After leading for much of Sunday's game against the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium, the Oakland Raiders eventually fell to Deshaun Watson and Co., 27-24.
With Week 8 now in the books, the Silver and Black will finally get some home cooking, as they’ll return to Oakland for their next three games.
Here are five observations from the Week 8 clash.
1. Tyrell Williams returned to work
After not playing in a game since Week 4, Tyrell Williams returned to action Sunday afternoon at NRG Stadium, and while he didn’t really get cooking until the second half, once he got rolling, boy, did he get rolling.
As I said, Williams didn’t even have a target until after the intermission, but in the span of three plays, No. 16 totaled 69 receiving yards and a touchdown, ultimately finishing the day with 91 receiving yards.
With Williams’ return to action, the Silver and Black once again featured a new receiving corps, as the team went with Trevor Davis, Zay Jones, Hunter Renfrow, Dwayne Harris and Williams as their five active wideouts.
And give credit to the group as a whole, because while Williams may not have gotten loose as much as he wanted in his return to action, the collective unit really put together a nice day, beginning with Hunter Renfrow’s 65-yard, first quarter touchdown.
The former Clemson Tiger finished his day with 88 receiving yards and Zay Jones chipped in with 27 in his Raiders’ debut…
2. We finally saw the starting offensive line… For a time.
It might have taken until late-October, but we finally got a chance to see the starting offensive line that Coach Gruden envisioned in training camp.
With a healthy Trent Brown back in the mix, the Silver and Black trotted out Kolton Miller, Richie Incognito, Rodney Hudson, and Brown as the group in front of Derek Carr, and the big fellas did not disappoint.
Unfortunately, that starting five didn’t last long, as Rodney Hudson suffered an ankle injury midway through the first quarter that forced him to miss the remainder of the game. In his stead, Andre James took over as the center, and while replacing a guy like Hudson is near impossible, the undrafted rookie performed admirably.
In addition to helping the run game get rolling, the group also didn't let Derek Carr get sacked for the second week in a row.
Once again, the offensive line showed that it really is the strength of the 2019 Oakland Raiders – regardless of the personnel they’re forced to roll with come game day.
3. Trayon Mullen gets the start
Well, it’s easy to see why Coach Gruden and his staff wanted to get an extended look at Trayon Mullen.
The former Clemson Tiger got the first start of his young career Week 8 in Houston, and his presence was immediately felt in the Raiders’ secondary, as he had a big tackle in the run game on his first series of game action.
While he also just missed out on a pick-six in the first quarter, the rookie’s first extended run was unsurprisingly not perfect – he got called for holding on a 3rd and long that ultimately gave Houston a fresh set of down – by and large, Mullen enjoyed more positive plays than negative ones against Deshaun Watson and Co.
In terms of playing time, Nevin Lawson subbed in for Mullen midway through the second quarter, and two split time for the rest of the way.
Welcome to the big show, Trayvon, you equated yourself quite nicely.
4. Josh Jacobs kept on rollin’… With some help from his friends.
We can all take a collective sigh of relief, as Josh Jacobs’ shoulder appeared to be fine Sunday afternoon at NRG Stadium.
Likely the most consistent offensive weapon the Silver and Black have had at their disposal in 2019, Jacobs was back to his usual form against the Texans gaining 26 first quarter yards, eventually ending his seventh game as Raider with 15 carries for 66 yards.
While Jacobs no doubt got his against the Texans, DeAndré Washington also made sure his homecoming to Houston was a memorable one, as he carried the football five times for 23 yards.
The Raiders have made no bones about it, they want to run the ball, and control the line of scrimmage, and they did exactly that for the most part against the Texans.
5. DeAndre Hopkins – Problematic
Man, watching DeAndre Hopkins play football is a lot of fun.
While Hopins ultimately didn’t find the end zone in Week 8, the fact remains that the Texans’ Pro Bowl receiver was very much a problem for Paul Guenther’s defense, as he finished his afternoon with north of 100 receiving yards, including a handful of big catches in the second half.
Deshaun Watson was an absolute beast against the Silver and Black Sunday afternoon, but having a player like Hopkins at his disposal no doubt made things a lot easier for him.
Give credit where it's due, Hopkins and Watson bested the Raiders' defense on Sunday.
Check into NRG Stadium to see an exclusive look at photos from the Raiders' Week 8 game against the Houston Texans.