interception.  Owen Daniels led all receivers with nine catches for 91 yards.  When it came to running the ball, Arian Foster was the workhorse as he racked up 140 yards on 32 carries and a touchdown.  As a team, the Texans had 158 rushing yards on 39 carries.  Foster also had eight catches for 34 yards.  Defensively, J.J. Watt led the team with five solo tackles, a sack, two tackles for a loss and two passes defensed.

Up next for the Texans is a trip back to New England to face the Patriots.  They went to New England in week 14 and the Patriots came away with a dominant 42-14 blowout.  The Texans need to play much better this time if they want to advance to the AFC Championship game.  I’ll be back tomorrow morning for a recap of the Vikings-Packers game which is going on as I type this.  Until then, take it easy.

Texans 13, Bears 6: Sunday Night Slobnocker

The Chicago Bears lost to the Houston Texans, 13-6, at soggy Soldier Field on Sunday night in a game that proves it’s easy to be a good team when you play bad teams and it’s just as easy to be a bad team when Tim Dobbins has eaten all of his vegetables.

Senor Dobbins, the Houston linebacker, is a focused and energetic kid and his hit on Bears quarterback Jay Cutler late in the first half left Chicago’s number-6 with a concussion and the Bears offense without much of a chance.

The Bears defense continued its stellar play – aided by the wet weather and home grass that resembles a marsh with a bad attitude – holding Houston to one touchdown and reminding the NFL that Matt Schaub has bad hair.  But for the first time since the Truman administration Chicago’s defense failed to produce a touchdown, something which would have helped on a night when Mike Tice’s offense was as threatening as Armenia in the Winter Olympics.

The Bears certainly would have done better if Cutler hadn’t gotten popped but, in fairness, backup QB Jason Campbell wasn’t that bad.  However, the Bears offense has a habitual problem of moving slower than Larry King reaching for the check after dinner.  Usually they wait for the defense to score before a light goes off “Hey!  That might be fun!” and then get in gear.  But this was like waiting for Shemp to hit back.  He might, but, c’mon.  The Bears turned the ball over four times in the first half, crushing all scoring opportunities, momentum, and Kellen Davis’ chances of getting invited to the next Leatherheads slumber party.

Davis, the Bears tight end, had a rough night, fumbling once, dropping passes and refusing to believe Jill Stein finished a distant fourth.  If Davis had played better the Bears might have won.  But one of the golden rules of football is you never blame someone whose jersey number is in the 80s.  You blame the coaches, the quarterback, the big uglies up front and, when at all possible, the referees and the Russians.

The Bears are now 7-2: 6-0 against losing teams and 1-2 against opponents with winning records.  Everyone in Illinois saw this coming, knowing that the corpse-kicking that was so much fun in September and October would come to an end when the Bears stumbled upon a zombie with a gun, dry matches and your bank account routing number.

Next up for the Maybe-nots of the Midway is a trip to San Francisco to face the 49ers who finished in a tie with the Rams on Sunday.  What did Duffy Daugherty once say?  “A tie is like kissing Kellen Davis.”  The Niners are 6-2-1 which is a stupid record but an intimidating one and San Fran has good odds of making the Bears 7-3 which would make Thanksgiving Week in Chicago about as much fun as sucking doorknobs after the furnace breaks down.

Hopefully Cutler bounces back and Chicago’s offense will learn to click all on its own and the optimistic people living in shoes and abandoned bookstores have faith that Bears defenders can maintain their frugality, thievery and point production.  It’s all vital because the second half is here, winter is coming, and the big boys are lacing up their boots and saying, “Mommy ain’t home.”

It’s a bus ride with the lights off.  Grab the driver by the shoulders.  He’s smoking a cigarette and listening to Leonard Cohen.  He’s crazy.  We warned you, he’s crazy.  But he’s wearing his seatbelt.

 

Ravens 20, Texans 13

With a win over the Cincinnati Bengals last week, the Houston Texans advanced to the next round of the playoffs to face the Baltimore Ravens.  These teams met earlier in the year in Baltimore and the Ravens came away with a 29-14 victory.

The Texans got things off to a quick start when return man Danieal Manning took the opening kickoff up the right side for a 60-yard return to the Raven 41.  They moved the ball to the 21 and that set up a fourth and one.  Instead of going for it, they settled for a 39-yard field goal from kicker Neil Rackers.

