The Houston Texans got more than a game under their belts.
While making their NFL debut, the expansion team was bonded by something that's not in any playbook.
``It's tough when you see one of your brothers go down,'' said rookie quarterback David Carr. ``We were on the sideline praying, that wasn't fake. That could have been any one of us.''
Houston safety Leomont Evans suffered a bruised spinal cord during the first half of Houston's debut. He remained hospitalized Tuesday, but was walking, the team said in a statement.
Carr threw a touchdown pass and the league's $700 million expansion team played well in stretches of a 34-17 loss Monday night to the New York Giants in the Hall of Fame game.
Jesse Palmer passed for 247 yards and two TDs, and New York rookie tight end Jeremy Shockey had a TD catch along with a bruising 48-yard gain where he flattened several Texans.
But an unexpected, scary moment tempered Houston's long-awaited return to pro football when Evans temporarily lost feeling in his arms and legs after some contact.
``You hate to see that,'' Giants coach Jim Fassel said. ``I just stood there praying. For a while, I could not think of anything else. That's when the game and everything else is inconsequential.''
Evans, a second-team strong safety, got hurt while rushing a punt in the second quarter. He lowered his head and tried to power over New York running back Sean Bennett, when he crumbled to the ground.
As the play unfolded around him, Evans was motionless on the field while teammate Avion Black returned the punt 71 yards.
``A lot of thoughts go through your mind when something like that happens,'' Texans coach Dom Capers said.
The 28-year-old Evans stayed face down as Houston's training staff and emergency personnel ran onto the field to assist him.
While their teammate was being cared for, the Texans, many of whom didn't know each other until the start of training camp, gathered in a circle and knelt in prayer in front of their bench.
Across the field, about a dozen of New York's players - led by All-Pro Michael Strahan - dropped to a knee.
The Texans waited 18 months to get started and were eager to see how Carr, the No. 1 overall pick in this year's draft, would do in his first pro game.
Carr went 9-of-17 for 96 yards and connected with tight end Billy Miller for a 24-yard scoring strike late in the first half to tie it 10-10.
Carr also showed good poise on several other plays, once getting around and fooling Strahan with a pump fake.
At halftime, John Madden, who made his debut on ``Monday Night Football,'' came to the press box to congratulate some Houston executives on taking Carr.
``Nice pick,'' Madden said.
Carr was pleased, too.
``It went well,'' Carr said. ``We could have done a lot of things better. But I think for the first time out, in live bullets, the guys jelled pretty good.''
The Giants couldn't contain their feelings about Shockey.
The former Miami All-American got off to a shaky start in New York, arriving a week late because of a contract holdout and getting into a dining-hall fight with linebacker Brandon Short the first night he was there.
But with one play, Shockey made all of that go away.
Late in the second quarter, Shockey caught a short pass from Palmer and stiff-armed Houston's Jacoby Shepherd before heading up the sideline.
He ignored his facemask being grabbed about 5 yards later, and after picking up 30 yards, Shockey flattened Houston safety Kevin Williams to the ground with his forearm. It took two more Texas defenders to drag down the 6-foot-5, 252-pounder.
``It was a like a Michael Jordan dunk,'' Giants linebacker Mike Barrow said. ``He's a rookie and I don't want to be premature, but he's special. The sidelines went crazy. We were all yelling, 'Did you see that.'''
Two plays later, Shockey caught an 8-yard TD pass from Palmer to put the Giants up 17-10 at halftime.
``I'm just trying to compete,'' Shockey said. ``It's just one play. I hope there's a lot more like it during the season.''