From the press box: 3:08 p.m.With the Texans committed to running the ball and running out the clock, they ran it on three straight plays and ended up with another three-and-out. They punted from their own 28-yard line, but the Raiders were penalized for having 12 men on the field and the Texans got a first down - their second of the second half. The offense returned to the field with five minutes left in the game.
They handed the ball to Moats on the next three plays, and he picked up 10 yards total and another first down. Moats has 12 carries for 57 yards in the game with a little less than three minutes to play, and the Texans lead 29-6.
I'm heading down to the field to prepare for postgame coverage, so that concludes my game blog. Thanks for reading. Be sure to tune into Texans TV for live postgame press conferences featuring Kubiak, Schaub, Ryans and Jones.
From the press box: 3:02 p.m.Raiders three-and-out count: eight. They're now 2-of-15 on third down in the game after gaining just five yards on their most recent drive.
With about six minutes to go, the Texans have the ball deep in their own territory.
From the press box: 2:57 p.m.Kicker Kris Brown went wide left on a 33-yard field goal attempt with 8:11 remaining, so the score remains 29-6. Slaton and Moats combined for three carries for five yards after Williams' sack and forced fumble. Brown kicked the ball soundly, but it looked like he was just off on his alignment as the ball sailed about a yard outside the left cross bar.
From the press box: 2:53 p.m.Defensive end Mario Williams just sacked Russell and forced a fumble at the Oakland 23-yard line. Rookie defensive end Connor Barwin recovered the ball at the 20 to put the Texans' offense in the red zone for the first time in the second half. Williams' sack came on third-and-nine; the Raiders are now 2-of-14 on third down.
Check out these great photos from today's game in our photo slideshow on HoustonTexans.com.
After the game, coach Gary Kubiak, quarterback Matt Schaub, wide receiver Jacoby Jones and linebacker DeMeco Ryans will be at the podium in the Texans' team auditorium. Watch it live on Texans TV.
From the press box: 2:50 p.m.The Texans just had another three-and-out and punted the ball back to the Raiders with 11:02 remaining. About 90 seconds of game time earlier, the Raiders turned the ball over on downs at the Houston 35-yard line. Russell overthrew rookie receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey in the end zone on fourth-and-seven, and Bernard Pollard was there in coverage deep.
The Raiders are 2-of-13 on third down. They gained only one first down on their most recent drive, and it was just their eighth of the game. And the Texans' defense showed some a little bit of a mean streak with a couple of hard hits on tight end Zach Miller. First, Pollard made a crushing tackle on Miller on the left sideline after a 13-yard catch. On the next play, Russell targeted Miller again on a deep pass to the right. Ryans tipped it the ball just before it got to Miller, and Cushing came in and laid Miller out.
From the press box: 2:37 p.m.The third quarter has come to a close with the Texans still leading 29-6.
Near the end of the quarter, the Texans punted back to the Raiders after a three-play drive, which included two carries by Slaton for five yards. Schaub was sacked on second down for a five-yard loss; he has now been sacked four times in the game. The Raiders are facing a second-and-nine from their 48-yard line as the fourth quarter approaches.
The Texans scored nine points in the third quarter while gaining only 23 yards of offense. Good thing that the defense limited the Raiders to only 26 yards.
From the press box: 2:31 p.m.
After another three-and-out for the Raiders, the Texans got the ball back on their own 16 with 2:09 left in the third. Cushing applied pressure and knocked down Russell on third-and-six. The Raiders are now 1-of-11 on third down.
Oakland has gained only 144 total yards, including 39 rushing. The Texans came into the game last in the league wth allowing 436 total yards and 205 rushing yards per game.
From the press box - 2:23 p.m.After Jones' touchdown, the Raiders picked up their first first down of the second half on a 12-yard pass from Russell to Murphy with 8:27 left in the third. Three plays later, the Texans forced another punt. Rookie defensive end Connor Barwin tipped Russell's pass on third-and-five from the Oakland 39.
