Originally published on Silver & Black Report on Nov. 17, 2013
With Terrelle Pryor sidelined with his sprained MCL, Raiders head coach Dennis Allen turned to his undrafted rookie Matt McGloin to lead the team for his first NFL start.
McGloin filled in admirably for Pryor, showing poise in the pocket and making tough throws en route to the Raiders 28-23 win over the Texans in Houston. But McGloin got some big help from his defense, who were forced to make a goal-line stand to secure the Raiders' fourth win of the season, along with their first win on the road.
Much like their last time in Houston in 2011, the Raiders defense came up big late in the fourth quarter as Houston quarterback Matt Schaub attempted to orchestrate a game-winning drive.
Down 28-23 and the ball on their 36-yard line with under four minutes remaining, Schaub, who entered the game in the fourth quarter for the benched Case Keenum, was able to carve up the Raiders defense and get the ball down to the Raiders three-yard line before the drive stalled. It looked as if running back Ben Tate would be able to take a dumpoff pass into the end zone but safety Charles Woodson came up to deliver a big hit and drop him at the three, with the ball coming loose before he recovered it to keep the ball for the Texans.
Still able to get a first down at the one yard line, Tate tried rushing the ball in but was hit hard behind the line of scrimmage by Raiders linebacker Kevin Burnett, forcing a fourth and two for the Texans. The Raiders defense looked to have come up with the stop the first time but a false start on the Texans kept their hopes alive, though backed them up to the eight yard line for a 4th and seven to keep them alive.
Schaub looked for his trustworthy wide receiver Andre Johnson in the end zone, but the Raiders defense was prepared and had the All-Pro wideout well covered as the ball fell harmlessly to the ground in the end zone, after nearly being intercepted by safety Usama Young. The stand was very similar to the 2011 stand that occurred a day after the passing of Al Davis, and ended with Michael Huff intercepting Schaub in the end zone.
McGloin and the Raiders were able to quickly jump on the Texans and get out to an early 14-0 lead in the first quarter, capitalizing on a couple of costly turnovers by the Texans.
McGloin's first drive benefited from a fumble by Garrett Graham (forced by Charles Woodson), giving the ball to the Raiders offense on Houston's 16-yard line. McGloin threw his first pass six plays later, a five-yard strike to Denarius Moore for a touchdown.
The young quarterback's second touchdown throw of the day occurred after an interception by Keenum, who was picked off by middle linebacker Nick Roach. McGloin capitalized on the opportunity with a 16-yard laser to Rod Streater to give the Raiders the 14-0 lead.
But the Texans weren't going to go down that easily, as Keenum and the Texans scored 17 unanswered points to take a 17-14 lead heading into the locker room at the half.
The Raiders retook the lead in the third quarter when McGloin stepped up into the pocket and threw a beautiful ball to his rookie tight end Mychal Rivera in the end zone for the 26-yard touchdown connection. McGloin finished the game 18/32 fro 197 yards and three touchdowns.
Running back Rashad Jennings continues to impress in his opportunities with the absence of Darren McFadden due to a hamstring injury. Jennings rushed for 150 yards including a big 80-yard touchdown run late in the third quarter to extend the Raiders lead to 28-17. The big back now has two hundred-yard rushing days on the year (two starts), while McFadden doesn't have any.
The Raiders return home next week to take on the Tennessee Titans.