Chiefs held to four field goals by Texans, fall to 1-1


Chiefs held to four field goals by Texans, fall to 1-1


HOUSTON -- DeAndre Hopkins had 113 yards receiving and a touchdown and Nick Novak kicked four field goals, helping the Houston Texans to a 19-12 win over the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday.

Novak connected from 32, 24, 31 and 43 yards for the Texans.

Cairo Santos made three field goals in the fourth quarter to cut the lead to 19-12, but Houston recovered the onside kick with less than a minute left to seal the victory.

The Texans (2-0) showed that they are a much different team than the one that was embarrassed in a 30-0 wild-card playoff loss to the Chiefs (1-1) in January, when quarterback Brian Hoyer had five turnovers.

New quarterback Brock Osweiler did throw two interceptions but the Chiefs had more trouble taking care of the ball, with Houston's defense setting a franchise record by recovering three fumbles in the first half.

The first came when a high snap sailed over Alex Smith's head. J.J. Watt shoved him out of the way with one hand and pounced on it, showing he was getting back to his old self after July back surgery.

Osweiler, who finished with 268 yards passing, connected with Hopkins on a 27-yard touchdown pass on the next play to make it 7-0.

Watt continued to shine later in the first quarter when he took Smith down for his first sack this season, forcing the Chiefs to kick a field goal that made it 7-3.

Houston was leading by seven in the second quarter when Spencer Ware fumbled, Kevin Johnson scooped it up for his first career recovery and returned it 52 yards. The Texans couldn't get their offense going after that and settled for a 24-yard field goal to make it 13-3.

John Simon forced the last fumble of the half on his strip-sack of Smith. It was recovered by Whitney Mercilus. But once again Houston failed to move the ball and Novak's try for a 57-yard field goal fell short as time expired in the first half.

Marcus Peters intercepted Osweiler at the goal line on Houston's first possession and picked him off again late in the third quarter.

That led to a 43-yard field goal that cut the lead to 13-6.

A field goal by both teams after that left the Texans up 16-9.

Houston rookie receiver Will Fuller finished with four receptions for 104 yards to become the first rookie in franchise history with consecutive 100-yard receiving games to start his career. The 21st overall pick in this year's draft had 107 yards receiving in his NFL debut last week.

Houston rookie WR Braxton Miller injured his hamstring in the first half and did not return.

Watt finished with 1.5 sacks on Sunday to give him 76 sacks in his 82nd career game. He's the second fastest in NFL history to reach 75 sacks behind Hall of Famer Reggie White who did it in 65 games.

Peters learned that wagging your finger in the face of an opponent like NBA Hall of Famer Dikembe Mutombo did after blocking a shot is frowned upon on the NFL.

Peters forced an incompletion on a deep ball thrown to Fuller in the second quarter and wagged his finger at him for several seconds. The move earned him a 15-yard penalty for taunting and a warning that a second such penalty would result in an ejection.

Hopkins and Fuller gave Houston two players with at least 100 yards receiving for the eighth time in franchise history and the first time since 2013.

Kansas City rookie Tyreek Hill had a 105-yard kickoff return for a touchdown negated because of a holding penalty late in the fourth quarter.

New Raiders cornerback supremely confident, 'here to dominate the league'


New Raiders cornerback supremely confident, 'here to dominate the league'

Rashaan Melvin has the supreme confidence of a No. 1 cornerback, with none of the pedigree. Top cover men are often drafted high, paid well or both, with a steady ascent to elite status.

This undrafted talent bounced around the league without job security, trying and often failing to find NFL footing.

Melvin spent time with Tampa Bay, Miami, Baltimore, New England and Miami again before establishing himself in Indianapolis. The Colts gave him a real shot and he took advantage, evolving into the team’s top cornerback. Last year was Melvin’s best, but it didn’t provide a long-term contract despite a bull market for cover men.

Melvin signed a one-year, $6.5 million deal with the Raiders on Friday, the type of prove-it deal that could establish a big payday down this time next year. The 28-year old doesn’t consider that pressure. Melvin knowns another big year's on the way, one that proves he's an elite cornerback

"I’m here to dominate the league," Melvin said Friday in a conference call. "It might be time for some new faces at the cornerback position. That’s my take on that. I’m excited for it.”

