Graphic Credit: Trisha LaCoste/Franchise Sports Media


FSM Essential Recap: Raiders vs Texans – Week 7

Las Vegas Raiders (2-4) | Houston Texans (1-4-1)

Franchise Sports Media


Coming off of their bye, Raider Nation was eager to return to the Death Star. Running back Josh Jacobs ensured there was no disappointment from the home crowd, scoring three touchdowns in the second half en route to a 38-20 victory.


Raiders vs Texans
Photo Credit: TQ/Franchise Sports Media

After 13 long days off, Raider Nation was more than eager to get back to action. Even sweeter, the Silver & Black were finally back at Allegiant Stadium for the first time since October 2nd. With the 1-3-1 Houston Texans awaiting, Vegas was ready to pin their ears back.

Of course, the first portion of the 2022 schedule has not been ideal for the Raiders, but with a row of winnable games on the horizon (starting Sunday with the Texans), all were ready to turn a new leaf. So for the next 12 weeks (at least), it will be pedal to the metal for Raider Nation.

If you caught my HOU-LV preview last Thursday, then you know I’m keeping an eye on the Raiders’ run production following two mammoth performances from RB Josh Jacobs, WR Davante Adams battling rookie-CB Derek Stingley Jr, and Vegas’ pass rush efforts. Overall, this matchup will highlight McDaniels’ offense versus Lovie Smith’s defense. But how will it all play out?

There’s also the recurring subplot of Derek Carr facing the franchise that drafted his older brother with their very first overall pick … ever (2002: the Texans’ inaugural year). Undoubtedly, (Derek) Carr having the luxury of growing up around an NFL organization has contributed to the player his today, and he is a better quarterback because of it. Ooo, this should be fun.

As always, have a glimpse at the 53-man roster before checking out this week’s recap against the Texans. At this point in the year, roster depth is vital.


Previous contests


HOF game: Raiders 27 – Jaguars 11
PRE1: Raiders 26 – Vikings 20
PRE2: Raiders 15 – Dolphins 13

PRE3: Raiders 23 – Patriots 6

WK1: Chargers 24 – Raiders 19 (L)
WK2: Cardinals 29 – Raiders 23 (OT)/(L)
WK3: Titans 24 – Raiders 22 (L)
WK4: Raiders 32 – Broncos 23 (W)
WK5: Chiefs 30 – Raiders 29 (L)


1st Quarter

Raiders vs Texans
Photo Credit: TQ/Franchise Sports Media

With a rowdy Raider crowd filing into the depths of the Death Star, the visiting Houston Texans won the opening coin toss. At that, Houston deferred their possession selection to the second half, giving the Raiders the ball to start. Carr immediately got the offense into the bread and butter, handing off to Jacobs for a short gain before finding Adams for a 1st down on a fade-stop. However, on that same completion, Carr’s pocket engulfed him, sending him to the ground for a while—certainly hope it’s nothing serious.

Thankfully, it was not; Carr trotted off the field for a single play, where Jarett Stidham handed off to Jacobs, who was stuffed. Carr’s return to action brought a raucous roar from the home crowd, and he would build on that. Going right back to his number one target, Adams picked up 1st downs on back-to-back plays. Next, a swing pass to RB Ameer Abdullah picked up a few more yards before the opening drive stalled. From there, K Daniel Carlson came out successfully to boot through a 50-yard field goal. After an 11-play drive, Vegas is up 3-0.

Now for our first look at Houston’s offense, including the second-year quarterback Davis Mills. Although young, Mills plays the game with considerable poise. With that said, it was actually a rookie on that side of the ball that impressed the most: RB Dameon Pierce.

Houston’s first possession showcased a TFL from edge rusher Chandler Jones (which also made the crowd go wild), but it produced big catches from WRs Nico Collins and Brandin Cooks. Now on the Raiders’ side of the field, Pierce added a 10-yard 1st down run. The drive eventually stalled, with Houston calling upon veteran kicker Ka’imi Fairbarn to try a casual 39-yarder. This time, Fairbarn missed his mark, pushing the football wide right; Raider ball!

The Silver & Black would start their second drive of Week 7 with a fumbled snap from Derek Carr. Fortunately for Vegas, Carr was able to fall right on it without taking any damage. It really wouldn’t matter much, though, as he was sacked for a five-yard loss. A check-down pass to Abdullah on 3rd down could not pick up the sticks, and punter A.J. Cole was summoned to do his work, booting it back to Houston’s side of the field.

