It was a performance that most of us saw coming: A stumbling, bumbling, grind-it-out offense paired with a ferocious, suffocating defense. We'll start with the latter.
Led by D.J. Swearinger and J.J. Watt, the Texans made life miserable for Robert Griffin III and the Redskins' offense. Swearinger was an enforcer from sideline to sideline ,notching 8 total tackles, 1 sack, 1 tackle for loss and a crucial forced fumble with the Redskins knocking on the door. He also terrorized RG3 with 2 QB hits, not including one taken back thanks to an absolute phantom of a roughing penalty.
J.J. Watt was as elusive, powerful and dominant as ever in the trenches, consistently making himself at home in the Redskins' backfield. The newly-minted $100 million man had 5 QB hits, 1 sack and 2 tackles for loss to go along with 3 tackles. He even blocked the Redskins' lone extra point attempt. Oh, and he threw in a swatted pass late in the 4th quarter. Basically it was just another day at the office for Watt.
Swearinger forced a fumble after chasing down Niles Paul on a long catch-and-run deep in Texans territory. Kendrick Lewis would recover. Watt also recovered a botched hand-off as the Redskins were knocking on the door. Each turnover helped protect the Texans' 14-6 lead.
Brooks Reed complimented the duo perfectly, notching 3 QB hits of his own alongside a sack and a tackle for loss.
Clowney Injured Early In Second Quarter
Rookie Jadeveon Clowney had a quiet outing before exiting the game early thanks to an apparent leg injury. Fox originally reported that Clowney would return with just leg cramps, but the number one overall pick would eventually be ruled out completely from a return.
The Texans would not miss him too much, as the defense held the Redskins to just 3 of 12 on third downs. It was the quintessential performance by a Romeo Crennel defense... often bending (267 yards passing, 131 yards rushing allowed) but rarely breaking.
Offense Sputters Early, Ends Efficiently
Texans fans had every right to be nervous about the offense heading into 2014. The acquisition of Ryan Fitzpatrick to lead the team was hardly awe-inspiring, but the journeyman did just enough to manage the game without committing a crucial game-changing mistake. He wasn't particularly good, but he wasn't awful, finishing 14 of 22 passing for 206 yards and a touchdown. Fitzpatrick finished the game with an efficient, somewhat clutch field goal drive with less than two minutes to go in the 4th quarter to give the Texans a two-score lead.
The lone offensive touchdown came on a play-action deep bomb to DeAndre Hopkins, who made a defender miss and jogged into the end zone for the score. It accounted for 76 of Hopkins' 89 yards on four catches.
Andre Johnson looked as good as he's ever looked (six catches, 93 yards on nine targets) making crucial grabs in the second half of the game. All but one of his catches came after halftime.
Arian Foster was a sight for sore eyes, running well for 103 yards on 27 carries. It was a very Kubiak-esque workload for Foster, as Alfred Blue and Jonathan Grimes received just one carry each. It was Foster's first live action since last year, as he was kept out of every preseason contest. Foster did cough up a fumble late in the game that prevented the offense from putting the game out of reach, but the defense continued to stifle any attempt at a comeback.
Alfred Blue did score a touchdown. It came on special teams via a blocked punt and immediate recovery by the rookie from LSU.
It was at times ugly, but not unexpectedly ugly. Since the 2014 NFL Draft, the Texans have seemingly built this team to win in the trenches, and that's exactly what they did against the Washington Redskins.
For one week, the Houston Texans are undefeated, and boy, does it feel good.