In the end, it was too many mistakes, and maybe some heartfelt emotion by the Raiders that did the Texans in during their 25-20 loss at home Sunday afternoon to drop them to 3-2.
Despite all their miscues, they still had a shot to win Sunday. But one last error sealed their fate. Michael Huff intercepted Matt Schaub’s pass in the end zone on the final play to secure the Raiders 5-point win.
“We had a chance to pull off a great comeback, overcoming a lot of problems and a lot of adversity on a day where you didn’t play your best football,” coach Gary Kubiak said. “But we didn’t do it and they made the play at the end.”
Schaub threw for 416 yards and two touchdowns, but missed star receiver Andre Johnson, who sat out with a right hamstring injury. Kubiak was frustrated by the countless errors by his team Sunday.
“Just trying to overcome mistakes all the time: snap problems, penalties, tipped balls, (it) just seemed like it was one thing after another all day long,” he said. “The bottom line offensively … they controlled the line of scrimmage and we didn’t run the ball a lick.”
Jason Campbell threw for 190 yards and two touchdowns against an interception, while Darrius Heyward-Bey caught seven passes for 99 yards and a score for the Raiders (3-2), who outscored Houston 10-3 in the fourth quarter.
The win for Oakland came one day after owner Al Davis passed away Saturday at the age of 82.
“He’d be getting on me right now about the way we played, but he’d be happy that we won the game,” said first-year Raiders coach Hue Jackson, who dropped to his knees on the sideline following the win — visibly emotional. “Obviously [Saturday] was a tough day but I could see the gleam in [the players’] eyes. They weren’t going to stop fighting.”
Oakland trailed 17-15 entering the fourth, but exhibited a measure of gall the fiery and controversial Davis would have fully appreciated.
Early in the quarter, Campbell hit Chaz Schilens for an 18-yard touchdown strike on 3rd-and-9 to put the Raiders on top, 22-17.
Sebastian Janikowski, who was a perfect 4-of-4 on the day, hit a 42-yard field goal on the team’s next possession for a 25-17 advantage.
Later, Neil Rackers responded with a 40-yard field goal to make it a 25-20 game. The kick was set up by Demarcus Van Dyke’s pass interference penalty on 4th-and-9.
After forcing a three-and-out, Houston received the ball at its own 37-yard line with 1:50 remaining. Aided by a 15-yard facemask infraction and a roughing the passer penalty on separate plays, the Texans marched into Oakland territory before Schaub found Joel Dreessen for a 34-yard completion to the Oakland five. A play after spiking the ball, Schaub rolled to his right and threw a bullet into the chest of Huff, effectively ending the game.
“It hurts,” said Schaub. “It’s very disappointing the way we played. We came in focused and ready to go I thought.”
The Texans, playing without Pro Bowl wide receiver Andre Johnson (hamstring), showed no ill effects early, taking a 7-0 lead on their first possession of the game. Schaub converted a 3rd-and-2 with a completion to Jacoby Jones during the drive and Kevin Walter capped it with a five-yard touchdown reception.
Later in the first, Schaub was intercepted near midfield by Lamarr Houston, who sprinted to the Texans’ 35-yard line before being brought down. Janikowski made it a 7-3 game with a 54-yard field goal.
He tacked on a 55-yarder at the start of the second quarter after teammate Bruce Davis blocked a Brett Hartmann punt attempt in Houston territory.
Later in the second, Campbell was intercepted by Jason Allen and Schaub immediately took advantage, connecting with Dreessen for a 56-yard touchdown strike on the first play of the ensuing drive.
The Raiders answered, as Campbell found Heyward-Bey, who made a man miss and sprinted for a 34-yard touchdown. A failed two-point conversion attempt made it 14-12 at the half.
Rackers missed a 41-yard field goal to waste Arian Foster’s 60-yard catch- and-run early in the second, and Janikowski was good from 50 yards on the Raiders’ next drive for a 15-14 lead.
Rackers then atoned with a 54-yarder to reclaim the advantage for the Texans, who had moved into Raiders territory on Walters’ 49-yard diving catch.