Cowboys fall to Texans in gear-up game

HOUSTON, TX -- Matt Schaub and the Houston Texans became the first team to score a touchdown against the Dallas Cowboys' starters this preseason on Saturday night.

They didn't stop at just one.

Schaub connected with Andre Johnson early in the second quarter and found speedy rookie Jacoby Jones just before halftime to lead the Texans to a 28-16 win over the Cowboys.

Schaub, in his first starting job after backing up Michael Vick for three seasons in Atlanta, looked sharp against a defense that flustered Denver last week.

Jones was the star of this one though, returning a punt 91 yards for a score early in the first quarter before leaping for the touchdown grab in the second quarter. It was the second week in a row that Jones, a third-round pick from Division II Lane College, returned a punt for a touchdown after returning one 80 yards last week.

On Saturday he busted through the pack and then outran his last defender and began holding out the ball in front of him at the 10-yard line before flipping into the end zone.

The Texans led 7-0 when Schaub delivered a nifty pass between two defenders to Andre Johnson for a 6-yard touchdown pass early in the second quarter. That play was set up by a 46-yard run by Ahman Green two plays earlier. Green finished with eight carries for 65 yards.

Johnson led the Texans with four receptions for 39 yards.

The second touchdown came when Jones, the former track star, got in front of his defender for the 19-yard reception which made it 21-6 at halftime.

Schaub was 12-of-16 for 109 yards in 2 1/2 quarters of play.

Tony Romo and the Cowboys offense were shaky at best. He threw two touchdown passes but also fumbled, threw an interception and bobbled a snap that it appeared he wasn't ready for.

On their second possession, the Cowboys had two straight offsides penalties, but dug out of it when Romo found Sam Hurd for 18-yard pass.

But Dallas was flagged for holding on the next play and three plays later Romo fumbled the snap and was drilled by 2006 No. 1 pick Mario Williams while chasing it down, forcing a punt.

After the hit, Williams jumped up and put a finger to his lips in a possible message to silence his many detractors who believe the Texans should have picked Vince Young or Reggie Bush instead of drafting him.

In the second quarter he engineered a 9-play, 74-yard drive that ended when Terrell Owens grabbed a short pass from Romo and wriggled away from three Texans defenders for a 35-yard touchdown. He sat the ball down just inside the end zone and jawed at Houston fans who responded with a loud chorus of boos. It was his only catch of the game.

He dropped a pass on third down on the next series, but it was negated by an offsides penalty on the Texans.

Martin Gramatica missed the extra point to bring the Cowboys within 14-6.

Romo's second touchdown pass was for 18 yards to Jason Witten and made it 21-13 in the third quarter.

Late in the third quarter against Houston's backups, Romo badly underthrew Owens and was picked off by rookie Fred Bennett. It was Romo's last play of the night and he finished 14-of-22 for 197 yards.

The Texans defensive line, led by Williams and featuring two other first-round picks, finally got the pass rush going. Houston sacked Romo twice and hurried him several other times.

Last year's Defensive Rookie of the Year, DeMeco Ryans, led the Texans with eight tackles and Williams, who entered the game with no tackles, had four and pressured Romo a couple of times.

Julius Jones and Marion Barber combined for 16 carries and 48 yards rushing for Dallas. Jones had a long run of 12 yards.

Nick Folk added a 23-yard field goal for Dallas in the fourth quarter. The Texans' last score came on a 17-yard pass from Sage Rosenfels to David Anderson with 2:57 to play.


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