Lechler kicked it right back to Jones, but Jones muffed it at the Houston 17. Fortunately, cornerback Fred Bennett jumped on the ball at the 14-yard line to prevent a potential disaster for the Texans. That was the second muffed punt for Jones this season, but neither has been recovered by an opposing team.
From the press box - 2:16 p.m.
In a span of 19 seconds, the score went from 20-6 to 29-6. First, rookie linebacker Brian Cushing tackled Justin Fargas in the Raiders' end zone for a safety with nine minutes left in the third. On the very next play, Jones fielded Shane Lechler's punt (which techinically counted as a kickoff) and ran straight through the middle of the Raiders' coverage team for a 95-yard touchdown.
The safety was the first scored by the Texans since the punter was downed in the end zone versus Baltimore Dec. 15, 2002. Smith and Okoye pushed through the right side of the Raiders' offensive line to force Fargas to cut left, which allowed Cushing to wrap him up and slam him down in the end zone.
The kickoff return touchdown was the first of Jones' career. With two career punt returns for a touchdown, he's now tied with Davis and Jerome Mathis for most return touchdowns in Texans history with three.
From the press box - 2:08 p.m.
The Raiders will start a drive at their own one-yard line with 9:00 left in the third and the Texans leading 20-6. Davis downed a 38-yard punt by Turk at the one after a three-and-out by the Texans, which followed a fumble recovery by defensive end Antonio Smith in Raiders territory.
Raiders running back Michael Bush was being dragged down by Dominique Barber after a six-yard gain, and Ryans popped the ball loose. Smith recovered at the Oakland 41.
Safety Nick Ferguson was injured on a Texans punt and walked off the field slowly with trainers at his side. It was a sprained left knee; his return is questionable.
From the press box - 2:00 p.m.The second half started with a familiar occurence: a Raiders three-and-out. Big ups to the Texans' defense, which is playing inspired football today.
Linebacker Zac Diles tackled McFadden for a three-yard loss on first down. On second down, rookie cornerback Glover Quin pushed receiver Louis Murhpy out of bounds for a seven-yard loss on an ill-fated reverse. An 11-yard pass by Russell on third down to the Houston 35 came up nine yards short of the first-down marker.
After a 10-yard punt return by Jacoby Jones, the Texans have the ball at their own 26-yard line with 12:42 left in the third.
Texans linebacker Khary Campbell suffered a sprained left knee on the opening kickoff of the second half. His return is questionable.
From the press box - 1:53 p.m.Halftime by the numbers:
20-6:The score, in favor of the Texans
282-119:Total yards for both teams, in favor of the Texans
82-41:Rushing yards, in favor of the Texans
13-6:Total first downs, in favor of the Texans
4:Three-and-outs forced by the Texans' defense, on seven Raiders possessions
204:Passing yards for quarterback Matt Schaub
2:Touchdowns for running back Steve Slaton, his first of the season
1:Fumble for Slaton, which led to a temporary benching before his two scores
66:Receiving yards for Andre Johnson, on two catches
0:Offensive plays by the Raiders above 20 yards
From the press box - 1:42 p.m.The interception took potential points off the board for Houston, but it didn't cost them anything else. The Raiders started their drive at the 10-yard line after an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on Johnson that followed his interception. They had 44 seconds and only one timeout, and they weren't able to get past their own 32-yard line before the end of the half.
The Texans went into the halftime locker room with a 20-6 lead. The Raiders will receive to start the second half.
There are a couple of youth football games going on down on the field right now for halftime entertainment. I've got to grab a quick bite to eat from the press box buffet line, but I'll be back shortly with halftime by the numbers.
From the press box - 1:38 p.m.Just as some of our team PR representatives were telling the media that Schaub has topped 200 passing yards in the first half for the third consecutive game, Schaub threw an interception in the end zone with 44 seconds left in the first half. It came on third-and-four from the Raiders' 19-yard line, a costly mistake with so little time remaining in the half and the Texans well within field goal range.
