February 26, 2020

Washington Redskins Game 8: New England Patriots – Five Takeaways

The Washington Redskins flew up to Foxborough and put together a performance against the defending Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots that has left me shaking my head.skins

In truth, the Redskins missed an opportunity to continue the momentum they built with their thrilling victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers prior to their Week 8 bye. The Patriots were playing down the Redskins level and Washington couldn’t even match the intensity and had far too much trouble executing. It makes one wonder what on earth were they up to over the long weekend?

Along with that question, here are five more takeaways from the Redskins 27-10 loss at the hands of the Patriots.

1. Can’t Blame Kirk Cousins…

Sue me. I know many people will find a way to pin this one on Cousins, but I have a hard time placing the blame on him. Sure, he wasn’t perfect, but he didn’t have much help. His stat line reads 22-for-40 with 217 yards passing, one late touchdown, an interception* and one sack. And while many will read the box score and draw their conclusions, they’re making a big mistake.

2. Because The Receivers Can’t Catch The Ball

If stats were fair, then wide receiver Pierre Garçon* would have an interception to go along with his four receptions for a team-high 70 yards. In the first quarter, Cousins hit Garçon in the hands on several occasions, and one of the receiver’s drops led to a Patriots touchdown, putting Washington in an early hole. Among others, Jordan Reed was another typically sure-handed receivers that couldn’t hang on to the football.

3. Lack Of Effort To Run The Football

In our preview and prediction post, I wrote that the Redskins’ best chance to beat the Patriots was to make the game a ground-and-pound contest. That, however, is quite the opposite of what transpired Sunday. Washington handed the football off just 15 times for 37 yards while throwing the football 40 times. The offense’s lack of effort to establish a running game proved costly in this as it allowed Tom Brady and the Patriots’ offense to return to the field in fairly short order. And Alfred Morris, who is the best running on the team, touched the football just four times.

4. Redskins Get Out-Coached

To reiterate a previous state, what were the Redskins doing last weekend? Head coach Jay Gruden said he planned on using the time to get ahead on game planning, but did he forget about the immediate future? With less time, the Patriots still figured out a weakness on the Redskins’ special teams and exploited in the first quarter with a surprise onsides kick. New England was always one step ahead of the Washington and the superior coaching staff, not just team, won Sunday.

5. Offensive Line Played Well

To find one positive in an ugly game of football, the offensive line for the Redskins played well. They kept Cousins upright, did a solid job picking up blitzes and just all around played better than any other unit wearing Burgundy and Gold. Say what you will about the offense averaging just 2.5 yards per carry, but it’s difficult for an offensive line to function at a high level when the offense as a whole becomes that one dimensional. Hats off to the big uglies.

The Redskins fall to 3-5 on the season and 0-4 on the road. Life doesn’t get much easier for them when the return home this coming Sunday. They’ll welcome Drew Brees and the high-power offense of the New Orleans Saints before heading south to face the Carolina Panthers.

About Brian Skinnell

Brian Skinnell is a Staff Writer for District Sports Page covering the Redskins, Nationals and college football. He is a born-and-raised follower of Washington, D.C. sports, “The” Ohio State Buckeyes and auto racing. A graduate of Shepherd University in December of 2014, he has a degree in Recreation and Leisure Studies with a Concentration in Sports Communications. Prior to joining District Sports Page (for his second stint), he spent time with Rant Sports, Yahoo Sports and the Washington Redskins. For his day job, he is an Editor for Team Velocity Marketing. Follow him on Twitter @Brian_Skinnell.

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