WAT­SON, TEX­ANS SLIP PAST RAIDERS

Lodi News-Sentinel - - SPORTS - By Jerry McDon­ald

De­shaun Wat­son had the last word Sun­day, mak­ing enough big plays to lead the Hous­ton Tex­ans to a 27-24 win over the Raiders at NRG Sta­dium.

The game-win­ning touch­down came on an im­prob­a­bly es­cape act where Wat­son threw a 9-yard strike to Dar­ren Fells tak­ing a foot to the eye, with Raiders’ edge rush­ers Ar­den Key and Maxx Crosby nar­rowly miss­ing a sack.

Keep­ing the Tex­ans alive with his arm as well as his feet, Wat­son com­pleted 27 of 39 passes for 279 yards, three touch­downs and no in­ter­cep­tions. He also rushed for 49 yards, in­clud­ing con­vert­ing a fourth-and-1 first down on the first pos­ses­sion of the sec­ond half that led to a Hous­ton field goal.

Af­ter­ward, Raiders coach Jon Gru­den had seen enough.

“If you’ve watched Wat­son play, we’re not the first team he’s got­ten,” Gru­den said. “This guy is a spec­tac­u­lar player. He wills it out of his team and makes some­thing out of noth­ing . . . you see Michael Jor­dan, some of the great ath­letic plays in any sport . . . we had him three times, and then he makes an un­be­liev­able throw and the kid makes a great catch.”

For much of the game, Raiders’ quar­ter­back Derek Carr had the up­per hand. He was 18 of 30 for 285 yards and threw three touch­down passes. But the Raiders had the ball only three times in the sec­ond half when their de­fense couldn’t get off the field.

Wat­son was at his cre­ative best and the Raiders, par­tic­u­larly in the sec­ond half, were help­less to stop it. Wat­son also played mis­take-free foot­ball and didn’t throw an in­ter­cep­tion, although rookie Trayvon Mullen had a prime op­por­tu­nity at a first-half pick-six that he couldn’t hold.

Carr missed some open throws, but threw three touch­down passes and didn’t turn the ball over as the Raiders went into half­time with a lead in the city where he played high school foot­ball and watched his brother play quar­ter­back for the Tex­ans.

In two of the three pos­ses­sions the Raiders had in the sec­ond half, they scored 10 points, so it’s hard to pin this one on the quar­ter­back. A play in which Carr broke to his right and hit Tyrell Wil­liams for a 46-yard score might have been his best play of the sea­son.

“It hurts, first time com­ing back to Hous­ton,” Carr said. “Had a lot of friends here. Wanted to play good in front of them and beat their team . . . every­thing is still in front of us. We don’t have a lot of con­trol over a lot of things, but we can con­trol how we pre­pare and try to win th­ese games.”

Tyrell Wil­liams: After miss­ing two games with plan­tar fasci­itis, Wil­liams caught a a 46-yard touch­down pass on Carr’s role to his right to put the Raiders up 21-13 with 7:53 left in the third quar­ter. The play came against for­mer Raiders cor­ner Gareon Con­ley. Will lament two late po­ten­tial catches — both with a high de­gree of dif­fi­culty — on the Raiders’ last of­fen­sive drive. Caught three passes for 91 yards.

“I know there’s two there that he wants back,” Carr said. “There’s prob­a­bly two or three I could have thrown a bet­ter ball or we could have back.”

Said Wil­liams to re­porters"Missed op­por­tu­ni­ties for my­self. Got to make those plays on that last drive. As a whole it was a good game for us, you can see you play with a good AFC team and you build from there.”

Hunter Ren­frow opened the scor­ing with a 65yard touch­down re­cep­tion from Derek Carr to give the Raiders a 7-0 lead. It was Ren­frow’s first NFL touch­down. It was a short pat­tern in which Ren­frow spun out of an an­kle tackle at­tempt by Lon­nie Johnson Jr. and found wide open spa­ces in the Hous­ton sec­ondary.

Josh Ja­cobs, play­ing with a right shoul­der in­jury, Carr man­aged to break off some nice gains while shar­ing the load with DeAndre Washington. Ja­cobs had 45 yards on nine first-half car­ries with a long of 23 yards. Gained 66 yards on 15 car­ries.

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