When the Washington Redskins played the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday, it was not a pretty site. Although there were some good things done on both sides of the ball, there was also a lot of bad. After re-watching the game here are some further observations from the sadness that played out on Sunday.
The Washington Redskins defense could not get off the field. Dallas had every play working for them in the first quarter. With the struggles that the Redskins had against the run in week one, the Cowboys knew they were going to beef up for their run game. The Redskins bit hard on play action, and Dak Prescott had ample time to throw the ball.
One positive for the defense was that Ziggy Hood looks to be a beast in the middle of the defensive line. He was creating inside pressures with moves and power all quarter long. He has been a genuinely reliable addition this off-season.
The offense in the first quarter was still not right. There was no dedication to the run game, and Kirk Cousins was still not in rhythm. The missed pass to a wide open Jamison Crowder made this all the more evident. The answering drive after the Ezekiel Elliott TD was solid. They used the run more. This needs to happen even more coming into week 3.
There was still not enough dedication to the run. I know that the strength of this offense is its receiving corp. However, it is no good if you cannot run the ball. I said it in my immediate reaction after the game on Sunday; there needs to be a stronger dedication to a run game that proved itself when used. It opens up the rest of the offense and settles Cousins.
The play of this unit was better in the quarter. They stiffened up, and we saw Josh Norman follow Dez Bryant. The defense only allowed an FG in the quarter. Again the presence of Ziggy Hood in the middle was prevalent. He forced some runs back and was just an all-around busybody.
Coming out of the locker room the offense found its rhythm. There was a good mix of pass and run between the 20s. Cousins was accurate on the drive and hit receivers in stride. Matt Jones ran hard and showed, once again, we should be able to run the football.
After the missed onside kick the Redskins should have taken a deep shot down the field. Instead, they came out with a roll and a TE drag underneath. This would have been a great time to put the arrow through the heart. One good thing from this was Matt Jones. He showed patience and power while running. The result was an FG!
Again, after a Dallas turnover, the Redskins should have taken a shot with the dagger. It was another underneath pass. Fortunately, Niles Paul made a tremendous play on. After another unsuccessful fade route to Josh Doctson, they settled for anther field goal.
Aside from the TD Drive, in which they gave up a lot on the ground, the Redskins defense was a strong factor in the 3rd quarter. You finally get Josh Norman on Dez Bryant full time and pressure from the line. The momentum was beginning to be on their side.
The 4th quarter began with the perfect drive. After a long ball to Josh Doctson, on a play that was perfectly designed, the Redskins were again, inside the red zone. The play calling left some questions while inside the red zone. 2 fade routes on back to back plays before a Kirk Cousins bad decision in the end zone results in an interception. While yes, you can put the blame for this on Cousins (just a terrible throw), the play calling should have been better. There was not one attempt at running the ball inside the 20.
The defense, although not on the field much in the 3rd quarter, looked gassed. On the TD drive for the Cowboys, the defense could not get off the ball and let a bunch of complete passes underneath. If they were in a prevent, that was not the time to be. Still needed to be aggressive and get after Prescott. There had been several successes throughout the game when the pressure was provided.
David Bruton Jr is horrible in pass coverage. There needs to be a view given to Duke Ihenacho in these situations. Bruton was beaten on several plays underneath.
DeShaun Phillips needs t be replaced in the slot. He too has had coverage issues on slot receivers. I know that they want Will Blackmon to play more safety, but I believe he would be better utilized at slot corner in the nickel.
Play calling has got to be better. I do not know if this needs to come from Jay Gruden or if Sean McVay is just in a funk. Whatever the case, there needs to be some improvement.
Chris Thompson is a beast in the passing game. He can block and is a great receiver.
Defensive Coordinator Joe Berry has got to find a way to pressure. We seem to be, after two weeks, not a very good zone team. Maybe we need to man up our corners and trust in our pass rush.
Bashaud Breeland may not be the answer opposite Norman. This could be an opportunity for Blackmon with giving Kendall Fuller a chance in the slot.
The Washington Redskins are not out the race. I know the percentages are not in their favor. However, a win this week puts them at 1-2 and a few easier games coming their way. Look for this team to come out fired up in week 3. Always HTTR!