Thursday, September 11, 2014

Watt powers Texans to 17-6 win over Washington

J.J. Watt wanted to start earning his six-year contract as soon as he signed it.

MegaWatt earned every penny of his paycheck, powering the Texans to a 17-6 win over Washington at NRG Stadium.

"Watt is obviously a hell of a football player, there's no other way to put it," Head coach Bill O'Brien said after the game. "He plays a lot of different spots on the line. He has the ability to disrupt the game. He plays within the scheme, he's a great teammate, and there's not too much more you can say about him. He's just a great player."


A record-high 71,770 fans, the largest for opening day in franchise history, was on hand to witness the return of Brian Cushing, Johnathan Joseph, and the debuts of Jadeveon Clowney and Ryan Fitzpatrick.

O'Brien earned his first win as the Texans' head coach as Houston began the 2014 season 1-0. Founder, Chairman, and CEO Bob McNair awarded the game ball to O'Brien.

"I'm excited, I'm happy for these guys," O'Brien said. "I'm really happy for that locker room. I'm happy for the veterans in there that have been part of this change."

Watt's dazzled in his first game since signing his contract with a blocked extra point attempt, fumble recovery, three tackles (including two for a loss), one pass defensed, five quarterback hits, and a sack on Robert Griffin III for a loss of six yards.

"I got a few hits today," Watt said. "I got the sack. I was hoping for a couple more, but at least I got one."

Griffin completed 29 of 37 for 267 but was sacked three times, once each by Watt, Brooks Reed, and D.J. Swearinger.

"You have to give credit where credit is due," Griffin said. "The Texans defense came out and played well as a teamand won the game and that's all that matters. For us offensively, they were going to make us earn it the entire time playing soft coverages, quarters, cover-two, cover-three, a little bit of man out there."

Fitzpatrick was 14 of 22 for 206 yards, one touchdown, and a passer rating of 109.3.

"I think for me, just this situation as a whole, this is probably the best situation I've been in, in terms of just overall team, in terms of the scheme fitting me," Fitzpatrick said. "I feel comfortable, but obviously we need to get a lot better and I need to get a lot better."

Arian Foster rushed for 103 yards on 27 carries in his 26th career 100-yard game.

"It was a little rust off today," Foster said. "It was good. I haven't played since November or something like that, so it was good to get those hits. You feel sore, but it's a good sore and you miss that feeling. I feel like it's going to be a really fun year. You just got to keep on working. I felt good for the first time back."


Defenses dominated early in the game. Swearinger had his first career sack for a loss of eight yards, a quarterback hit, and a tackle for loss in the first quarter.

Both teams remained scoreless until Washington struck first on a one-yard touchdown run by fullback Darrel Young in the second quarter. J.J. Watt blocked the extra point attempt to keep Washington’s lead at 6-0.

Houston didn’t wait long to respond, adding 14 unanswered points in the second quarter. Fitzpatrick connected with DeAndre Hopkins on a 76-yarder with 4:28 remaining. Rookie Alfred Blue added another score on a blocked punt following a three-and-out by Washington.

"I was roughing the wing all night and getting that outside presence," Blue said. "When we called block, I just put the up-and-under on him. I did what the coaches taught me to do. I put my hand out there and he punted it right into my hand, so I just scooped and scored."

Houston led 14-6 at halftime.

Jadeveon Clowney headed into the locker room before halftime with a knee injury and would not return. Clowney, who had one tackle in his NFL debut, was replaced with Whitney Mercilus at outside linebacker in the second half.

Randy Bullock added the lone field goal on the day, a 42-yard kick, extending the Texans' lead late in the fourth quarter.

The Texans extend their opening day winning streak to five with Sunday's win and will head to Oakland for Week 2.

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