So there was no panic Saturday night when Moss finished with two
catches for 23 yards in the Raiders' 19-17 loss to the Houston
Texans, his second quiet game with Oakland since his trade from
Minnesota during the offseason.
Doug Gabriel did the damage for the Raiders' high-powered
offense, scoring two first-quarter touchdowns as the Oakland
starters moved the ball practically at will in building a 17-7
With most of the starters on the bench in the second half, the
Texans rallied to win it on fourth-quarter field goals of 20, 53
and 46 yards by Kris Brown. The winner came with eight seconds
Gabriel, the all-but-forgotten wide receiver in an offense that
should feature Moss and Jerry Porter catching passes, beat Texans
cornerback Demarcus Faggins for both scores.
On the first, Gabriel leaped over Faggins from behind to grab
the ball out of his hands in the end zone. On the second, he
slipped past Faggins on a deep route, put out both hands in a
stretch for the pass from Kerry Collins after a pump-fake to Moss
and cruised 70 yards for the TD that made it 14-7.
"Kerry connected his eyes with me and he just threw it. I felt
like I was in the 100 meters," Gabriel said. Still, he expects
Moss to be the big target in the regular season.
"They called my number, and I was able to make plays," he
said. "I know I'm a role player, and I know my job. We talk every
day. He's on one side and I'm on the other and we both know with
him over there, I'm going to be open a lot."
Gabriel started six games and caught 33 passes for 551 yards and
two touchdowns last season. He got the start Saturday as Porter
missed his second game with hamstring problems. Porter was the
Raiders' leading receiver last season with 64 catches for 998 yards
and nine TDs.
Moss' trade from the Vikings had generated plenty of headlines,
including his recent interview with HBO in which he talked about
past marijuana use and seemed to indicate he still smokes
occasionally, despite the NFL policy banning its use.
His play on the field this preseason has yet to create so much
interest. He caught one pass in the Raiders' first preseason game.
Moss was covered part of the time by former Raider Phillip
Buchanon, who was traded to the Texans before this year's draft. A
first-round pick in 2002, Buchanon was supposed to give the Raiders
a bookend corner to match All-Pro Charles Woodson, but his
relationship with the team deteriorated rapidly and he asked to be
But with Gabriel getting open so often, Collins didn't have to
find Moss on every play. The only time Collins threw for Moss in
the end zone, it was intercepted.
"He's going to get double coverage, and that's going to open
things up for a lot of other guys," Collins said. "It was a good
learning tool for me to see that. It's exciting for me because
we're still going to get creative and find ways to get him the
The interception was Collins' only real misfire. He went
14-of-18 for 191 yards and two touchdowns as the Raiders rolled up
265 total yards in the first half. Collins didn't play in the
The Texans got a solid, if brief, outing from quarterback David
Carr, who was hobbled all week with an inflamed left Achilles'
He seemed fine Saturday night, completing 6 of 8 for 43 yards
and a touchdown on the Texans' opening drive, his only snaps of the
game. He showed no sign of a gimpy leg, scrambling for six yards
early in the drive and running out of the pocket to avoid two pass
rushers several plays later. He rolled to his right before hitting
Reggie Swinton with a 2-yard TD that tied the game 7-7.
"I figured before I threw the ball into the stands I'd roll out
and just see if I could make something happen and Swinton did a
great job getting open," Carr said.
The Raiders could have held off the Texans' rally, but kicker
Sebastian Janikowski missed field goal attempts of 52 and 49 yards
in the fourth quarter.