Landover, Maryland- The Washington Redskins were able to end the four game losing streak against the Dallas Cowboys in a 20-17 defensive struggle. Although the Cowboys missed a last second, game tying field goal, the Redskins dominated the Cowboys on both sides of the ball. Now the Redskins are now 4-2 and lead the NFC East by two games. These are my good, bad, and ugly moments from today’s game.
Defensive Line- The defensive line (including the outside linebackers) controlled the running game and applied consistent pressure to Dallas quarterback Dak Prescott. Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott was held to 33 yards on 15 carries and Prescott was held to 33 yards rushing with a touchdown. The Cowboys as a team ran for 73 yards and put them in third and long situations. Prescott was sacked four times and took a bunch of hits inside and outside of the pocket. This is why Da’Ron Payne and Jonathan Allen were drafted, while veterans Ryan Kerrigan and Preston Smith were able to apply pressure to Prescott. This was a statement game from the defensive front.
Running Game- Adrian Peterson continues to defy logic and reason in his time with the Washington Redskins. Peterson contributed 24 carries for 99 yards and consistently moved the chains for the offense. When asked was he surprised he was performing at such a high level, Peterson replied no. “Others may be shocked but I am not.” Gruden talked about possibly limiting his carries even though Gruden admitted that is hard because Peterson wants to compete. Peterson has been a valuable pickup for the season.
Redskins Fans- Even though there were a good number of Cowboys fans at FedEx Field, the Redskins fans were loud and into the game from whistle to whistle. Numerous players talked about the atmosphere and the energy that the fans exhibited throughout the game. The stadium was loud and helped the Redskins to have a healthy home field advantage. Ryan Kerrigan said,” It was so loud on that last field goal that I couldn’t hear anything.” The team definitely fed off of the fans today.
Second Half Offense- Another game, another second half without a touchdown from the offense. The Redskins had two red zone opportunities in the second half and could not convert them into touchdowns. If the offense gets touchdowns there and not field goals there wouldn’t have been the dramatic late game situations. The Redskins get 28 points and this game would a have been easy at the end.
Play Calling- Part of the red zone and really opponents side of the field offense is the play calling. The plays become pretty predictable on that side of the field. The Redskins got to the one yard line then called a shotgun run on 3rd down from the one and lose yards then kick a field goal. Jordan Reed has been double covered a lot but there has to be so plays to get touchdowns instead of field goals. The offense has left a lot of points on the field.
The Two Minute Offense- After the Cowboys got a quick touchdown late in the first half, the Redskins had an opportunity to get points and answer. However when the drive got to midfield there were a series of miscues. First a pass to Doctson that should have been pass interference, then a deep pass to Floyd that was too high, then a deep shot to Doctson where Smith overthrew him. Then looking a 55 yard field goal attempt in the wind, Gruden elected to attempt and hailmary and it should have been caught as it hit Floyd in the hands. Weird sequence where there team missed some opportunities.
Prevent Defense- A wise coach once said that a prevent defense prevents you from winning and that almost did for the Redskins. After the sack fumble recovery that gave the Redskins a 20-10 lead with 4:55 remaining in the game. The Redskins had a 4th and 14 on the drive that the Cowboys were able to convert. Sending everyone to rush Dak Prescott left running lanes for him to covert and move the chains. That drive ended in a Cowboys touchdown and made it a game again. If the Redskins had just kept a spy on Prescott the game could have ended sooner.
The NFC East- There is only one team over .500 in the division and it is the Washington Redskins. The Philadelphia Eagles lost a close game to the Carolina Panthers to drop to 3-4, even with the Cowboys. The New York Giants are 1-5 and play on Monday Night Football against the Atlanta Falcons. The Redskins have a solid hold on the division and can put a further hold on it next week against the Giants. A win there would give them two division wins and a 5-2 record.