NEW ORLEANS — The Redskins enter Week 5 atop the NFC East leaderboard, and a win over the New Orleans Saints on Monday Night Football can solidify their top spot in the division for at least another week.
He needs just 201 yards to become the NFL's all-time leader in passing yards and needs four touchdown passes to reach No. 500.
The Redskins came up short in their quest to beat the Saints in 2017, dropping a 34-31 overtime loss despite leading by 15 points. But this is a different Redskins team. The defense is drastically improved.
Will they get it done in Week 5?
Here is a quarter-by-quarter account of the good, the bad, and the ugly that transpired during tonight’s Redskins-Saints game.
Redskins vs. Saints: Good, Bad, & Ugly
GOOD: The Redskins’ second drive was much better than their first. It got going with a pass to Davis for a first down and then Maurice Harris got his first catch of the season, a play action pass that was good for six yards. After Peterson got the first down with a four-yard run, he checked down to Peterson who turned the play into a 12-yard gain.
A sack nearly stalled the drive, but Smith was able to buy time and find Chris Thompson for a gain of 17 to the Saints 30. Smith converted another third down with a bullet to Paul Richardson down to the five.
But a third-down sack ended the drive and the Redskins had to settle for a field goal.
BAD: The Redskins’ opening series went nowhere. Alex Smith went deep and incomplete for Maurice Harris, then short and incomplete for Adrian Peterson, and then to Jamison Crowder complete and short of the sticks. To top it off, there was a five-yard false start on the punt. Not what they needed to counter a noisy Superdome crowd.
UGLY: On New Orleans’ first possession, it looked like the Redskins had the Saints three and out but a holding flag on the third-down play gave them new life.
Then Brees went to Thomas for 20 yards into Washington territory. A screen pass to Mark Ingram was good for 28 yards down to the two. On the next play, Ingram powered in and the Saints took a 6-0 lead. The only good thing was that the Saints missed the extra point.
GOOD: The Saints were trying to run out the clock at the end of the half but Fabian Moreau forced a fumble that Pernell McPhee recovered and returned to the Saints 16-yard line. After a pass to Jamison Crowder picked up 13 yards to the three, Alex Smith scored on a four-yard quarterback draw.
BAD: Ryan Kerrigan got his first sack of the season when he got Brees for an eight-yard loss. However, the Saints kept the ball after safety Montae Nicholson shoved Mark Ingram to the ground well after the whistle. Just a dumb play by Nicholson. It turned out to be costly as the Saints soon scored on a touchdown pass from Brees to Josh Hill.
UGLY: The Redskins’ defense as a whole. On the Saints’ first four first-half possessions they gave up 264 yards and four touchdowns.
GOOD: Near the end of the third quarter the Redskins got a good drive going. It wasn’t a coincidence that a pass to Jordan Reed was a key part of the advance. He picked up 21 yards on his first reception of the game to move the ball into Saints territory. It would have set up a field goal try, but with the Redskins trailing by 27 they had to go for it on fourth and 10. Alex Smith lost a fumble and that was that.
BAD: Alex Smith’s fourth-down pass was picked off by Justin Hardee who returned it 77 yards down to the Washington four. Smith was rolling out to his right and he just didn’t get enough on the ball and Hardee had an easy pick. The Saints turned it into another touchdown.
UGLY: The Redskins defense was completely uninspired coming out of the locker room after halftime. Brees and the Saints rolled right through them five plays, 74 yards, and a touchdown. They just did what they wanted to do.
GOOD: A fourth and two completion to Thompson helped get the Redskins on the board again in the fourth quarter. Passes to Jamison Crowder and Maurice Harris gained 24 and 33 yards to set up a one-yard TD plunge for Kapri Bibbs.
BAD: Smith committed his second fourth-down turnover of the second half. He went back to pass and was swarmed under immediately. The ball popped up in the air and the Saints recovered to set up a field goal. Like the first one it was all Smith’s fault but that didn’t make the play any prettier.
UGLY: The game.
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