ReFo: Redskins @ Texans, Week 1
Jay Gruden and Bill O’Brien made their NFL head coaching debuts with their respective teams in what was an ugly game at times—one that featured three red-zone fumbles and a blocked punt for a touchdown.
In the end it was the Texans’ strong showing on defense gave them the upper hand as they held Washington to just one score for a 17-6 win.
Here are some notable individual performances from both teams in yesterday’s game.
Washington Redskins — Performances of Note
Jason Hatcher, DE: +3.4
Breakdown: Washington paid handsomely for free agent Jason Hatcher in the offseason. In his first outing Hatcher made it look like money well spent, earning positive grades in pass rushing and run defense. He picked up a sack, a hit, and a batted pass on 20 pass rush snaps. He added one run stop and nearly had a tackle 4 yards in the backfield had Arian Foster not slipped away from his grasp.
Signature Play: With 9:14 left in the second quarter, Hatcher blew Texans’ center Chris Myers out of the water with a perfectly executed swim move en route to a sack of Ryan Fitzpatrick.
Ryan Clark, S: -4.8
Breakdown: Clark played well in pass coverage, allowing just one reception for 11 yards on three targets. He even made a solid hit on a crossing route by DeAndre Hopkins that jarred the ball loose in what otherwise would have been a reception for a first down. However, he struggled in run support as he missed three tackles which earned him a team-low -3.6 run defense grade.
Signature Stat: Clark was around the ball often and despite the missed tackles, he finished with a 9.4 Run Stop Percentage.
Tyler Polumbus, RT: +0.2
Breakdown: Things looked bad at times for Polumbus, surrendering a sack to J.J. Watt for one, but there were some good moments including knocking DE Tim Jamison off the ball on one snap in the running game. He finished with two sacks and two hurries surrendered on 43 pass blocking attempts good for a -0.4 grade in pass protection and some decent work in the running game at +0.3.
Signature Stat: Polumbus finished with a 95.7 Pass Blocking Efficiency, right on pace with his 95.4 PBE from last season.
Houston Texans — Performances of Note
J.J. Watt, DE: +7.4
Breakdown: Fresh off of a $100 million contract extension, Watt once again proved he is worth every penny, tallying eight QB disruptions (one sack, four hits, three hurries) and a batted pass on 43 pass rushes. In run defense, he came up with a stop on 3rd-and-1, and another tackle for a 4-yard loss. Washington began to avoid running to Watt’s side of the defense early on, and the amount of double teams he faced only increased as the game progressed.
Signature Play: Showing that he never takes a play off, Watt blocked Washington’s extra point in the first quarter.
Arian Foster, HB: -1.6
Breakdown: On the surface it looked like Foster had a solid performance as he eclipsed the 100-yard mark in his first regular-season game back, but it was an up-and-down effort. It took him 27 carries to get there and he failed to break a run longer than 10 yards. He averaged 3.8 yards per carry, but he did manage to force seven missed tackles. The real issue was his fumble in the red zone that turned a rather average game into a below-average overall effort.
Signature Stat: Foster gained 76 of his 103 rushing yards between the tackles, with 31 of those coming after contact.
Derek Newton, RT: +5.7
Breakdown: Newton finished last season as our second-lowest graded right tackle, but showed considerable promise in Week 1, excelling as a run blocker as he handled Washington’s outside linebackers with ease. Newton also kept Fitzpatrick clean by not allowing a single pressure in 26 snaps of pass protection.
Signature Stat: Newton’s +3.9 run block grade was the highest of his career, and the highest for a Texans’ tackle since Duane Brown in 2012.
PFF Game Ball
The first game ball of the year goes to J.J. Watt, who continues to exhibit his dominance over anyone he faces.
Follow Matt on Twitter: @PFF_MattC