Taylor Heinicke passed for 191 yards, Jonathan Allen and Montez Sweat combined for four sacks and the visiting Washington Commanders won for the fifth time in six games by smothering the Houston Texans 23-10 on Sunday.
The Commanders (6-5) limited Houston (1-8-1) to 148 total yards and 2.7 yards per play. Behind Allen and Sweat, who produced two sacks apiece, Washington sacked Texans quarterback Davis Mills five times while also recording a pair of interceptions.
Mills did not eclipse 100 passing yards until the fourth quarter and the Texans did not record a touchdown until Mills scrambled for a 4-yard score with 3:19 left to play to cap an 11-play, 55-yard drive. Prior to that last-ditch march, the Commanders were in complete control.
The Texans amassed only five yards on 21 plays in the first half. Mills passed for 22 yards but was sacked three times for 23 yards for minus-1 net passing yards at the intermission. Rookie running back Dameon Pierce had six carries for two yards. Houston recorded one first down.
Mills tossed a pick-6 on the Texans' second play from scrimmage, with Commanders cornerback Kendall Fuller returning a pass intended for Brandin Cooks 37 yards for a score and a 7-0 Washington lead at the 13:16 mark of the first quarter. The Texans totaled minus-4 yards on their next drive.
With the defense dominating, Heinicke needed only to serve as a caretaker on offense. Washington strung together three consecutive scoring drives to close the first half, riding the ground game led by Antonio Gibson, Brian Robinson and Curtis Samuel to a nine-play, 85-yard touchdown drive capped by a 10-yard Samuel run for a 14-0 lead with 11:44 left in the half.
Gibson finished with 72 yards on 18 carries to lead the Commanders.
Joey Slye added field goals of 25 and 24 yards later in the second quarter, the last coming with seven seconds left for a 20-0 lead. The Texans opened the second half with a march into the red zone that included a fourth-down conversion at the Washington 15. But Sweat sacked Mills for a 7-yard loss on third-and-goal, forcing Houston to settle for a 29-yard Ka'imi Fairbairn field goal.
The Texans incurred their fifth consecutive loss and remain winless at home this season.
--Field Level Media