For the second straight week the Redskins defense let the opposing quarterback make plays at key times, leading to a key loss at home.
But last week they lost to Ben Roethlisberger, a veteran quarterback with two Super Bowl rings. This week they lost to rookie Dak Prescott, who was making his second NFL start.
The Redskins didn’t get much pressure on Prescott and when they did he usually managed to wiggle his way out if it. Dallas converted on six of 12 third downs and after one failed attempt they converted on fourth down. They reeled off touchdown drives of nine, 10, and 11 plays plus a 10-play drive to a field goal. ‘
Prescott appeared to be confused by almost nothing that he saw. He didn’t come close to throwing an interception. The rookie was sacked four times but for just 14 yards in losses.
The chatter going into the game was about who would cover receiver Dez Bryant. As it turns out, both Bashaud Breeland and Josh Norman were on him at various time and sometimes the Redskins were in a zone scheme. It didn’t seem to matter a whole lot as Bryant still caught seven passes for 102 yards, a few of them for key third down conversions.
“He moved around a little bit today,” Jay Gruden said of Norman. “I feel good about our corners. We have to get the defense fixed up. Too many guys were wide open. Third down conversions were big plays, easy throws and catches. We’ve got to challenge them, push them, play a little more coverage.”
That was the last question that Gruden took so the follow-up asking how he could be happy with the corners if guys were wide open went unasked.
“I’m asked to do what I’m asked to do,” said Norman. “All this and the coaches ask me to do something, I’m going to do it to the full extent of my abilities and I’m gonna get the job done and execute flawlessly and that’s what I did. It sucks that we came up a little short."
The run defense was nothing special either. While the Cowboys didn’t exactly chew them up on the ground they got yards when they needed them. Rookie Ezekiel Elliott ran for 83 yards on 21 carries, certainly enough to keep Prescott in manageable third down situations.
The Redskins didn’t necessarily think that their defense would be a strong point this season. The hope was that they could play well enough to let the offense win games for them. But after giving up 65 points in two games, the defense isn’t even doing that much. They need to step up before the season gets away.