For much of the 2019 season, the Redskins secondary has been bad. Really, really bad.
DeSean Jackson torched them for 150 yards and two touchdowns in Week 1. Washington allowed some guy named Devin Smith, who had just 12 NFL catches prior to their Week 2 matchup with Dallas, to get behind the defense for a 51-yard TD. Chicago's Taylor Gabriel scored not once, not twice, but three times (!!!) against the Redskins in Week 3. Sam Darnold threw for a career-high four touchdowns in Week 11. The list keeps getting longer.
Washington came into the season with a new defensive backs coach, the highest-paid safety in NFL history, a former All-Pro cornerback and a couple of young players who were supposed to be on the verge of breaking out. What started with great promise turned into disappointment very quickly.
But finally, the Redskins secondary decided to show up in Week 12, and the unit was a major reason why the Burgundy and Gold came away with their second win of the season and first win at FedEx Field in 13 months.
Fabian Moreau, who started in place of Josh Norman, had the best game of his three-year career. He intercepted Lions' QB Jeff Driskel twice, with the latter coming in the closing seconds to seal the victory.
Driskel finished the day with 207 passing yards, one touchdown, and three interceptions.
"You have to take care of the ball," Driskel said. "Taking care of the football, that's first and foremost, which is the quarterback's job and I didn't do that today."
Moreau, a 6-foot cornerback, looked a lot more comfortable playing on the outside rather than in the slot, where he's played the majority of his snaps in 2019. He was quick to give credit to the rest of the defense for his strong individual performance.
"It's all about the other 10 players," Moreau said. "They played their hearts out today."
While the Redskins secondary as a unit has struggled this season, veteran Quinton Dunbar has been one of the few bright spots. The converted wide receiver has quietly put together a Pro Bowl-caliber season, and through 12 weeks, is Pro Football Focus' top-rated cornerback.
"[Quinton Dunbar] is the best cornerback in the league," Moreau said. "I'm just trying to be like him, learning from him."
With the game tied and less than two minutes remaining, Dunbar notched his fourth interception of the season.
The pick gave Washington great field position just shy of midfield. The drive resulted in a Dustin Hopkins 39-yard field goal, which proved to be the eventual game-winner.
"Just trying to make a play for my team in clutch situations," Dunbar said of his interception. "That's pretty much it."
During a team meeting on Saturday night, interim head coach Bill Callahan had a strong message for the team, challenging them to give a better effort than they showed during the Week 11 loss to New York.
"I definitely knew we were going to [be fired up] today," Dunbar said. "In a team meeting yesterday, Coach Callahan ripped us apart and guys didn't take that too fairly and wanted to come out here and prove they were something he said that they weren't."
The Redskins responded, and it brought them a well-earned victory.
While Dunbar was pleased with how his squad responded to Callahan, he knows the team still has a long way to go.
"It feels good [getting the win], but I'm not going to get complacent and I'm not going to let the guys get complacent, especially the guys in the defensive back group," he said. "I feel like it's my job to keep the guys on their heels."
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