Commanders dominance in Houston brings serious playoff talk to D.C.

Commanders dominance in Houston brings serious playoff talk originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

HOUSTON — The Commanders dominated the Texans in every fashion on Sunday, culminating in a 23-10 win that brings their record to the winning side of the ledger for the first time since Week 1. 

Washington’s defensive front crushed the Texans’ hopes and dreams and probably hurt their families watching at home. At halftime, Houston netted just five yards. Five yards. In a half. 

Jonathan Allen and Daron Payne and Montez Sweat were absolute beasts. The entire team got this win, but those three set a murderous tone from the first whistle. 

Now at 6-5, the playoff talk becomes very real for the Commanders

Stock Up

  • Logan Thomas – The veteran tight end has had a slow start to the season as he works back from a 2021 knee injury, but on Sunday, he showed he can still get it done at a high level. He compiled 65 yards receiving and finished with five catches. 
  • Curtis Samuel – Few players combine elusiveness with power and speed, but Samuel has all three. He scored the team’s first offensive touchdown and seemed slippery every time he touched the ball. He finished with 28 total yards, and in the process, became one of four wide receivers in the Super Bowl era with 600+ rush yds, 6+ rush TD, 2,500+ rec yds, 15+ rec TD in a career. The others are Jerry Rice, Tyreek Hill, and Eric Metcalf.
  • Kendall Fuller – The corner got the scoring started with a first quarter interception returned for a touchdown. That marks Fuller’s first interception since Week 6 of 2021 and his first career touchdown, remarkable for a seven-year player. 
  • Jonathan Allen, Daron Payne, Montez Sweat –  I already wrote about these dudes but they were so good they get another mention. Sue me. The three players combined for five sacks. 
  • Ron Rivera – This was a prime let-down game situation, but the Commanders boss kept his team locked in. That deserves recognition. NRG Stadium was sleepy and mostly empty and it was a noon local start against the worst team in the NFL, but still Rivera’s boys came to play. 

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  • Kam Curl – Because there’s so much attention on the defensive front perhaps Curl doesn’t get the recognition he deserves on the back level. He leads the team in tackles and has tremendous versatility that allows Jack Del Rio to put his best players on the field. 
  • Darrick Forrest – The second-year defensive back again made a big play that resulted in a turnover, this time a fourth quarter interception that ruined any possibility of a Texans comeback. Forrest’s play has been a huge boon for this defense, though it was scary to see fellow second-year defensive back Benajmin St-Juste go down on the same play Forrest got his pick. Expect more news to come about St-Juste’s status.
  • Burgundy and Gold fans – The crowd in Houston was sparse, but of the fans that did show up, many of them wore Redskins/Commanders jerseys. At one point when the defense had back-to-back sacks in the first half, there was a loud “DEFENSE” chant working its way through the stadium. Well done, folks. Left hand up. 

Stock Down

  • John Ridgeway – For the second time in three weeks the rookie was flagged for a personal foul, but this time there was no debate if it was warranted. Ridgeway suplexed Texans RB Dameon Pierce. The play was stupid and legit dangerous. 
  • Texans game production – Everybody’s got a job to do but don’t post the “GET LOUD” sign on third down for a 1-7-1 team losing by 3 scores. Not helping anybody.

This article was written by WTOP’s news partner, NBC Sports Washington. Sign up for NBC Sports Washington’s free email subscription today.

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