Let’s be honest; only the most ardent Washington Redskins fans would have given their team a fighting chance against the juggernaut that is the New England Patriots today. That doesn’t mean that fans don’t lose their minds out of frustration when Redskins receivers drop balls often, fumble, or miss tackles up and down the field all game.
Although the final score of 27-10 somewhat flatters the Redskins, the fact remains that there was a lot more that went wrong than went right for Washington today. To look at the game in detail, we go to our weekly edition of What worked, what didn’t, what sucked.
- Tom Brady had not thrown an interception at home in 2015 yet. Keenan Robinson put an end to that streak today, sliding in front of Julian Edelman nicely to pick off Brady and return it for a big chunk of yards in the opposite direction.
- With Terrance Knighton inactive and Chris Baker getting dinged early (although Baker only missed 1 drive), someone on the Redskins Defensive Line needed to step up today. Ricky Jean-Francois did so nicely, working his way into the Patriots backfield numerous times during the game. Later in the second half, Stephen Paea also had a few crucial big plays that resulted in the Patriots having to settle for a Field Goal.
- Will Blackmon, starting at outside corner in place of DeAngelo Hall (inactive today) and Bashaud Breeland (active, but limited) had himself a nice game today. In the first quarter, he stripped Julian Edelman and recovered the fumble himself for a Patriots turnover.
- Despite numerous and repeated dropped balls (more on those below), Kirk Cousins was practically faultless today. He looked sharp, and he looked confident. If the Redskins Wide Receivers and Running Backs had been able to help Cousins in any way, the end result would have been a lot closer than it was, such was Cousins level of play today.
- In very limited touches today, Chris Thompson looked like the most dangerous Redskins Running Back. He only had 3 touches, but all 3 went for 1st downs (one was called back by a holding penalty, however).
- Trent Williams is such an elite player that it is simply expected that he plays well each week, but against some quality edge rushing opposition today, Williams stood tall and gave up zero QB pressures, zero QB sacks, and zero QB hits.
- Although the sting was well and truly out of the game, it was nice to see Cousins find Jordan Reed for a late game touchdown. It marks the first time in Reed’s career that he’s caught a touchdown in consecutive weeks.
- Amazingly, the Redskins somehow contained Rob Gronkowski, holding him to only 4 catches and no touchdowns.
- The Patriots averaged 35.5 points per game before going into today’s week 9 match up, and the Redskins held New England to a season low 27 points.
- The Redskins defense, once again, failed to stop the run. Too often the Outside Linebackers crashed the ends and the Patriots took advantage of the lack of contain to get big gains outside of the tackles. The Patriots ended the day with LeGarrette Blount leading the rushing attack with 129 yards and a touchdown.
- Speaking of the Outside Linebackers, the Redskins pass rushers were a non-factor today. Tom Brady wasn’t sacked at all, and was only hit as he threw twice during the entire game.
- On the ground, the Redskins were unable to establish an identity at all today. Alfred Morris and Matt Jones combined for under 50 yards combined rushing, and neither looked like a threat to break a big run at all.
- Matt Jones once again demonstrated why he has been unable to take the job of ‘bellcow’ Running Back, turning the ball over with a fumble lost at the line of scrimmage.
- A big part of the struggles on the ground today was the inability of the Offensive Line to create holes for the Running Backs to hit in stride. Morgan Moses arguably had his worst game of the year, giving away a couple of penalties and allowing a sack.
- Drops. The Redskins had seven dropped passes today on seven catchable balls. The culprits were Derek Carrier with 2, and Pierre Garcon, Jamison Crowder, Chris Thompson, Jordan Reed and Matt Jones with 1 each.
- The first pass of the day from Kirk Cousins was the first drop of the day, and it was made worse by the fact that it bounced out of Garcon’s hands directly into the waiting arms of a Patriots defender. Whilst the stat sheet will credit the interception to Kirk Cousins, the throw was good enough to shield Cousins from any of the blame.
- With DeAngelo Hall inactive and Bashaud Breeland clearly not 100% healthy from the Hamstring strain he suffered two weeks ago, the Redskins secondary was always going to have a tough day against Tom Brady. However, they weren’t helped at all by the scheme from Defensive Coordinator Joe Barry, who seemed content to remain in the standard zone defense that he’s played for most of the year. The main issue here is that anyone who has watched the Patriots this year knows that Tom Brady gets rid of the ball quickly, and that slants, drags, and quick in-routes are a staple of the New England offense. To take those away, you need Corner Backs at the line of scrimmage jamming the Wide Receivers, which simply didn’t happen today. Scheme wise, a poor game for the Redskins secondary today.
- The Redskins have been unsuccessful on the ground in their last four games now, notching up 51, 34, 50 and 37 yards respectively. Those figures are simply unacceptable from a team who self-proclaimed their identity to be a “run the football” organization.
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