David Anderson is far down Houston’s depth chart at receiver, but he made the most of his opportunity in the Texans’ preseason opener on Saturday night.
Anderson caught six passes for 67 yards, including a 16-yard touchdown from Sage Rosenfels, in the Texans’ 19-16 win over the Denver Broncos.
Kris Brown kicked four field goals, including the 25-yard winner on the game’s final play. Rosenfels completed 10 of 15 passes for 137 yards in relief of starting quarterback Matt Schaub, who played only one series.
Denver’s Jay Cutler went 8-for-10 for 59 yards and ran for a touchdown in his one quarter of work.
The Texans have good depth at receiver, and the 5-foot-10, 196-pound Anderson is fighting for a roster spot. He had only 12 receptions in 2007, his second season, and was inactive for the final five games.
On the Texans’ second series Saturday, Anderson caught an 11-yard pass to set up Brown’s 52-yard field goal, then scored the Texans’ only touchdown in the corner of the end zone with 9:40 left in the first half.
“I really like David,” said Houston star receiver Andre Johnson, who sat out with a sore groin. “He’s a real scrappy guy. You look at him, he’s a smaller guy, but he goes out and plays with a big heart.”
Both teams lost players to injuries on the Texans’ first offensive series.
Running back Ahman Green, who missed all or part of 10 games last year with a bone bruise in his knee, was hurt on Houston’s first play. Green caught a 5-yard pass from Schaub and fell down before he was even hit, then limped off the field. The Texans said he has a strained groin.
“I didn’t really know what happened to him,” said Schaub, who completed 4-of-5 passes in his only series. “He just felt a little tweak, I guess, but I don’t know.”
On the next play, Denver linebacker Boss Bailey sprained his right ankle and had to be helped off the field. Bailey started 12 games for the Broncos last season and made 51 tackles, including 3 1-2 sacks.
Louis Green, Bailey’s replacement, left on a stretcher a few plays later with a neck injury and a concussion. Green collided with teammate D.J. Williams as the two converged to tackle Texans tight end Owen Daniels, who caught a short pass.
Green lay motionless for several minutes as medical staff rushed to check on him. Green was strapped to the stretcher and was moving his fingers and hands as he was rolled off the field.
The Texans said Green was taken to a hospital for further evaluation. The Broncos said he was released from the hospital and will travel back to Denver with the team.
After Brown finished the drive with a 23-yard field goal, Cutler went 7-for-9 and scrambled for a 15-yard touchdown run against Houston’s first-team defense.
Brown kicked a 52-yard field goal with 11:59 left in the half to cut Denver’s lead to 7-6.
Patrick Ramsey replaced Cutler early in the second quarter and Houston backup safety Nick Ferguson intercepted Ramsey’s first pass and returned it to the Denver 26. One play later, Rosenfels threw the touchdown pass to Anderson to give the Texans a 13-7 lead.
Ramsey drove the Broncos into field goal range later in the second quarter, but Matt Prater missed from 30 yards. Prater is taking over for Jason Elam, who left Denver after 15 seasons and now plays for Atlanta.
Rosenfels threw a 41-yard pass to Jacoby Jones early in the third quarter to set up another field goal by Brown, a 23-yarder. Jones fumbled a punt at the Houston 25 later in the quarter, leading to a 38-yard field goal by Prater.
Prater kicked a 31-yard field goal in the first minute of the fourth quarter and added a 26-yarder with 5:50 left to tie the game at 16.
Rookie Steve Slaton had a 39-yard kickoff return at the start of Houston’s final possession. He had a 13-yard run later in the drive.