The Houston Texans battled through an afternoon of adversity and injuries to beat the Oakland Raiders 27-24 at home.
Deshaun Watson completed 27-of-39 passes for 279 yards, threw three touchdown passes, no interceptions and finished with a 115.2 passer rating. On his third touchdown pass, Watson took a cleat to the eye as he was completing the pass. He left the game to be evaluated but did not miss a play.
Despite having a swollen eye, Watson returned and finished the game.
Hopkins finished with with his second-consecutive 100-yard performance, catching 11 passes for 109 yards in the win. Darren Fells had six receptions for 58 yards and two touchdowns. Duke Johnson caught four passes for 33 yards and a score.
"He's (Fells) has been a really an excellent addition to our team," head coach Bill O'Brien said. "He's helped us tremendously."
Houston’s secondary stepped up as both Johnathan Joseph and Bradley Roby were inactive for Sunday’s game after being limited in practice all week. Rookie Lonnie Johnson started the game, as did Gareon Conley who was traded from Oakland earlier in the week. Johnson also left the game with an injury and did not return.
J.J. Watt had three tackles, one tackle for loss and one pass defensed before leaving the game with an injury in the second half. After his TFL on running back Josh Jacobs in the second quarter, Watt exited and was sent to the hospital for an MRI.
"I think every guy in this locker room has a dog mentality, which is it doesn't matter what happens, whoever gets injured, the next guy is ready to step up, make a play," linebacker Whitney Mercilus said. "No matter how dire the situation might be, the fat lady hasn't sang yet, so we're just going to go out there and make plays."
The Texans offensive line saw multiple changes throughout the day with newly-signed veteran Chris Clark in at right tackle. The offense picked up 130 net yards rushing and finished 3-of-5 in the red zone. Left tackle Laremy Tunsil also left the game on the final touchdown scoring drive and did not return.
“I thought they played tough," O'Brien said. "We did, we had some shuffling there. Chris Clark came in and started at right tackle. L.T. went out late in the game and (Dan) Skipper came in. A. Rod (Roderick Johnson) had a couple of plays in there. I thought that these guys played tough. They hung in there. We ran the ball pretty well in the second half and pass protected decently when we had to so I thought that those guys played really tough.”
Derek Carr completed 18-of-30 for 285 yards and three touchdowns, but Oakland's offense only had three possessions in the second half. The Raiders took an early 7-0 lead after wide receiver Hunter Renfrow scored on a 65-yard catch-and-run.
Houston responded with a six-play, 75-yard scoring drive. Fells caught a pass for a 23 yards to get the Texans into the red zone. Carlos Hyde added a 6-yard run and two plays later, Johnson capped off the drive with a 12-yard touchdown reception. The Texans tied the game 7-7 with 1:39 left in the first quarter.
Tight end Darren Waller’s first catch of the game resulted in an eight-yard touchdown pass from Carr. The Raiders took a 14-7 lead.
Ka’imi Fairbairn kicked a 33-yard field goal late in the second quarter and the Texans trailed 14-10 at halftime.
On the opening drive of the second half, the Texans converted a fourth-and-1 when Watson scrambled nine yards for a first-down. DeAndre Carter added a 46-yard catch to get Houston into the red area. Fairbairn kicked a 40-yard field goal and the Texans trailed 14-13.
On the next possession, the Raiders extended their lead to 21-13 after Carr connected with Tyrell Williams on a 56-yard touchdown pass.
Fells caught his second touchdown of the day in the fourth quarter as the Texans took a 27-24 lead, their first lead of the game with 6:26 left in the game. The Texans defense stopped Oakland's final offensive drive at the Raider 49-yard line and forced a punt. Houston's offense finished the game in victory formation.
With the win, the Texans improved to 5-3 on the season and will next travel to London to play the Jacksonville Jaguars at Wembley Stadium. Kickoff is set for Sunday at 8:30 a.m. CT on FOX-26 and NFL Network.