Initial Takeaways: Redskins Stun Seahawks

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Big Picture

–Jay Gruden and his staff deserve a lot of credit. I don’t remember a time when the Redskins had fewer healthy bodies than they did going into today and they beat a good Seattle team, in a stadium that’s nearly impossible to win at.

–The Redskins only used 43 players in the game. The league allows you to use three more players than that but they actually had more injured players than inactive spots.

— Washington’s defense was fantastic, it’s offense was mostly ineffective but gritty enough to make some winning plays late and it’s defense didn’t do anything to negatively influence the proceedings.

–The Seahawks committed 16 penalties for 138 yards and missed three field goals they should have made. But you can either take advantage of those things or not. The Redskins did.

Offense 

–Washington was without four starting linemen, a top wide receiver, two of it’s top three tight ends, and a couple of key reserve offensive line options. The Redskins lost an early fumble, yielded two points on a safety, gained less than 250 net yards and scored one touchdown before the final minute. But the Redskins found a way to mount a 70-yard, game-winning drive to finish off a road win in a hostile environment.

–Kirk Cousins was not comfortable in the pocket early on, struggling to make decisive throws. The ball wasn’t coming out as quickly as it typically does and the make-shift line blocking for him couldn’t keep him off his back. He was sacked six times and on some of those six sacks he didn’t bail the replacement starters out.

–On each of Washington’s two touchdown drives, Cousins was fantastic. He was 5/6 for 56 yards on the Redskins’ first half march, making several accurate throws between the numbers.

–Cousins’ game-winning drive was a signature moment in his 2017 season to date. Without the benefit of two of his favorite receivers and four of his normal linemen, the veteran quarterback trotted on to the field with [1:34] to play and nothing working on offense. Vernon Davis was banged up. He delivered a brilliant pass down the right sideline to Brian Quick and then uncorked another deep-shot down the left sideline to Josh Doctson. The Doctson pass was one of the “50-50 balls” that Jay Gruden wants Cousins to throw more of. He gave Doctson a chance to make a play and the rookie did.

–Cousins has now engineered seven fourth quarter comeback wins and 11 fourth quarter drives to take the lead in wins. This does not count the games where he has led the offense on drives to take a lead that the Redskins ultimately lost.

–Josh Doctson needs to have more passes thrown to him. This is up to Jay Gruden and Kirk Cousins. Figure it out. I don’t know how to do it. I just know it must be done. He can impact the game. He can make acrobatic catches. He can haul in passes when he isn’t open. Use him more. His 38-yard diving grab on the penultimate offensive play may have been Washington’s play of the year so far.

–I liked Brian Quick’s game. He caught all three of the passes thrown to him including a 31-yard toss he had to make an athletic adjustment to snag. He is sure-handed and has proven to be a credible NFL route-runner. I’d use him more than Pryor in the coming couple of weeks.

–Ryan Grant was mostly quiet but he moved the chains on a critical second half 3rd-and-3. He ran a good route on the play, which is one of the reasons his coaches like him so much.

–Terrelle Pryor wasn’t used much in a two-grab, 17-yard game. He did catch a pass inside the numbers for the first time this season. He ran a good route, past the sticks for a five-yard snag on 3rd-and-4 in the place of a tight end with David sidelined momentarily. He also drew a pass interference by beating Richard Sherman inside on a slant at the goal-line.

–Vernon Davis is not really 33. Somebody should spend a year trying to track down his birth certificate and then run for President in a few years. Anyway, he’s still really good. Davis banged up his hand and had it wrapped post-game (according to 106.7 The Fan beat reporter Craig Hoffman). He led the Redskins in targets (9), catches (6) and yards (72) on the day.

–Chris Thompson was more quiet than normal. Seemed like he was used more as a decoy today. The Redskins faked two screens to him in attempts to set-up plays down the field. They didn’t have enough time to throw the ball down the field on either of those plays. Thompson led the Redskins in rushing (20 yards) and had one really impressive 11-yard dash.

–Samaje Perine needs to do a better job at the mesh-point. He fumbled an exchance with Kirk Cousins just a couple weeks after Cousins told Perine on the sideline that he didn’t have a good enough pocket on a play-action handoff that almost resulted in a fumble. The rookie has work to do. I really liked one of Perine’s two carries in the game. My guess is that he would have been way more involved if he didn’t fumble early.

–Rob Kelley struggled again. He couldn’t stay on his feet. He must have slipped while planting four or five times. He rushed 14 times for 18 yards. He did rush for a pair of one-yard touchdowns, marking the second time in his career that he scored twice.

