Washington Redskins defensive end Jason Hatcher picked up right where he left off last season with a sack early in the second quarter of the Redskins' 17-6 loss to the Houston Texans.
"It was all reactionary," Hatcher admitted after the game of his sack. "If I watch the tape, I'll be like 'Oh, I beat him here.' If you react to something, it's hard to remember sometimes, but I do remember the quarterback fumbled the ball when I beat them and sacked him."
The play ended up helping the Redskins score the first points of the game.
On 2nd-and-10 at their own 20-yard line, veteran quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick dropped back only to be swallowed up by the 2013 Pro Bowler, who had 11.5 sacks a year ago with the Dallas Cowboys.
While the fumble was ultimately recovered by the Texans, Hatcher did enough damage to cripple their drive. The sack knocked the Texans back to their own 15-yard line, where they then failed to convert on third down.
Punting the ball back to the Redskins, fullback Darrel Young would eventually score the first touchdown of the year just four plays later.
Hatcher said the defense had been studying some of the tendencies of first-year Texans head coach Bill O'Brien when he was the offensive coordinator of the New England Patriots.
"It never really changed," Hatcher said of O'Brien's offense. "We watched a lot of film, and our gameplan was down to the tee. We just have to eliminate the big plays down the stretch and hone in on defense and go back in tomorrow and just go back to the drawing board and keep going."
The defense as a whole remained relatively stout for most of the game, giving up only 201 passing yards and not allowing the Texans to convert on either of their red zone attempts.
With some positives to fall back on, Hatcher believes the unit will continue to improve starting with next Sunday's home opener at FedExField against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
"We're going in the right direction," he said. "We've just have to eliminate the big plays and the stuff like that.
"Once we get that in line, I think we'll be a pretty good defense."