OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) - J.J. Watt has spent his NFL career disrupting offenses, batting down passes and piling up sacks.
Now there’s another skill he can bring to the table.
Watt caught a 1-yard touchdown pass, Arian Foster ran for 138 yards and a score and the Houston Texans won their second straight game to open the season, beating the Oakland Raiders 30-14 on Sunday.
Instead of controlling the game from his usual defensive end position, Watt made his biggest impact on the opening drive. He lined up as a tight end and caught a pass from Ryan Fitzpatrick to get Houston (2-0) started.
“Any way I can help the team win,” Watt said. “If that’s a way that I can help the team and continue to help the team, then I’ll do that.”
After losing their final 14 games in a two-win season in 2013, the Texans have opened 2014 with back-to-back wins under new coach Bill O’Brien.
The home opener for the Raiders (0-2) hardly could have gone worse as they fell behind 27-0 after three quarters.
“They’re excited to see their Raiders and what was that that we put out there on the field today?” safety Charles Woodson said. “That’s embarrassing. I’m embarrassed for this team, I’m embarrassed for the fans.”
They turned the ball over four times, including one bizarre instance where Johnathan Joseph stripped James Jones twice on the same slapstick play that defined this game for Oakland.
Jones caught a 20-yard pass from Derek Carr late in the first half before getting stripped by Joseph at the Houston 35. Jones picked the ball up and ran toward the end zone, but Joseph knocked the ball out again from behind and D.J. Swearinger recovered at the Texans 3.
That was one of four Raiders turnovers in scoring territory. Carr moved Oakland downfield with a 41-yard run early in the second quarter only to negate that good play by throwing an interception by Kareem Jackson that set up Randy Bullock’s first of three field goals.
Mychal Rivera then fumbled a catch early in the third quarter and Joseph returned it 49 yards to set up Fitzpatrick’s second TD pass, a 12-yarder to DeAndre Hopkins that made it 24-0. That got the boo birds out in earnest.
Fitzpatrick finished 14 for 19 for 139 yards to beat the Raiders for the third time in as many starts with as many teams. He led last-minute comebacks for Buffalo in 2011 and Tennessee last season before enjoying an easier win this time.
“We’re very fortunate and happy to be 2-0, but we’ve got to keep getting better,” Fitzpatrick said. “I’ve got to get better. They’ve got to get better and hopefully keep heading down that path.”
The frustration for the home crowd that has endured 11 straight seasons without a winning record began on the opening drive. The Texans easily moved the ball downfield with help from Foster’s 40-yard run.
On second-and-goal at the 1, Watt lined up at tight end and was wide open in the end zone when two Oakland defenders covered Foster. Watt caught his first pass since his days as a tight end at Central Michigan in 2007 to give the Texans the lead.
“We’ve been working on that for a while,” O’Brien said. “Look, you’ve got a guy there who is such a great athlete at 6-foot-7, 290 pounds. He’s got really good hands. You should probably try to get him in there once in a while on offense.”
Watt didn’t do much defensively until his hit on Carr led to an interception by Brooks Reed late in the fourth quarter.
Foster, who has back-to-back 100-yard rushing games in his return from back surgery, scored on a 5-yard run on Houston’s second drive to make it 14-0.
The Texans outgained the Raiders 150-3 in the first quarter and things didn’t get much better for Oakland.
“That’s a recipe for getting your butt kicked,” coach Dennis Allen said. “I told the players in there just now, the only people that can change it are the people that are in that locker room, coaches and players. We’ve got to make a conscious decision to get this thing changed.”
Playing against the team that drafted his big brother David first overall in 2002, Derek Carr went 27 for 42 for 263 yards with a late TD pass to James Jones and two interceptions.
NOTES: The Texans have started 2-0 for five straight seasons. … Justin Tuck blocked a late field goal attempt by Bullock, ending his streak of 16 consecutive made kicks. … Raiders LB Sio Moore (ankle) and WR Rod Streater (hip) left with injuries.
AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL
Copyright © 2021 The Washington Times, LLC.