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Washington Commanders

Commanders’ Defense Smothers Texans In 23-10 Victory

Commanders upset MNF in Philly
Commanders upset MNF in Philly

The Washington Commanders (6-5) had proven they could hang with the best teams in the NFC last week against the Philadelphia Eagles. Now, it faced a new challenge that all good teams must face: regroup and win against an opponent it was expected to beat.

Washington Commanders Game In Review

Commanders QB Heinicke
Commanders QB Heinicke

The Commanders’ offense was not always pretty, but it did enough to keep things in control. Taylor Heinicke completed 15-of-27 passes for 191 yards, while the ground game put up 100 rushing yards for the fifth time in six games behind the duo of Brian Robinson and Antonio Gibson. In addition, the Commanders did not commit a turnover for the first time since Week Six against the Chicago Bears and second time all season.

Commanders Defense Controlled the Game
Commanders Defense Controlled the Game

The defense shined in the contest, fueled by a defensive line that tied a season-high five sacks. The Commanders held Dameon Pierce, who entered the Week 11 game sixth in rushing yards, to eight yards on six carries. Houston did not have much more success in the air. Mills ended the loss with 169 passing yards.

The Texans were held to a total of 148 net yards, including just five in the first half. The Commanders proved that, handily, against the struggling Houston Texans (1-8-1), putting its record above .500 for the first time since Week One.

Commanders Capitol Affiliate NFL+
Commanders Capitol Affiliate NFL+

Washington’s offense was not always pretty, but it did enough to keep things in control. Commanders QB Taylor Heinicke completed 15-of-27 passes for 191 yards, while the ground game put up 100 rushing yards for the fifth time in six games behind the duo of Brian Robinson and Antonio Gibson.

Things started badly for the Texans on their first game drive, as Kendall Fuller intercepted Mills’ first pass and returned 37 yards for a touchdown — the first of his career. After that, it took longer for the Commanders’ offense to get going, but it found some rhythm after putting up just five yards on their first two drives. Washington marched 85 yards downfield on nine plays and capped things off with a ten-yard rushing touchdown by Curtis Samuel.

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From there, Washington coasted for the rest of the way and put Joey Slye to work. The offense got down to the Texans’ seven-yard line on the ensuing drive, getting Slye in range for a 25-yard field. It was much the same on the next drive, but this time, it was a 24-yarder that put Washington up 20-0 with ten seconds left until halftime.

The Texans tried to ignite its offense with a field goal to open the third quarter, which was credited to a 41-yard reception by Brandin Cooks. However, the Commanders snuffed it out quickly as Allen enveloped Mills for his second sack.

After Washington had tacked on another field goal, Darrick Forrest grabbed his third interception of the season off a deflected pass from Benjamin St-Juste. The Texans did manage to get in the end zone in the fourth quarter on a four-yard scramble from Mills, but Washington, who leads the league in time of possession, bled the final three minutes after recovering an onside kick and sealed the victory.

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Commanders Game Balls In Win

After the Monday night upset over the Philadelphia Eagles, the Washington Commanders dominated from the first whistle to the last in Houston, beating the Houston Texans 23-10. Cornerback Kendall Fuller, the Commander’s defensive line, and tight end Logan Thomas impressed and imposed to boost Washington to the win at NRG Stadium.

Tight End Logan Thomas

The seventh-year tight end has not had the smoothest year. During training camp, Thomas was able to return to action following a knee injury suffered during last season. But, unfortunately, his complete comeback was halted by a calf injury that kept him out for several weeks.

Thomas trusted the process, though, and earlier this week, Commander’s tight ends coach Juan Castillo noted that Thomas was starting to look like his old self. Against the Texans, he showed that progress and provided a consistent threat at the tight end position that Commanders have not really had all season.

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Logan distanced himself from his defenders, laid out for catches, and showed his reliable hands. By the end of the first half, he had four receptions on five targets for 57 yards and finished the game with five for 65 yards — more than any of the Commander’s pass-catchers. When Thomas plays like this, the Commanders can get excited about another dangerous layer of their offense.

Washington’s Defensive Line

Washington’s front feasted in the Week 11 win, notching five sacks on Mills. Three of those sacks came from three different players in just about the first 20 minutes of the game.

Jon Allen was responsible for two of those in what was the sixth multi-sack game of his career. In the first quarter, Allen bulldozed Kenyon Green so viciously that he essentially walked the Texan player into his own quarterback for the sack. Then in the third quarter, Allen took down Mills for a 12-yard loss on third down.

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Montez Sweat also collected two sacks of his own. In the second quarter, immediately after Daron Payne brought down Mills on second-and-seven, Sweat sacked the quarterback on third down. Sweat followed that up in the third quarter with another sack for a seven-yard loss, which kept the Texans out of the end zone and forced them to settle for a field goal.

Sweat’s outing was his second multi-sack game of the season and the fourth of his career. And with his first takedown, Washington joined Dallas and Tennessee as the only teams to have three or more players with five or more sacks this season, barring the results of Week 11.

In addition to his sack, which was 6.5 on the season, Payne was all over the place and got a career-high-tying fourth pass defense in a single game.

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Cornerback Kendall Fuller

The seventh-year corner set the tone for the Commanders early on. On the Texan’s first offensive snap, Kendall Fuller combined with safety Kam Curl to wrangle in Texans tight end Jordan Atkins for a Houston completion of no gain. That play was a sign of what was to come for both Fuller and the Commander’s defense as a whole.

On the next play, Kendall astutely read Davis Mills’ pass intended for wide receiver Brandin Cooks, picked it off, and ran it back 37 yards for the touchdown. The pick-six was Washington’s first of the season and the first of Fuller’s career. The score also marked the first time Washington’s defense recorded a touchdown in two straight since Brian Orakpo had a 29-yard pick-six in Week Seven and DeAngelo Hall had a 26-yard pick-six.

The unit showed how disruptive it could be in a stunning first-half performance in which it shut out the Texans and limited the offense to just five net yards — the fewest first-half yardage allowed by any team in the NFL this season. And that’s… “The Lex Of It

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Written By

Giants Gridiron Managing Editor. My history may come from my military service (Army/Patriot Missiles) and retail management (RadioShack/ District Manager). However, my love for NFL started over 40 yrs ago by way of the NY Giants. I may be a Cali girl that roots for the Chargers, the Giants is always near to me as my first (and lasting) love of the game! I ghost write for others, and spend WAY too much time researching, so writing is not anything new to me either.

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