HOUSTON - After 36 games, the Houston Texans have the first winning streak in team history. That means it's finally time for a haircut, David Carr.
Carr vowed last September that he wouldn't cut his hair again until the Texans won consecutive games. It's taken so long his wife has even come to enjoy his shaggy look. Still, he can happily head to the barber - perhaps just for a trim - following a 30-17 victory over the Oakland Raiders on Sunday.
Maybe his defensive teammates will get a few snips, considering they made it possible by harassing Raiders new starting quarterback Kerry Collins into five turnovers, including each of his last four drives.
The game was tied at the start of his mistake spree, but Houston (2-2) turned the first three into 13 points - two field goals by Kris Brown, with a 15-yard touchdown pass from Carr to Andre Johnson in between. The Texans used the last one to run out the clock.
At 2 1/4 seasons, Houston needed longer than any other expansion team to win back-to-back games.
When the streak didn't end in the first two games against San Diego and Detroit, fans were worried. Then came a last-second victory at Kansas City. Now, this: Their most points ever, the most turnovers by the defense and even their second-biggest crowd, despite the Houston Astros playing their season finale with a playoff spot on the line at the same time.
Oakland (2-2) came in on a two-game winning streak and an emotional, well-played win over Tampa Bay. Fans were excited to see what the strong-armed Collins could do in coach Norv Turner's passing offense in place of Rich Gannon.
He had early completions of 33, 22 and 16 yards, but the Raiders had only three points to show for it. Sebastian Janikowski made a 50-yard field goal and missed from 35. He had made his last 40 under 45 yards.
Collins' first turnover, a fumble, came when hit by blitzing linebacker Jamie Sharper. Sharper took it 16 yards to put Houston ahead 10-3.
The Raiders tied it at 17 before halftime, though, thanks to TD runs of 55 and 17 yards by Amos Zereoue, who became the featured back after Tyrone Wheatley dinged his left shoulder in the second quarter. Zereoue had just 65 yards coming in, but finished with 117.
Collins' collapse began midway through the third, when Texans rookie Dunta Robinson stepped in front of Alvis Whitted for his first career interception and returned it to the Oakland 19.
Houston's play-calling went strangely conservative after that, drawing boos. Still, it led to Brown's 21-yard field goal that became the winner.
Collins gave the ball away the next time when a shotgun snap that he wasn't expecting bounced off his body, leading to the Carr-to-Johnson touchdown four plays later.
Then, one play after Whitted dropped a wide-open pass around the 5-yard line, Demarcus Faggins had his first career interception. Robinson's second pickoff came at the 1 and sealed the victory.
Collins finished 21-of-38 for 237 yards, with no touchdowns.
Carr, whose father made the same no-haircut pledge, was 14-of-23 for 228 yards with no turnovers. Johnson had 115 yards on six catches.
Houston's Jonathan Wells, filling in for injured Domanick Davis, ran for a career-high 105 yards and a touchdown.
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