LANDOVER, Md.—Their quarterback threw for 497 yards. They overcame a 17-point third-quarter deficit. They’ve beaten Peyton Manning and Donovan McNabb back-to-back. They even won an overtime game for the first time.
Needless to say, these are not your older brother’s Houston Texans.
Houston won a wild one Sunday, a game that produced nearly 1,000 yards of offense and wasn’t done until Neil Rackers kicked a 35-yard field goal with 3:24 left in the extra period. The Texans knocked off the Washington Redskins 30-27 to move to 2-0 for the second time in the franchise’s nine-year history, giving promise that this might be the year they finally make the playoffs.
“My thought coming into this week was that I knew that a lot of people was going to be questioning us, asking if we were for real,” said Andre Johnson, who had 158 yards receiving and tied a career high with 12 catches despite leaving the game for part of the second half with a sprained right ankle. “I think we showed a little something today.”
A week after Arian Foster rushed for a franchise-record 231 yards in an upset over the nemesis Indianapolis Colts, the Texans went back to the air. Matt Schaub completed 38 of 52 passes for 497 yards—yep, another franchise record—with three touchdowns with one interception despite getting sacked five times.
Kevin Walter caught 11 passes for 144 yards. Foster had 69 yards on 19 carries and caught three passes for 69 yards. Mario Williams was the defensive star in a game without much defense, sacking McNabb three times.
Two of Schaub’s completions stand out above the others. A fourth-and-10 heave turned into a touchdown when Johnson outjumped safety Reed Doughty in the end zone to snag a 34-yard touchdown pass that tied the game at 27 with 2:03 to play to regulation, Johnson’s 601st career catch.
A similar throw led to Joel Dreessen’s leaping, turnaround grab in overtime, a 28-yard pass to move the ball to the Washington 18 to set up Rackers’ kick, giving the Texans their first overtime win in seven tries since entering the league in 2002.
“I’m just trying to give guys a chance to make a play,” Schaub said. “The one to Andre was fourth down. He had two guys on him. I don’t even know how he caught it. … We got behind in a tough environment and we battled, and it just shows the resolve this team has.”
McNabb was also cranking it out, hitting 28 of 38 passes for 426 yards with one touchdown for the Redskins, who are 1-1 under new coach Mike Shanahan. It was the first time both quarterbacks threw for more than 400 yards in an NFL game since Drew Bledsoe and Dan Marino put on a show when New England played Miami in September 1994, according to STATS.
“That type of game is always tough to lose,” Shanahan said. “You have your opportunities to put the game away, and you don’t take advantage of it.”
The overtime was just as crazy as the rest of the game. The Texans won the coin toss to get the ball and moved to the Washington 34, but coach Gary Kubiak opted to punt rather than try a 52-yard field goal because he didn’t think the breeze was favorable. The punt went for a touchback, giving Washington the ball at its own 20.
The Redskins then drove to the Houston 34 — the same yard line as the Texans—and Shanahan opted to try the field goal. Graham Gano made the first attempt, but it didn’t count because Kubiak called timeout just before the snap. Gano’s second try was wide right, putting the ball back in Schaub’s hands for the winning drive.
“I felt real good about the first one. I hit it real well. I maybe got a little more relaxed on the second one,” Gano said. “I thought I was going to make it. Maybe next time I just won’t relax as much.”
Another key play came when the Redskins had a chance to take a 30-20 lead with 6:36 to play in regulation. Gano was set to kick a chip shot 29-yarder, but Bernard Pollard blocked it to keep the Texans within one score.
There were other oddities. Two of McNabb’s completions in the second quarter went for 62 yards apiece, but neither scored a touchdown. He threw for 101 yards in one drive, a statistical anomaly made possible by a sack and a penalty. Clinton Portis had two 1-yard touchdown runs, but the Redskins rushed for only 18 yards overall.
“I told the team there probably wasn’t a guy on our team that didn’t have a bonehead play,” Kubiak said. “But there probably wasn’t a guy on our team that didn’t make a great play in the game.”
Notes: Johnson will have an MRI on his ankle on Monday. … Washington LT Trent Williams injured his left knee and a toe and will also have an MRI. … Houston has won six overall, the longest winning streak in franchise history, and Kubiak’s career record is now 33-33. … Mario Williams said he was motivated by taunts during the game from Redskins fans, who made references to the mushrooms in the Super Mario Brothers video game. “’You need a mushroom’ and all that,” Williams said. “They got their mushroom. They definitely got it.”