Escpaing with an Ugly Win

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December 4, 2006
Escpaing with an Ugly Win

by Dave Sabo

On a historically bad passing day, the Texans capitalized on five Raiders turnovers, three missed Sebastian Janikowski field goals, and three Kris Brown field goals to escape McAfee Coliseum with a 23-14 win.

Tallying negative net yardage through the air and failing to complete a pass in the second half, quarterback David Carr was left to rely on the rushing of the previously benched Ron Dayne and the much maligned Texans defense to put points on the board.

Free safety C.C. Brown got things started early when he stripped the ball from Raiders running back ReShard Lee. Demarcus “Petey” Faggins scooped it up in stride and sprinted, untouched, 58 yards for a touchdown with just barely three minutes gone in the game.

Just two minutes later, defensive end Jason Babin appeared to have forced a second fumble when he sacked Raiders quarterback Aaron Brooks near mid-field. Replays, however, showed Brooks’ arm was moving forward, and the call was reversed.

Following a short Chad Stanley punt and a long Chris Carr return, the Raiders threatened deep in Texans territory. Forced into a third and goal situation at the Texans 7-yard line, the Raiders caught a break as C.C. Brown kicked Oakland receiver Randy Moss, drawing a personal foul. Justin Fargas tied the game for Oakland a play later.

Pro Bowl kick returner, Jerome Mathis, exhibited some rust as he muffed the ensuing kick off. He then made the poor decision to try and bring the ball out his own end zone. He was buried at the four.

Both teams spent the rest of the half floundering around between the 20’s until Carr took a massive hit and sack, fumbling at his own 29. After Janikowski shanked the first of his three field goal attempts, the Texans took over with 1:08 left in the half. Unsatisfied with the prospect of going in at halftime with a tie, head coach Gary Kubiak dropped Carr back where he was hit, sacked and fumbled again. Kirk Morrison recovered and strolled in for the touchdown and a 14-10 lead.

Unbelievably, on the next play from scrimmage following the kickoff, Kubiak dropped Carr back AGAIN. Hit, sack, fumble. Luckily, Carr recovered.

Receiving the second half kick off, Mathis redeemed himself with an 87-yard jaunt down to the Raiders three. One play later, Wali Lundy blasted into the end zone to tie the game at 14 points.

Brooks and the Raiders mounted a long, time-consuming drive which culminated in Janikowski’s second miss. The Texans then went three and out which set up Janikowski’s third miss.

As the third quarter ended, Ron Dayne went to work. Toting the rock on six of eight plays, the all-but-forgotten Dayne drove down to the Raiders 23. Kris Brown’s 41 yard attempt though sailed wide right.

After forcing Oakland to go three and out, the Texans pulled some razzle dazzle. Mathis joined Dexter Wynn on the return and played decoy on the fake reverse, springing Wynn for a 58-yard return to the Raiders 21. Brown eventually nailed a 42-yarder for a 17-14 lead.

From that point on, the defense took over. Dexter McCleon forced a fumble which led to a 47-yard Brown field goal. On the next play from scrimmage, DeMeco Ryans forced a fumble and Brown closed out the scoring with his third field goal from 39 yards.

A late Raiders drive was thwarted when Ryans picked Brooks off in the end zone.

The Texans record stands at 4-8 as they welcome the former Oilers and Vince Young to Reliant Stadium next Sunday.

What Went Right?

The Running Game
Led by a resurgent Ron Dayne’s 95 yards, the Texans rushed for 130 yards on 31 carries. Wali Lundy chipped in another 33 yards on nine carries.

The Turnover Battle
The defense bent but didn’t break, and it came up with big plays when it had to. The Texans recovered three critical fumbles to go with two big interceptions which the Texans converted into 13 points.

The Return Teams
After shaking off the rust after his first half muff, Jerome Mathis rolled 87 yards to open the second half and set up Wali Lundy’s plunge from the three. He played decoy in the fourth quarter on Dexter Wynn’s 58 yard punt return. What Went Wrong?

The Passing Game
No protection, a horrible outing for David Carr, and a game plan reminiscent of the bad ol’ days of Palmer and Capers added up to the worst passing day (a net of -5 yards) by a winning team since 1977.

Stupid Decisions
C.C. Brown converts 3rd and goal from the seven to 1st and goal from the three with an unnecessary roughness call, Mathis declines to take a knee in the end zone after muffing a kickoff, Kubiak elects to drop Carr back just before the half… do I need to go on?

Run Defense
Sure, the Raiders put the ball on the ground all afternoon, but it was usually after a nice gain. Journeyman ReShard Lee nearly doubled his career output gaining 42 yards on six carries. The perfectly ordinary Justin Fargas added another 49 on 14 carries. Key Play Of The Game

Leading by six following Kris Brown’s second field goal, the Texans made the big play they’ve so often failed to come up with this season. On the first play of the ensuing drive, DeMeco Ryans delivered a shot to Raiders tight end Randal Williams, jarring the ball loose. Morlon Greenwood fell on it, and four plays later, Kris Brown iced the game with his third field goal.

Game 12 Recap Demarcus Faggins returns a first quarter fumble by Reshard Lee for a TD. Final Score Houston Texans 23 Oakland Raiders 14 Lookin’ Good

DeMeco Ryans
The front runner for Defensive Rookie of the Year had another stellar afternoon. Fourteen more tackles, a sack, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery and an interception. He almost came up with another pick that he’d have easily taken in for six.

Oh, my eyes!

David Carr
Poor protection and a conservative game plan couldn’t hide Carr’s flaws today. Negative net passing yards. ZERO completions in the second half. Three fumbles, two recovered by Oakland, one returned for a touchdown before the half.

2006 Schedule Date Opponent Result 08.12 Kansas City 24-14 08.19 St. Louis 27-20 08.27 at Denver 14-17 08.31 Tampa Bay 16-13 Regular Season 09.10 Philadelphia 10-24 09.17 at Indianapolis 24-43 09.24 Washington 15-31 10.01 Miami 17-15 10.08 Bye 10.15 at Dallas 6-34 10.22 Jacksonville 27-7 10.29 at Tennessee 22-28 11.05 at NY Giants 10-14 11.12 at Jacksonville 13-10 11.19 Buffalo 21-24 11.26 at NY Jets 11-26 12.03 at Oakland 23-14 12.10 Tennessee 20-26 12.17 at New England 7-40 12.24 Indianapolis 27-24 12.31 Cleveland 14-6   Overall Record 6-10