In consecutive weeks, the Redskins held two of the best running backs in the NFL to laughable totals.
On Sunday, the Redskins limited Ezekiel Elliott to just 33 rushing yards. Zeke's second half was fairly successful compared to the first, where he rushed for only 13 yards. In Week 6, the Redskins limited Christian McCaffrey to just 20 yards rushing.
Fantasy owners of Elliott and McCaffrey are probably cursing the Washington defense, but for Redskins fans, this is an exciting time. The Burgundy and Gold defense has generated five turnovers in their last two games, both wins, and held the opposition to 17 points in each game.
Plenty of players are playing well, but much of the defensive success starts up front. And that means Daron Payne and Jonathan Allen. First-round picks out of the University of Alabama in consecutive drafts, the two defensive tackles are starting to really be a force up the middle for Greg Manusky's defense.
"These guys are more compact, like some army tanks," cornerback Josh Norman said of Payne and Allen.
"I love, love having tackles that can get people up off the ball and move them."
So far, the Redskins run defense looks nothing like the same group from last season. Injuries betrayed the Redskins strong defensive start last year, and the units rankings plumetted. The Redskins finished with the worst run defense in the NFL.
That has flipped upside down, and it showed big-time in the win over Dallas.
"You're talking about an excellent running back, a great running quarterback, a physical quarterback, big offensive line," Washington coach Jay Gruden explained about the Cowboys. "And those
guys kept it going. Not only were they stopping the run but they had to rush the passer there nonstop at the end of the game."
For Allen and Payne, the recognition means little.
Asked about his big game on Monday, notching his third sack of the season and beating the Cowboys for the first time in his NFL career, Allen replied with a stone face.
"The way we look at it we only have fun when we’re winning," he said.
Well, for two weeks in a row Allen could have fun. Even if he doesn't seem to be enjoying it too much.
Cowboys coach Jason Garrett certainly didn't seem to enjoy facing Payne or Allen.
"Obviously they did a good job defending our run," Garrett said. "We tried to attack in a lot of different ways and they defended it well."
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