Updated October 27, 2019 - 10:10 pm
HOUSTON — A magical play by Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson was too much for the Raiders to overcome on Sunday, as they fell 27-24 after holding leads of 14-7 and 21-13.
Watson connected with tight end Darren Fells for the go-ahead score with 6:26 left in the fourth quarter. Watson shook off Raiders defensive end Arden Key in the backfield before firing the 9-yard pass to the end zone. Replays showed Watson taking a foot to the facemask, which impacted the quarterback’s vision.
“I kind of threw it blind,” Watson said. “But I kind of assumed where he was going and kind of adjusted and let my arm guide it. And then I didn’t even see the play until after the game. I just kind of laid there and heard the crowd go crazy and knew we scored.”
That was the first time all game the Texans had the lead, and they were able to keep it by forcing a Raiders punt on their ensuing drive. Left guard Richie Incognito was penalized for holding, which knocked the Raiders’ drive off track.
Following the punt, Houston gained three first downs to close out the game.
The Raiders also lost center Rodney Hudson to an ankle injury midway through the first quarter. He did not return.
Here are three takeaways from the loss, which left the Raiders 3-4 and concluded their grueling five-game road trip.
1. Raiders can’t get off the field
The Raiders had only three offensive drives in the second half and scored on two of them. But the Texans scored on four of their last six possessions, starting in the second quarter. And the two times they didn’t get points were at the end of the first half and when they closed the game with an eight-play drive lasting 3:56.
Watson was 27-for-39 passing for 279 yards with three touchdowns and added 10 carries for 46 yards — though three runs were kneel-downs at the end of the game. His effort had Raiders coach Jon Gruden shaking his head.
“You’ve got to tip your hat to Watson. He was awesome today. Doggone Watson,” Gruden said. “He’s a spectacular player. He wills it out of his team, and he makes something out of nothing.”
Raiders cornerback Lamarcus Joyner said Watson did a good job of attacking spots in zone coverage.
“It wasn’t nothing bad — no explosive plays. Just more like marching up and down the field. I think we can play a little tighter and aggressive,” Joyner said.
2. Carr and Williams can’t connect
Quarterback Derek Carr and wide receiver Tyrell Williams have been able to make big plays when needed for most of the season. But with Williams playing for the first time since Week 4 after missing two games with a foot injury, the two could not connect late in the fourth quarter when the Raiders needed it most.
On first and 10 from the Houston 45, Carr threw deep to the right sideline to Williams, who was matched up one-on-one in coverage. The pass was a little behind Williams, but he made the adjustment and got two hands on the ball before it fell incomplete.
Then on third and 16 from the Raiders 49, Carr threw deep to Williams on the left sideline. Williams appeared to have a handle on the ball before former Raiders cornerback Gareon Conley knocked it out of his hands. The Raiders punted and never got the ball back.
“I’ve just got to come down with it. Gotta be strong with it at the point of contact,” Williams said. “That’s really all it is.”
3. Raiders finish road swing 2-3
The Raiders are 3-4 and finished their long stretch away from home 2-3. Gruden joked after the game that he could now be a travel agent. But all things considered, the Raiders are in a decent spot with nine games to go, including the next three at home.
“No one is hanging their heads,” Carr said. “We’re disappointed. It hurts. … But everything is still in front of us. We don’t really have a lot of control over a lot of things, but we can control how we prepare and try and win these football games.”