Melvin wouldn’t trade his long road for a conventional path, and believes experience both good and bad has prepared him for a pivotal season.

“I’ve been cut four times,” Melvin said. “I’ve been in four different locker rooms, and I was able to gain my teammates’ trust, my coaches’ trust and the organization’s trust as well. My confidence just grows over time. There are not a lot of players that can say they’ve been cut four times and end up in a situation where I’m at today. Like I said, it’s perfect timing. My work ethic, my style of play and the way I approach the game and the way I approach my job, my business, it speaks for itself.”

Melvin’s work ethic is unquestioned. His reputation as a grinder is well documented, especially after establishing himself in Indianapolis. Commitment to a craft has created a player with consistent coverage and ball skills.

Melvin was excellent last year. According to Pro Football Focus, Melvin created an incomplete pass (combining passes defensed and interceptions) on 23.6 percent of his targets.

Passers had a 60.3 passer rating against him in 2017, with just 29 completions for 328 yards on 55 targets. The passer rating was 86.6 in 2016, his only other season as a regular starter.

The Raiders need that type of player on the outside. They’ve had inconsistent cornerback play (that’s being kind) in recent seasons, and are hoping Melvin provides stability at a key position. The Northern Illinois alum has loftier aspirations, individually and as the leader of a young position group.

“The goal is to be the best player I can be, first-team All-Pro,” Melvin said. “I’m going to show my leadership, help these young guys out this year. They have tons of potential to be successful in their own careers. For me coming in here and being the leader and showing that, hey, this is what it takes to be successful in this football league, that’s what I’m willing to do. That’s what I’m willing to bring to the table. On the football field, but outside as well.”

Paying $6.5 million for all that would be a bargain. Melvin’s the key acquisition in a secondary built around 2016 first-round safety Karl Joseph and 2017 first-round cornerback Gareon Conley. This secondary can be solid if those guys can realize potential and Melvin’s a true No. 1 cornerback.

He considers that title appropriate, and is ready to show he’s more that a one-year wonder. The Raiders have great confidence in Melvin, something clear after targeting him early in the free-agent process. Financing’s always a big factor, but Friday’s meeting with head coach Jon Gruden, defensive coordinator Paul Guenther and secondary coach Derrick Ansley convinced Melvin that Oakland’s a proper fit.

“I can relate to these guys,” Melvin said. “They have big plans for me, big plans for the organization. I was born to be a part of something special; that’s happening in Oakland. It was a good thing. We were able to get everything done, a deal done. I’m just excited to be here and I’m excited to see what the future holds for us as a team and me as a player.”

Raiders to sign former 49ers defensive lineman


Raiders to sign former 49ers defensive lineman

Raiders head coach Jon Gruden wanted veterans to help turn his defense around. He added a linebacker and defensive backs aplenty. Then, on Friday night, he gave the front some help.

Former 49ers defensive lineman Tank Carradine will sign with the Raiders, the 28-year old announced on his Instagram page. 

The Sacramento Bee first reported the news. 

He visited the Raiders on Thursday and was in Seattle earlier Friday, but will sign with the Silver and Black.

Carradine could help their transition to a more traditional 4-3 alignment, able to play end in the base defense. He has proven himself as a solid run defender, but believes he can be an effective pass rusher if given the opportunity.

Carradine didn’t get many pass-rushing chances with the 49ers, who generally removed him on passing downs. He has 5.5 sacks in four professional seasons. He played 37.9 percent of 49ers defensive snaps during eight games with the 49ers last season. He missed the same amount on short-term injured reserve with an ankle injury.

At 6-foot-4, 270 pounds, he has the size to be a 4-3 base end. He’ll likely have to battle Mario Edwards Jr. for snaps opposite Khalil Mack, though Bruce Irvin will take that spot in sub packages.

Carradine will be the 10th free-agent signing expected to make the roster, which means the roster turnover this summer should be significant. 

Here was his Instagram post from Friday night: 

Proud to become an Oakland Raider! Let's go #raiders#nation

A post shared by Cornellius Smith (@tank.carradine) on