September 15, 2019

Washington Redskins: Offense, not Cousins, shoots themselves in the foot too many times to stay competitive with Patriots

Coming of the biggest comeback in franchise history and a much needed bye to get healthier, the Washington Redskins had the toughest task they would face this season. Playing the defending champion New England Patriots in Foxborough, MA. Everyone knew it would not be easy, but Washington was more primed for an upset this year relative to their atrocious performance against worse teams last year. Unfortunately, the Redskins are no where close to contend against good teams when they are shooting themselves in the foot. With three turnovers and unofficially seven drops, the defense was on the field way too much to keep things competitive. Washington fell 27-10 and to 3-5 on the season.

For just the second time all year, the Redskins won the opening coin toss and decided to give the ball to Tom Brady to start the game. Although you never want to give the ball to Brady, he made them pay early. After Dion Lewis gained 25 yards on three rushes, two of which were helped by the continued poor play by Perry Riley Jr., Brady went to work in Redskins territory. Lewis would gift Washington with a dropped touchdown, but Brady would make up for the mistake by converting on fourth-and-2 to Julian Edelman. Following a third down conversion by the Patriots, Brady would get the ball to Edelman again for a touchdown.

Picture1

(Photo by: @Patriots)

When you thought things could not get any worse, the Patriots came out with a surprise onside kick that Ryan Grant could not corral. Just when all hope seemed lost Will Blackmon did not give up on the play after giving up a catch on third down to Edelman by ripping the ball away for a turnover. But on the Redskins first offensive play from scrimmage, Kirk Cousins dropped back to pass and fired a dart to Pierre Garcon who could not make the catch, had the ball pop up into the air, before being intercepted. Brady is good when he has to go 80 yards, it is no surprise that he orchestrated another touchdown drive on a short field ending with LeGarrette Blount.

After a quick three and out that featured a big drop by Derek Carrier that would have gone for a big gainer, Brady had the ball back in his hands again. On a third-and-8 play with the Redskins defense hoping to finally get off the field, Brady had all day to throw to a WIDE open Brandon LaFell who left Chris Culliver in the dust. The throw was actually weak, but LaFell was so open that he just waited until it finally came down. Luckily for Washington the opportunistic defense, aided by Brady not seeing Keenan Robinson, struck again. Robinson undercut Edelman near the goal line for Brady’s second interception of the year and nearly took it to the house were it not for Brady’s legs able to trip him up after a 44 yard return.

Per usual the Redskins and specifically the receivers could not catch a break as they were dropping everything. After one first down, Jay Gruden opted not to attempt a 54 yard field goal and go for it on a fourth-and-11 down. As slim as those odds are to convert, Cousins delivered a ball on target to Garcon who had yet another drop as he was too worried about minimal contact from Logan Ryan. After 37 yards on the ground from Blount against a putrid run defense, the bend but don’t break mentality for Washington kicked in again as they held the Patriots to a field goal after facing a goal to go predicament. The Patriots were up 17-0 with 7:56 left to go in the first half.

The offense finally got on track with Pierre Garcon making the catch on third-and-7 on a pivot pattern. Matt Jones would keep it going with two more consecutive first down gains. Jones would pick up two more first down on the ground to set up the Redskins with a goal to go situation before the drive stalled. Brandon Scherff got blown up resulting in a four yard loss and then to try and make up for the mistake ended up  injuring backup center Josh LeRibeus. Instead of going for it on fourth-and-5 with the possibility of a touchdown, Gruden opted to kick a chip shot field goal to go into the half down 17-3.

Washington looked doomed to go three-and-out to start the second half after a Jones drop and rush for no gain. Putting his earlier drops in the past, Garcon came up with a deep reception for a 36 yard gain on yet another well-thrown football from Cousins. Three plays later in Patriots territory, Jones put the ball on the ground for the Redskins third turnover of the game. The dilemma between better production and turnovers with Jones and ball security but lesser threat Alfred Morris is another dilemma Gruden had to deal with. Even with the short field, Washington’s defense was able to hold the Patriots to a chip shot field goal after New England had first-and-goal from the 5.

After both teams traded three and outs, Washington still could get nothing going offensively as they became one-dimensional. It is rare for New England to go three-and-out  once, and it certainly was not going to happen two times in a row. Blount had 31 more yards on just two carries before the Patriots would convert back-to-back third downs to Rob Gronkowski. On another third down play, Brady easily exploited Perry Riley in coverage for a touchdown to Brandon Bolden on a similar play call to earlier in the game when Lewis dropped a potential score.

Following a punt from both sides, Cousins was able to go to work against a prevent Patriots defense. Cousins completed passes to Jamison CrowderAndre Roberts, Pierre Garcon, and Chris Thompson for double-digit gains before being faced with a goal-to-go situation. After a few empty shots to the end zone, the Redskins capitalized on a rub route to Jordan Reed for a touchdown. In the end, Washington left Gillette Stadium with a 27-10 loss.

About Neil Dalal

Neil Dalal is a Staff Writer for District Sports Page covering the Redskins, Wizards, and Maryland Terrapins. Neil grew up in Silver Spring, MD and attends the University of Maryland. Neil has loved everything related to the Redskins, Wizards, Capitals, and Terrapins since he was eight years old. However, he favors the Orioles, as he started watching baseball before the Expos moved to DC. You can follow Neil on Twitter @NeilDalal96.

Trackbacks

  1. […] a tough loss to the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots on Sunday, Washington Redskins head coach Jay Gruden addressed the media on Monday to discuss the […]

  2. […] off of a mistake filled loss to the New England Patriots Washington Redskins head coach Jay Gruden and starting quarterback Kirk Cousins, addressed the […]

%d bloggers like this: