LANDOVER, Md. — With the coldest game to date in the Deshaun Watson era, the Houston Texans squeaked out a 23-21 victory over the Washington Redskins pushing their winning streak to seven.
The Texans joined the 1925 Giants as the only two teams in NFL history to win seven straight games after starting 0-3 on the season. It took some late game stops from the Texans defense and well-timed first downs by the offense to pull out an important win.
The Texans defense starting to heat up the Redskins quarterbacks with their pass rush as the game wore on. The Texans had a season high five sacks and it marked the first time Jadeveon Clowney, J.J. Watt and Whitney Mercilus all recorded one in the same game.
Defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel dialed up key calls resulting in three sacks on crucial third down plays for the Redskins.
“That was something, that goes into the complimentary football that I always talk about,” Bill O’Brien said of the Texans defense on Sunday. “Sometimes you look at how our defense is playing and that can help you decide what you need to do offensively. Those guys were getting a lot of pressure on the quarterback. Especially, J.J. and J.D., they just did a great job. They were relentless today and think the whole defense played really hard.”
The 278 total yards of offense put up by the Redskins was their lowest output of the season and it helped pave the way for the win.
On offense the Texans were able to muster 139 yards on the ground averaging 4.5 yards a carry against a Redskins defense that was ranked fifth in the NFL holding their opponents to 90.9 yards a game.
The Texans leaned on an up and down performance from Watson throwing for 208 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions. Watson has protected the ball well through the streak but threw two costly interceptions but was able to come up with some solid play when it counted the most in the fourth quarter going 4 of 6 for 38 yards.
“It is top-notch, someone if going to step up and make a play,” Watson said after the win. “Got us to seven wins in a row. It is pretty incredible what that locker room believes in and the chemistry when have been building.”
For a team that has been searching for an identity under O’Brien is finally taking shape in 2018. The seven straight wins are the most by the Texans since 2011 when they made it to the divisional round of the AFC Playoffs.
It was also the Texans first road win against a NFC opponent in six seasons, dating back to their win over the Detroit Lions on Thanksgiving Day during the 2011 season.
“We are just trying to go beyond, go beyond anything we have done here,” Hopkins explained. “Beyond anything any player on this team has done on any team. Seven games in a row is history or hasn’t been done in forever. We are just trying to take that next step and go beyond anything this franchise has done.”
With a rough start to the season, the Texans have pieced together wins that have seen them make more plays when it counted throughout games. Some will call it luck but when a team like the Texans couldn’t find ways to win in 2017, the 2018 season to this point is a welcomed sight for the organization.
“We just have belief, everyone keeps fighting. No one is doubting each other,” Watson continued. “Regardless we try to play complimentary football, but when the offense needs the defense to help us out they do that. Vice versa and the special teams is right there playing really well.
“The brotherhood and chemistry in that locker room is one of the best I have ever been around. Everyone is just happy to get the W and try to find a way to win."