The Texans then got the rookie Piece involved in the passing game by picking on a 1st down on a swing route. Safetyman Tre’von Moehrig chimed in with a timely play in coverage, but Collins and Pierce were able to move the chains on positive plays thereafter. Unfortunately, that would be all for the first Quarter.


2nd Quarter


Raiders vs Texans
Photo Credit: TQ/Franchise Sports Media

Still, with the football, Houston’s drive continued onto the Raiders’ side of the field after a 1st down reception from Cooks. From there, Pierce began to flex his muscles as he took a flip from Mills 19 yards upfield and into the red zone. A couple of plays later, Mills found WR Chris Moore for a 13-yard touchdown catch. So, with our first lead change of the day, the Texans have the lead at 7-3.

Unfortunately for Raider Nation, Vegas would not be able to respond immediately. The drive started with some promise after a couple of Jacobs rushes moved the chains, followed by a fine pitch-and-catch on the run from Carr to WR Hunter Renfrow, who played the sliding grab in style. Adams added another catch before a couple of negative run plays and an incompletion intended for TE Jesper Horsted. With Cole’s second appearance of the day, Vegas punted back to the Texans.

By this point, Houston found a good thing by going high-volume to Dameon Pierce. The rookie from the University of Florida returned to the field by ripping off runs of 11 and 22 yards on consecutive plays. Back in Vegas’ territory, Brandin Cooks caught another ball before suffering a key drop that ultimately stalled the drive. Now tasked with a 55-yard field goal attempt, Fairbarn converted. In the second quarter, Houston extended their lead to 10-3.

Thankfully for Vegas, on their final drive before halftime, the Raiders were able to go full grand theft auto on the game’s momentum. Freshly activated off the injured reserve, WR D.J. Turner checked into Sunday’s contest by flashing 18 yards up the left sideline on a jet sweep. Next, Jacobs added various touches to extend the drive, including a clutch grab on 4th down to pick up the sticks in Texans’ territory.

From there, Carr threw perhaps his best ball of the day, hitting a leaping Mack Hollins up the seam in the end zone for a highlight reel 26-yard touchdown with 25 seconds left in the half to tie the game. Houston would get the ball back once more before the end of 2Q, but we would go into the locker rooms all knotted up at 10-10.


3rd Quarter


Raiders vs Texans
Photo Credit: TQ/Franchise Sports Media

Having deferred their possession to the second half, Houston would resume their offensive agenda. On the first series, the Raiders appeared to make adjustments that bottled up the shifty Pierce. When faced with an early 3rd down, Mills then hit TE Jordan Akins on a drag that wound up gaining 39 yards after Akins found the sideline. The Raiders would regain composure there, rallying for a stop on their side of the field. Fairbarn would trot back out for Houston, kicking a 35-yard FG attempt through the uprights. With the Texans back on top, it’s 13-10.

Now with the fullback Johnson on the field, Carr handed off to Jacobs for a power run of 10 yards. Renfrow then contributed with a 1st down catch over the middle before TE Foster Moreau caught a couple of balls to extend the possession (one with Carr fabulously navigating a closing pocket) down to Houston’s 5-yard line. All too easily, Jacobs took the next play in for a touchdown on a toss left. With our second lead change of the day, the Raiders are back on top 17-13.

Could Mills, Pierce, and the Texans‘ offense strike back? Mills started the drive on the right foot by completing a crosser to Cooks, who proceeded to take the ball 24-yard up field. Next, Pierce ran up the gut for 13 yards back into Raider territory. From there, the Raiders‘ pass rush was able to get in Mills’ face as Crosby was able to bat down a pass. However, just when it looked like the Texans would be forced into a field goal, Mills delivered a 3rd down pass right to the end zone pylon to a sliding WR, Phillip Dorsett.

With a dime and a touchdown, the third-quarter score was Mills’ best throw of the day. We now have our third lead change of the game, and H-town is ahead: 20-17.

At this point in the game, that all too familiar uneasy feeling began to hover over Raider Nation; “Are we really going to blow another game, to, of all teams, the Texans?!” Faced with similar scenarios this season, Carr and the offense returned to action with conviction.

