Last season the Redskins logged four victories in games with fewer than 200 yards passing. In fact, even fewer. In three different games, Redskins quarterback Alex Smith finished the game with 178 pass yards.
178 pass yards. That's an incredibly low total in a league designed for passing offense, but here's the crazy part: The Redskins won those games. And on Sunday, Redskins rookie QB Dwayne Haskins did his best Alex Smith impression.
Washington beat Carolina 29-21 and played by far their best game of the year. The Redskins piled up nearly 250 rush yards and played suffocating defense after an ugly start. Embattled Redskins defensive coordinator Greg Manusky deserves credit for having his group play well in consecutive weeks too and for bottling up Carolina RB Christian McCaffrey.
So how did Haskins do? He did fine.
The rookie completed 13 of 25 passes and only threw for 147 yards. He threw no touchdown passes, but he didn't have any interceptions either.
In some ways, Haskins looked like Smith from 2018. In a Week 5 win over Carolina last season, Smith threw for just 163 yards, his lowest total of the year.
The air attack wasn't always pretty, but the run game was so effective, it didn't need to be. Protecting the ball was more important, and Haskins largely did that. Just like Smith used to do.
During the last few weeks, Haskins has talked repeatedly about his growing relationship with Smith, and how important the veteran's presence and knowledge are to the rookie. Smith is present at seemingly every Redskins' practice and is often on the field working with the 15th overall pick.
Clearly, some of it is working. Haskins has been smart with the football, particularly against Carolina, and uses his legs more than many expected. That's what Smith did last year before his leg injury, and the Redskins were winning games.
Haskins has elite arm talent and is quite smart. 147 pass yards will not always constitute a good game for Haskins. But for now, as a rookie on a 3-9 team, getting wins, growing and progressing is what's important.
That growth is happening for Haskins in real-time. Smith is a big part of it. Sunday in Charlotte was the newest, and best, example of that.
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