It was a resurgent win for the Raiders on Sunday in Houston. The offense showed fight it hadn't shown all season long as they came from behind to win it by the score of 28-23.
They got out to a fast start, which is something they have been known to do thanks in large part to the play of the defense that forced two turnovers in the first quarter, both of which the Raiders offense capitalized on with touchdowns.
Then the Raiders found themselves behind heading into the third quarter - a familiar situation. But this time, they came back with a couple more touchdowns from the offense and the defense held onto the win in the end. What Dennis Allen called "a perfect ending". These are who helped make it happen and those who nearly let it slip away.
This undrafted rookie came in for his first ever start and lit up the stage. He got things started early when following a defensive turnover that gave the offense the ball at the 16-yard line, he finished it off with a 5-yard touchdown strike to Denarius Moore. Then later in the first quarter, the offense again got the ball at the 16-yard line. This time, McGloin threw for the touchdown on one play - 16 yards to Rod Streater. He began the game 5 of 7 (one of which was a drop) for 40 yards and 2 touchdowns. In most every game this season, that would be where things would shut down for the Raiders offense. Not this week.
Two possessions later, he put one where only the 6-5, leaping Andre Holmes could get it for 33 yards. The drive ended with two consecutive on-target drops. Two possessions later, another promising drive was stalled by a penalty and then a drop.
Things got back on track for McGloin and the offense in the third quarter. On the second series, he had completions of 36 and 20 yards before finishing it off with a gorgeous, over-the-shoulder pass to Mychal Rivera on a post pattern from 26 yards out for the score. It gave the Raiders the lead back after 17 unanswered points from the Texans. After a long touchdown run on the next drive, the Raiders offense was up 28-17 and went conservative the rest of the game.
McGloin finished 18 for 32 for 197 yards and 3 touchdowns for a passer rating of 105.9. That is exactly half the amount of touchdown passes the Raiders had on the seasons coming into the game (6).
For the third-straight game and fourth time this season, Jennings surpassed 100 yards of offense. This week he did it all on the ground. On the Raiders' first touchdown drive, he ran for 13 of the 21 yards needed (due to a false start penalty that added 5 yards). He also had a ten-yard run to set up a field goal attempt.
In the third quarter, he had his biggest play of the year. One of the biggest of the season for the Raiders. He took the direct snap on a wildcat formation, then ran right through Texans' safety, DJ Swearenger and then outran the rest of the Texans' defense to go 80 yards for the touchdown. It put the Raiders up for good. After that they just kept feeding Jennings to run clock. He finished with 150 yards on 22 carries (6.8 yards per carry). Also it should not be understated that he was perfect in his pass blocking - and aspect that tends to go unnoticed or blamed on the offensive line when the running back doesn't do his job in pass blocking.
It is rather ironic I think that in a week the Raiders' middle linebacker is fourth in tackles, he is a Baller. It's all about quality, not quantity in this game and Roach played some quality football Sunday. He really got things going when he intercepted a pass to put the Raiders in position for their second touchdown of the game.
In the third quarter, he put pressure on the quarterback on two consecutive plays to end a possession. The first resulted in a pass defended, and the other a sack. On a drive in the fourth quarter, with the Texans in scoring position, he pressured the quarterback again to force him to throw it away. Later on the same drive, with the Texans in first down at the Raiders' 13-yard line, he assisted in a tackle for loss of three yards. The Texans couldn't recover and settled for a field goal.
He put a cherry on top at the end of the fourth quarter with the Texans in third and one at the 2-yard line threatening to score the game-winning touchdown. That's when he teamed up with Kevin Burnett to tackle the runner for a loss. The Texans had a false start on the next play and then couldn't convert the touchdown on their final play to end the game. Roach finished with 4 combined tackles on the day for a total of 2 yards (3, 3, -3, -1) on those plays.
He and Roach were practically interchangeable in this game, each picking up where the other left off and often teaming up for stuffs. Burnett ended the Texans' second drive when he stuffed a run for no gain on third and one. He had another run stuff in the second quarter. Then he ended another Texans' drive when he pressured the quarterback into an incompletion on third and two.
He was back at it in the third quarter with yet another pressure on the quarterback to force an incompletion on third and one. On the following drive, his pressure was rewarded with a sack for a loss of six yards.
His one mistake came when he gave up a catch and missed the tackle to give up a 23-yard catch that helped lead to a Texans' field goal. He made up for that on the next Texans' drive with another pressured incompletion and a tackle on a short catch. He finished things off by teaming up with Roach for that pivotal run stuff tackle for loss to keep the Texans out of the end zone and preserve the win for the Raiders.
Streater played more snaps and saw more targets than Denarius Moore in this game. He made good use of his time. He had a 4-yard catch and an 8-yard run on an end around on the Raiders' second drive. Then after the Raiders got the ball right back after an interception, he caught the 16-yard pass for the team's second touchdown of the day. The next drive he had another 8-yard catch and he finished off the first half with a 7-yard catch.
