The Oakland Raiders and Houston Texans will meet Monday night in Mexico City. Let’s take a quick look at the history between these two teams.
Total Games Between the Raiders and the Texans: 9 All-Time Record: Texans lead 6-3 Current Streak: Texans won the last meeting in 2014, 30-14 Total Raiders Points Scored, Head-to-Head: 172 (19.1 ppg) Total Texans Points Scored, Head-to-Head: 226 (25.1 ppg) Longest Raiders Winning Streak Against Texans: 2 (October 9th, 2011 – November 17th, 2013) Longest Texans Winning Streak Against Raiders: 3 (October 3rd, 2004 – November 4th, 2007)
The fact that people still mistakenly refer to Derek Carr as “David” should be all the explanation you need as to just how inextricably linked these two franchises happen to be.
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Of course, the story is and has been repeated ad-nauseum during the broadcast of virtually every Raiders game since 2014. David Carr was drafted first overall by the expansion Houston Texans in the 2002 NFL Draft. He was sacked an ungodly amount of times during his tenure there — 249 over the course of five seasons, to be exact — and is mostly remembered as one of the biggest draft busts in NFL history.
Not even a year after announcing his retirement, David’s little brother Derek declared for the NFL Draft. Following in David’s footsteps, Derek also attended Fresno State, led an arguably more statistically-prolific career there than his elder sibling, and would go on to be projected as a top-ten quarterback prospect in the 2014 draft class.
In a beautiful bit of irony and circular universe magic, the Houston Texans, still over a decade deep in their search for a franchise quarterback held the first overall pick in the 2014 Draft.
Nobody, of course, expected the Texans to even consider taking Derek Carr first overall, let alone any quarterback — Jadeveon Clowney had been resting comfortably as the consensus top pick for almost a full two years to that point. But Houston did have the opportunity to draft Carr with the first pick of the second round. They opted to take Xavier Sua-Filo, a offensive guard out of UCLA instead. Surely, you know the rest.
But what gets lost in this tale are the tiny, intricate details that make it so much fun. Before the Raiders drafted the younger brother of the first quarterback in Houston Texan history, they’d traded for Matt Schaub, the man who’d replaced David in Houston eight years prior, donned his No. 8 jersey, and was eventually run out of town after giving head coach Gary Kubiak a heart attack and prompting fans to pull at his house to give him a piece of their mind.
Meanwhile, still in the process of rebuilding, the Raiders were expecting to sit Carr behind Schaub for at least the start of that season, and bring him along slowly while continue to work at replenishing the roster with young, productive talent.
Derek, it seems, was a little less patient with this process. His play over the course of the preseason, capped off by an impressive performance against the first unit of the defending Super Bowl champion Seahawks in the final preseason game, all but demanded that he be named starter over Schaub that season.
Carr’s first regular-season home start as an Oakland Raider was against — you guessed it — the Houston Texans.
Because of how smoothly and wonderfully Derek has blossomed into one of the league’s best young quarterbacks (if not best quarterbacks period), the Texans have and will likely continue to face a substantial amount of ridicule for passing on drafting him — especially as that decision seems to have been primarily influenced by Derek’s last name.
And as a native Houstonian who has in no way ever been anything more than an objective and incredibly amused observer as it pertains to the Texans, I’m perfectly ok with that. Texans fans are mostly harmless, but between the emergence of JJ Watt as a Houston demigod and exemplifier of Everything That’s Right About America And Football™, and the looks, comments and dismissal I endured during the years the Texans were competitive and the Raiders were um, not, I have more than reconciled the fact that I have no particular interest in ever seeing this franchise have any level of sustained success. Ever.
But if I’m being completely honest, I don’t blame the Texans for passing on Derek Carr one bit. Again, as someone who lived objectively during the David Carr era, I remember very vividly just how ugly it got out here during that time. David was largely a victim of circumstance — the offensive lines the Texans put together during those years were a sure death sentence, and the fact that David not only survived, but escaped without early onset CTE should truly absolve him of any grudges Houstonians might hold toward him.
The average fan doesn’t see or remember that, however. So I can certainly understand seeing the name “Carr” in Deep Steel Blue and Liberty White (gag) being triggering, especially to those who generally eschew the benefits of nuance and analysis.
Imagine the reverse — had the Raiders drafted the little brother of JaMarcus Russell and tried to sell him as the future of the franchise, Dr. Death would’ve Periscoped himself climbing to the top of Mt. Davis with a ten-foot sign that says “LEAVE OAKLAND IMMEDIATELY” before he ever played a down, and this would’ve been considered a reasonable, well thought-out response to the situation.
But we don’t have to worry about any of that, thankfully. “We chose who we chose,” Texans head coach Bill O’Brien admitted this week. That’s all he can really say about the situation, and that’s truly all that needs to be said. There’s no guarantee that Derek would be the quarterback he is today had Houston drafted him.
I, for one, am incredibly happy they did not.
As mentioned before, the last time the Raiders met the Texans, was Carr’s first-ever home start, a 30-14 spanking that wasn’t even as moderately close as the final score makes it seem. The Raiders were held scoreless for almost the entire game, before scoring two garbage time TDs in the 4th. Carr completed 64% of his 42 passes, but threw two interceptions. James Jones had nine snags for 112 yards, but fumbled twice on the same play. James Jones fumbled twice on the same play.
Don’t ever forget.
Naturally, this game is personally to me, guys. The Raiders and Texans have played nine times in fourteen years. The Texans have won two-thirds of those meetings purely on the strength of not being a complete and absolute dumpster fire. I’ve suffered. I’ve hurt. ¡No mas!
My own vendetta aside, this is a pivotal game for Oakland, coming off of a bye week after a huge statement primetime win against a division rival, who just so happen to be the defending Super Bowl champs.
Having another nationally-televised game with playoff implications in an entirely different country (and being heavily favored) is just icing on the cake — the perfect storm for the guys who just can’t get enough of saying “now this is the game where we find out if the Raiders are for real”.
But seriously, this is the game where we find out if the Raiders are for real.