Here's an exclusive look from the Washington Redskins' sideline during their Week 1 game with the Houston Texans.
Redskins football is finally back.
After months and months of waiting and preparing, the Washington Redskins on Sunday opened up their 2014 regular season against the Texans at NRG Stadium in Houston.
Both the Redskins and the Texans came into the game looking to move on from disappointing 2013 campaigns, in which both teams combined to win just five games. They both hired rookie head coaches – Jay Gruden for the Redskins and Bill O'Brien for the Texans – to get things moving in the right direction, and spent their entire offseasons trying to establish their new attitudes and strategies into their buildings.
So with all the offseason storylines officially out of the way, the Redskins and Texans got their 2014 campaigns started Sunday afternoon, with the Texans coming out on top, 17-6.
The Redskins knew they were going to have to establish the run if they were going to have success against the Texans' strong pass rush that includes defensive end J.J. Watt, a perennial Defensive Player of the Year candidate, and No. 1-overall pick Jadeveon Clowney, an outside linebacker. On Washington's first scoring drive of the season Sunday, they leaned completely on the run, first taking advantage of a 25-yard punt return from Andre Roberts and running the ball four times for 46 yards, including a 21-yard scamper by Alfred Morris. Fullback Darrel Young then punched it into the end zone from one yard for his fifth-career rushing touchdown, and the first score of the year for the Redskins.
PLAY OF THE GAME
Vintage Alf. With just less than seven minutes remaining in the second quarter of Sunday's game, the Redskins faced a 2nd and 2 from the Houston 22-yard line. Quarterback Robert Griffin III, who took the snap under center, handed off to Morris to his right, who made one cut and a little hurdle. Before the Texans could blink, he was in their back porch at the Houston 1-yard line, completing a 21-yard play. Morris and Roy Helu Jr. each turned in solid outings in their 2014 debuts, showing that the Redskins, once again, should feature a strong rushing attack.
PLAYER OF THE GAME
The last time Keenan Robinson played in his home state of Texas, he suffered a season-ending pectoral injury more than halfway through the 2012 season against the Dallas Cowboys. So with plenty of support in the NRG Stadium seats, Robinson took the field Sunday as the replacement for legendary Redskins linebacker and captain London Fletcher, who retired following the 2013 season. Robinson showed in the preseason that he could be a major playmaker – with the ability to rush the passer and cover receivers and tight ends from sideline to sideline – and he continued that in Sunday's season opener. No. 52, a University of Texas product, was a major bright spot for the Washington defense against the Texans, adding a key fumble recovery early in the fourth quarter.
Tress Way wasn't even on the Redskins' roster until their third preseason game against the Baltimore Ravens, but he showed enough to the coaching staff that he had what it takes to be the team's top option at the punter position going into the regular season. Playing in his first NFL game on Sunday, Way's first four punts traveled an average of 50.1 yards, including one inside the 20-yard line. Way, a lefty kicker, did what he could the entire game to ensure the Texans wouldn't have prime field position.
The Redskins will take the next few hours to go over what went right and what went wrong in today's Redskins-Texans season opener, but their primary focus has already moved on to next Sunday's home opener against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
The Jaguars – who finished last season with a 4-12 record – opened up their season today against the Eagles in Philadelphia.
Next week's Redskins-Jaguars game is set for a 1 p.m. kickoff at FedExField, and is being televised by CBS.
(For more on this story -- and for much more from the game -- check back with www.redskins.com.)