Colts eliminated Skins’ pass rush by exploiting early downs

September 20, 2018 - 12:12 pm

By Ben Krimmel

The Redskins’ pass rush was noticeably absent in their Week 2 loss to the Colts, an issue they didn’t have in their season-opening win a week earlier.

Their pass rush fell apart, London Fletcher explained to The Sports Junkies, because of breakdowns on first and second downs.

"In order to rush the quarterback, you have to get into passing situations and the Redskins didn't win enough first and second downs," Fletcher said. "I mean they were in a lot of third-and-1, third-and-2 third-and-3. And you're not going to get to the quarterback that often if you're in third-and-short, it just doesn't happen." 

With just three sacks in the first two games, the Redskins' defense, which tied for the seventh most sacks in the NFL last season, was nullified by a Colts offense that used short routes and pick plays to get the ball out of Andrew Luck's hands quickly, Fletcher said.

"I think those guys will be able to get to the quarterback," Fletcher said. "But they got to get into third-and-longs."

On Sunday, eight of the Colts' nine third-down conversions came on third-and-short situations. And when facing a third-and-4 or longer, the Redskins held the Colts to one conversion on eight attempts and had two D.J. Swearinger interceptions. 

"But you have to win first and second down. You can't give up seven yards on the run on first down, or six yards on first down," the four-time Pro Bowler said, “and think you are going to get after the quarterback on 3rd down."

The challenge for the Washington defense won't get any easier with Aaron Rodgers coming to FedEx Field Sunday.  

"Coach Tomsula, the defensive line coach, he is one of the best defensive line coaches in the National Football League, and he will have a great plan to be able take advantage of the blocking of the offensive line of the Green Bay Packers."

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