Following last week’s monumental upset victory over the Philadelphia Eagles; the Washington Commanders’ looked to carry that momentum and deliver a dominant performance this week. As they traveled to Houston to face off against a struggling Texans team. Who so far are having their worst season in franchise history with a 1-8-1 record. Therefore, this was a game that the Washington Commanders were expected to be dominant and win handily.
Coupled with the excitement from the win last week there was a lot of anticipation for this game. As there being a growing buzz that the Commanders’ defense was about to add some more reinforcement to their already stout defensive line. Being that there were reports of former Defensive Rookie of the Year winner; Chase Young, making his season debut this week. After recovering from a torn ACL he suffered last season in their Week 10 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Unfortunately, for Young and the Commanders’ defense, head coach; Ron Rivera, decided to hold off Young’s return to the field for another week.
Despite not having the addition of Chase Young back on the field; this was still a game where the Commanders’ defense continued their reign of dominance. As their impact on the game was apparent from the opening possession to the very end of the game. With that, it relieved some pressure off of the offense; who did not necessarily have the type of performance that they hoped for. Ultimately, it was an overall dominant performance from the Commanders; as they improve their record on the season to 6-5.
Commanders’ Defense Dominating Performance
In a game where the Commanders could have played down to the level of their competition after coming off an emotional game the week before. The Commanders’ defense made sure that was not going to be the case; as they made sure to be completely dominant for the entire game. Leaving no doubt that the Washington Commanders were the superior team by a wide margin.
As previously stated above, the Washington Commanders’ defense put on a dominant performance from the opening drive to the time when the clocks hit triple zeros. With that, their defense was able to impose their will for the duration of the game. Limiting the Texans’ offense to only 148-yards of total offense for the entirety of the game.
This was a result of the Commanders’ defense being able to completely shut down their running game; which only went for 21-yards. As the defensive line was absolutely dominant in the trenches; consistently getting pressure on Texans quarterback; Davis Mills. Resulting in them sacking him a total of five times for a loss of 42-yards.
The Commanders’ defense didn’t waste any time getting things started in their dominant performance; delivering an immediate spark to the team less than two minutes into the game. As the defense was able to force a turnover just two plays into the game. After Davis Mills tried to hit Brandin Cooks on an out route; Kendall Fuller was able to jump the route and pick him off. Which he then turned into points as he ran the ball back for a touchdown; giving Washington their first points of the game.
Ensuing Fuller’s pick six it gave the Commanders’ defense an immediate boost. As the defense’s dominance was on full display. With them seemingly holding the Texans’ offense to a three and out on almost every possession they had in the first half of the game. Resulting in them never being able to make it past the 50-yard line into the Commanders’ territory. Thus, the Texans were only capable of gaining a total of 5 yards of offense for the entire first half.
Coming out of half time the defense let their foot off of the gas a little bit. As they came out a bit sluggish to start the third quarter. Which allowed the Texans to go on their longest drive of the game. As they went on a 64-yard drive that ended in a field goal after a nice goal line stand from the Commanders’ defense.
Following that drive the defense was able to return to their dominant ways. Essentially shutting the Texans down for the remainder of the second half. Which was highlighted by an amazing ball hawking play by safety; Darrick Forrest. As he was able to get his second interception in the last two games after a deflected ball from Benjamin St-Juste. To give the Commanders their second turnover of the game.
Overall, this was a game where the Commanders’ defense led the way to allow for Washington to be in the driver’s seat from the opening drive. They were dominant all game long and never once was the game in question as to who was going to win. As they set the tone from the jump and didn’t look back after that.
Heinicke Takes Over Command in Washington
Since taking over for Carson Wentz; there was much speculation as to whom might be the starting quarterback moving forward. Being that Wentz has officially been cleared to return back to action. After undergoing surgery on his fractured right ring finger that sat him out the last six weeks.
However, ensuing the Commanders dominant performance against the Texans Ron Rivera put things to rest. As he officially announced that Heinicke will undoubtedly be the starter moving forward. After Heinicke has led the Commanders to a 5-1 record after taking over the offense. When asked what was it that Heinicke showed him to lead him to that decision; he simply responded by saying, “Winning.”
As it seems that winning is just what Heinicke does, as he has an infectious attitude that gets all of his teammates to rally around him. Which is something that has been on display since his incredible performance against the Buccaneers in their 2020 wild card game. That same winning attitude was also on display this week in Houston.
Although, Heinicke and the offense didn’t have the type of dominant game that the defense had. They were still able to do some really good things offensively; as they rushed for over 150-yards in the game to go along with almost 200 passing yards from Heinicke.
To start the game the offense seemed to be lethargic, going three and out on two of their first three possessions. However, towards the end of the first quarter they were able to pick things up and find a rhythm.
Getting some nice plays out of their running game; which features their dynamic duo of Antonio Gibson and Brian Robinson Jr. They were also able to incorporate Curtis Samuel into the running game with a couple of jet sweeps that broke for some nice gains. One of which he broke loose for a 10-yard touchdown to give Washington an early 14-0 advantage.
Ensuing this touchdown drive the Commanders were able put together scoring drives on their next two possessions to close out the half. As Heinicke was able to connect with his big tight end; Logan Thomas, for some big plays down the field. Who had his break out game for the seasons; as he was Washington’s leading receiver with 65 receiving yards on 5 receptions.
In addition, Washington was able to move the ball down the field on their last two drives before the end of the first half. Unfortunately, they weren’t able to cap off the drives with touchdowns after being stopped twice when they were inside the 10-yard line. Therefore, they had to settle for field goals to give them a 20-0 lead at the half.
Moreover, in the second half Heinicke and the offense stalled for majority of the second half. As it seemed that they kind of relaxed in the second half. Only being able to put together one scoring drive in the second half; where they once again had to settle for a field goal.
A big reason for this was that Washington leaned heavily on their running game in the second half. Being that they were trying to essentially run the clock out so that Heinicke wouldn’t be subject to any unnecessary hits.
Ultimately, Heinicke and the Commanders’ offense was able to cruise to the finish line as they got a dominant performance from their defense. As they did enough offensively to give them the victory, which has been the tale of their team since Heinicke has become the starter. Now the Commanders head back home to face off against a Falcons team who are coming off of a win of their own. And are looking to dampen the momentum that the Commanders currently have.