The Ravens started their first drive of the day at their 23 and went three and out.  Sam Koch punted the ball away and return man Jacoby Jones fumbled the ball away.  Cornerback Jimmy Smith of the Ravens fell on it and the Ravens had the ball at the Texan two-yard line.  On third and goal, quarterback Joe Flacco rolled out to his right and found tight end Kris Wilson for a touchdown and a 7-3 lead.

After a punt by the Texans, the Ravens took over at their own 40 and on second and four from the 46, Flacco looked for wide receiver Anquan Boldin and found him on the right sideline for a gain of 21 to put the ball at the Texan 33.  The drive would stall and kicker Billy Cundiff made a 48-yard field goal to make it 10-3 with six minutes to go in the first quarter.

After a Raven punt, the Texans got the ball back at their own 23.  On first down, rookie quarterback T.J. Yates was picked off by cornerback Lardarius Webb at the 35.  He returned the ball one yard and the Ravens were in good shape at the Texan 34.  Running back Ray Rice caught a pass for a gain of 20 on third and nine for a first down at the 13.  On second and seven, Flacco hooked up with Boldin again for a 10-yard touchdown to put the Ravens up 17-3 with a minute to go in the first quarter.

Texan running back Arian Foster started to see some daylight in the stout Raven defense and a 19-yard run moved the Texans to midfield.  A few more runs by Foster and a 17-yard pass to tight end Owen Daniels set up a first down at the 13.  They would end up losing two yards from there and Rackers made a 33-yard field goal.  The score was now 17-6 with 11 minutes to go in the first half.

The Texans went on a 12 play, 91 yard drive that started out with a 28-yard run up the left side by Foster.  A 12-yard pass to Johnson gave them a first down at the 42.  On third and nine from the 45, Yates found Johnson again for a first down at the Raven 32.  Two more runs and a nice one-handed catch by Foster put the Texans at the Raven five.  On third and goal from the one, Foster ran to the right and made it into the end zone to pull the Texans within four points, 17-13 with five minutes to go in the first half.

Running back Ricky Williams made an appearance for the Ravens on their next drive and three straight runs moved them from the 20 to the 34.  On second and five from the 39, Boldin caught another pass for a first down at the Texan 33.  With time ticking away, the Ravens definitely had a shot at another field goal before halftime.  But on third and ten from the 33, defensive end J.J. Watt got to Flacco and sacked him for a loss of eight.  That put the Ravens out of field goal range and they punted the ball away.  Yates took a knee and the half ended with the Ravens up 17-13.

A whole lot of punting went on to start the second half.  With nine minutes remaining, Johnson caught a pass for a first down at the Texan 41.  Wide receiver Kevin Walter made a nice grab for another first down at the Raven 36.  They got as far as the 32 and the drive stalled.  Rackers came on for a 49-yard field goal attempt.  This one hit the crossbar and was no good.

The Ravens took over at the 40 and Flacco hit tight end Dennis Pitta for a gain of 16.  A short run by Williams and a deep pass up the right side to wide receiver Lee Evans had the Raven faithful thinking the Ravens were going to put up some more points.  On first and goal from the nine, Rice ran for a gain of five.  Rice got the call again and fumbled.  It was recovered by the Ravens at the two.  On third down, Rice got the call again and he came up short.  That made it fourth and goal from the one.  A field goal would put them up by seven, but Raven head coach John Harbaugh opted to go for it.  Rice took the hand-off and was promptly stopped short of the goal line again. That gave the ball to the Texans and they went three and out very quickly.

After the teams traded punts again, the Texans got the ball at their own 31.  A 19-yard pass to Johnson moved the ball to midfield, but a loss of seven on a pass to Foster and a fumble that was recovered by the Texans set up a third and 12 at the 48.  On third down, Yates looked for Walter, but Webb picked the ball out of the air for his second interception of the day.

The Ravens took over at their own 29 and passes to Pitta and wide receiver Torrey Smith moved the ball to the 47.  Another pass to Boldin and a five-yard gain by Rice moved the Ravens to the Texan 26.  They would go no farther.  Cundiff made a 44-yard field goal and the Ravens were now up 20-13 with just under three minutes to go in the game.