Streater picked up where he left off in the second half by catching a pass for 13 yards on the second play of the third quarter. Then he started off the Raiders' second drive with a 36-yard catch that put them in scoring range on the Texans' 37-yard line. The Raiders would score their third touchdown three plays later. He finished the game with 6 catches for 84 yards and a touchdown.
Adams' first big play came when he alertly picked up a fumble forced by Charles Woodson and ran it back 26 yards to put the Raiders at the 16-yard line. Just before the half, he had tight coverage on a third down pass to force an incompletion and the Texans settled for a long field goal. He again had coverage to force an incompletion on third down in the fourth quarter. This time it was third and goal from the 8-yard line and the Texans settled for a short field goal. He had one more coverage incompletion on the next drive. Many times he faced off against Texans' All Pro receiver, Andre Johnson. On five targets, he gave up just one catch for five yards.
Rivera's first catch went for seven yards on third and three to keep the Raiders' second drive alive. He had two more catches of five yards each in the first half. Then early in the third quarter he had his biggest catch of the day. He beat his man on a post pattern and McGloin saw him breaking open. Rivera nicely hauled in the touchdown pass over his shoulder from 26 yards out with relative ease.
Two drives later, Rivera had a ten-yard catch to set up a long field goal attempt. He finished with five catches for 54 yards and a touchdown - All career bests.
Marquette King, Taiwan Jones
As usual, these two were making good things happen in the punt game for the Raiders. King started it off with a 62-yard punt that was stopped at the Texans' 10-yard line. With a holding penalty, their drive began at the 5-yard line.
His next punt came in the beginning of the second quarter. With the Raiders at their own 15-yard line, King booted a 64-yarder. Taiwan got down field quickly and even with his man holding him, he still got to the return man to slow him down to allow the tackle. After the holding penalty, the Texans started at their own 15-yard line. From 15 to 15 for a complete reversal of field positon.
He then had three straight punts land inside the Texans' 20-yard line. The third of which was returned for a touchdown but it should never have been allowed to happen. It bounced toward Texans' return man, Keyshawn Martin, who decided to make a play on it. Taiwan Jones was right there to make the tackle but his man pulled on the back of his jersey, a blatant hold, that went uncalled and Martin ran it 87 yards for a touchdown.
King's next punt went for 63 yards with a ten-yard return. His first of the third quarter went for 58 yards and Taiwan was right there for the tackle to stop the return man inside the 20-yard line. King's final three punts were not as great. None were over 50 yards and none were downed inside the 20-yard line. In total, he averaged 49.1 yards per punt which was identical to his counterpart and former Raiders All Pro punter, Shane Lechler. More importantly, King had 4 punts downed inside the 20-yard line (Lechler had 2). Taiwan Jones added three kick returns of his own for an average of 25.7 yards per return.
I was close to making Woodson a "Betweener" for this game because of the big 42-yard touchdown he gave up in the game. But then I thought better of it. First of all, that completion was made possible mostly by Case Keenum escaping the pocket and buying time. He should have been sacked and it is a tough task to ask the secondary to keep perfect coverage for that long.
But more importantly, Woodson's positive plays in this game were too good to be eclipsed by that lapse in coverage. He forced two fumbles in this game and both were huge to the Raiders winning. The first one was recovered by the Raiders and set them up for their first score early in the game. The second one came all the way at the end with 1:49 remaining and the Texans in the red zone. Matt Schaub hit an open Ben Tate who was running full board for the end zone until Woodson met him like patriot missile and stopped him instantly, knocking the ball out in the process. Had he not knocked the ball out, the Texans would have had at least first and goal at the one-yard line if not the touchdown. Instead, it was third and one at the 2-yard line.
Earlier in the quarter, he had a pass defended in the endzone on third down to force a short field goal. He also dropped what was a sure interception but hard to fault him for that.
The Raiders ran Rashad Jennings up the middle almost every single time in this game and Wisniewski held up extremely well in those rushes. He gave up the tackle on just one run in this game for a 2-yard gain. Raiders backs Rashad Jennings and Marcel Reece ran the ball 26 times and just three of those runs went outside of the center,guard gap for a total of 4 yards. All other runs went through Wisniewski's position for a total of 156 yards including the big 80 yard run by Jennings for the touchdown.
Usama Young - He played just 23% of the snaps in this game but in that time he didn't give up a catch and had the game clinching pass defended in the end zone.
He had the Raiders' first touchdown of the day and it is the only reason he isn't a Buster. He had just two catches on 6 targets in the game for a total of 11 yards. Two of those incompletions were on-target drops by Denarius. He was lauded early in the season for not dropping the ball and has gone back to his old ways of late.