NEW ORLEANS—Here are my five main takeaways from the Redskins stunning overtime loss to the Saints
It’s everybody’s fault—When the game ended my Twitter timeline exploded with people venting and blaming the offense or the defense or the play calling or Kirk Cousins for the blowing the game. But it’s not as simple as pointing the finger at the third and one run that didn’t work or the grounding call on Cousins or the inability to get pressure on Drew Brees during the Saints’ final three drives. You don’t have enough fingers to point to everything that went wrong. When you blow a 15-point lead with six minutes left, it’s a total team collapse. It’s everyone.
Chris Thompson a huge loss—He’s not just the team’s leading rusher and leading receiver. Thompson is part of the heart and soul of the locker room. He’ll talk to anyone in the media any day and give thoughtful, intelligent answers. At age 27, Thompson is the “old man” in the running back room and the other backs looked to him for knowledge and as an example to follow. The Redskins have overcome a lot of injuries this year but this one might be the toughest to deal with.
READ MORE: THIS REDSKINS LOSS LITERALLY DEFIED THE ODDS
No defense—It’s hard to figure out who on defense to blame for the Saints’ last two drives of regulation. It was just a Brees blitzkrieg. In the two drives, he was 11 for 11 for 164 yards and the two touchdowns. Without knowing the coverage calls it was hard to tell who was supposed to be covering the players who caught the ball because they weren’t anywhere near the receivers. There was virtually no pass rush and poor coverage. That turned out to be a fatal combination.
A good performance by Cousins—It’s hard for me to pin much of the blame here on Cousins, even though he is getting a lot of it. If you help put up 31 points and throw a touchdown pass that puts your team up by 15 points with just under six minutes to play, I think you’ve done your job. The grounding call we’ll discuss right here.
There should have been no penalty for intentional grounding—We can debate the audible call and whether Cousins should have thrown the ball all day. But that was not intentional grounding. That penalty requires that the passer be “facing an imminent loss of yardage due to pressure [and] throws a forward pass without a realistic chance of completion.” That’s from the rule book. Cousins was not facing an imminent loss of yardage; he took the snap and threw the ball immediately. The play does not fit the definition of the rule. I’m also confused by the 10-second runoff. It’s always been my understanding that the runoff was only enforced in situations where the penalty stops a moving clock. Jamison Crowder had gone out of bounds on the previous play so the clock was not running. I’m not positive that referee Walt Coleman blew that aspect of the call but he did make a mistake is throwing the grounding flag in the first place.