Yates and the Texans went to work from their own 28 and Johnson caught two passes to move the ball down to the Raven 38.  With plenty of time to set up a drive, Yates decided to go deep for Johnson again.  It’s always a good idea to know where safety Ed Reed is when you’re about to throw the ball.  Reed picked off the pass at the Raven four-yard line and the Ravens took over with 1:51 to go in the game.  Rice ran up the left side on first down and got nine yards.  The Ravens needed one yard and the game was theirs.  Again, Rice ran up the left side for an apparent first down.  The play was reversed and it was now third and one.  On third and one, former Texan Vontae Leach took the hand-off and he was stopped short of the first down again.  The Ravens punted and the Texans had one more chance.  Starting at their own 48, Yates found Daniels for a gain of nine.  But the next three plays all resulted in incomplete passes and the Ravens took a knee and got a hard fought 20-13 win.

For the Texans, T.J. Yates completed 17 of 35 for 184 yards and three interceptions.  Andre Johnson led the team with eight catches for 111 yards.  Arian Foster had a good day running the ball and ended up with 132 yards on 27 carries and a touchdown.  It was the first time the Ravens had allowed a 100-yard rusher in the post season.  Foster also caught five passes for 22 yards.  The Texans only allowed 227 total yards and 11 first downs.  Defensive end J.J. Watt had a stellar day with nine solo tackles, two and half sacks and three tackles for a loss.  As a team, the Texans sacked Flacco five times.

For the Ravens, Joe Flacco completed 14 of 27 for 176 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions.  Anquan Boldin led the team with four catches for 73 yards and a touchdown.  Ray Rice and Ricky Williams combined for 87 yards rushing on 27 carries.  The difference in this game was the Texans turned the ball over four times and the Ravens had zero turnovers.  The Ravens allowed 315 total yards and 16 first downs.  Linebacker Ray Lewis led the team with seven solo tackles, one tackle for a loss and one pass defensed.

The Ravens will be heading up to New England next week to take on the Patriots for the AFC championship game at 3:00 eastern time.  The last time the Ravens and Patriots met in the playoffs, Ray Rice ran for 159 yards and the Ravens came away with a stunning 33-14 win in New England.  The Patriots will be looking to avenge that loss.

 

 

Texans 31, Bengals 10

Houston Texans fans had to wait a very long time for their team to make it to the playoffs.  It was worth the wait as the Texans defeated the Cincinnati Bengals 31-10 for their first ever playoff victory.

After a 39-yard field goal by Texans kicker Neil Rackers tied the game at ten with 1:48 remaining in the half, the Bengals weren’t content to go to the locker room with the score tied.  That was a costly mistake.  With 52 seconds remaining, Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton went looking for wide receiver A.J. Green.  His pass was picked off and returned for a 29-yard touchdown by defensive end J.J. Watt.  That play gave the Texans all the momentum they needed and they shut out the Bengals in the second half.

The aggressive Texans defense shut down the Bengals running game and harassed Andy Dalton throughout the game.  Dalton completed 27 of 42 for 257 yards, no touchdowns and he was picked off three times.  As a team, the Bengals finished with just 76 yards rushing.  Starter Cedric Benson had 14 yards on seven carries and a touchdown.  He spent most of the second half on the sideline.  Brian Leonard led the team with three carries for 34 yards and also had six catches for 36 yards.  A.J. Green led the team with five catches for 47 yards.  Most of those catches came in the first quarter and he was held to one catch in the second half.  Linebacker Thomas Howard led the Bengals with six tackles.

For the Texans, quarterback T.J. Yates won the battle of the rookie quarterbacks as he completed 11 of 20 for 159 yards and one touchdown.  Running back Arian Foster had a huge game with 153 yards on 24 carries and touchdown runs of eight and 42 yards.  He also caught three passes for 39 yards.  As a team, the Texans slashed the Bengal defense for 188 yards on the ground.  Wide receiver Andre Johnson made his presence known and led the team with five catches for 90 yards and a 40-yard touchdown.  Linebacker Brian Cushing led the team with eight tackles and one tackle for a loss.  The Texans ended up sacking Dalton four times.

