|Date of game: 9/7/2014
Recap: Houston vs. Washington
Houston, TX (SportsNetwork.com) - A blocked punt returned for a touchdown and excellent defense led the Houston Texans to a 17-6 win over the Washington Redskins in the season opener.
New Texans head coach Bill O'Brien inherited a team that lost its final 14 games last season to finish 2-14, but also inherited a stout defense headlined by J.J. Watt and first overall pick Jadeveon Clowney.
"It's a long season, but it was a good win," said O'Brien. "We'll enjoy it tonight, but it's quickly that we'll move on to next week."
It was a tough debut for Clowney, though, as he left the game late in the first half with an ankle injury after making just one tackle.
"We're consulting with the doctors and trainers right now," said O'Brien."I'm not sure about the status, but I will say right now that they think it's a good prognosis so it looks like it's going to be ok. He may miss some time, he may not. Who knows. We'll know better as the week goes on."
However, several reports state that Clowney suffered a torn meniscus that will require surgery, and he could be out from 4-to-6 weeks.
Watt, though, blocked an extra point attempt, had one sack, one fumble recovery and a pair of tackles for loss as the Houston defense recovered two fumbles in the red zone.
"It was a real team effort we put together today," said Watt. "You had guys flying in from all over the place and everyone chipped in. That's when defense is fun, when you do it as a team."
New quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick was an efficient 14-for-22 for 206 yards and a touchdown, while Arian Foster totaled 103 yards on 27 carries for the Texans (1-0), who also got a touchdown catch from DeAndre Hopkins.
Robert Griffin went 29-for-37 for 267 yards and lost a fumble, while Alfred Morris carried the ball 14 times for 91 yards for the Redskins (0-1), who finished last seasons 3-13.
"We're not here for moral victories, we want to get the 'W' and I didn't do a good enough job today," said Griffin. "We'll go back and watch the tape, figure out what it was we were doing wrong and work on that."
Washington also had a new coach on the field as Jay Gruden took over for Mike Shanahan this past offseason.
"I'm not pleased with anything today because we lost," said Gruden. "I like the effort, but there's a lot of things we can correct both offensively and defensively, along with special teams, and we will."
The first nine possessions of this game resulted in punts before the Redskins put together a scoring drive.
A 25-yard punt return by Andre Roberts gave the team the ball at the Houston 46. Morris ripped off runs of 16 and 21 yards to help set up a 1st-and-goal at the 1, with the up-back Darrel Young taking a quick handoff and leaping over the pile, stretching the ball across the goal line for a score with just over six minutes to play.
The extra point attempt, though, was blocked as Watt leapt up at the line and got a hand on the ball to keep it a 6-0 game.
It didn't take long for the Texans to respond, as the fourth play of their ensuing drive saw Fitzpatrick rifle a pass to Hopkins, who made the catch then slipped by the defender before going in for a 76-yard touchdown. The extra point was good and it was a 7-6 game.
Washington was forced to punt on its ensuing touch, but Alfred Blue was able to get his hand on the ball, scooped it up and took it in for a 14-6 lead just near the two-minute warning.
Starting the second half with the ball, the Redskins drove down to the Houston 7, thanks to a roughing the passer call on the previous play. Griffin, though, fumbled a handoff attempt and the Texans recovered the ball.
Houston was quickly forced to punt and the Redskins got a big play as Niles Paul hauled in a pass over the middle and took it 48 yards, but he had the ball knocked out of his hands inside the 10-yard line and the Texans took over.
The Texans then went on a lengthy drive and got into the Washington red zone, but Foster fumbled the ball and Washington took over.
Washington had to punt, though, and the Texans sealed the win with a 13-play, 68-yard drive that ate up 6 1/2 minutes, with a 42-yard field goal from Randy Bullock just after the two-minute warning accounting for the final score.Game Notes
Washington finished with 372 yards while Houston had 316 yards ... Houston
wide receiver Andre Johnson had six catches for 93 yards, while Washington
wide receiver Pierre Garcon made 10 grabs for 77 yards ... This was just the
fourth meeting between these teams, with each club winning twice ...
Washington hosts Jacksonville next Sunday ... Houston plays in Oakland next