Texans’ quarterback Deshaun Watson hit Darren Fells for a 9-yard touchdown pass late in the fourth quarter to beat the Oakland Raiders 27-24 on Sunday at NRG Stadium.
On the scoring play, Watson, while escaping a sack, was kicked in the left eye but was still able to see tight end Fells in the end zone, giving the Texans their first lead in the game at 27-24.
“That is who he (Watson) is. He is a winner and we are thrilled he is on our team. He is a great player and a great leader,” Texans’ head coach Bill O’Brien said.
After the Raiders punted on fourth down and 16 with 4:06 to go in the game, Watson came back into the game with a swollen eye and on second down and 7, again found Fells who made a diving one-handed catch for a first down at the Oakland 42 yard line at the two-minute warning. With the Raiders having no time-outs, Watson took a knee for three plays and the win was in the books.
“Fells has been a great addition to our team. He is a very mature player and wants to do what is right for the team. He has been an excellent addition to our team, and he has helped us tremendously,” O’Brien said.
The Texans started the game without starting defensive backs, Johnathan Joseph, Bradley Roby, and Tashaun Gipson Sr. Then late in the second quarter, rookie cornerback Lonnie Johnson Jr. left the game and was placed in the concussion protocol. Playing against a make-shift secondary, the Raiders’ quarterback Derek Carr completed 18 of 30 pass attempts for 285 yards and three touchdowns.
“We try our best to fill our roster with smart, tough and dependable guys. That’s what we had in the secondary. They have played in the league before, and we have confidence in them,” O’Brien said.
Carr’s first touchdown pass was a 65-yard pass to Hunter Renfrow, a rookie from Clemson who played with Watson during his years there. In all, there were seven players from Clemson in the game.
Watson completed 27 of 39 pass attempts for 279 yards and three touchdowns, and he had 10 rushes for 46 yards.
“I thought Deshaun did a great job of getting us into the right plays and making big plays,” O’Brien said.
DeAndre Hopkins had 11 receptions for 109 yards, and Fells had six receptions for 58 yards and two touchdowns. Carlos Hyde rushed 19 times for 83 yards.
“The Raiders are a big and physical team. (Coach) Jon Gruden has done a great job with that team. We knew it would be a tough game going into it. Luckily the game was close at halftime, and we were able to come out and play a lot better in the second half,” O’Brien said.
The Texans also lost J.J. Watt who left with a shoulder injury with 5:04 to go in the first half. The team had no comment on the injury after the game.
With the three other teams in the AFC South division winning, the Texans were in a must-win situation. They improved their record to 5-3, a half-game behind the Indianapolis Colts and one game ahead of the Tennessee Titans and the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Texans will play the Jaguars on Sunday at Wembley Stadium in London.
AFC South standings
3:51: Oakland Hunter Renfrow 65-yard pass from Derek Carr. Daniel Carlson kick.
Drive: 95 yards, 8 plays, 3:31.
Oakland 7, Texans 0
1:44: Texans Duke Johnson 12-yard pass from Deshaun Watson. Ka’imi Fairbairn kick.
Drive: 75-yards, 6 plays, 2:01.
Oakland 7, Texans 7
9:36: Oakland Darren Walker 8-yard pass from Carr. Carlson kick.
Drive: 70 yards, 10 plays, 4:43.
Oakland 14, Texans 7
1:07 Texans Fairbairn 33-yard field goal.
Drive: 64 yards, 11 plays, 3:38.
Oakland 14, Texans 10
10:30: Texans Fairbairn 40-yard field goal.
Drive: 9 plays, 53 yards, 4:32
Oakland 14, Texans 13
8:02: Oakland Tyrell Williams 46-yard pass from Carr. Carlson kick.
Drive: 6 plays, 77 yards, 2:35
Oakland 21, Texans 13
14:56: Texans Darren Fells 4-yard pass from Watson. Fairbairn kick.
Drive: 15 plays, 77 yards, 7:57
Oakland 21, Texans 20
10:52: Oakland Carlson 44-yard field goal.
Drive: 9 plays, 50 yards, 4:08.
Oakland 24, Texans 20
6:26: Texans Fells 9-yard pass from Watson. Fairbairn kick.
Drive: 8 plays, 66 yards, 3:47
Texans 27, Oakland 24