So there was no panic when Moss finished with two catches for 23 yards in the Raiders' 19-17 loss to the Houston Texans, his second quiet game with Oakland since his trade from Minnesota during the offseason.
Doug Gabriel did the damage for the Raiders' high-powered offense, scoring two first-quarter touchdowns as the Oakland starters moved the ball practically at will in building a 17-7 halftime lead.
With most of the starters on the bench in the second half, the Texans rallied to win it on fourth quarter field goals of 20, 53 and 46 yards by Kris Brown. The winner came with eight seconds left.
On the first, Gabriel leaped over Faggins from behind to grab the ball out of his hands in the end zone. On the second, he slipped past Faggins on a deep route, put out both hands in a stretch for the pass from Kerry Collins after he pump-faked to Moss and cruised 70 yards for the TD that made it 14-7.
"Kerry connected his eyes with me and he just threw it. I felt like I was in the 100 meters," Gabriel said. Still, he expects Moss to be the big target in the regular season.
"They called my number and I was able to make plays," he said. "I know I'm a role player and I know my job. We talk every day. He's on one side and I'm on the other and we both know with him over there, I'm going to be open a lot."
|Kris Brown celebrates following his great performance.|
Moss' trade from the Vikings had generated plenty of headlines, including his recent interview with HBO in which he talked about past marijuana use seemed to indicate he still smokes occasionally, despite the NFL policy banning its use.
His play on the field this preseason has yet to create so much interest. He caught one pass in the Raiders' first preseason game.
Moss was covered part of the time by former Raider Phillip Buchanon, who was traded to the Texans before this year's draft. A first-round pick in 2002, Buchanon was supposed to give the Raiders a bookend corner to match All-Pro Charles Woodson, but his relationship with the team deteriorated rapidly and he asked to be traded.
But with Gabriel getting open so often, Collins didn't have to find Moss on every play. The only time Collins threw for Moss in the end zone, it was intercepted.
"He's going to get double coverage and that's going to open things up for a lot of other guys," Collins said. "It was a good learning tool for me to see that. It's exciting for me because we're still going to get creative and find ways to get him the ball."
The interception was Collins' only real misfire. He went 14-of-18 for 191 yards and two touchdowns as the Raiders rolled up 265 total yards in the first half. Collins didn't play in the second half.
The Texans got a solid, if only brief, outing from quarterback David Carr, who was hobbled all week with an inflamed left Achilles' tendon.
He seemed fine during the game, completing 6-of-8 for 43 yards and a touchdown on the Texans' opening drive, his only snaps of the game. He showed no sign of a gimpy leg, scrambling for six yards early in the drive and running out of the pocket to avoid two pass rushers several plays later. He rolled to his right before hitting Reggie Swinton with a 2-yard TD that tied the game 7-7.
"I figured before I threw the ball into the stands I'd roll out and just see if I could make something happen and Swinton did a great job getting open," Carr said.
The Raiders could have held off the Texans' rally, but kicker Sebastian Janikowski missed field goal attempts of 52 and 49 yards in the fourth quarter.