Raiders rolled by Texans in home opener
O.CO COLISEUM — Charles Woodson only needed two sentences to sum up the Raiders performance on Sunday:
“We suck. That’s as blunt as I can put it.”
Oakland did suck, committing two of football’s cardinal sins en route to a 30-14 shellacking Sunday afternoon at the hands of the visiting Houston Texans.
Not only did the Raiders (0-2) cough up four turnovers in their home opener, they allowed the Texans (2-0) to convert nine of 15 third downs in an embarrassing display in front of a sellout crowd.
Coach Dennis Allen’s analysis?
“That’s a recipe for getting your butt kicked.”
A rough first quarter in which the Raiders offense held the ball for less than three minutes proved to be the difference in a game where Houston only outgained Oakland by 63 yards.
Woodson was his usual honest self when he reflected in the locker room:
“Collectively we look bad. … I’m really embarrassed. You know when I came into the stadium today on the bus and I saw all the fans there – you know everybody’s optimistic. You know it’s our first home game. They’re excited to see their Raiders and what was that we put out there on the field? That was embarrassing.”
Oakland allowed a 100-yard rusher for the second straight week, with Arian Foster running rampant for 138 yards on 28 carries. The porous Raiders front seven allowed a total of 187 yards on the ground.
Linebacker Lamarr Woodley tried to explain Oakland’s problems stopping the run and lack of pass rush:
“We have to eliminate those things of pre-snap, post-snap penalties, missed tackles and quit giving up the key plays. … This was a running team, we have to stop the run first if you wanna see that good pas rush that we have but until you stop the run, you will never see that pass rush.”
The Texans (2-0) equaled their seven-point tally from last week on their first drive, going 80 yards on nine plays. Arian Foster ran for 57 yards on that drive including a 41-yard scamper that was initially ruled a touchdown before replays showed him down at the 1-yard line.
The Raiders kept J.J. Watt quiet on defense for much of the afternoon, but the All-Pro made an impact on offense, catching a 1-yard TD pass from Fitzpatrick as moonlight tight end in Houston’s goal line package, giving the Texans an early 7-0 advantage.
Foster would eventually score before the Oakland offense could manage a first down, easily punching it in from 5 yards at the end of a 13-play, 70-yard drive.
Allen said the Raiders were simply out-blocked in the first half.
Things sputtered from the beginning for Derek Carr and Co. The rookie quarterback was picked off in the second quarter after telegraphing a pass to tight end Mychal Rivera, with Kareem Jackson returning the interception to the Oakland 24, leading to a Houston field goal for a 17-0 halftime lead.
Carr looked good at times in his second start, but too often stared down his receivers allowing Houston defenders to make plays on the ball despite single coverage. His most impressive play came with his legs, when he faked a give to McFadden and took the ball around end for a 41-yard dash.
Carr would finish 27-of-42 for 263 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions. He was also Oakland’s leading rusher, going for 58 yards on four carries.
The second of three turnovers that killed promising drives for Oakland came inside the two-minute warning of the first half. James Jones made a catch for a first down and recovered his own fumble before running to the Texans 18-yard line and fumbling again, only to have Houston recover at their own goal line.
The turnover led to Ryan Fitzpatrick and DeAndre Hopkins connecting on an impressive back shoulder throw and catch to extend the Houston lead to 24-0 with over eight minutes left in the third quarter. Houston scored 10 points off Raiders turnovers.
McFadden scored a consolation touchdown from the one yard line following a defensive pass interference call on Houston corner A.J. Bouye.
Oakland would score their second TD late in garbage time when Carr connected with Jones for a 9-yard touchdown pass, making the final score an inaccurate portrayal of each teams performance.
The Raiders have put themselves in a two game hole with one of the leagues toughest schedules ahead. Many saw Sunday’s matchup as one of the easiest games for Oakland this season. The Raiders travel to New England next week to face Tom Brady and the Patriots (1-1).