MAKING THE GRADE
HOUSTON -- Here is how the Oakland Raiders (4-6) graded in their 28-23 victory Sunday over the Houston Texans (2-8):
Passing offense: It was an entirely different offense under quarterback Matt McGloin, who completed 18 of 32 passes for 197 yards and three touchdowns. He had four dropped passes plus another deep strike that probably should have been a completion to Andre Holmes or he probably would have passed for 260 yards. He got the ball out quickly, was accurate and got the team in and out of the huddle. Too many drops from receivers, with offenders including Denarius Moore, Rod Streater and Marcel Reece.
Rushing offense: Rashad Jennings gained 150 yards on 22 carries, including an 80-yard touchdown run for the Raiders' final points. He continues to consistently get positive yardage and help keep the offense on schedule in terms of down and distance. Reece got four carries and gained six yards, but threw a key block (along with guard Mike Brisiel) on the long touchdown run.
Pass defense: Case Keenum found Garrett Graham (seven catches for 136 yards) behind Charles Woodson for a broken-play touchdown, but for the most part the Raiders kept receivers in front. The mix of coverages and blitzes confused both quarterbacks at times, who combined for 25 completions in 49 attempts for 325 yards. Stacy McGee's pass rush on Keenum forced an interception to Nick Roach, which set up a touchown. Woodson's strip of Graham was returned 26 yards by Phillip Adams and set up a touchdown.
Rush defense: Ben Tate had 19 carries for 88 yards and the 4.3 yards per carry the Texans averaged overall (21 carries, 90 yards) was too much for Jason Tarver's liking. But Houston didn't really hurt the Raiders with the run, and on Houston's last series of the game, Kevin Burnett dropped Tate for a 1-yard loss on third-and-1 from the 2, a play which set the stage for the defense stop that won the game.
Special teams: The black mark was an 87-yard punt return for a touchdown by Keshawn Martin for a touchdown after the Raiders had taken a 14-0 lead. Martin also had a 36-yard kickoff return. Taiwan Jones had a long kickoff return of 29 yards and Jacoby Ford had four returns for 30 yards. Marquette King punted 11 times for a 49.1 average and 37.7 net, placing four inside the 20-yard line. He had punts of 64 and 62 yards. Sebastian Janikowski hit the left upright with a 54-yard field goal attempt.
Coaching: Offensive coordinator Greg Olson designed a conventional game plan for a conventional quarterback, but he has enough wrinkles to keep the Texans off-balance. Jennings' 80-yard scoring run came on a direct snap with a fake sweep to Ford. It got hairy at the end, but defensive coordinator Jason Tarver's defense ultimately held the Texans out of the end zone and set up the first two touchdowns with takeaways. Neither Keenum nor Matt Schaub looked comfortable against the coverage and blitz combinations. Allen's team is sticking together.
-- JERRY McDONALD