Redskins

Quick Links

Redskins offense finally clicked, but their defense is why you should be thrilled

screen_shot_2017-09-25_at_12.22.46_am.png
USA TODAY Sports

Redskins offense finally clicked, but their defense is why you should be thrilled

LANDOVER, Md. — It'll be tempting to focus on the Redskins' offense as you bask in the glow of their 27-10 Sunday night win vs. the Raiders. In fact, it'll be tempting not to just spend Monday at work watching that graceful Josh Doctson grab over and over again. 

But don't be too distracted by how well Kirk Cousins and his unit played, because it was the defense's effort that should have you most excited throughout the week as you talk about the now 2-1 Burgundy and Gold.

Allow Jay Gruden to explain how proud he is of the group that dominated throughout the Week 3, nationally televised matchup against an AFC favorite.

PHOTO GALLERY: Best photos from NFL Week 3, Redskins 27 Raiders 10

"I think it was as good a defensive performance that I've seen in a long time by anybody," the head coach said in his press conference. "To hold that offense with Marshawn [Lynch] and Derek [Carr] and [Michael] Crabtree and Amari Cooper... the list goes on and on. 0-11 on third downs. I mean, it's a great tribute to Coach Manusky and the staff, but the players were executing."

Trying to select a defensive player of the night? Write down about 10 names, toss them into your favorite 'Skins hat, mix them up and choose one. Odds are, you'll find a deserving player.

Montae Nicholson hauled in his first career interception on the Raiders' first passing play. Kendall Fuller notched his first pick, too. Preston Smith and Jonathan Allen, meanwhile, both posted a sack and were around Derek Carr on plenty of other occasions. And you could make a compilation of Zach Brown and DJ Swearinger's hardest hits, and it'd probably run a few minutes featuring just their tackles.

MORE: QUARTER-BY-QUARTER BREAKDOWN OF THE WIN

The Raiders came into D.C. as one of the league's most productive offenses through two contests. They left, however, with just 128 total yards, never able to find any momentum against an opponent that was flying around from beginning to end.

"D-line was going out there and just attacking, hunting, eating," Fuller said afterward. "I remember just being on the sideline — just all the DBs — just telling them how much we appreciate it. The linebackers helping them in the run game, helping us in the pass game. So just all three levels, all three phases of the game."

"We just got our butt kicked," Carr stated matter of factly.

Coming into the season, it was expected that the Redskins' offense would author complete performances like the one they did at home vs. the Silver and Black. Turning over a rising young QB a couple of times, manhandling a premier offensive line and coming up with clutch red zone stands, though?

Those are the types of things that could make the 2017 season a special one. And those are the types of things that make the defense's showing the best part of an excellent overall victory.

MORE REDSKINS: 5 TAKEAWAYS FROM REDSKINS' DOMINANT WIN OVER RAIDERS

Quick Links

Need to Know: The five key plays from the Redskins' win over Arizona

lanier_sack_vs_az_usat.png
USA Today Sports Images

Need to Know: The five key plays from the Redskins' win over Arizona

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, December 18, six days before the Washington Redskins play the Denver Broncos at FedEx Field.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Jay Gruden press conference 3 p.m.

Days until:

—Redskins @ Giants (12/31) 13
—NFL free agency starts (3/14/18) 86
—NFL Draft (4/26/18) 129

The five key plays during Redskins vs Cardinals

Sack and strip by Anthony Lanier, recovery by Preston Smith—This was on the third play of the game and the Redskins had a touchdown on the fifth play of the game. It also was the start of a stellar day for Lanier, who had two sacks, a tackle for loss, and three passes batted down in addition to the forced fumble.

Kirk Cousins screen pass to Kapri Bibbs for a touchdown—This was a well-designed play, with Kirk Cousins first doing a play-action fake to Bibbs and then faking a jet sweep to Ryan Grant. All that gave time for the offensive line to form a wall and Bibbs got behind it, took Cousins’ short pass, and rolled 39 yards for the touchdown. That made it 14-3 early in the third quarter, giving the Redskins some breathing room to keep the Cardinals at arm’s length, while their offense struggled at times.

