Texans Hold Off Raiders 31-24

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RB Michael Bush scores on a 2-yard TD run. Photo by Tony Gonzales.

TE Zach Miller caught 11 passes for 122 yards and QB Bruce Gradkowski completed 24 of 39 for 278 yards and two scores but it wasn't enough as the Houston Texans defeated the Oakland Raiders 31-24 at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum in 2010 Regular Season Week 4 action.

The Raiders won the opening coin toss and elected to receive. WR Jacoby Ford returned K Neil Rackers opening kickoff 64 yards to the Texans 38. The Raiders were unable to mount a drive and SS Tyvon Branch downed P Shane Lechler's 36-yard punt at the Houston 10.

RB Derrick Ward got the Texans on the scoreboard when he capped a 6-play, 90-yard drive with a 33-yard touchdown run. Rackers extra point was good and Houston led 7-0 with 10:06 left in the first quarter.

Ford fielded the ensuing kickoff in the end zone and downed it for a touchback and the Raiders took over at their own 20 for their second possession. RB Michael Bush answered for the Silver and Black when he cashed in from two yards out to cap an 8-play, 80-yard drive. K Sebastian Janikowski's extra point was good and the game was tied 7-7 with 6:14 left in the first quarter.

Janikowski's ensuing kickoff was fielded and downed in the end zone by RB Steve Slaton for a touchback. Houston drove to the Oakland 46 before the Raiders defense made a stop on 3rd and 2 and forced a P Matt Turk punt. The kick was downed at the Raiders 3-yard line.

The Texans held the Raiders to a three and out and WR Jacoby Jones returned the 44-yard punt 14 yards to the Raiders 37. QB Matt Schaub capped a 5-play, 37-yard drive with an 11-yard TD pass to TE Joel Dreesen. The extra point was good and the Texans took a 14-7 lead with 23 seconds left in the first quarter.

Ford fielded the ensuing kickoff in the end zone for a touchback and the Raiders took over at their own 20. The Raiders managed one first down before the Texans forced a punt. S Stevie Brown dropped Jones after a 4-yard return of a 51-yard Lechler punt. The Texans took over at their own 19. The Raiders forced a three-and-out and WR Johnnie Lee Higgins was dropped immediately on the punt return at the Raiders 36.

QB Bruce Gradkowski capped a 9-play, 64-yard drive with a 13-yard TD pass to WR Marcel Reece. Janikowski's extra point was good and the Raiders tied the game 14-14 with 6:50 left in the second quarter.

Janikowski's ensuing kickoff sailed out of the back of the end zone for a touchback. The Raiders allowed one first down before forcing a punt on 4th and 14. Higgins called for and made a fair catch at the Raiders 29. The Raiders moved out to their own 42 before Houston forced a Lechler punt which was fair caught by Jones at the Texans 16. The Raiders held Houston to a three-and-out. Higgins called for and made a fair catch at the Oakland 43.

A few plays later as the Raiders were driving, Gradkowski was sacked and fumbled the ball back to Houston. The Texans took over at their own 40 with 32 seconds left in the 2nd quarter. Houston was unable to take advantage as a Rackers 46-yard field goal attempt was no good as the first half came to a close. The teams went to the locker room tied 14-14.

Janikowski's second half kickoff was fielded and downed for a touchback. Two plays later, RB Arian Foster broke loose for a 74-yard touchdown run. The extra point was good and the Texans took a 21-14 lead with 14:16 left in the 3rd quarter.

The Raiders were unable to answer and Houston took over at their own 10-yard line after David Anderson made a fair catch of Lechler's 42-yard punt. Rackers added three points to the lead when he connected from 35 yards out to put Houston up 24-14 with 2:35 left in the third quarter.

After intercepting a Gradkowksi pass, Houston increased their lead when Shaub hit Foster for an 11-yard TD pass. The extra point was good and the Texans led 31-14 with 14:54 left in the fourth quarter.

Jacoby Ford returned the ensuing kickoff to the Raiders 13. QB Bruce Gradkowski connected on a 14-yard TD pass to TE Zach Miller to cap a 9-play, 87-yard drive. The PAT was good and the Texans lead was cut to 31-21 with 10:56 left in the 4th quarter.

Janikowski's ensuing kickoff was bobbled and then downed for a touchback. The Raiders forced a three-and-out and took over at their own 18 after the punt, a short return and the first penalty of the day on the Silver and Black. The Raiders drove into Texans territory but had to settle for a 39-yard field goal attempt. The kick was good and cut the Texans lead to 31-24 with 6:13 left to play.

The ensuing kickoff sailed out of the back of the end zone for a touchback and Houston took over at their own 20.

After yielding a first down, the Raiders defense stopped Houston on 3rd and 6 and forced a punt. Higgins returned the Turk punt to the Raiders 25. Gradkowski's 4th and 16 pass was deflected and intercepted. The pick was returned to the Raiders 41 with 1:40 left to play.

Houston was able to run out the clock and secure the victory.

The Raiders (1-3) host the San Diego Chargers next Sunday in 2010 Regular Season Week 5 action.

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