Raiders corner Chris Johnson was the one who picked off Schaub, on a pass to the right intended for Andre Johnson.
From the press box - 1:30 p.m.The Texans' defense bowed up inside the red zone and limited the Raiders to another Janikowski field goal, this one from 33 yards. That made it 20-6 Texans with 2:05 to play in the first half.
On third-and-nine from the 15, defensive end Antonio Smith blew right by Raiders guard Erik Pears and almost sacked Russell, but Russell eluded his grasp and scrambled left. Smith remained in pursuit and was soon joined by Brian Cushing and Connor Barwin. Cushing knocked down Russell as he threw the ball out of the back of the end zone.
Russell really has a monster of an arm. Reporters and PR folk have been gawking over it in the press box all game. On the third down play I just described, Russell was falling backward at the 29 and threw the ball off his back foot right as Cushing was about to hit him. The ball sailed all the way into the stands. Pretty impressive. He's only 6-of-16 for 69 yards right now, though, as the Texans have swarmed him with constant pressure.
Raiders scoring drive summary: 13 plays, 64 yards, 6:08.
From the press box - 1:23 p.m.Big, big play for the Raiders. First down pass for 19 yards from Russell to Murphy, who had a nice cushion of space between cornerback Fred Bennett and safety Dominique Barber near the right sideline. First-and-10 Raiders at the Houston 16.
From the press box - 1:21 p.m.The Raiders are about to go for it on fourth-and-nine at the Houston 35-yard line. There's 3:51 left in the half and they're down 20-3. Let's see how the Texans' defense holds up.
From the press box - 1:14 p.m.If you have Steve Slaton on your fantasy team, I sure hope you started him today. Slaton just scored his second touchdown of the game to make it 20-3 with 8:13 left in the second quarter. This touchdown came on an 18-yard reception on a screen pass to the left. Slaton caught the ball at the 23, cut inside and ran into the end zone untouched. It almost looked easy for him as he crossed over the goal line.
Three plays earlier, Daniels made a career-long 44-yard catch down to the Oakland 17 on the first play of the Texans' drive. Schaub's receivers are getting a ton of room on play-action passes today.
Scoring drive summary: four plays, 61 yards, 1:52.
From the press box - 1:09 p.m.Attendance was just announced at 70,291. It's the 75th consecutive sellout in Texans history.
From the press box - 1:05 p.m.Touchdown, Steve Slaton, to make it 13-3 Texans with 10:39 left in the first half. Slaton burst through the left side for 32 yards on the score, his longest carry of the season. Once Slaton hit the hole, he turned on the jets and went in untouched through the Raiders' defense.
Slaton appears to have been motivated by being sent to the bench for several plays after his first-quarter fumble. Moats played well in Slaton's place, gaining 28 yards on four attempts. With 11:37 left in the second quarter, Slaton got his first carry after the fumble with the Texans lined up at the Raiders 43. That run was highlight-worthy, too - Slaton went left, cut back right and zigzagged around multiple Raiders defenders on his way to an 11-yard first down.
Scoring drive summary: six plays, 67 yards, six plays. 3:02.
After the score, the Texans' defense forced another three-and-out. They did before the scoring drive, too, and now have forced the Raiders into four three-and-outs in five possessions. Players are flying around in the secondary, and the defensive line is actively pursuing Russell. Cornerback Glover Quin made a crowd-pleasing tackle on McFadden for a three-yard loss early in the second quarter.
Rookie James Casey played his first bit of offense on the Texans' scoring drive, lining up at fullback. On his first play, he helped lead the way for a three-yard gain by Moats.
By the way, NFL.com already has put up a video of Johnson's 62-yard first-quarter catch. Check it out.
From the press box - 12:48 p.m.It's 6-3, Texans, with only three seconds off the clock in the second quarter. Kubiak elected to let Brown kick a 34-yard field goal instead of having the offense go for it on fourth-and-two from the 16.