Vernon Davis fumble—The Redskins had a chance to grab some momentum back before halftime after Smith picked off a Gabbert pass at the Washington eight. His return and a personal foul penalty set the Redskins up with a first down at their own 41 with 1:50 left in the half. But on the first play, Davis caught a pass from Cousins, turned upfield and fumbled. The Cardinals recovered and drove in for a field goal that made it 14-9 at halftime.

Second half kickoff gaffe—The Cardinals tried a pooch kick and it worked like a charm. None of the Redskins seemed to know what to do with the kick either before or after it hit the ground. The Cardinals recovered and got a field goal that made it a two-point game.

Gabbert pass for Larry Fitzgerald incomplete on fourth down—After exchanges of field goals in the second half, it came down to a fourth and 10 play at the Redskins 21 with Washington leading 20-15 with 23 seconds left. Gabbert threw for Fitzgerald at inside the 10 yard line. The pass was high but Fitzgerald has made his bones on hauling in such passes. Ex-Cardinal D.J. Swearinger was there to contest the pass and he maybe got a couple of fingers on it. The pass fell incomplete and the Redskins breathed a sigh of relief before celebrating a badly-needed win.

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerNBCS and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.

Tandler on Twitter

In case you missed it

 

  

Quick Links

Five takeaways from the Redskins’ narrow win over the Cardinals

usatsi_10483975.jpg
USA Today Sports

Five takeaways from the Redskins’ narrow win over the Cardinals

Here are my five takeaways from the Redskins’ 20-15 win over the Cardinals.

Turnovers are important: Part of the Redskins’ problems in their last two non-competitive games was a lack of turnovers. Their only takeaway against the Cowboys and Chargers came on an interception in LA long after the outcome had been decided. Today, the Redskins got one three plays into the game, giving them an extremely short field (six yards) and a 7-0 lead a minute and a half into the game. That proved to be critical on a day when the offense operated well only in fits and starts.

RELATED: Must see photos from Redskins-Cardinals

Kendall Fuller might go to the Pro Bowl: Well, maybe he won’t because not many cornerbacks on 6-8 teams with low-ranked defenses get picked. But he is very, very good. Sunday he was all over the place and finished with eight tackles, including one in the middle of the line on a running play, something you don’t see a corner do often. He also knocked down two passes. The Redskins hope that some of their players who are now rookies can take the same leap that Fuller has between his first and second seasons.

Bad call, Jay: I’m not usually one to bang on Jay Gruden for his play calling but the end around to Josh Doctson late in the third quarter was just awful. They had a five-point lead first down at their own 32. A nice steady drive to any kind of score makes it tough for the Cardinals. But instead of sticking with what was working, Gruden called for an end around the Josh Doctson. It was the wrong play call at the wrong time to the wrong player. Doctson lost 14 yards on the play, which killed the drive. The Cardinals took possession after the punt and got back within two points on a field goal. Not good, Jay.

Special teams still struggle: There were three separate special teams gaffes in the second half. The Cardinals did a pooch kick on the second-half kickoff and they recovered it after the ball took an odd bounce. Then Jamison Crowder let a punt hit the ground and roll all the way back to the six-yard line, costing about 15 yards of field position. Finally, the Cardinals hit a 54-yard field goal but AJ Francis was called for using leverage to try to block the kick, giving the Cardinals a first down. Fortunately, they survived all of the miscues. The defense held Arizona to a field goal after the kickoff, the offense managed to drive for a field goal after getting the ball at the six, and the Cardinals kicked another field goal after the penalty on Francis. Still, the special teams can’t rely on getting bailed out all the time.

A needed win: The Cardinals did manage to put a big scare into the Redskins by driving down to the Washington 21 in the last minute. But the home team held on, averting disaster in the process. Had they lost due to a late drive engineered by Blaine Gabbert, who completed 39-percent of his passes and had a passer rating of 43, things would have become very ugly. A win is a win in the NFL so the fact that a couple of passes went just off the fingertips of receivers inside the 10 on the final drive won’t matter. They will celebrate and go into the week to prepare for the Broncos in a much better frame of mind.

MORE REDSKINS: Some unexpected players lead the Redskins to a sloppy but much-needed win

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerNBCS and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.