for this game

Redskins offense comes to life against Texans

Sep 24, 2006 - 8:22 PM HOUSTON (Ticker) -- Mark Brunell and the Washington offense got just what they needed to get well - a game with the Houston Texans.

Brunell set an NFL record by completing his first 22 passes and the Redskins scored more points Sunday than they had in their first two games combined to post a 31-15 victory over the floundering Texans.

Houston (0-3) wasted little time taking the lead, forcing Washington to go three-and-out and moving 66 yards in four plays on its first drive. David Carr capped the march with a two-yard touchdown pass to tight end Mark Bruener.

Last week, the Redskins failed to register an offensive touchdown in a 27-10 loss at Dallas. Rock Cartwright returned a kickoff 100 yards for the Redskins' lone TD. But after Houston took the early lead, it was all Redskins (1-2) from there as Brunell couldn't miss and Washington scored 31 straight points.

The 22 straight completions eclipsed the single-game mark of 21 in a row set by Oakland's Rich Gannon against Denver on November 11, 2002. Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb holds the record of 24 consecutive completions set in 2004 against the New York Giants and Green Bay Packers.

"I didn't know I was close to the record until (tackle) Jon Jansen mentioned it to me on the sideline when it was at 21 or 22," Brunell said. "But the credit for that goes to all 11 guys on offense. Things just went our way today. Last week we were 2-of-14 on third-down conversions, and this week we were 6-of-8. Everything just clicked today."

A major factor in the success of the Redskins offense was the Texans defense. Houston entered the game ranked last in the league, allowing 478 yards per game and lived up to its reputation, yielding 495 yards Sunday.

Texans coach Gary Kubiak absorbed all the blame.

"I take full responsibility. That's my group out there," Kubiak said. "We have to get better. It's my responsibility to make sure we go out and play for four quarters.

"(The defense) wasn't good. We didn't stop them all day, except for the first drive. We'll have to take a hard look at what we're doing, how we're doing it, and who we're doing it with. We've got a long way to go."

Ladell Betts got the Redskins on the board with a nine-yard TD run midway through the first quarter to tie the game. Brunell hit Antwaan Randle El for a 23-yard TD pass and Clinton Portis, back after sitting out last week with a sore shoulder, scored on a 30-yard run with one second left in the first half to make it 21-7.

"That was a gutsy call by coach Gibbs," Portis said. "Most teams would just settle for a field goal in that situation. He made a great call, and I think we caught the Texans off guard."

Portis knew Brunell had a hot hand, but wasn't aware of it until he was informed after the 18th consecutive completion.

"When I heard he was 18-for-18, I didn't want him to throw the next pass to me," Portis said. "I didn't want to ruin the streak."

Brunell completed 24-of-27 passes for 261 yards. His r ecord-setting 22nd completion was a six-yarder to Santana Moss in the third quarter. Two plays later, defensive tackle Travis Johnson knocked away a pass intended for Brandon Lloyd to stop the streak.

Not only was the passing game on target for Washington but the running game was a factor too. Betts ran for 125 yards on 16 carries and Portis finished with 86 yards on 16 carries and added a one-yard TD in the third quarter that made it 28-7.

That complete offensive performance was a long-awaited blessing for coach Joe Gibbs.

"It's been a long time since we've had anything to celebrate," Gibbs said. "We've got a bunch of guys that really do fight, and you saw that today. Mark (Brunell) was phenomenal and Ladell had a hecukva day. Clinton showed why he's one of our leaders."

Texan cornerback Dunta Robinson was reeling from the Texans' woeful performance.

"Last week, Marvin (Harrison) set a record on us. This week, Brunell set a record on us. What else can go wrong?," Robinson said. "It's an embarrassing situation. Right now, we can't even keep a game close. That's embarrassing in the NFL where everybody's supposed to be professional. But we're not going to give up."

Brunell, modest about his own performance, gave credit elsewhere.

"We had a really good day, and it started with the running game," he said. "The guys knew how important this game was to us, and we had a great week of preparation. Hopefully, we can keep this going and launch us into next week."

In Kubiak's first season, the Texans also are off to a slow start and have been outscored by a lopsided 98-48 margin this season. Last year, the Texans lost their first six games en route to a league-worst 2-14 mark.

Carr finished 19-of-29 for 208 yards. He threw for a pair of TDs, was intercepted once and hooked up with Andre Johnson 11 times for 152 yards.

"It seems to be the same story every week," Andre Johnson said. "You know, you start off good, but then you kick yourself in the butt, or you start off bad and pick it up at the end.

"There's still a lot of football left to be played. I know guys are frustrated. You just have to keep working. Eventually, things will get better."

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