The Oakland Raiders visited the Houston Texans to close out their road trip in Week 8, looking to keep pace in the AFC playoff race. Jon Gruden’s team put up another solid overall effort, but fell short, losing to the Texans, 27-24 to drop to 3-4 on the year.
Although running back Josh Jacobs is suffering from what Gruden called a legitimate shoulder injury, he still suited up an looked good early. The offense ran through quarterback Derek Carr more than normal, with DeAndre Washington also taking a few carries to help lighten Jacobs’s load.
Carr started the game by missing his first four throws. His first successful pass was caught by recently-acquired receiver Zay Jones. That same drive was eventually capped off by a 65-yard touchdown catch by rookie receiver Hunter Renfrow. Renfrow broke two tackles on his way to his first NFL touchdown.
The Texans then made quick work of the three minutes left on the clock though, scoring in just slightly over two minutes to tie it at seven at the end of the first quarter.
The Texans came out in the second quarter looking to continue their momentum. Any momentum they had was stopped by Clelin Ferrell though as he slapped a DeShaun Watson pass attempt out of the air on third and short to force a punt.
Following that, the Raiders moved downfield slowly and steadily. Washington and Jacobs continued to trade off carries, but Jacobs shined by mixing in a 23-yard run. Jones caught his second pass on the day to get the Raiders to the red zone and then Carr connected with Darren Waller for the first time for a touchdown to extend the lead to 14-7.
The defense continued to do well against Watson and the Texans offense. They recorded their second collective sack during the next possession, forcing a three-and-out. Oakland carried that momentum into the halftime locker room, where they lead 14-10.
The Texans started with the ball in the second half and made quick work to get to the red zone. However, after yet another sack by the Raiders defense, they settled once more for a field goal, cutting the lead to just one.
Carr and the Oakland offense could breathe a little easier in the second half of the game. While both starting cornerbacks for the Texans were out, premier defensive end J.J. Watt left the game in the first half and did not return. With less pressure coming, Carr was able to connect with Tyrell Williams for big plays. Williams, playing in his first game since Week 4, recorded a 46-yard reception for the Raiders’ third touchdown of the day.
The Raiders defense had some big plays throughout the third quarter, but had trouble stopping first downs. The Texans once again managed to get within striking distance before the third quarter ended.
The fourth quarter opened with a Texans touchdown to cut the Raiders lead to 21-20. They decided not to go for a two-point conversion to tie the game.
Carr responded with another solid drive, with some nice Jacobs runs mixed in. It stalled in the red zone though, forcing Daniel Carlson to kick another field goal to extend the lead to 24-20.
That turned out to cost the Raiders as Watson responded with a touchdown drive to give his team a 27-24 lead. Arden Key had a chance at a sack, but Watson somehow managed to escape and found tight end Darren Fells for the score.
After a Raiders punt thanks to some more penalties, the Texans got a few first downs to ice the game and come away with the victory. Oakland finished the day with 11 penalties for 100 yards, although it felt like a lot more.