The Cowboys received the opening kickoff when Aveion Cason returned the ball 35-yards after getting several nice blocks alongside the right sideline. (He would later muff his second kickoff before scampering up the field for positive yardage.)
Quincy Carter, Troy Hambrick, and Richie Anderson were the starters in the backfield as the Cowboys came out exclusively on the ground. Troy Hambrick broke a tackle and took the opening run of the game for 10+ yards. Hambrick added another 10-yard gain on the second play of the game to get the Cowboys down to the Texans' 38-yard line.
Richie Anderson broke the 3rd play of the game for 6-yards but then fumbled the ball on the very next play. The Texans' Jerry DeLoach recovered.
The Texans' offense quickly capitalized and moved straight down the field.
Safety Darren Woodson missed rookie wide receiver Andre Johnson in the open field on 2nd down which led to a 10-yard gain and then QB David Carr completed a 29-yard gain to Jabar Gaffney across the middle of the field on the following play to get the Texans down to the Cowboys 20-yard line.
From there, the Cowboys would defense would hold. Rookie cornerback Terence Newman and Roy Williams had good coverage in the endzone on 2nd and goal from the 5-yard line as Carr managed only a 1-yard scamper after being pressured from Dexter Coakley.
Stacy Mack was stacked up at the line of scrimmage by Dat Ngyuen and Dexter Coakley on 3rd-and-goal from the 4-yard line. (Keep in mind the Texans offensive line was missing its' starting center.)
Carr finished the opening drive 3-of-3 passing as the Texans made a short field goal for a 3-0 lead.
The Cowboys second possession saw more running as Troy Hambrick was stopped for no gain on 1st-and-10. The Cowboys went to their 3-wide set on 2nd down and Jamie Sharper almost intercepted Carter on a ball that was thrown high for Aveion Cason out of the backfield.
Carter went deep across the middle of the field on 3rd down and badly missed Antonio Bryant. The ball should have been intercepted. There was also a bad snap on the play.
On the Texans' next possession, Ebenezer Ekuban sacked David Carr on the very first play of the drive. Carr then completed a screen pass over on the right side of the field for a 4-yard gain.
On 3rd-and-12, the Cowboys defense held after Carr completed another screen pass and forced a punt. The punt was fielded by Woodrow Dantzler, who gained 23-yards on the return. The return was called back after a holding call against Tony Dixon and would end up costing the Cowboys over 30-yards.
Quincy Carter completed a quick-out over on the left flat to Antonio Bryant for an 8-yard gain on first down.
On 2nd-and-2 Quincy Carter was sacked for a 4-yard loss as Andre Gurode got beaten by Seth Pain up the middle of the line of scrimmage. Carter's 3-rd down pass was deflected by a Texans' linebacker to end the Cowboys third drive of the first quarter.
After a short punt by Toby Gowin, the Texans took over in Dallas territory at the 45-yard line with just over 3 minutes left in the first quarter. Darren Woodson made a nice tackle on first down to prevent a long game from Stacy Mack.
Roy Williams made a nice tackle on rookie Tony Hollings on 2nd down, but the play was called back after a holding call on LT Chester Pitts.
On the next play, rookie Terence Newman looked sharp on a nice tackle against fellow rookie wide receiver Andre Johnson on a quick slant pattern. Newman and Donald Mitchell made a nice tackle on third down to prevent the Texans' from driving even further.
The Texans' Derrick Vaughn stopped a 38-yard punt on the 3-yard line to pin the Cowboys deep in their own territory.
Dan Campbell caught a nice looking ball from Quincy Carter on the first play of their 4th drive for a 16-yard gain.
At the end of the first quarter, the Cowboys trailed the Texans 3-0.
Troy Hambrick was thrown for a 3-yard loss on the very first play of the 2nd quarter. Quincy Carter completed a pass out into the left flats to Jason Witten for a another long gain that was good enough for a first down.
The Cowboys quickly worked their way into the redzone, and on first down from inside the 20-yard line, Quincy Carter completed a play-action pass to Troy Hambrick for a quick 3-yard gain.
Former Cowboys' Jason Bell had a holding penalty on Antonio Bryant on the very next play to give the Cowboys first and goal from the Texans' 9-yard line.
Carter then completed a quick hitch pass to Bryant on the following play to get the Cowboys down to the 5-yard line. Troy Hambrick ran straight up the gut for a 4-yard gain on second and goal before the Cowboys scored on the 10th play of the drive when Hambrick scored easily from one yard out.
Tyson Walter had an impressive series, throwing several key blocks, including the big block that allowed Hambrick to waltz into the endzone with 9:59 left in the 2nd quarter. Carter was 6-of-6 passing for 90 yards on that possession after completing just 1 of his first 4 passes.
The Cowboys recovered a fumble on the ensuing kickoff as backup linebacker Michael Hawkes created the turnover.
The offense went to work quickly as Antonio Bryant caught a nice play action fake by Quincy Carter for a quick touchdown on the very first play of the drive from the Texans' 30-yard line. Hambrick made a great block on a blitz by linebacker Jamie Sharper to allow the touchdown strike to occur.
Following a Billy Cundiff extra point, the Cowboys took a 14-3 lead. Through the first 5 possessions of the game, the Cowboys had 30 yards rushing and 120 yards passing.
The Cowboys defense held once again as David Carr had to throw the ball away on 3rd and short. The Texans would punt for the third consecutive possession to Woody Dantzler, who electrified the crowd once again on a dazzling 15-yard return. Unfortunately, there was a personal foul penalty on #50 Jamal Brooks for a late hit out of bounds.
Carter completed a quick 8-yard pass to Joey Galloway on the first play of the 6th possession of the game for Dallas. Hambrick gained 15+ yards on 2nd down as the Cowboys' offensive line opened up a huge hole for the former South Carolina Gamecock.
Carter completed a nice pass to Dan Campbell over the middle of the field for a 7-yard gain on 1st down. As the Cowboys continued to drive down the field, Quincy Carter had a nice 12-yard scramble up the gut of the defense before an illegal shift penalty and an incomplete fade pattern (Galloway should have caught the ball), and a draw to Aveion Cason left the Cowboys with a 3rd-and-14.
Carter threw a deep crossing pattern too high for Terry Glenn on a pass that was almost intercepted. Billy Cundiff then hit a 45-yard field goal with 3:27 remaining in the first half for a 17-3 lead. Neither the Texans nor the Cowboys could muster anymore offense in the first half Friday evening.
* Derek Ross played at one corner the entire first half ... Roy Williams looked great all evening long, making big play after big play in the secondary ... Quincy Carter was impressive overall, but threw several bad balls on third down ... Billy Cundiff hit his 45-yard field goal right down the middle with room to spare ... Joey Galloway let a beautifully thrown ball go right through his hands on a pass thrown intentionally short by Quincy Carter ... Woody Dantzler had three strong returns, one of over 25-yards, but all three plays incurred some sort of penalty ... Carter ended the first half 10-of-17 for almost 150 yards and a touchdown.
Texans-Cowboys Game Breakdown
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