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Washington Spank Houston With Solid Defensive Effort

By Mark Solway | November 21st, 2022

It would have been easy to let their foot off the gas after their huge win over the undefeated Philadelphia Eagles on Monday Night Football. Instead, the Washington Commanders doubled down and earned a decisive 23-10 victory over a Houston Texans team that never really even got into the game. The Commanders’ victory put them at 6-5 and above .500, for the first time since winning their season opener.

Taylor Heinicke earned himself another new pair of shoes. This time a red, white and blue pair.

He finished the day 15 of 27 for 191 yards, with no touchdowns or interceptions and a 77.9 passer rating. He may not be leading any league categories or scaring any defenses, but he continues to do the one thing he appears to do very well – win.

Heinicke took over for an injured Carson Wentz in Week 7. Since that time, he has posted a 4-1 record by beating the Green Bay Packers at home, and with three straight road wins over Indianapolis, Philadelphia and now Houston. His only loss to was to the Minnesota Vikings, and he nearly won that one as well.

This Commanders team is 100% behind the gritty quarterback.

“Every time [Heinicke] comes in to play, the team just rallies around him,” said defensive tackle and team leader Jonathan Allen.

His results have been enough for Heinicke to cement the starting job for the foreseeable future.

“We are going to go with Taylor, and we’ll work Carson back in and see where Carson is in terms of when he’s ready to be the backup,” said head coach Ron Rivera.

Why?

“Winning,” Rivera stated simply and emphatically.

Victory Monday

Defensive Gem

Washington held Houston to just 147 yards of total offense.

Even that stingy an amount was charitable, given that the Commanders had a commanding lead and let off a little bit in the fourth quarter.

In the first half, Washington’s defense completely dominated and allowed the Texans just FIVE yards. That isn’t a typo – it really does say FIVE.

Not only that, the Commanders first score of the game was a Kendall Fuller pick six on Houston’s opening drive. Fuller jumped the route and took it 37-yards to pay dirt – his first career touchdown interception return.

Washington also picked off Davis Mills a second time in the fourth quarter, when safety Darrick Forrest snagged a ball that cornerback Benjamin St-Juste had tipped.

That was the Commanders’ sixth takeaway in the past two games, after managing just one in their first five games.

Lining Up

The defense was again anchored by a terrific performance from the defensive line. They had five sacks and had Mills running for his life for much of the game.

Jonathan Allen and Montez Sweat both had two sacks apiece, while Daron Payne added another. All three of them wreaked havoc on their match-ups.

Allen added three tackles for loss, as well as four quarterbacks hits as well. Forget the Pro Bowl, he’s making a very strong case for First Team All Pro. There’s no way any defensive tackle in the NFL is playing better week in and week out than Allen is.

And ironically, Payne is probably the closest contestant.

Casey Toohill also had a solid game.

The Washington defense posted nine quarterback hits AND nine tackles for loss. Stellar.

Other Mentionables

Welcome to the 2022 season Logan Thomas. He led all Washington pass catchers with 65 yards on 5 catches. It was by far his best game of the season. If he can stay healthy and play like he did on Sunday, he can give Heinicke even more offensive weaponry to work with.

Antonio Gibson and Brian Robinson Jr. continue to provide a very workman-like one-two punch. The Commanders managed 153 yards on the ground, with Gibson leading the way with 72 yards on 18 carries. Robinson wasn’t far behind with 57 yards on 15 carries. Gibson also tacked on another 31 yards on three receptions out of the backfield.

Curtis Samuel chipped in 18 rushing yards as well on two carries. He also had 10 yards receiving.

Conclusions

It was only the Houston Texans. They were 1-7-1 going into the game and look poised to snag the first pick in the 2023 NFL Draft.

But so what? This is the exact type of game that Washington teams always seem to blow. And they didn’t. Not even close. As a matter of fact, the game never looked or felt like Washington was in any danger of doing anything but what they did – put a sound beating on an inferior team.

That doesn’t make the Commanders Super Bowl contenders at all, but it does show they aren’t the bottom of the barrel that they perhaps appeared to be early on in the season.

If they continue to improve and believe in themselves, they could very well find themselves earning a second 2022 season – a post season.

Hail!

 

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Categories Posted In | Game Day | Washington Commanders |