The Houston Texans fell 23-10 to the Washington Commanders after rough start for the offense that included an early pick-six. Houston's offense struggled to get any production in the first half, putting up just five net yards off offense, finishing with 148 net yards (127 passing, 21 rushing).
"We had some disappointing losses this year," Head Coach Lovie Smith said. "We had a chance to win. Not many games I don't think we've been in this year where they were better than us pretty much from start to finish. I thought defensively we did some good things in the first half. Offensively when you start off the first drive like that, I mean, that's tough duty. Their defense dominated us up front, and it's pretty hard to get a running game going. It's hard to pass the football when it's that much pressure and, again, the take-aways. So, I mean, normally those games aren't that close when you play like that."
Davis Mills was 19-of-33 for 169 yards, two interceptions and scored on a rushing touchdown. Dameon Pierce finished with just 10 carries for eight yards and two catches for nine yards. Brandin Cooks led the team with 70 receiving yards on three catches. Mills was sacked five times in the loss, adding to the offensive struggles.
"Turned the ball over for a pick six second play of the game," Mills said. "Can't do that. Sets you behind to start the game. That's tough. After that just couldn't really get much going. Tried to start with the run game. Props to their D-line, their front seven. Handled it pretty well. They kind of dominated today. We were having to play from behind the chains. A lot of third and longs that were just pretty hard to convert. Just couldn't get much going."
The Texans defense forced a three-and-out on the first two Washington drives, but it was a Commanders defensive touchdown that gave them the early momentum. Taylor Heinicke completed 15-of-27 passes for 191 yards and no touchdowns. Houston held Washington to 1-of-4 in the red zone.
On the Texans first possession, Mills' pass was intercepted by Kendall Fuller, who returned it 37 yards for a touchdown. The Commanders took a 7-0 lead with 13:16 left in the first quarter.
"Good play by the defender," Mills said. "Might have left the ball a hair inside and he had a really good jump on it and ended up getting away and making a good play. Not much emotions after the play. Got to flush it really fast and go back out there because you're about to get the ball right back."
WR Curtis Samuel scored on a 10-yard touchdown run to give Washington a two-touchdown lead early in the second quarter.
Houston's defense held Washington to a pair of field goals when the Commanders were in goal-to-go situations two more times before the half. The Texans trailed 20-0 at halftime.
The Texans came out in the second half with their longest drive, converting four first downs on an 11-play, 64-yard drive. Brandin Cooks made a catch for a 41-yard gain for a fresh set of downs. However, a sack on third-and-goal led to fourth-and-11. The Texans took their first points of the game on a field goal, trailing 20-3 with 9:53 left in the third quarter.
Commanders added a 44-yard field goal in the fourth quarter to take a 23-3 lead.
Mills threw his second interception of the game when a deep pass, intended for Cooks, was picked off by S Darrick Forrest. On the next drive, Mills responded with a four-yard touchdown run, the first of his NFL career. The Texans trailed 23-10 with 3:19 left and did not recover the onside kick.
With the loss, the Texans fall to 1-8-1 on the season and will next travel to Miami to take on the Dolphins in Week 12.
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