Remember the first month of the season when the Redskins controlled football games with a strong run game? It was an exciting time.
After those first four games, however, Washington's run game imploded. Prior to Sunday's victory over New Orleans, the Redskins had been historically bad for four games running the ball. Less than 40 yards a game bad.
And then, on a picturesque fall afternoon, everything clicked. The Redskins ran the ball up and down the field against the Saints as part of a potent and balanced offense en route to a 47-14 win.
So what gives? Did the Redskins figure out their run woes? Or did Washington just take advantage of a very weak Saints defense?
Here's what the key figures had to say after the win:
- Jay Gruden: "It was excellent. It was good, and you notice that we didn’t have a lot of negative runs. We were stuck at second-and-seven, second-and-six, second-and-five – as opposed to second-and-10, so we were able to stick with it, and we were able to stick with our play-actions and we got our whole playbook basically."
- Kirk Cousins: "I saw very good runs and breaking tackles and converting...I love seeing those guys make plays because they’re all really talented and they can help us.”
- Matt Jones: "We came out and executed. It started with our offensive line. When our offensive line can get pushes like that off the ball on a great defensive line, we are capable of a lot.”
- Alfred Morris: "We knew we could run and we stuck with it. We came out with a plan. We were able to control the clock and we were able to continue to get drives going early. When you do that, you can keep the ball on the ground as much as you can."
- Trent Williams: "We controlled the game, so we’re able to stick with the running game and it took off.”
Moving forward, is the Redskins 213 rushing yards against the Saints an aberration? This is a team that struggled to get 50 yards on the ground for a month, then exploded against a bad defense that subsequently fired their defensive coordinator. More than 200 yards rushing should not be the expectation. Still, perhaps this is a game that can reestablish the run game, and more importantly, the Redskins commitment to the ground game.
Up next, a stout defense in the the Carolina Panthers. Will the Redskins be able to run the ball in Charlotte? Or, perhaps as vital, will Gruden continue to try?
Let us know what you think in the comments.