This Redskins team can run wild

Brian Tinsman
September 09, 2018 - 5:45 pm
Redskins_Running_Backs

Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

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Running back was one of the Washington Redskins' biggest question marks coming out of training camp this season. Now, it could be the team's biggest strength.

The Redskins wrapped up the first half rushing 23 times for 98 yards and a touchdown. They ran a whopping 46 first-half plays on offense, and did not skew towards passing until moving into the two-minute drill that yielded a touchdown to close out the first half.

Adrian Peterson had a historic first half, taking 14 carries for 53 yards and passing Hall of Famers Marshall Faulk and Jim Brown on the NFL's all-time rushing yards list for 10th. He also scored his first touchdown as a member of the Redskins, which happened to be the 100th of his career, pushing him into a tie with Faulk for seventh all-time.

Peterson was paced by Chris Thompson, who rushed twice for 27 yards, reprising his role as the ultimate third-down back in the stable. At the point that Thompson broke his leg last season, he was the only player in the NFL to lead his team in both rushing and receiving yards. He did not appear in the preseason for the Redskins but appears to be running at midseason form, scoring the team's first touchdown of the season on a first-half reception.

When the Redskins don't have Peterson or Thompson on the field, they still have the capacity to run the ball, also having first-half carries by Rob Kelley and Alex Smith.

Smith flashed mobility in the open field and at the line of scrimmage, converting a big fourth down and rushing four total times for 11 total yards. The advantage of Smith is that he runs for the sideline when he can and knows when to slide when he can't.

Kelley was a bit disappointing in his preseason opportunities but rushed six yards on two carries in the first 30 minutes.

For fans of the balanced offense (where is Chris Russell?), the Redskins' success on the ground has allowed them to skew towards rushing:

 

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