Scoring drive summary: six plays, 53 yards, 2:36 off the clock.
In the first quarter, the Texans outgained the Raiders 117-31 in total yards. They picked up four first downs compared to one for the Raiders. Schaub was 4-of-9 for 111 yards and was sacked once. His passer rating sits at 90.4. The Texans' defense held the Raiders to four yards on four carries, a 1.0 avg. The Texans' running game wasn't much better, giving the Texans 10 plays in eight yards (1.2 avg.).
From the press box - 12:43 p.m.At the end of the first quarter, it's tied 3-3. The Texans are in the red zone threatening to take back the lead.
After Janikowski's field goal, Davis' first kickoff return of the season was a good one. He took the return left and to the outside and gained 34 yards to the Texans' 31-yard line. Two plays later, Schaub hit receiver Kevin Walter for 41 yards down the right sideline. Like Johnson did earlier, Walter beat cornerback Chris Johnson on a play-action pass.
Ryan Moats is now in for Slaton at running back. He picked up four yards on his first carry, which came on first-and-10 at the Oakland 24. Schaub hit Johnson for a four-yard pass two plays later, and the Texans will have a fourth-and-two to start the second quarter.
From the press box - 12:36 p.m.With 2:33 left in the first, it's now tied 3-3 after a 46-yard field goal by Janikowski. The Raiders started their drive at the Texans' 43-yard line after the fumble, which was recovered by Raiders defensive end Matt Shaugnessy. Russell hit tight end Zach Miller for 12 yards on the Raiders' first play. Then, two successive false start penalties backed Oakland up to a first-and-20. The Raiders gained 13 yards over the next three plays and ended up with the field goal.
Scoring drive summary: five plays, 15 yards, 2:38 off the clock.
By the way, Slaton's fumble was his fourth of the season and the second one that has been recovered by the opposing team.
From the press box - 12:30 p.m.With 5:20 left in the first, Slaton lost a fumble that was recovered by the Raiders at the Houston 43. Slaton tripped behind the line of scrimmage over guard Kasey Studdard, who came down on the ground in front of him at the last second. Slaton tried to hurdle Studdard but his shoes clipped Studdard's body, and Slaton fell ball-first to the ground and it popped out.
Gary Kubiak threw the red flag as if to challenge, but the Texans decided to decline challenging after speaking with the referees. Slaton wasn't touched by a Raiders defender, so he was still a live player as far as I can understand it.
From the press box - 12:26 p.m.Another three-and-out forced by the Texans' defense. Frank Bush's 32nd-ranked unit has come out on fire, and it looks like they're playing with a chip on their collective shoulder.
This last drive was a thing of beauty, defensively speaking. First down: Mario Williams stuffed McFadden after a two-yard gain. Second down: Amobi Okoye blew through the middle and sacked JaMarcus Russell for a five-yard loss, Okoye's first sack since last season at Oakland in Week 16. Third down: DeMeco Ryans dropepd Michael Bush for a gain of one on a draw play up the middle.
The Raiders' Shane Lechler then let off a ridiculous 67-yard punt that traveled about 80 yards in the air. But it didn't have a great deal of hang time on it, and Jacoby Jones capitalized by returning the punt 23 yards to the Texans' 44-yard line. That's Jones' longest punt return of the season so far.
From the press box - 12:21 p.m.The Texans have taken a 3-0 lead with 8:06 left in the first on a 26-yard field goal by kicker Kris Brown. Slaton lost a yard on the play after Johnson's big catch, and that was followed by two Schaub incompletions from the eight. On third-and-goal, Schaub lined up with in the shotgun with an empty backfield. His pass over the middle intended for tight end Owen Daniels was deflected by linebacker Ricky Brown.
Scoring drive summary: six plays, 61 yards, 1:28 off the clock.
From the press box - 12:17 p.m.So much for Andre Johnson being shut down by the Raiders. He put a move on cornerback Chris Johnson and got wide - I mean, *wide *- open on a play-action pass, and 62 yards later was pushed out of bounds by safety Michael Huff at the seven-yard line. It was the second play of the Texans' drive.
