Russell: All passing grades on Redskins report card

Chris Russell
October 28, 2018 - 8:35 pm

Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

The Washington Redskins are now (5-2), once again, in first place all by themselves for a fourth consecutive week and return home for the Atlanta Falcons with their best start in a decade.

It was a 20-13 runaway win for Adrian Peterson and the burgundy-and-gold in East Rutherford, New Jersey on Sunday afternoon.

Here is our week 8 report card grades after the Redskins win:

Offense: B: Adrian Peterson continues to amaze with a 64-yard run that he bounced outside to his right and exploded down the Redskins sideline after two great pull blocks by Brandon Scherff and Chase Roullier. Peterson also slipped a tackle on a check down for a 7-yard touchdown catch earlier in the game. Peterson combined 156 all-purpose yards along with the two scores.

Alex Smith did a nice job on that score, looking to his right and scanning back to his left to find Peterson. Smith started off the game in a sharp rhythm with effective, crisp passes. He began the contest 10-of-11 but then struggled after that for much of the rest of the day in terms of accuracy. He finished (20-32, 178) with no interceptions, as is the norm.

Josh Doctson was very effective for a third straight week (5-49) and Jordan Reed was targeted 12 times with mixed results (7-38). Nobody will confuse this Redskins passing offense with the “Greatest Show on Turf” or bad grass (FedExField) but they were effective in moving the ball for the most part.

Penalties were a major problem on offense in the first half and overall, as Washington was flagged eight times for 90 yards.

Defense: A-: The Redskins defense came up with 7.0 sacks with Matt Ioannidis leading the way with 2.5 takedowns of Eli Manning. Ryan Kerrigan had 1.5, Josh Harvey-Clemons, Daron Payne and Jonathan Allen had the others.

D.J. Swearinger had two interceptions, including one inside the Redskins 10-yard line and Greg Manusky’s defense held Saquon Barkley to 111 total yards (38 rushing) and the only touchdown they allowed was a late score by Evan Engram with 0:17 left.

In the last three wins, the Redskins have held opponents to 81 net rushing yards (Carolina), 73 against Dallas and 37 on Sunday in New Jersey. That’s an average of 63.6 rushing yards allowed per game (191/3). On 54 rushing attempts, that’s 3.53 yards per rush.

Special Teams: B: The only blemish on the day, and it was a large one, was a Dustin Hopkins shank on a field goal attempt at the end of the first half from 41 yards out.

Everything else was nearly perfect. Again. Three weeks in a row, the special teams’ units have positively contributed to a Redskins win and make no mistake about it – the Redskins knew they had to invest more in this area to get dividends.  Hopkins made his other two attempts,  one from 53 yards out as he continues to be excellent from long distance. That’s his 5th made kick from 49+ yards this year.

Tress Way averaged 49.2 per punt on five kicks, had three downed inside the 20 and a long of 58 came after he was banged up and initially unable to kick. Jehu Chesson and Mason Foster stood out for their punt coverage among others. The Redskins still have no return game to speak of on either punt or kickoffs.

Coaching: A: Jay Gruden opened the game passing when most expected the Redskins to pound the rock. They threw or attempted to throw on 8-of-11 called plays to start the game against a team that traded run-stuffing nose tackle Damon “Snacks” Harrison this week. That allowed Smith to get into a rhythm.

Gruden finished the game with a renewed commitment to the run game, despite many struggles in the past when trying to put a game on ice. With 4:08 left and only a touchdown lead, the Redskins ran it three straight times with the last being the 64-yard pop from Peterson for the icing on the cake. 


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