The next game for the Texans will be at Baltimore to face the Ravens on Sunday, January 15th at 1 P.M. Eastern time.  These teams met in week six and the Ravens came away with a 29-14 win.  In that game, Foster was held to 49 yards rushing on 15 carries and the Ravens racked up 400 yards of total offense.  Will things be different when they play next Sunday?  Time will tell.

 

 

Raiders 25, Texans 20

Yesterday, the Oakland Raiders traveled to Texas to take on the Houston Texans.  The Raiders had never won in Houston and in the six meetings between these teams, Houston has won five.  The Raiders were coming off a 31-19 loss to the New England Patriots and the Texans were coming off a 17-10 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers.  The Raiders had some extra motivation for them as long time owner Al Davis passed away on the day before this game was to be played.  All the Raider players had a black shield with silver lettering on their helmets that simply read “AL.”  I thought that was very appropriate.  Now, on to the game.

The Raiders won the toss and elected to receive.  Jacoby Ford ran the kick back to the 21 and the Raiders started from there.  It wasn’t much of a start as they had to punt after three plays.  Lechler booted a 61-yard punt that Jacoby Jones fielded at the Houston 13.  He returned it to the 30.  Taiwan Jones of the Raiders was flagged for illegal motion and that gave the Texans the ball at their own 35.

The Texans were playing this game without their star wide receiver, Andre Johnson.  But quarterback Matt Schaub was still equipped with many weapons to throw to.  Schaub went right to work with his quick release and found tight end Owen Daniels for gains of 13 and nine yards.  After two plays, the Texans were already in Raider territory.  Then, running back Arian Foster got in on the act and ran for 20 yards up the right sideline.  After a short completion to Jones and two more rushes by Foster, the Texans had a third and five at the Raider five.  From there, Schaub connected with wide receiver Kevin Walter across the middle for a touchdown.  Raider cornerback Stanford Routt was running step for step with Walter, but a perfect pass got them the score.  Neil Rackers added the point after and the Texans led 7-0.

The Raiders got the ball back at their own 14 and on second and eight, Raider head coach Hue Jackson called for some trickery.  McFadden took the hand-off and quickly tossed the ball back to Campbell.  Campbell put up a bomb down the middle of the field intended for wide receiver Chaz Schilens.  He had a step on the defender, but the ball was overthrown and the pass fell incomplete.  Punter Shane Lechler came on and booted another 61-yard punt.  Jones fielded it at the Houston 23 and returned it 14 yards to the 37.

Schaub found tight end Joel Dreesen for a gain of seven and Walter for a gain of four to give the Texans a first down at the 50.  On the next play, Schaub’s pass was tipped by defensive tackle John Henderson and it landed in the hands of defensive end Lamarr Houston.  Houston returned the ball 15 yards to the 35.  The Raiders had a chance to tie the game now with some very good field position.  But the Texans had other ideas.  Campbell was sacked on first down by Mario Williams.    Williams would leave the game and not return.  (As I write this, I have learned that Williams has a torn pectoral muscle.)  McFadden was stuffed on the next play and after another incomplete pass on third down, kicker Sebastian Janikowski was brought in for a 54-yard attempt.  He split the uprights and the Texans had a 7-3 lead with a little over three minutes to go in the first half.

The Texans did nothing on their next possession and were forced to punt.  The punt was partially blocked and the Raiders took over at the Houston 39.  On first down, Campbell connected with McFadden for a gain of 23 down to the Houston 16.  But, that play was nullified due to an illegal block on guard Cooper Carlisle.  The Raiders managed to move the ball back into Texan territory with a five-yard run by McFadden and short completions to Ford and McFadden.  That gave the Raiders a fourth and eight at the Texan 38.  The Polish Cannon was brought on to the field again and he nailed a 55-yard field goal to make the score 7-6.

The Texans took over at their own 19 and Schaub hooked up with Daniels for a gain of 28.  After that, the Texans could do nothing as the Raider defense stuffed Foster on third and short.  The Texans punted and the ball was downed at the four.  A holding penalty was called on the Raiders and that moved the ball back to the two.  From his own end zone, Campbell decided to go deep.  Big mistake.  Texan cornerback Jason Allen picked off the pass intended for Jacoby Ford and was brought down at the Texan 44.  On the very next play, Schaub found a wide open Joel Dreesen for a 56-yard touchdown.  Rackers made the point after and the Texans led 14-6.

