Redskins' Defense Makes Timely Plays in First Victory

By Howard Bryant
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, September 25, 2006

HOUSTON, Sept. 24 -- For the first two games of the season, the Washington Redskins secondary had been victimized by a big game from a wide receiver. Against Minnesota, it was Troy Williamson. Last week against Dallas, Terry Glenn's 40-yard touchdown catch was the difference in a close game.

Sunday was much of the same. Houston Texans receiver Andre Johnson caught 11 passes for 152 yards, starting with a 53-yard reception on the Texans' first series that set up their first touchdown.

But the difference between the big games of Glenn and Williamson and Johnson's was that on Sunday, Johnson's victory over the Redskins was merely statistical.

Aside from Johnson, the Redskins defense was not overly tested as the offense decidedly won the time-of-possession battle (38:27-21:33). The defense still had some key penalties and the Texans moved the football -- Houston averaged 5.4 yards per play -- but for the first time this season, the Redskins made big plays in key situations.

"We got it done," defensive end Renaldo Wynn said. "We didn't have to do a whole lot today, but that's okay. This is the first time we won the time of possession. I'm just glad we got the win. I'm glad it was us and not them. I'm glad we had a chance to have fun. I'm tired of watching the other team have all the fun."

The defense was not dominant. Texans quarterback David Carr, sacked more than any quarterback in the league, was only sacked once and finished with a 95.2 passer rating.

But it did make plays, the biggest coming with three minutes left in the game and the Redskins clinging to a 16-point lead and Houston driving after Rock Cartwright fumbled. Carr looked for receiver Kevin Walter, who was covered by cornerback Kenny Wright and safety Adam Archuleta. Wright intercepted Carr's pass in the end zone with 2 minutes 59 seconds left.

Rookie Kedric Golston replaced injured Joe Salave'a at defensive tackle and made his first fumble recovery. Golston, a sixth-round draft choice from Georgia, has impressed coaches, especially against the run. Golston has moved up on the depth chart past veteran Ryan Boschetti, who was inactive.

With 1:49 left in the third quarter and the Redskins leading 28-7, Marcus Washington stripped the ball from Carr, who fumbled at the Redskins 39. Golston pounced for the first fumble recovery of his career.

"We've preached that," Golston said. "Getting turnovers is a big part of our defense."

Afterward, while the Redskins defense celebrated the first win, Carr was less charitable. He seemed unimpressed with the Redskins defense. In addition to hitting Johnson with a deep pass, Carr also induced Carlos Rogers into a 32-yard pass-interference penalty when he crashed into Johnson near the goal line. On first and goal at the 2, Houston scored on the very next play. Penalties stalled two big drives and the Texans were hit with seven penalties for 57 yards.

"We just shot ourselves in the foot because we did it to ourselves," said Carr, who completed 19 of 29 passes for 208 yards and two touchdowns. "They scored some points, but we could have scored, too. We did this to ourselves. I've seen my brother's high school games, and it's better than this."

Texans Coach Gary Kubiak was kinder to the Redskins' defense.

"They did everything we thought they would do," he said. "They made a big play early and they came after us until the end of the game. That's what they do on defense."

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