Tom E. Curran's Patriots-Redskins Preview/Review: A DC beatdown
PREVIEW: It’s a matter of “when” not “if” Washington head coach Jay Gruden is relieved of his duties. The Redskins are 0-4, dysfunctional at the ownership level, inept at the player personnel level and basically just trotting out on the field every seven days to get their heads handed to them. The 4-0 Patriots are coming off a stern test in Buffalo, their most competitive game of the year by far. There are issues on offense that need to be worked out and worked around but this is a Dream Team vs. Angola matchup between the Patriots defense and the Redskins offense which took all week before arriving at the decision to start Colt McCoy who’ll be seeing his first action since last December. Should be a beatdown.
REVIEW: Hey, check out visionary Tom!!! Nose-tradamus, back in business!! Who could have seen it coming, the firing of Jay Gruden on Monday hours after the Patriots lowered his team’s coffin into the ground. Interestingly, it wasn’t even that bad a loss despite the 33-7 final. They were in hailing distance at halftime before 21 unanswered in the second half.
When the Patriots Ran
PREVIEW: The Patriots running game has been ineffective and dissected for a month straight. The Patriots have struggled to run with lead back Sony Michel for a variety of reasons – offensive line turnover, lack of blocking from the tight end position, absence of James Develin, predictability of Michel’s role, lack of passing game threats to keep safeties honest. The Skins are allowing 4.7 yards per carry on the ground and the Giants last week ran for 164 on them. This should be a draw but there were some carries from Michel that I thought signaled the Patriots are getting close to figuring it out. Advantage: Patriots
REVIEW: In the first half, it was an afterthought for the offense as the Patriots threw on 31 of their 38 offensive plays. The Patriots didn’t pick up a single first down on the ground. In the second half, it became the difference-maker as Sony Michel had his best game of the season. The Patriots put up 130 yards on 27 carries for the game and that’s without Burkhead in the mix. Whether this is a turning point for the offensive line and tight ends in terms of clearing space for Michel will take time to figure out. But it’s a huge boon for a team that will have a short week, then get 11 days off prior to its next game. Advantage: Patriots
When the Redskins Ran
PREVIEW: It’s been a labor on the ground for the Redskins. They have 199 yards on 68 carries through four games. Their rushing attack is 31st in the NFL. The Patriots run defense is one of the league’s best allowing 3.5 per carry and that’s after Frank Gore did damage last week for the Bills. Adrian Peterson and Chris Thompson are the Redskins main backs. This doesn’t feel like a real good time for a breakout game from Washington. Advantage: Patriots
REVIEW: The Skins managed 145 yards on 20 carries buoyed by the 65-yard reverse that went to the eel-like Steven Sims. Aside from that — and yes, I’m doing this … it was a bust — Washington had 80 yards on 19 carries. Still not so bad. Advantage: Redskins
When the Patriots Passed
PREVIEW: The Patriots will go from dealing with one of the NFL’s most talented and aggressive defenses in Buffalo last week to one of the most unimposing groups this week in Washington. Still, the Patriots aren’t exactly a machine right now in the passing game. Josh McDaniels and Tom Brady figure it out against this defense though. Advantage: Patriots
REVIEW: Just an incredible effort from Julian Edelman to pull in eight passes for 110 yards on nine targets with his ribs/chest as messed up as they are. He also drew a 40-yard pass interference penalty (dicey, but drawn just the same). It’s Monday so we’ll hear all about the great wideout performances around the NFL on Sunday. Downfield catches made out of harm’s way, guys “Mossing” corners, etc. Meanwhile, what Edelman did will barely register and the fact is, there’s probably not a half-dozen of those outside receivers who don’t have Edelman’s versatility that could have done what he did. With his quarterback desperately needing a bailout plan, Edelman provided it and took the punishment.
Aside from that, Tom Brady took some punishment (4 sacks), threw a pick and didn’t connect with Josh Gordon on the deep post early but the “GOOD STUFF” column is much longer. He’s not getting consistent protection or performances from his wideouts — we’ve all talked about it plenty — but his accuracy and velocity when he does is spot-on. The Patriots did a good job mixing it up with Sony Michel, Matt LaCosse and Ryan Izzo being targeted early. James White also was his usual steady self and converted some short passes into first downs that looked doomed. Advantage: Patriots
When the Redskins Passed
PREVIEW: The Redskins were choosing between the ineffective Case Keenum, the inexperienced Dwayne Haskins or the injured (but not anymore) Colt McCoy. As of Wednesday, head coach Jay Gruden was still giving the shrug emoji to that question. McCoy got the nod. He is just returning from the fractured tibia he suffered last December. Haskins, the 15th overall pick, came on in relief of Keenum last week and threw 17 times. No use grinding him down to a nub against the most aggressive defense the Patriots have fielded under Bill Belichick. Advantage: Patriots
REVIEW: God bless Colt, he tried. He went 18 for 27 for 119 in his first game action since last December. He took six sacks. The pick he threw - while ugly - was just a result of a communication gap. But the Patriots defensively are too much to deal with at all three levels especially linebacker where it's a different game-wrecker every week. Advantage: Patriots
PREVIEW: Mike Nugent is the guy that takes over for Stephen Gostkowski as kicker now that Gostkowski’s landed on IR with the hip injury that ends his season. This will be the first time since 2010 that anyone other than Gostkowski’s kicked and its undoubtedly going to be a major subplot to the season. The Patriots are having uncharacteristic issues in kickoff coverage, allowing 30.6 yards per return. Punting has been very solid with rookie Jake Bailey having an exceptional first four games. Redskins kicker Dustin Hopkins is 10 of 11 on field goals and PATs. They have a good punter in Tress Way. Advantage: Redskins
REVIEW: There wasn’t a kickoff return all day. Jake Bailey handled them for the Patriots and put all seven in the end zone for touchbacks. Bailey also had a 46.2 net on six punts. Poor Tress Way punted 10 times. Gunner Olszewski fielded three of them and averaged 16.3 on returns, his most productive day back there. The big special teams story was Mike Nugent in his first game relieving Stephen Gostkowski. He badly missed his first PAT but made the other three and stroked two field goals. I’d give him a B on the day. Advantage: Patriots
The Line & Prediction
PREVIEW: Patriots 30, Redskins 13
Patriots favored by 16. The total is 42.5.
REVIEW: Patriots 33, Redskins 7
Patriots cover. The game goes under the total.
Now 4-1 vs. the spread and 3-2 on the total for the season.
- Week 1: Patriots 16, Steelers 13
- Week 2: Patriots 30, Dolphins 0
- Week 3: Patriots 20, Jets 6
- Week 4: Patriots 19, Bills 13
- Week 5: Patriots 30, Redskins 13