The teams traded punts on the next four possessions and the Raiders found themselves without a first down in the first half with two minutes remaining.  After a Texan punt, the Raiders took over at their own 25.  On second and eight form their own 27, Campbell found wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey for a gain of 18 that finally gave the Raiders a first down.  Then, wide receiver Derek Hagan added 13 more yards on a reception and the Raiders had the ball in Texan territory.  On first down from the Texan 42, McFadden ran up the middle, cut to the left side and was brought down at the Texan one.  But, the yellow flag made another appearance and the play was wiped out by a holding call on Cooper Carlisle.  Campbell then hooked up again with Heyward-Bey for 18 yards.  Then, on second and two, Campbell found Heyward-Bey for a nice catch and run for a 34-yard touchdown.  The two point conversion failed and the score was now 14-12 at the half.

The Texans got the ball first to start the second half.  The Raiders continued to stuff Arian Foster and forced a quick three and out.  The same could be said for the Texans and their quick defense.  McFadden had been corralled throughout the game and with three incomplete passes, the Raiders were forced to punt again.  The Texans started their drive at their own 17 and on second down, Schaub found a wide open Foster for a 60-yard gain down the left side.  He was pushed out of bounds at the Raider 23.  From there, the Raider defense stiffened and forced a 41-yard field goal attempt by Rackers.  The kick sailed wide left and the Raiders took over at their own 31.

On first down, McFadden was stuffed again and Campbell was sacked on second down.  On third and 14, Campbell hooked up with tight end Brandon Myers for a  gain of 13.  However, an illegal contact penalty on Houston gave the Raiders a first down at the 27.  Completions to Heyward-Bey, Schilens and McFadden gave the Raiders a first down at the Texan 35.  They got as far as the 33 and the drive stalled.  Sebastian Janikowski drilled a 50-yard field goal through the uprights.  That gave the Raiders a 15-14 lead with five minutes to go in the third quarter.

Houston started their next drive at their own ten.  Schaub went right to work and hit Walter across the middle for 41 yards.  Two runs by Foster moved the ball into Raider territory, but the 36-yard line was as far as the Texans would go.  Neil Rackers made a 54-yard field goal and the Texans regained the lead, 17-15 with two minutes to go in the third quarter.

Finally, the Raiders got a good kick return to start their next drive.  Return man Jacoby Ford received the kick and took it up the right side where he found no room and cut back to the left.  He was brought down at the Raider 39.  Earlier in the third quarter, center Samson Satele left the game with an injury.  This put rookie Stefen Wisniewski at center.  All of a sudden, there was a little daylight for McFadden.  On first down, he ran up the middle for eight yards.  Then he ran off the left side for 14 more to put the ball at the Texan 39.  The Raiders were finally moving the ball on the ground.  On the first play of the final period, Michael Bush got the call and was stopped for a gain of one.  Second down wasn’t much better as a pass for Heyward-Bey fell incomplete.  On third and nine, Campbell did some scrambling and found Chaz Schilens for an 18-yard touchdown.  Janikowski made the point after and that made the score 22-17 with almost an entire quarter to play.

The Raiders continued to shut down Foster and they got some good pressure on Schaub. Defensive tackle Tommy Kelly got to him for a sack and the Texans went three and out.   That gave the Raiders the ball at their own 30 with a chance to increase the lead.  But, on a third and short from the 37, McFadden was stopped for a loss of two and the Raiders were forced to punt.  However, there would be no punt this time as the Raiders caught the Texans off guard and faked it.  The play was a direct snap to Rock Cartwright and he ran the ball for 35 yards down to the Texan 28.  But, the drive didn’t get much further following a short run by McFadden and two incomplete passes.  On fourth and six at the 24, Janikowski made a 42-yard field goal to put the Raiders up by eight, 25-17.

