NEW ORLEANS -- There was optimism for the Washington Redskins heading into Week 5 with a big Monday night showdown in New Orleans.
Washington did was Washington does on Monday nights and fell to the New Orleans Saints 43-19 and it wasn't even close.
Here are Rich Tandler's observations following the Redskins’ blowout loss to the Saints.
1. No contest
The Redskins weren’t flat when they came out after their bye week, but they didn’t play very smart football, either. The offense went three and out after taking the opening kickoff and then the defense committed some dumb penalties (detailed below), and before you knew it the Saints had a 26-6 lead late in the second quarter. They extended it to 40-13 by the middle of the third quarter. It just wasn’t a contest.
2. A bad day for Peterson and Smith
Alex Smith put up some late stats, but he just couldn’t get things going consistently like he did against the Packers last week. One reason for Smith’s struggles was that the Redskins didn’t develop anything remotely resembling a rushing game. Adrian Peterson had just four carries for six yards. He suffered a hyperextended knee and a combination of that and the lopsided score kept him on the bench for most of the second half.
The Saints came into the game with one of the worst passing defenses in the NFL but they sure got healthy against the Redskins tonight.
3. Dumb defensive mistakes
The Redskins’ defense couldn’t get out of its own way in the early going. The Saints nearly went three and out on their first possession, but a holding call continued the drive, which resulted in a touchdown. The next time Washington was on defense Ryan Kerrigan stopped them with a third-down sack, but a dumb personal foul on Montae Nicholson kept the drive alive. The Saints eventually got a TD following another third-down penalty, a holding call. In all, the Saints got 264 yards of offense and four touchdowns on their first four possessions.
The Saints made it six for six on touchdowns by the time the third quarter was half over. The Redskins need to go back to the drawing board and figure out what happened to a defense that was ranked in the top five in the NFL before the game.
4. Unable to cash in
The Redskins offense had some chances in the first half, but they just couldn’t cash in. A nice drive got them down to the Saints five, but instead of punching it in to take an early lead a sack forced them to try a field goal. A later foray into Saints territory stalled and resulted in another three points. They didn’t get a touchdown until the end of the first half when a Pernell McPhee fumble recovery gave them a short field. At halftime, playing against one of the weakest pass defenses in the league, Alex Smith had completed barely half of his passes (11 of 21) for 131 yards.
It didn’t get much better after halftime. Smith threw a fourth-down interception that the Saints turned into a touchdown to essentially end the competitive phase of the game. The rest of the contest was extended garage time.
5. Where to go from here?
They go back to where the schedule makers say they go, two home games starting Sunday. The Panthers come to town first and then the Cowboys. Tonight, Redskins undid a lot of the good feelings they created by winning two of their first three. They have an opportunity to rebuild those on friendly turf over the next two weeks.
In this game they ran into a buzz saw, with a combination of a wild Monday night atmosphere with the fans ready to explode when Drew Brees broke the NFL all-time NFL record for career passing yards. And Brees obliged them. Early in the fourth quarter he had as many touchdown passes as incompletions (three of each) and he was averaging 13.4 yards per pass attempt. The good news is that they won’t face another QB as good as Brees the rest of the season. The bad news for next week is that they have never beaten Cam Newton.
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