Andre Johnson had his 10th 100-yard receiving game of his career Sunday afternoon, but that wasn't enough to push the Texans over the Eagles at Reliant Stadium.
Houston's offense was looking to improve its' passing game with the addition of veteran Pro-Bowler Eric Moulds. Clearly, they did, but Moulds' performance wasn't enough.
Moulds' and Johnson's promising performances gave the Texans offense more options to its passing game for the season ahead and signaled a strength of a much-improved offense.
The Texans' offense was carried by its' passing game as Johnson and veteran Eric Moulds combined for 169 receiving yards. Led by quarterback David Carr, the Texans came out ready to play early Sunday. Houston's offense charged down the field during their first possession reaching the end zone on a Carr to Moulds 25-yard connection.
Moulds' touchdown was the first opening drive score in a season opener for Houston since 2002.
Moulds and Carr connected five more times during the game, once during the second quarter for a ten-yard gain in which the Eagles' Jeremiah Trotter's personal foul advanced the Texans 15 additional yards.
"I think David played well overall today," Moulds said. "Except for a couple of sacks here and there, I think that he was poised in the huddle.
"He did a great job at throwing the ball to Andre and myself and mixing it up to the tight ends. We still have to improve on a lot of things that we didn't do well today. For the way we played early, I was excited about it, but the way we played in the second half, we have to pick it up a little bit."
Johnson and Carr connected for the first time during the Texans second possession, and at least once during every possession thereafter during the first half. Three of those catches equated to first downs and Johnson's 83 yards during the first half was a career best.
The Texans gained momentum with Johnson's game-high 44-yard catch that set up a Kris Brown 34-yard field goal in the second quarter to put the Texans ahead 10-7. That, however, would be the last time the Texans put points on the board and a promising first half was followed by a disappointing second.
"The second half was pretty frustrating," Carr said. "It started off descent, but we really could never get anything going after that. For our offense to work with play action, boots and keeps, we need to start running the ball better."
Carr continued targeting Johnson and Moulds throughout the rest of the game, but the Eagles defense was all over the field. The duo combined for only 40 yards during the second half of the game compared to 129 in the first half.
Six of Carr's passes were deflected by the Eagles' defense, who targeted the Texans' two top playmakers in the first half.
"You get in obvious pass situations and when defensive linemen don't get a good pass rush, they put their hands up," Carr said. "It mostly happens when you are trying to check the ball down when the defense gets such a good drop that you don't have anything downfield. The balls that get knocked down are when you're going to your last resort to check it down and those guys are standing two yards in front of you and they're ready to knock it down."
Carr still managed to complete 50 percent of his passes during the second half, but that was still a stark contrast from the first two quarters in which Carr completed 12 out of 15 passes for 164 yards.
The tight ends could have picked up the production. Expected to play a bigger role in the passing game, they were not as productive as they had been during the preseason. The lone catch, however, was a 26-yard reception by Jeb Putzier early in the first quarter that extended Houston's touchdown drive to start the game.
Was the passing game everything Houston fans had hoped for? Probably not, But Sunday offered a glimpse of an aerial attack that could be among the league's best by season's end.