The Redskins have one of their toughests tests remaining of the 2018 campaign, as the red-hot Houston Texans entered Sunday's contest on a six-game winning streak in a battle of two 6-3 teams.
Washington entered Sunday's contest without four major contributors, as left tackle, Trent Williams, wide receiver Jamison Crowder, running back Chris Thompson, and cornerback Quinton Dunbar all were declared inactive for Sunday's game.
Can Washington overcome the plethera of injuries they have and knock off the Texans, something no team has been able to do since September?
Here are the highs and lows from the Week 11 matchup...
Redskins vs. Texans: Highs and Lows
HIGHS: The Redskins punted on their first two drives, including a three-and-out to open the game. Backed up inside the 15, Washington did manage to convert a 3rd-and-6 from Alex Smith to Michael Floyd to keep the drive going before it stalled.
Washington’s third drive went a little better with a 24-yard catch by tight end Jordan Reed and a 13-yard reception by Maurice Harris. It looked like J.J. Watt blew up the drive with a strip on 3rd-and-10 that pushed the Redskins out of field goal range, but a defensive holding call kept the drive alive.
Trey Quinn’s diving 15-yard catch put Washington in good shape at the 15. It is Quinn’s first game since Week 1 after a serious ankle injury. The Redskins ended the first quarter with 2nd-and-4 at the 8 after an Adrian Peterson run. Can they punch it in?
LOWS: The Texans drove 68 yards in 10 plays and 4:38 to take a 3-0 lead on a Ka’imi Fairbairn 23-yard field goal. The good news? They only allowed nine rushing yards to Lamar Miller. The bad? They gave up two pass plays of 16 yards or more to Houston quarterback Deshaun Watson and neither went to Houston star receiver DeAndre Hopkins. Uh oh.
You knew what was coming. Hopkins caught a 16-yard touchdown pass from Watson on the Texans’ second drive and suddenly bad memories of the Atlanta and New Orleans blowout losses came rushing back. A Redskins team not built from coming back was down 10-0. The Texans needed just six plays to go 69 yards in 3:13.
HIGHS: Adrian Peterson punched in a 3-yard touchdown run and Houston’s lead was cut to 10-7. Peterson tied Redskins legend John Riggins with his 104thcareer rushing touchdown. They are tied for sixth all time. The scoring drive was an impressive 10 plays, 75 yards in 4:01.
The Redskins have now forced at least one turnover in 13 consecutive games. Mason Foster intercepted a Deshaun Watson pass tipped by teammate Josh Harvey-Clemons.
A subsequent three-and-out wasn’t ideal. But punter Tress Way did what he does and pinned the Texans at the 4.
Trey Quinn showed his face again with a 13-yard catch on a 3rd-and-6 at the 29. That put the Redskins in scoring position. Or…at least ONE team was in scoring position. It wasn’t Washington.
LOWS: Alex Smith never forces anything. That’s his whole deal. But on 3rd-and-goal from the 9 he forced a pass to tight end Jordan Reed. Instead of at worst a 10-10 game after a short field goal attempt, the pass was intercepted and returned 101 yards by Houston safety Justin Reid. That made it 17-7. A brutal turnaround.
And it happened again moments later. A pass under pressure to running back Kapri Bibbs was intercepted by linebacker Brennan Scarlett at the 22. Lucky for Smith and the Redskins, kicker Ka’imi Fairbairn missed a 44-yard kick.
HIGHS: Hard to talk about any highs in a third quarter where it looked like quarterback Alex Smith sustained a season-ending right leg injury.
But the Redskins defense struck again early in the second half. Ha Ha Clinton-Dix jumped a pass to DeAndre Hopkins and Mason Foster recovered the subsequent fumble. Honestly, it looked like he intercepted the ball by taking it off Hopkins’ chest as he bobbled it. Whatever. Washington stopped Houston’s opening drive with its second forced turnover of the game.
Outside linebacker Preston Smith intercepted Deshaun Watson at the 13 and backup quarterback Colt McCoy came in for Smith and immediately threw a nine-yard touchdown pass to tight end Jordan Reed. Houston’s lead was 17-14.
LOWS: Alex Smith is hurt and it was gruesome and it was hard to watch. Thirty-three years after Joe Theismann’s infamous broken leg in a 1985 game against the New York Giants, Smith sustained a brutal leg/ankle injury. Watch the replays only if you aren’t squeamish. It was devastating and nothing else that comes of this game really matters. It is Colt McCoy’s team for the foreseeable future. Smith was sacked by cornerback Kareem Jackson and defensive end J.J. Watt and his right leg bent under him. He was carted off the field with an air cast on the leg.
The Texans did answer the McCoy touchdown pass with a 33-yard field goal by Ka’imi Fairbairn. Houston led 20-14 with 1:19 left in the third quarter.
HIGHS: The Redskins shook off the shock of Alex Smith’s injury. Backup quarterback Colt McCoy followed his third-quarter touchdown pass with a 10-play, 67-yard touchdown drive. Adrian Peterson had his second touchdown of the day from seven yards out. The extra point gave Washington a 21-20 lead at 12:02 of the fourth quarter.
With :52 to go, Texans kicker Ka’imi Fairbairn missed a 35-yard field goal to give the Redskins a chance with no timeouts left and down 23-21. The Redskins failed to advance past the 45 though and a 62-yard field goal attempt came up 10 yards short.
LOWS: The Texans had a drive stall in Washington territory after an illegal block in the back and settled for a 54-yard field-goal attempt from kicker Ka’imi Fairbairn. He nailed it. Barely. That made it 23-21 Texans with 7:30 to go.
The Redskins couldn’t answer on the next drive. They got an Adrian Peterson first down, but J.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney each sacked Colt McCoy to force a punt with under five minutes to play.
Washington could have got the ball back quickly, but on a 3rd-and-7 at the 45 the Texans completed a pass to running back Lamar Miller for a first down to keep the clock running.
On 3rd-and-5 at the 37 the Redskins thought they had stopped Watson shy of the first down on a run. Instead, Josh Norman was hit with a defensive holding penalty. The Texans had a first down with 1:51 to go.
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