From the press box - 12:14 p.m.It's 0-0 at the 9:34 mark of the first. The Texans were forced to punt on the first drive of the game. They moved 14 yards in six plays, with five yards coming on a defensive holding penalty on cornerback Chris Johnson. Slaton had four carries for 13 yards on the drive, which ended when Matt Schaub was sacked by Greg Ellis on third-and-11 from the Oakland 45. The Texans had started their drive at the 37-yard line after safety John Busing recovered Sebastian Janikowski's pooch kickoff.
The Texans' defense came to play - they quickly got the ball back for Houston by forcing a three-and-out. The Texans now have have possession at the 31-yard line with 9:34 left in the first quarter. Defensive Antonio Smith made a big tackle for loss on the Raiders' drive, stuffing Darren McFadden four yards behind the line of scrimmage on second down.
From pregame, here's a photo from the press box of breast cancer survivors holding a giant pink ribbon on the field during the national anthem. A nice tribute.
From the press box - 12:02 p.m.The Texans won the toss and will receive. Andre Davis is back to return kicks in his first game back since suffering a concussion in Week 1.
From the press box - 11:52 a.m.Player introductions are about to begin. The two flame towers at the front of the Texans' tunnel are so powerful that when they went off a second ago, the press box literally shook (even though we're at the very top of the stadium). Wow.
The Texans will introduce their defense, and the Raiders will introduce their team.
Here come the Raiders, and here come the boos. Gotta love it.
From the press box - 11:46 a.m.So with Eugene Wilson out, the Texans' starting safeties will be Dominique Barber and Bernard Pollard.
The absence of Wilson, the Texans' most consistent safety, is a big blow - mistakes in the back end have been one of the biggest problems with the Texans' defense so far this season. It's also surprising, given that Wilson practiced fully all week.
But Wilson's illness is an opportunity for Barber, who has had good and bad moments this season and is replacing Wilson in the starting lineup at free safety.
Here are five things to watch for in today's game, including the play of Pollard, rookie cornerback Glover Quin and quarterback Matt Schaub.
From the press box - 11:40 a.m.A few minutes ago, The Texans just got done with their pregame warmups and ran as a team to the locker room. The Raiders follwoed suit a minute later on the opposite end of the field.
There are pink ribbons with the NFL logo painted on to the field on both 25-yard lines near the sideline. The NFL is making a big push to promote breast cancer awareness in National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and four Texans players will wear pink shoes today, as I wrote earlier this week. I spotted some Raiders players wearing pink shoes during their warmups, though I'm not quite sure who.
It's also Hispanic Heritage Day presented by Comcast here at Reliant Stadium. The national anthem will be performed by Lorissa Chapa, and a group of breast cancer survivors will hold a giant pink ribbon on the field during the anthem.
From the press box - 11:34 a.m.
Kickoff is less than 30 minutes away in the Texans' game against the Oakland Raiders on Hispanic Heritage Day. It's gloomy and raining outside, but the conditions are perfect inside Reliant Stadium with the roof closed. Here are the inactives, in case you missed them. But before I get going with any other football discussion, I've got to start with the food.
Today's press box pregame menu, along with a rudimentary photo of my tray taken from my iPhone:
Texas beef brisket
Bum's Smoked Sausage
Chipotle baked potato salad
Jalapeno cheese bread
Baked beans with brown sugar & spices
Tossed green salad
Fresh fruit salad
Bourbon pecan pie
A couple of notes: the Bum's Smoked Sausage refers to former Houston Oilers coach Bum Phillips, who signed autographs at Reliant Stadium in front of Bum's Smokehouse behind section 128 from 10:30-11:20 a.m. Also, I haven't been giving my opinion of the food in recent weeks, but today's selection was fantastic - in particular the jalapeno cheese bread and Bum's Smoked Sausage.