I know, I know, ‘give the kid a break, it’s his first start’. No. You give him a break. I’ll put together B&B as I always do, regardless of outside factors. Cook was a wreck in this game; completing just 18 of 45 passes (40%) for 161 yards, one touchdown, three interceptions, and a passer rating of 30.0. So, let’s stick to the lowlights.
Cook’s first pass, from his own 7-yard-line, he looked to throw a short screen pass to Latavius Murray, not noticing Jadeveon Clowney there who batted it down incomplete. Three-and-out, lesson learned. Or so you would think.
Next series, third and 12, Cook looked to throw a short screen pass to Latavius Murray, not noticing Jadeveon Clowney there, who batted it down. Only this time, he batted it to himself for the interception. The Texans would take over in first and goal inside the 5-yard-line and score on one play to take a 10-0 lead.
Third series ended with Cooking throwing too low for Michael Crabtree to dig it out. The next series the Raiders would score a touchdown, but was almost entirely on the ground.
Next three series ended with Cook throwing off target, two of which were nearly intercepted. The final series of the first half began with him holding the ball too long and getting sacked, helping lead to another three-and-out.
At halftime, the Raiders had yet to convert a third down, were down 20-7 and Cook had a 9.8 passer rating. He had completed 4 passes with one drop.
The second half saw him lead a touchdown drive with the team down 27-7 in the fourth quarter. The next series ended with him throwing too high for Amari Cooper for an interception that was kill any chance the Raiders had of making a comeback.
I really thought he would be ok in this game. Even going against Jadeveon Clowney I thought he would be passable and the Raiders’ tendency of playing in the jumbo package would limit the damage from the loss of Donald Penn. Was I ever wrong about that.
His very first pass block of the day, he chose to dive at the feet of Clowney and failed miserably. Clowney dodged it and then batted down the Cook screen pass attempt. After Clowney intercepted Cook on the next series, Watson tried his usual tough guy stuff by diving onto Clowney on the ground and was called for unnecessary roughness which moved the ball inside the 5-yard-line, setting up the easy score on the next play.
Two plays into the next series, Watson was tossed aside by DJ Reader to give up the sack for a loss of six. The first series of the second quarter he was blown by to give up a run stuff for one yard. The second play of the third quarter, he was beaten again to give up a big hit on Cook after he released the ball. He gave up another pressure later on.
Not exactly the performance he needed heading into free agency. No one expected him to be a world beater, moving over from right tackle to start across from Clowney, but if they expected him to be a swinging door, they may have looked for another option.
David Amerson, Sean Smith
For the second week in a row, this pair makes the Busters together. Because for a second week in a row, they let a lackluster quarterback get the better of them.
Smith’s issues began in the run game. After the interception in the first quarter, the Texans lined up in first and goal inside the five. They ran a misdirection play fake on an end around from left to right, but it was purely a diversion as they handed it off to Lamar Miller who ran left. Smith was so completely fooled by this, that he abandoned the left side, attempted to weave his way through his teammates to get to the right side, and ended up blocking several of them while the play was going left.
With Smith’s help, Miller easily scampered for a touchdown. He was in the end zone already before Smith had any idea what had happened and what he had done.
Early in the second quarter, Smith was out of position again to allow a 17-yard run. A few plays later, Amerson gave up a catch and missed a tackle for a 13-yard gain. These plays put the Texans in scoring range and they added a 38-yard field goal to take a 13-7 lead.
The following series, Amerson was called for holding on third down. Then the final drive of the first half, he gave up a 19-yard catch, followed by letting DeAndre Hopkins get behind him for a 38-yard catch that set the Texans up in first and goal that the 3-yard-line. Two plays later, Sean Smith gave up the 2-yard touchdown catch to Hopkins who froze him with a stutter step. It was a 20-7 Texans lead at that point.
Early in the fourth quarter, the Texans would add another touchdown that was set up by Amerson being called for pass interference in the end zone. After the game, Amerson complained that the officiating was one sided against him. It was the same thing Michael Crabtree said last week. Based on what I saw, I believe Crabtree had a case, but not Amerson. That was definitely pass interference in the end zone. Though it may not have mattered at that point anyway.
Watson at least had the excuse of being switched from right to left. Howard was back to playing the position he’s played for a couple seasons now. Connor Cook was sacked three times in the game. One was Watson giving up the sack to Reader. The other two were Howard getting worked by Whitney Mercilus to give up the sack.
He started the game at strong safety, but struggled in coverage and was eventually replaced by Brynden Trawick. Joseph gave up catches of 13, 6, and 17 yards. Two of those catches set up both of the Texans’ field goals. He added a missed tackle on a 12-yard run, and was called for holding.
The Texans’ first score was set up by a shanked punt from King that went 31 yards and gave put the Texans at the Oakland 40-yard line. Even with a three-and-out, they were in field goal range and went up 3-0 early.
His second punt went for a touchback for a net of 42 yards. His final punt of the first half traveled just 38 yards to give the Texans great field position at their 40-yard-line. They would drive for a late touchdown to go up 20-7 at the half. He punted 10 times in the game, with just 2 of them stopped inside the 20.
It’s tough losing your star quarterback. And I don’t entirely blame him for calling for Connor Cook to pass the ball 48 times. The Texans are a tough defense. Honestly, it’s tough to know what to have expected from this offense.
I did expect Menelik Watson to get a bit more help at left tackle than he got. I expect a bit more creativity and a lot less predictability. How the Texans so often appeared to be reading the Raiders’ playbook despite facing a quarterback who had never started a game was strange.
Then how Musgrave managed to talk Del Rio out of putting in McGloin despite Cook’s sub 10 passer rating, down 20-7 at half time with Rodney Hudson leaving the game temporarily with an ankle injury seems strange as well. We know McGloin had his issues last week, but Cook wasn’t exactly proving himself to be a ‘hot hand’ either. McGloin was the backup presumably because he was healthy enough to be. Take a chance. Instead, it seemed like the coaches just resigned to their fate without Derek Carr and said better luck next year.