The Dallas Cowboys could do nothing right Sunday evening in Houston, and the end result was quite indicative of how both teams performed.
Behind a stifling defense and a mistake free offense, the Houston Texans defeated the Cowboys 19-10 in the season opener for both teams.
The Cowboys' offense, under the direction of new offensive coordinator Bruce Coslet, never removed itself from the fog it appeared to be playing under all evening long. Their first seven possessions ended in six punts and an interception, by that time, Houston had jumped out to a 10-0 lead.
Texans' rookie quarterback David Carr would drop back on the game's very first play and fire a deep pass down the right sideline to Corey Bradford. The pass fell incomplete, but newly acquired cornerback Bryant Westbrook was called for pass interference to put the Texans in business on the Cowboys' 21-yard line.
Three plays later, David Carr threw his first career NFL touchdown to tight end Billy Miller. Houston took the lead just 1 minute and 14 seconds into the game.
Meanwhile, Cowboys' quarterback Quincy Carter was anything but effective. The former Georgia star didn't complete a pass until midway through the second quarter, and he routinely missed his wide receivers Antonio Bryant and Joey Galloway in the open field.
The Cowboys wouldn't get on the board until rookie kicker Billy Cundiff drilled a 33-yard field goal just inside the left upright to pull the Cowboys within 7 with just one minute left in the first half. The drive was actually aided by two personal foul penalties on the Texans.
The Texans, playing inspired in front of a raucous crowd of almost 70,000, missed several scoring opportunities in the first half, including a 60-yard touchdown pass dropped by Jermaine Lewis with just seconds remaining in the 2nd quarter.
Houston would take a 10-3 lead into the locker room.
One of the few bright spots for the Cowboys occurred when third string running back Michael Wiley scored on a 46-yard touchdown run to tie the game at 10 midway through the 3rd quarter. It would be the Cowboys only play that went over 20 yards for the entire game.
The Texans would respond quickly though, as Carr hit former Green Bay Packer wide receiver Corey Bradford on a 65-yard scoring strike during Houston's first drive of the 4th quarter. Cowboys strong safety Darren Woodson provided sound coverage on the play, but the veteran safety overran the pass and Bradford won the jump ball in the air and then scampered in for the score.
The Cowboys would have one more chance to the tie the game, but after taking over on their own 4-yard line with time winding down, Quincy Carter was sacked in the endzone by Seth Payne.
Carter finished the night 13-of-31 passing for just 131 yards and an interception. Carr finished 10-for-22 for 145 yards and two touchdowns and an interception.
Emmitt Smith, who needed just 540 yards to break the NFL career rushing record entering the game, ran for 67 yards and 17 attempts.
Newly acquired defensive tackle La'Roi Glover showed why he was so coveted by the Cowboys' organization this past spring. Glover finished with 5 tackles, 1.5 sacks, and an interception in his debut wearing the silver and blue.
The Houston Texans became only the second expansion team to start the season 1-0. The Minnesota Vikings last did it in 1961, beating the Chicago Bears in a battle of division rivals.
The Cowboys will next face the Tennessee Titans next Sunday at Texas Stadium.
Texans Shock Dallas, 19-10
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