Couple a mistake-filled first half for the Oakland Raiders with a stellar 30 minutes on the ground for Houston Texans RB Arian Foster, and you get a 17-0 advantage for a Texans team that looked like true AFC title contenders for a majority of the game's first two quarters.
Coming out of the locker room down three scores, the Oakland Raiders were desperate to get something going from the get-go in the second half. However, another Raiders turnover (this time a fumble by TE Mychal Rivera) would give the Texans a short field once again. Five plays, 21 yards, and a 12-yard TD pass from QB Ryan Fitzpatrick to WR DeAndre Hopkins later, and Houston held a commanding 24-0 lead.
To their credit, Oakland kept swinging and hit pay dirt in the early fourth as they took advantage of a 31-yard pass interference call and some deft play-mixing to answer Houston's 27th unanswered point with seven of their own (courtesy of a one-yard dive by RB Darren McFadden).
However, the Texans would take a stunning nine minutes and 21 seconds off the clock (down to 4:37) on their next ground-and-pound drive, and a 46-yard Randy Bullock field goal to make it 30-7 would for all intents and purposes tie a ribbon on another impressive win for the Texans.
Key Player: RB Arian Foster, Houston: Foster put together his second-straight 100+ rushing game to start the 2014 season, as he is already reaffirming and rewarding the Texans' belief in him just two games into the season. At times on Sunday he looked absolutely unstoppable (see: his electric 40-yard rush on Houston's opening drive), and an unstoppable Foster means trouble for what looks to be a weakened AFC South this year.
Turning Point: Houston's first two drives were tightly-executed exercises in patience. Taking what the Oakland Raiders' defense was giving them and them giving it right back, Houston embarked on two double-digit play TD pushes that sucked the air out of the O.Co Coliseum straightaway. The Raiders' offense would be unable to put together a sustained counterpunch, and the Texans had established firm control from the beginning.
What We Learned: The Texans' defense can flat out get the job done. After bending but not breaking in their 17-6 victory over Washington in Week 1, Houston's entire 11-man defensive unit (plus an influx of very capable backups) pinned their ears back and flat out dominated for the majority of the game.
The Raiders? There are flashes of progress on the remade roster, and it starts with leadership. Just take a look at the poise that Carr showed with the game out of hand, not letting the game end before he had sliced the deficit to 30-14 (on a 9-yard TD pass to James Jones).
However, a litany of errors in this, Oakland's home opener, could starting heating up the seat for head coach Dennis Allen.
What's Next: The Raiders (0-2) head to New England to do battle with a rejuvenated New England Patriots squad (1-1), while the Texans (2-0) head to New Jersey to face the New York Giants (0-2).Back to the Oakland Raiders Newsfeed