Williams plays like No. 1 pick in Houston's win over St. Louis

Sunday, August 20, 2006

ST. LOUIS -- Mario Williams looked less like a mistake-prone rookie and more like the No. 1 pick of the draft in his second preseason game.

Williams, who made a negligible impact in his professional debut last week, got the attention of the St. Louis Rams' offensive line in the Houston Texans' 27-20 victory on Saturday night. Williams drew the Rams into a pair of penalties, batted down a pass to force a punt and tackled running back Tony Fisher for a 3-yard loss.

Vernand Morency, who did not play in the preseason opener due to a hip injury and coach Gary Kubiak's decision to look at other backs, had touchdown runs of 4 and 43 yards.

Phillip Buchanon also had a big game for the Texans (2-0), with punt returns of 32 and 33 yards and a fumble recovery on the first play of the second half that gave Houston the ball at the St. Louis 17, leading to Kris Brown field goal for a 13-3 lead.

A pass interference call in the end zone on Buchanon, however, led to a 1-yard run by Fred Russell late in the third quarter that cut the Texans' lead to 20-17.

The Texans also had a 44-yard touchdown pass from backup quarterback Sage Rosenfels to Derrick Lewis in the fourth quarter.

The Rams (1-1) scored a pair of touchdowns in the third quarter, a 4-yard touchdown pass from Gus Frerotte to Shaun McDonald and a 1-yard run by Fred Russell.

St. Louis had first-and-goal at the 2 at the 2-minute warning but the Texans' defense held.

Williams was part of a defensive line rotation that played the first half, along with quarterback David Carr and the rest of the Texans' first-stringers.

Most Rams starters were out of the game by early in the second quarter, with the starters producing three points in three possessions.

The Texans' first touchdown, Morency's 4-yard run midway through the second quarter, came against the Rams' second-stringers.

Carr was 10-for-17 for 99 yards, while Rams starter Marc Bulger was 7-for-13 for 86 yards.

The Rams' special teams struggled for the second straight game. Matt Turk had two 50-yard punts and a 59-yarder, but one of the 50-yarders was returned 33 yards by Buchanon.

Buchanon's 32-yard return came one play after an ineligible downfield call on Brandon Green negated a Turk punt that would have pinned the Texans at their own 3.

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