The Minnesota Vikings scored 21 unanswered points after the Washington Redskins took a 17-14 lead in the 2nd quarter and never looked back as the superior team this Sunday.
The Redskins defense could not stop them until it was too late and the game was out of reach. Credit the team for not giving up and continuing to fight until the end but this team’s inconsistency is something they will have to overcome in small increments. The playoff opportunity seems to be slipping through their hands and if we are being honest this team just doesn’t have the pieces in place to make a deep run yet anyways.
The Vikings just seemed more prepared coming off a bye and seemed ready to take advantage of the imperfections of the Redskins defense and offensive struggles. They made it look effortless as they marched down the field almost unabated time and time again.
Even the Redskins star corner Josh Norman seemed to be having a game full of struggles as he was constantly burned for big plays and touchdowns. It was just one of those days for the excellent corner as he seemed just a step behind or a inch too far from stopping the Vikings from making play after play against him.
I’m not too worried about Norman as he has proven to be a solid contributor to the defense and just experienced a bad outing. But, if it happens again next week then we have to question whether he might of come back too soon from injury and if that ultimately was a good or bad move for the team.
Even though the Redskins offensive line was reunited for this game they can’t seem to create an identity for this offense as it seems content to make plays behind Kirk Cousins’ arm but through a cast of supporting characters as long as J.R.R Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings epic. Cousins has thrown to every single person capable of catching a ball this season yet, has consistency and chemistry with no one.
This week it was, recently activated from the practice squad, Maurice Harris who hauled in a fantastic one handed catch to give the Redskins a 7 to 0 lead in the first quarter. Who will it be next week or the week after that? You? Me? Some other fat guy from the stands?
While the ability to adapt showcases Cousins above average talent, it does not show a commitment to finding reliable targets. The sporadic merry go round of receivers is good for a catch here or there for sure. But when the game is on the line and you need to make first downs and that intricate timing pattern that is worked on after practices and long hours during camp, that just isn’t anywhere to be seen from Cousins and his plethora of wide receivers.
There have been some conspiracy rumors that the Redskins front office purposefully want to drag down Cousins’ value and got rid of his top 2 receivers last year and gave him this clown car of wide receivers he is now working with and dared him to produce. Cousins has made due with this motley crew and hopefully should get the largest contract ever given to a quarterback in NFL history. He’s earned it by showcasing he can make due even when he does not have a true #1 or even #2 wide receiver.
Additionally, with no real full time back healthy or talented enough to take some of the load off of Cousins, this team’s identity moving forward will be a throwing team. Make no mistake, when it’s 3rd and less than 3, don’t expect the Redskins to run the ball anymore. They just do not have the personnel in place to make that run for a first down. To expect them to do so would only drive you insane with frustration and disbelief.
The Redskins are an average team with above average goals for this season and hopefully can grow from this experience and address the changes necessary to continue to compete not only this year, but for the next as well. Watching the depth play above expectations makes this a team worth watching. The offensive line depth has shown it can handle injuries and make it work long enough to win in Seattle. Other positions such as running back and defensive line highlight deficiencies that can be improved through the draft or free agency. Finding wide receivers that are consistent and reliable will have to be a top priority as well, but seeing if any of the current crop of young receivers break through could be a pleasant surprise.
It’s a glass half full, half empty way of looking at the rest of the season to be sure, but this team is moving in the right direction and is a couple of pieces away from being a legitimately consistent team that just happened to lose badly this past Sunday.
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