In the last regular season home game at FedEx Field, Kirk Cousins led the Washington Redskins to a 35-25 routing of the Buffalo Bills, meaning that no matter what else happens in the final two games of the 2015 season, the Redskins finish the year 6-2 at home for the first time in 10 years.
Although the final score made it appear to be a relatively close game, Buffalo scored garbage time points to close the margin. For most of the day, the Redskins dominated the game on both sides of the ball, and it sets up a potential showdown for all the NFC East marbles next week if a few results go the Redskins way.
If that doesn’t get you fired up, then hopefully you’ll at least find something to get you excited in this week’s edition of What worked, what didn’t, what sucked.
- In what was arguably his best game of the season, Kirk Cousins completed 22/28 passes for 319 yards and 4 touchdown passes. He added in a 13 yard touchdown run of his own to boot, making fans in the stands chant “You like that?!” as he crossed the plane. It all started with a 10 play 84 yard opening drive that ended in a 3 yard touchdown to Jordan Reed, and the Redskins never relinquished the scoreboard lead from that point on.
- Speaking of Jordan Reed, once again he proved what an elite weapon he is, leading the Redskins with 7 receptions, 84 yards and two touchdowns. He came up big time and time again today, and the rapport that exists between Cousins and Reed has blossomed into something special.
- Although Reed led the Redskins in catches today, he didn’t lead the team in receiving yards; that honor falls upon DeSean Jackson who posted a whopping 153 yards on 6 catches, including a 77 yard touchdown that involved a good 35 yards of after-the-catch running. Jackson, who had entered the game with some knee soreness today, showed no signs of being hampered as he used his explosive speed and agility to full measure against a respectable Bills defense.
- As noted earlier, the final score potentially flatters the Bills more than what the reality was in the game today. Midway through the third quarter, the Redskins defense had held Buffalo to a 28-3 deficit. It took two late 3rd quarter scores for Buffalo to level it to a 28-17 margin, but that was as close as it got.
- The defensive line really deserves a huge percentage of the credit for todays win. Jason Hatcher, Ryan Kerrigan, Ricky Jean-Francois and Preston Smith all sacked Bills Quarterback Tyrod Taylor today, and ‘capitol punishment’ certainly won the battle in the trenches today.
- Will Compton continues to shine in his role as the starting Inside Linebacker. Directing his team mates around on the field, Compton has an apparent ability to recognize the offense’s plays pre-snap, often leading to bubble screens and outside runs ending stuffed for a loss. It is an enormously difficult task to step up as a leader when your name is called, but Compton has done it exceptionally well.
- Reports of Alfred Morris’ demise have been greatly exaggerated, with the workhorse young Running Back busting out a career long 48 yard run today that started with the Redskins backed up deep within their own territory. In a promising sign that Morris surely loved, Fullback Darrel Young also saw increased action today, and was his usual productive self when on the field.
- After making the switch from Cornerback to Free Safety, DeAngelo Hall has looked like a player reinvigorated. He is tackling with a ferocity that we haven’t seen from him in recent years, and he finished the day with 9 total tackles today, leading all Redskins defenders.
- As if Jay Gruden had listened to the cries of the Twitter coaches, the Redskins took numerous deep shots to DeSean Jackson on first downs today, and it paid dividends. Overall, the play calling on offense today was markedly improved from earlier in the season.
- After taking a 28-3 lead, the Redskins defense appeared to take the foot off the accelerator a little bit late in the third quarter, leading to two consecutive Bills big-play touchdowns. It has been an issue a few times this season, and although the signs are promising that this is a unit on the rise, it is an issue that will need to be resolved if the Redskins are going to make any waves in the playoffs this year, should they make it.
- Josh LeRibeus continues to have some difficulty with ensuring his snaps are consistent, and although it didn’t cost the Redskins dearly today, it’s something that LeRibeus will need to sharpen up if he wants to keep his spot, with Brian de la Puente nipping at his heels and Kory Lichtensteiger eligible to return from IR in the playoffs if he is healthy enough to go.
- As impressive as his rookie campaign has been, Jamison Crowder muffed a punt that almost led to the Bills first score today. Injured Redskins Tight End Niles Paul, who himself has had some experience as a returner, chimed in on Twitter from the sidelines noting that it’s a tough job. Regardless, Crowder almost cost the Redskins points today, and that always sucks.
Punt Returner might be the toughest job in football
— Niles Paul (@NilesP_) December 20, 2015
- Morgan Moses had his ankle rolled up on, resulting in a “mid-foot sprain” that ended his day, with Ty Nsekhe taking over at Right Tackle. To his credit, Nsekhe held his own, but the Redskins need Moses to be available against the Philadelphia Eagles next week, in a game that could crown the NFC East champion.
- The struggles facing Matt Jones continue, with the rookie picking up only 2.8 yards per carry today. The Offensive Line has found it difficult to open holes for runners all year, but regardless Jones appears to be having more of an issue picking up positive yards than Alfred Morris. Merits watching as we go forward.
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