The Redskins came into Week 9 with an opportunity to prove to the NFL they belonged in the serious contender discussion. They failed in that quest in a 38-14 loss at home on Sunday.
Washington got behind early, and never got close to catching up. The Falcons offense did what they want, when they wanted it, so much that Atlanta did not punt until halfway through the third quarter.
There are plenty of observations, but watch your eyes, most are ugly.
1. Run Away:
Coming into Week 9, the Redskins run defense looked like arguably the most dominant group in the NFL. Washington controlled Christian McCaffrey, Ezekiel Elliott and Saquon Barkley in three consecutive weeks, and surely the low-production Falcons run game would not get right against the Redskins. Think again.
Atlanta ran for more than 100 yards by the third quarter before finishing the game with 154 yards on the ground. For much of the game the Falcons averaged more than 7 yards-per-carry. Nothing set the tone for this blowout quite like Atlanta’s ability to run the ball on the Redskins.
2. Hard to Believe:
Good defenses win by forcing the opposing offense off the field. That means stops on third downs, and Washington didn’t do it on Sunday. The Falcons converted every third down they attempted in the first half. All of them. Atlanta didn’t punt until midway through the third quarter.
For a team with a limited offense like the Redskins, controlling time of possession is important, and it didn’t happen at FedEx Field.
3. Struggle is Real:
The Redskins offense again produced disappointing results. The final stats will show that Alex Smith had his highest passing total of the season, but the yards were hollow and ineffective, much coming late in a blowout.
The Redskins need to pass better, catch better and block better. At best, the pass game can be described as a work in progress. At best.
4. Struggle is real Vol. 2:
The path to wins for the Redskins so far in 2018 is running the ball and playing good defense. Against Atlanta, they did neither.
The defensive struggles are well documented above, but it’s time to discuss the Washington run game. Adrian Peterson had his lowest run total since an embarrassing loss in New Orleans in Week 3. Peterson finished with nine carries for 17 yards, just one week after going for nearly 150 yards in New York.
5. Struggle is real Vol. 3:
The NFL isn’t an excuse business, but it needs to be pointed out that the Redskins offensive line was banged up on Sunday.
Trent Williams was on the inactive list after thumb surgery earlier in the week, and Ty Nsekhe started in his place. During the game, both starting guards Shawn Lauvao and Brandon Scherff got hurt, forcing Nsekhe inside to guard and bringing Tony Bergstrom and rookie Geron Christian onto the field. It was ugly, and the results were ugly too.
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