–Kelley is averaging 3.2 yards-per-carry on the season. He’s run the ball 29 times for only 53 yards in the three games since he returned from injury. The Redskins’ offensive line is in shambles so Kelley shouldn’t be solely blamed for his lack of success, but his lack of production began before Washington lost most of it’s starting-front. He has now averaged under 4 yards-a-carry in nine of his last 14 games dating back to last season. He just hasn’t given the Redskins much.

–The line allowed six sacks. Cousins probably could have helped them on a couple of those sacks. He probably also saved them from another sack or two. There weren’t as many pre-snap penalties as I would have expected. It was a gritty effort by a group of guys who are mostly not going to be NFL starters again after November. They should be commended for how hard they played.

–Washington has now scored a touchdown on 11 of it’s last 16 trips into the red zone. The Redskins have become a top-half of the NFL team in the red area thanks to that stretch. One key has been running the ball better in goal-to-go situations. Today’s two one-yard touchdown plunges are evidence of that.

–The Redskins didn’t turn the ball over after the early aborted handoff exchange, which was paramount. Cousins nearly fumbled on a play that was originally ruled a recovery and a touchdown for Seattle but was clearly a sack and a non-fumble upon review. He was not intercepted, unlike Wilson (twice).

–The last time the Redskins won a game gaining as low a yardage total as they managed on Sunday in Seattle? 2007.

Defense

–Zach Brown should play in the pro bowl, should be named an all-pro and should be the beneficiary of a fat new contract at season’s end. He’s the best inside-linebacker the Redskins have had in years. He made 11 more tackles, tallied another sack, racked up three quarterback hits and helped keep Russell Wilson from making any game-changing plays with his feet.

–DJ Swearinger was all over the secondary for the Redskins. This was his best game in deep-coverage. He broke up a couple jump balls and intercepted a two-point conversion attempt that he nearly returned for a couple Redskins points. This was the best game he’s played in Washington, and that’s saying something because he’s been good.

–Will Compton broke up three passes for the first time in his career. He intercepted a pass, something he’s done in three straight seasons now, and almost picked off another. Compton played much better this week than he did last week. It looked like he had his legs back under him. He made eight tackles on defense and another stop on special teams in filling in admirably for Mason Foster.

–Josh Norman is worth every penny the Redskins pay him. He loves football and brings a passion and energy on the field that is infectious. He made a drive-ending third down tackle that probably saved the game for the Redskins, pulling Thomas Rawls down to the ground by his arm a half-yard shy of the first down marker.

–Terrell McClain had his best game as a Redskin. He needed to step up with Jonathan Allen missing again and Matt Ioannidis now sidelined as well and he did. He made five tackles and sacked Russell Wilson on the penultimate defensive play, forcing Seattle into a hail mary or bust situation with four seconds left.

–Welcome back Deangelo Hall. He made one beautiful pass breakup on an extended off-schedule Russell Wilson deep shot and helped save the day in the back of the endzone on Wilson’s game-ending hail mary attempt. Hall was part of a strong performance in Washington’s secondary. How many times did Wilson leave the pocket, look for a man downfield only to not find one? All day.

–Kendall Fuller picked off his 3rd pass of the season. No other Redskins player has more than one interception on the season. The 23 year-old defender had a banner day in coverage. He also had a nice pass breakup on a deep throw that would have been negated by a Seattle penalty anyway.

–Quinton Dunbar had a tackle-for-loss and broke up a pass on Seattle’s final drive. He nearly ended the game with a one-handed interception moments before the McClain sack in the final minute. He played well after a tough game against Dallas last Sunday.

–Anthony Lanier’s stat line was quiet but I really liked what he did. You could say the same for Ryan Kerrigan and Preston Smith as well. Lanier ended up with two QB hits. He pushed the pocket from the nose spot on several occasions, helping to keep Wilson from stepping into downfield throws on multiple occasions.

–Ryan Anderson had a good pressure and QB hit on an incompletion. He flashed more in Seattle than he has in any game this season. You can see why the Redskins like him. He rushes hard off the edge and doesn’t quit on plays.

Special Teams

–Tress Way did a really good job getting a hold down on a wet track in the first half. He also delivered an important booming punt from deep in his own territory in the second half.

–Nick Rose hit both of his extra points and nailed his only field goal attempt. He’s kicked in three games and been a positive contributor in two of them.

–The return game didn’t give the Redskins much. Hall mostly didn’t get much of a change on punt returns and kick returns are mostly irrelevant in the NFL this season. You rarely see kickoff returns end up turning into positive plays at this point.

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Grant Paulsen

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