The teams traded punts on their next two possessions and with eight minutes to go in the game, the Texans took over at their own seven.  Schaub hit Daniels for two quick gains to move the ball to the 24.  Then, on third and ten, he found Foster for 23 more.  This put the ball at the 47.  Schaub then found Dreesen for nine and Foster for 13 more.  That moved the ball to the Raider 31.  From there, Foster was stuffed for a four-yard loss.  On second down, Daniels caught a pass for five yards.  An incompletion on third down led to a fourth and nine at the 30.  The pass by Schaub intended for Jones was incomplete.  However, another yellow flag was thrown and Raider rookie defensive back DeMarcus Van Dyke was flagged for pass interference.  Following two incomplete passes and a sack for an eight-yard loss by Richard Seymour, the Texans settled for a 40-yard field goal by Neil Rackers to cut the score to 25-20 with just under three minutes to go in the game.

All the Raiders really had to do here was get a couple of first downs and the game was theirs.  But, this is the Raiders we’re talking about.  They don’t do it the easy way.  On first down, McFadden ran for a gain of one.  On second down, Campbell decided to air it out and go for the kill.  But his bomb down the right side intended for wide receiver Denarius Moore was incomplete.  On third down, McFadden was stuffed for a five-yard loss.  Lechler came on and punted the ball away.  That “drive” killed exactly 56 seconds and it gave the Texans plenty of time to drive down the field for the winning score.

Houston got the ball at their own 37 and Foster caught a pass for 11 to move the ball to the 48.  Then, Schaub was sacked and the Texans were called for a facemask penalty.  However, the Raiders were also flagged for having too many men on the field.  But, the facemask penalty is a personal foul and it was enforced.  The penalty for too many men on the field for the Raiders was not enforced.  That gave the Texans a first and 25 from their own 33.  Schaub was unfazed by this as he hooked up with Walter for a gain of 26 down to the Raider 41.  15 more yards were given to the Texans as Richard Seymour was flagged for a roughing the passer penalty.  On first and ten from the 26, a bad snap forced Schaub to fall on the ball at the 39.  An incomplete pass to Foster made it third and 23.  On third down, Schaub was flushed out of the pocket and heaved a pass down-field that was caught by Dreesen at the five.  Schaub hurried his offense to the line and quickly spiked the ball with seven seconds to go. On the final play of the game, Schaub took the snap and ran to the left side.  The only thing between him and the winning touchdown was Raider safety Tyvon Branch.  Schaub hesitated and Branch made an aggressive move to stop him.  This forced him to throw to the end zone for Jones.  Unfortunately for Schaub, Jones was blanketed by another Raider safety.  Michael Huff intercepted the pass and sealed the 25-20 win for the Raiders.

This was about as emotional as it gets for the Raiders and their fans.  Al Davis had been a fixture for the Raiders since 1963 and the loss of him was huge.  Hue Jackson was overcome with emotion and fell to his knees after the win with tears streaming down his face.  He knew that Al was looking down on him with a big smile saying “Way to go, Hue!  We did it!  Just win, baby!”  It truly was a huge win for his team.  It was far from pretty and if you look at the stats, you would definitely think the game was won by the Texans.  But, that wasn’t the case.  Big time props go out to Janikowski for making all four of his long field goal attempts!   This win put the Raiders at three and two with two home games, a bye week and another home game coming up.

The Texans did a great job containing McFadden and putting lots of pressure on Campbell.  All in all, McFadden rushed for 51 yards on 16 carries.  His two biggest gains of the game were both called back by penalties.  Speaking of penalties, the Raiders were flagged 11 times for 89 yards.  As a team, the Raiders had a grand total of 70 yards rushing.  Campbell was off his game as well.  He completed 15 of 35 for 190, two touchdowns and one pick.  The Texans were in his face throughout the game.  Darrius Heyward-Bey led the team with seven catches for 99 yards and a touchdown.

Defensively, Richard Seymour led the team with two sacks.  They did an excellent job of holding Foster to 68 yards on 22 carries.  20 of those yards came on one carry.  As a team, the Texans also had a grand total of 70 yards rushing.  Foster had a bad day on the ground, but he led the team in receiving with 116 yards on five receptions.  Even without Andre Johnson, Schaub completed 24 of 51 passes for 416 yards, two touchdowns and two picks.

The Cleveland Browns are up next for the Raiders.  They are coming off a bye week and they’ll be looking to get a big win in Oakland.  This will be the first home game for the Raiders since the death of Al Davis and emotions will be running high.  Until then, take it easy.

The Raider Guy