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?
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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.
NBC Sports Washington lost an important piece of its family this week when longtime Redskins reporter Rich Tandler died on Tuesday. He was 63.
Tandler joined NBC Sports Washington in 2011. He began his writing career in his 40s after working in restaurants and created his blog, Real Redskins, in 2004, which became the longest-running blog on the team. He also wrote three books on the Redskins and posted an estimated 2,300 consecutive “Need To Know” posts, becoming a must-read for Redskins fans as part of their morning routine.
“We’re devastated to learn of the loss of one of our most loved and valued media members, Rich Tandler of NBC Sports Washington,” Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder said in a statement. “His dedication to covering the Redskins over the past 14 years has made him an irreplaceable presence among our media corps, and he will be in our hearts. Our thoughts are with his family, our family at NBC Sports Washington, and the entire Redskins community. He will be truly missed.”
The team will hold a moment of silence for Tandler before its game against the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday and will keep his regular seat on press row empty. On Wednesday, Redskins quarterback Alex Smith offered his “thoughts and prayers to his family.”
“Rich’s kind and warm nature made him a good friend and an especially close colleague to many of us at NBC Sports Washington,” NBC Sports Washington General Manager Damon Phillips said in a statement. “His passion for his work and the Redskins was inspiring and made him a critical part of many of our successes over the past seven years. This is a very big loss for the sports community. Our thoughts are with his family and his many friends.”
Fans, Redskins players, fellow reporters, and friends of Tandler paid tribute to him on social media.
“Incredibly saddened by the sudden passing of NBCSW’s Rich Tandler. He was a great talent and an important voice in the DC sports community. Our thoughts are with his wife @MissSkeetersmom, his family and his family at @NBCSWashington,” Washington Wizards and Capitals owner Ted Leonsis wrote on Twitter.
In a thriller in Foxboro, the Patriots handed Kansas City its first loss of the season.
It wasn't pretty but the Rams slipped past the Broncos to remain the lone unbeaten in the NFL.
Remember when the Lions beat New England on Sunday Night Football and folks were ready to bury the Patriots? Yeah... how did that 'hot take' work out?
Will the real Redskins please stand up? A win over the Panthers moved the Skins up three spots. Give the Redskins this, they are consistently unpredictable.
The Ravens are on the rise and Marcus Mariota is happy the Titans won't have to play Baltimore again.
So the Cowboys have an offense now? Or does Jacksonville not have an elite defense anymore?
And the Bears let Brock Osweiler throw for 380 yards. Yes. You read that correct. 380 yards.
How far will the Bears drop because of that dreadful defensive performance?