GLENDALE, Ariz. — Here is my instant analysis of the Redskins' dominant 24-6 season-opening win over the Cardinals.
- The Redskins' opening drive of the season got off to a good start with two good Adrian Peterson runs, a completion to Jordan Reed that had an unnecessary roughness foul tacked on and a Chris Thompson catch to convert a third and four. But a false start derailed the momentum and an intentional grounding pushed the Redskins out of field goal range. Peterson had three carries for 12 yards on the drive.
- The Redskins' first TD was the Chris Thompson and Adrian Peterson show. Thompson ran twice for 27 yards and Peterson looked strong with 24 yards on four carries. Thompson finished it off with a 13-yard touchdown reception. In all, it was a clean, crisp 80-yard drive that took 11 plays. The Redskins will take as many of those as they can get.
- A third-down conversion and a fourth-down QB sneak got the Redskins rolling in the second quarter. Passes to Jordan Reed and Jamison moved Washington to a first and goal at the four. Three Peterson runs got them into the end zone to cap a 15-play, 76-yard drive that consumed just over nine minutes.
- Meanwhile, the Redskins defense was smothering the Cards on offense. After David Johnson got 24 yards rushing on Arizona's first possession, he did almost nothing the rest of the half. Sam Bradford was three for seven, passing for 11 yards. In general, the Redskins had an answer for everything the Cardinals tried. In the half, the Cardinals got two first downs on their first four plays and none after that.
- Halftime team stats: First downs-Redskins 22, Cardinals 2; Third downs Redskins 5-7 (71%), Cardinals 0-3 (you can do the math there); Time of possession: Redskins 22:57, Cardinals 7:03. There are more, but you get the idea here.
- Three five-yard defensive penalties--two for holding, one for hands to the face--got the Redskins offense going in the third quarter. So did runs of 17 by Peterson and 14 by Thompson. But then the flags started flying against the Redskins and a pair of holding calls stalled the drive. The good upside of the drive was that it did flip field position and burned off nearly seven minutes of the third drive.
-Alex Smith played exactly the way that Jay Gruden and the rest of the organization hoped he would when they traded for him. His decision-making was solid, and he used his mobility to get out of trouble and make plays downfield. He threw a lot of good passes but two in particular stood out. In the second quarter, the quarterback was flushed out of the pocket to his left, kept his eyes downfield, and found Jordan Reed for 22 yards and a first down in the red zone. In the fourth, he converted a third and 11 with a laser to Jamison Crowder. Smith did throw a few passes off target, but he was as solid as a rock for the most part.
- The Redskins gave up a touchdown with 5:47 left and the NFL's longest active streak of not shutting out an opponent lives. It dates back to October of 1991.
-Peterson was impressive in his debut with the Redskins. He ran with authority and despite having missed all of training camp and having very limited time working with the offensive line, he knew when to cut and where to run. That's instinctive running and he hasn't lost that at age 33.
-Only a couple of late drives after the outcome had been determined let the Cardinals get to over 200 yards of offense. It was a dominant day for the Redskins' defense. They had two sacks, two takeaways, and held the Cardinals to one of seven on third down.
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 and on Instagram @RichTandler.
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