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Vandermeer's View: Raided


The Texans' trip south of the border was certainly historic but hardly yielded the results on the field they were looking for.

It was all there for the taking. Houston had a four point lead and the ball. They were driving deep into Oakland territory. They were winning the battle at the line of scrimmage. Raider nation was getting restless.

Then Oakland made what was the first of three huge stops on defense. And they happened on a night when Houston was starting to get the upper hand in an attempt to put a big dent in the AFC.

In the fourth quarter, Bill O'Brien opted to kick a field goal on four and short from the ten to make it a seven point lead. Fair enough. The Houston defense was playing well and surely it would be tough for the Raiders to drive the length of the field. It wasn't Oakland cashed in on one play to tie the game with a 75 yard catch and run that changed everything.

But the Texans weren't done. They drove into the red zone again. This time they were stopped on a 3rd and 2 on what appeared to be a questionable spot. Then Akeem Hunt was stopped on fourth and inches and this time the spot brought about a failed challenge by O'Brien. Five plays later, the Raiders were back in the end zone.

Maybe it wouldn't have mattered. Maybe Oakland's offense was a volcano that was going to erupt regardless. But this one seemed very winnable. The Texans were starting to take control of the game until they were stopped on those three short yardage plays that swung the pendulum back in the direction of the Silver and Black.

This one can't linger. San Diego is next on a short week and there's no time to lament what could have been. But while we're on the subject, it could have gone a long way toward positioning for a first round bye in the playoffs. There, I said it. Now back to our regularly scheduled programming.

There were some positives. Lamar Miller is a beast. And Brock Osweiler, despite some throws that could have been disasters, made a lot of key plays to keep the fire burning. C.J. Fiedorowicz continues to emerge as a threat and Braxton Miller caught five passes, including his first touchdown.

They'll need an even better performance Sunday to keep pace with the number two offense in the league. The injury report might look more like a phone book when it's released Wednesday. But it's late November and no one will sing the blues for the Texans. The Colts are nipping at their heels and it's mandatory to rebound quickly.

The Texans faced the Raiders on Monday Night Football in Mexico City.

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