Going back to his college mate Adams, the All-Pro wide receiver caught three balls in four plays to move the rock about 40 yards downfield. Next, the Raiders tried some trickeration by motioning Carr out wide–Jacobs took the shotgun snap only to turn around and toss to a sweeping Derek Carr, who did not have an open receiver downfield (he checked down to Moreau for no gain). Ironically, that was the final play of 3Q.


4th Quarter


Raiders vs Texans
Photo Credit: David Becker/AP

Still, with the ball near midfield, the Raiders would need only three more plays to find the end zone. After a Jacobs rush and Hollins receptions down to the HOU 7-yard line, Jacobs retook the rock to run it in for his second touchdown of the day. In what was perhaps their most gutsy drive of the season to this point, the Raiders finally provided the responding fourth-quarter score. After the game’s fourth lead change, Vegas is ahead again, 24-20.

However, late in the game, could Vegas stay ahead this time? Well, Houston figured they’d be best suited by riding their hot hand Pierce, and on three consecutive plays, the Raiders held him to a net gain of 9-yards. So, faced with 4th & 1, Coach Lovie Smith sent his offense back out there to convert. But, as anticlimactic as it may be, the Texans could not hold their water, flinching along the offensive line and drawing a false start penalty. Now backed up at 4th & 5, Houston had no choice but to punt.

Now with an opportunity to pin the nail in Houston’s coffin, the Raiders‘ offense came back out with swagger. First, Jacobs continued his near-month-long tirade by adding his flashiest run of the day: A 12-yard gain that featured a spin move early and bulldozing through defenders late. Next, Vegas utilized one of their few play-action passes of the day, with Carr finding a wide-open Renfrow running a corner route (if the throw was lower, Renfrow may have been able to turn upfield and score then).

The football then went back to Jacobs, who took another 10+ yard run into Houston’s red zone. After an incompletion, a blown-up jet sweep, and an Adams reception, the Raiders would be faced with their own 4th & 1. However, repeating the act, the Texans (now) defensive line flinched, inducing a neutral zone infraction and moving the chains simultaneously: Talk about a bail-out. With the ball now on the HOU 15-yard line, Jacobs completed the hat trick by taking a gun run counter easily into the end zone, doubling his 2022 season touchdown total on Sunday. It’s now 31-20, and Vegas is up by multiple scores … like they should be!

To close the game out, the Raiders would finally employ complementary football, featuring the defense taking care of the offense. The Texans tried to swing a pass to RB Rex Burkhead, but Harmon flew up to tackle him near the LOS. A few plays later, with Houston driving, Harmon would again make himself known; This time, the safety from Rutgers jumped in front of Bishop Gorman-product TE Brevin Jordan to intercept Mills’ pass. Harmon didn’t just make the catch, though–He proceeded to take the rock 73 yard back to the house. In Allegiant Stadium’s loudest moment of the 2022 season, the Raiders 38-20 lead sent the building into a frenzy.

With exception of Houston’s offense turning the ball over on downs in the game’s subsequent final drive, that would be all from the Death Star; The Silver & Black have their second win of the season and can now focus on consistency and discipline as we advance.  



Raiders vs Texans
Photo Credit: TQ/Franchise Sports Media

Sunday’s home win over the Texans was one for the offense. In somewhat of a milestone day for several players, Jacobs rushed for more than 140 yards for his third straight game. Additionally, he passed Marcus Allen for most rushing yards by a Raider in their first 50 games (3,719 yards for Jacobs). Also, Adams caught his 700th career pass with his second reception on Sunday. He finished the day with eight catches for 95 yards to lead all receivers in the game. As for Derek Carr, he beat his big brother’s old team while also passing Steve Young on the NFL’s all-time passing yards list. Overall, it was not a bad Sunday for Raider Nation.

The defense did not play great but buckled down in the fourth Quarter. Of course, there have been a couple of games this season where the defense looked good until they were gassed near the end of the game (partly with some of the weight on the offense’s short drives). However, in Week 7, the Raiders bottled up Pierce on the game’s final drives and forced the momentous turnover score despite giving up over 400 yards of offense to the Texans. So perhaps it wasn’t always pretty, but it was a victorious effort nonetheless …


The Raiders will next travel to the “Crescent City” for an interconference clash against the New Orleans Saints, which will take place on Hallow’s Eve (Sunday, Oct. 30). Kickoff is scheduled for 10:00 am PST and can be seen on Fox 5 (local radio play-by-play on RNR AM920).


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-Gabe Santiago – Franchise Sports Media

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