WATSON, TEXANS SLIP PAST RAIDERS
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.