John McClain’s Texans vs. Commanders report card

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OVERALL

The Texans put up more of a fight during a Friday walk-through at Houston Methodist Training Center than they did at NRG Stadium on Sunday when they lost to Washington 23-10. A first half in which they trailed 20-0 may have been the worst in team history. They were a pathetic excuse for an NFL team.

Grade: F-minus

Quarterbacks

Davis Mills was awful in the first half and average in the second. His pick-six on the first series staked Washington to a 7-0 lead. At halftime, Mills was 6-of-9 for 22 yards. His longest completion was 7 yards. He had no touchdowns, one interception and a 30.6 rating.

No wonder the Texans trailed by 20. He finished with 19-of-33 (57.6 percent) for 169 yards, no touchdowns, two interception and a 46.1 rating. He ran for the only touchdown from 4 yards out. He also had a 2-yard sneak for the initial first down that came in the second quarter.

Grade: F-minus

Running backs

The Commanders’ gameplan was what everyone knew it would be. Stop Dameon Pierce and force Davis Mills to throw. Pierce was limited to 8 yards on 10 carries by a Washington front seven that pulverized the Texans’ run blocking. Pierce was helpless against a defense designed to stop him. No other back carried the ball.

Grade: F

Wide receivers

Brandin Cooks caught three passes for 70 yards, including a 41-yard gain. He also couldn’t handle a pass he should have caught. He had a long pass down the left side bounce off the crown of his helmet for an interception at the Washington 4.

Nico Collins and Chris Moore combined for 10 catches for only 68 yards. Moore ran once for 3 yards, which gave him the team’s highest average per carry.

Grade: D

Tight ends

They were almost non-existent, but so was the passing game. Jordan Akins and O.J. Howard combined for three catches and 16 yards. That’s the first game in which Akins hasn’t made a big play, but it wasn’t his fault he didn’t get targeted more often.

Grade: D

Offensive line

Rookie guard Kenyon Green had a terrible game. He got crushed on the pass rush and committed too many penalties. Fortunately for him, only one was called. He’s going through a rough stretch against premier defensive tackles, and they’re winning. The Commanders had five sacks by three linemen drafted in the first round and totally shut down the Texans’ running game.

Grade: F-minus

Defensive line

The defensive linemen didn’t get a sack, but they did improve against the run and got enough heat on Taylor Heinicke to have four hits on the quarterback and three tackles for loss. Ogbo Okoronkwo was in on seven tackles. The Commanders kept Jerry Hughes from getting his ninth sack.

Grade: C-plus

Linebackers

Christian Kirksey made six unassisted tackles, including one for a loss. He also had a hit on the quarterback. Rookie Christian Harris had four unassisted tackles and continued to improve on coverage. Like the linemen, the linebackers played the run better than in recent games.

Grade: C

Secondary

Playing without injured rookie Derek Stingley Jr., the defensive backs didn’t have a takeaway. Jalen Pitre let an interception slip through his hands on a deep ball. Desmond King II and Jonathan Owens were in on 20 tackles. The secondary didn’t surrender a big play. The Commanders’ longest completion was 19 yards.

Grade: C-plus

Special teams

Ka’imi Fairbairn kicked a 29-yard field goal. Cam Johnston had a 47.7-yard gross average and a 44 net. He put one of his six punts inside the 20. Returns were non-existent. They allowed a 27-yard kickoff return and a 16-yard punt return. Coverage is usually better.

Grade: C

Coaching

Lovie Smith’s defense allowed one touchdown and three field goals. Pep Hamilton’s offense allowed one touchdown. The offense couldn’t have been worse in the first half. It was an inexcusable performance.  There’s also no excuse for Smith, Hamilton and the position coaches to put a product on the field that’s so wretched.

Grade: F-minus

John McClain can be heard Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday on SportsRadio 610 and Monday and Thursday on Texans Radio. He writes three times a week and does three Houtopia Podcasts a week for SportsRadio610. He also can be read four times a week on GallerySports.com.

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