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(Sunday, October 4th)
Final Score: Houston 29, Oakland 6
Houston, TX (Sports Network) - Steve Slaton had a rushing touchdown and another receiving, as the Houston Texans used a number of big plays to dominate the Oakland Raiders, 29-6, at Reliant Stadium.
Slaton rushed for 65 yards on 21 carries and caught two passes for 24 yards for the Texans (2-2), who bounced back from a 31-24 loss to the Jaguars last week. Matt Schaub completed 11-of-22 passes for 224 yards, a touchdown, and an interception. Andre Johnson led the receiving corps with two catches for 66 yards.
"I feel much better about our defense. Obviously they stepped up and played extremely well, you know, all day long. We had some issues going into the game earlier with three new players starting on the back end when it was all said and done. We walked out of the locker rooms today and just, I'm real proud of (Defensive Coordinator) Frank Bush and rallying the troops. And playing the way they did," Houston head coach Gary Kubiak said.
JaMarcus Russell connected on just 12-of-33 passes for 128 yards for the Raiders (1-3), who lost 23-3 to Denver last weekend. Justin Fargas rushed for 24 yards on 10 carries. Louis Murphy hauled in three passes for 34 yards for Oakland, which was held to 165 yards of total offense by the worst ranked defense in the league.
"Offensively we counted nine dropped balls. We could not run the football and that really disrupted our offense. We are really killing ourselves -- we're shooting ourselves in the foot all over the place. And then special teams was a really poor effort and then coverage returns a couple of bad decisions obviously, so two-thirds of our football team really played poorly today," Oakland head coach Tom Cable said.
The Texans settled for a 26-yard Kris Brown field goal on their second possession of the game to take an early 3-0 edge. The six-play, 61-yard drive was highlighted by a 62-yard Johnson catch.
Oakland was able to capitalize on a Houston fumble late in the first. On a 2nd-and-5 at the Texans 49, Slaton rushed to the right and tried to jump over his own lineman, but he lost ball as he started to go to the ground. The Raiders gained just 15 yards on offense before Sebastian Janikowski drilled a 46-yard field goal to tie the tilt with about 2 1/2 minutes to go in the first quarter.
Brown's 34-yarder on the first play of the second period put the Texans ahead 6-3. Kevin Walter ignited the six-play, 53-yard drive with a 41-yard reception.
Houston took a 13-3 lead when Slaton broke a 32-yard run for a TD with 10:39 left until half. Slaton also had a dazzling 11-yard run on the six-play, 67- yard drive.
After Oakland went three-and-out on offense again, the big-play Texans offense took control of the game. On first down, Schaub connected with Owen Daniels on a 44-yard pass. Three plays later, Schaub hit Slaton with an 18-yard TD pass for a 20-3 margin with 8:13 remaining in the second quarter.
The Raiders finally showed signs of life on their ensuing possession after gaining a combined 27 yards over their first five drives. Russell put together a 13-play, 64-yard drive that came to a halt at the Houston 15. Janikowski's 33-yard field goal cut the gap to 20-6 with 2:05 left until half.
Oakland's misery carried over into the third stanza. Backed up at their own one-yard-line after a punt, Russell handed the ball of to Fargas, who was met in the end zone by Brian Cushing for a safety. Then on the ensuing free kick, Jacoby Jones sprinted 95 yards for a TD and a 29-6 lead with 8:41 left in the third.
Brown missed a 33-yarder in a scoreless fourth period.
"I think Jacoby has been special this year. If you look at his production -- what has he had, like three touchdowns in four weeks? I mean that's being productive. As a receiver, as a returner, when he gets rid of that one play where the ball is on the ground, I'm thinking that this guy has a chance to be a great, great player. So, I'm proud of him, I'm proud of all his work to get to where he is at right now. I think he's on his way to a good year," Kubiak said of Jones.
The Texans recorded their first safety since December 15, 2002...Houston is 4-1 all-time against Oakland, suffering its first loss in series history when it dropped a 27-16 road decision to the Raiders in Week 16 of last year...The Texans had 329 yards of total offense...Oakland had nine penalties for 60 yards, while Houston committed one penalty for five yards...This is the best start the Texans have had after four games since the 2007 campaign.
10/04 19:42:43 ET