First team shines but Raiders lose again

First team shines but Raiders lose again

For the second time in as many exhibition games, the Oakland Raiders first-units shined but untimely turnovers and kicking game woes sent Oakland to 0-2 in a 19-17 loss to the Houston Texans at Reliant Stadium Saturday night.

The Oakland Raiders led 17-7 at halftime but Kerry Collins and Marques Tuiasosopo each threw red zone interceptions to prevent Oakland from widening its lead. In addition, Sebastian Janikowski missed field goal attempts of 54 and 49 yards.

Houston's Chris Snyder made good from 31 yards out while Kris Brown hit field goals from 21, 54 and 46 yards. The second of which came when the ball initially sliced to his right looking like it would sail wide before it hooked inside the upright, making it 17-16 Oakland. The last of which was the go-ahead field goal with :08 seconds remaining.

The Raiders first unit had another impressive performance despite playing without wide receivers Jerry Porter and Ronald Curry. Except for his interception, Collins had an outstanding night in completing 14-of-18 passes for 191 yards and a pair of touchdowns to backup wide receiver Doug Gabriel. Free agent running back Lamont Jordan continued to impress in churning out 62 yards on nine carries. Gabriel caught four passes for 89 yards.

Both teams had an impressive opening drive as the game's first three possessions featured touchdowns.

Oakland moved 72 yards on eight plays featuring impressive Jordan running, including a 27-yard run to the Houston 10. Collins connected with Gabriel for a four yard touchdown pass. Gabriel made a play most expect from newly acquired Raiders wide receiver Randy Moss has made famous for himself. The ball was underthrown but Gabriel leaped high to grab the ball for the touchdown.

Houston answered with a 74 yard drive on 15 plays capped off by David Carr rolling to his right and hitting Reggie Swinton with the game-tying touchdown with 3:09 left in the opening quarter.

Oakland responded in short order as Collins hit Gabriel in stride on the Houston side of the field and Gabriel raced 70-yards to paydirt, giving Oakland a 14-7 advantage with 1:13 left in the opening period.

Oakland went into the locker-room with a 17-7 advantage on Sebastian Janikowski's 39-yard field goal as time expired. Chris Carr's 32 yard punt return to the Houston 21 set up that score.

Vince D'Adamo can be reached at vdad7@yahoo.com

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