That supposedly new and improved Raiders pass rush has yet to show up through two games.
Oakland failed to sack Houston quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick during their 30-14 loss to the Texans on Sunday.
It was the first time since Nov. 18, 2012 that the Raiders did not have a sack, ending a 23-game streak.
The Raiders were credited with hitting Fitzpatrick only once. The Raiders have two sacks through two games. That, along with their inability to stop the run, has made the Raiders look anything but improved along their defensive front.
Veteran defensive ends LaMarr Woodley and Justin Tuck, along with rookie linebacker Khalil Mack, are part of the new group that was expected to improve the pass rush. Woodley said the Raiders’ inability to stop the run is a big reason there haven’t been sacks.
The Raiders have given up 400 rushing yards in two games, including 188 to the Texans.
“If you want to be a good pass-rushing team defense,” Woodley said. “If you want to get a lot of sacks, if you want to force some turnovers or allow the secondary to get some interceptions, No. 1, you have to stop the run.”
Raiders coach Dennis Allen credited the Texans’ offense for preventing a heavy pass rush in addition to Houston having the ball for 38 minutes, 36 seconds of the game’s 60 minutes.
“A lot of it’s the ball came out quick and they weren’t going to allow us to get to the quarterback,” Allen said. “... Some of that had to do with we kept ourselves on the field too long. When you give up that much time of possession, it’s hard to get a consistent pass rush.”
Surprise scorer – Texans defensive end J.J. Watt is regarded as perhaps the best defensive player in the NFL.
But the first impact he made Sunday came on offense, when he lined up at tight end and caught his first touchdown pass to give the Texans the lead in the first quarter.
Watt said it was his first offensive score since his senior year of high school.
“It was pretty cool,” Watt said. “I’m fortunate that the team put enough trust in me out there. Obviously, Ryan Fitzpatrick with a heck of a throw. It’s pretty neat.”
Welcome back – Longtime Raiders punter Shane Lechler returned to Oakland with the Texans.
Lechler, who signed with Houston before the 2013 season, made seven Pro Bowls in 13 seasons with Raiders.
Because the Texans were so effective on offense, Lechler’s primary role was holding the ball on field-goal and extra-point attempts. He punted twice, averaging 50 yards.
Injury report – Wide receiver Rod Streater (hip flexor) and linebacker Sio Moore (ankle) did not finish the game for the Raiders.
Allen said X-rays on Moore’s ankle were negative.
The Raiders were already without starting linebacker Nick Roach (concussion) for the second consecutive game.
Running back Maurice Jones-Drew (hand) was also inactive.
Goodbye Oakland – The Raiders do not play at home again until Oct. 12 against San Diego.
The Raiders play at New England on Sunday followed by a game against the Miami Dolphins in London.
That game will be followed by the Raiders’ bye week.