**Five yards. Seven seconds. One play.
That was the difference in the Texans being 4-1 or 3-2. Down five points to the Oakland Raiders at Reliant Stadium on Sunday, they were lined up in second-and-goal at the five-yard line with seven seconds remaining and no timeouts. A touchdown would have won the game.
Instead, quarterback Matt Schaub scrambled to his left, attempted to pass to Jacoby Jones and was picked off in the end zone by safety Michael Huff. The Texans lost 25-20.
"Their safety, 33 (Tyvon Branch), was coming down at me and I had to make a decision with Jacoby on 24 (Huff) and just try to put it up where hopefully my guy could make a play," Schaub said. "Unfortunately, it didn't work out for us."
The Texans dominated the game early on in every area but the scoreboard. The Raiders didn't pick up a first down until the 1:53 mark of the second quarter but trailed only 14-12 at halftime. Oakland went ahead for the first time midway through the third quarter.
The Texans outgained the Raiders 473-278 in a game that featured plenty of mistakes on both sides. The Raiders were penalized 11 times for 89 yards. The Texans had six penalties for 50 yards.
The Texans also were undone by two turnovers, a rare missed field goal by Neil Rackers, an unsuccessful challenge by coach Gary Kubiak that cost them a second-half timeout, injuries to Mario Williams and James Casey, dropped passes, errant throws and mistakes on special teams.
Schaub finished with 416 passing yards but just a 47.1 completion percentage, his second-lowest as a Texans starter. Seven of his passes were tipped at or near the line of scrimmage. The Texans averaged only 2.8 yards per carry against the Raiders' 29th-ranked rushing defense.
"The bottom line offensively, in my opinion… they controlled the line of scrimmage and we didn't run the ball a lick," Kubiak said. "We had 25 carries for 2.8. We're not gonna play good football if that's the case."
The Texans went up 7-0 on their first drive with a five-yard touchdown pass from Schaub to Kevin Walter on third-and-goal.
On the Texans' next drive, Schaub was picked off on a tipped pass by defensive end Lamarr Houston at midfield. Houston returned the ball 15 yards to the Texans' 35-yard line. Williams was injured on the next play while sacking Jason Campbell for a one-yard loss. Two plays later, Janikowski drilled a 54-yard field goal to cut the Texans' lead to 7-3.
After the Texans stalled on the following series, Brett Hartmann's punt was tipped behind the line of scrimmage. It traveled only 11 yards before being downed at the Texans' 39-yard line. That set up another long field goal by Janikowski, this one from 55 yards. The Raiders had six points without gaining a first down.
Cornerback Jason Allen picked off a deep pass by Campbell at the Houston 45-yard line on the next series. On the next play, Schaub found tight end Joel Dreessen wide open on a play-action fake for a 56-yard touchdown.
Raiders wide reciever Heyward-Bey broke a tackle from Allen on his way to a 34-yard touchdown catch with 1:09 left in the first half. The Raiders' two-point conversion attempt failed to make the score 14-12.
Early in the third quarter, Foster gained 60 yards on a swing pass from Schaub to the Raiders' 23-yard line. That set up Rackers for a 41-yard field goal attempt, but he missed wide left. It was his first miss of the season and first from within 45 yards since 2008.
The Raiders again capitalized on the good field position with a long field goal by Janikowski. He made a 50-yarder to put the Raiders up 15-14 with 5:12 left in the third quarter.
Walter made a diving 41-yard catch on the first play of the ensuing drive. The Texans wound up with a 54-yard field goal by Rackers that put them back on top.
The Raiders took the lead right back on the second play of the fourth quarter with an 18-yard touchdown catch by Chaz Schillens on third-and-eight. McFadden helped set up the score with consecutive runs of eight, 14 and 20 yards.
On their next drive, the Raiders caught the Texans off-guard with a fake punt. On fourth-and-three from their own 37, they snapped the ball to running back Rock Cartwright, who ran 35 yards to the Houston 28. That resulted in a 42-yard field goal by Janikowski that gave the Raiders an eight-point lead with 10 minutes remaining.
After a long drive, the Texans had first-and-10 at the Raiders' 13-yard line. Fullback Lawrence Vickers dropped a wide-open pass in the right flat, missing a chance at an easy touchdown. Schaub was sacked by Richard Seymour for an eight-yard loss on the next play, and the Texans had to settle for a 40-yard field goal with three minutes left.
The Texans' defense came through with a three-and-out, forcing a punt at the two-minute warning. The ensuing drive was a microcosm of a bizarre and ultimately disappointing game.
The drive started with an 11-yard catch by Foster. Schaub was sacked on the next play by Tommy Kelly, and a facemask penalty was called on Texans guard Mike Brisiel. The Raiders declined the penalty, but the officials determined after replay review that there were 12 Raiders on the field. That penalty was automatically declined because of the facemask penalty on Brisiel, which ended up being enforced after all. That made it first-and-25 for the Texans at their own 33-yard line with 1:22 on the clock.
On the next play, Schaub stepped up with a 26-yard pass over the middle to Walter for a first down. A play later, Seymour was flagged 15 yards for roughing the passer after diving into Schaub's knees.
On first-and-10 from the Oakland 26, Schaub fumbled the snap out of shotgun formation and fell on the ball for a 13-yard loss. After an incompletion on second down, Schaub completed a 34-yard pass to Dreessen down to the five-yard line. The Texans hurried to the line, and Schaub spiked the ball with seven seconds remaining to set up the failed last crack at the end zone.
Four Texans players finished with at least 80 receiving yards – Foster (116), Dreessen (112), tight end Owen Daniels (89) and Walter (80). Foster had 68 yards on 22 carries. Linebacker Brian Cushing tied Allen for the team lead with eight tackles and had one of the Texans' three sacks.