Russell: Few passing grades on Redskins report card

Chris Russell
November 04, 2018 - 10:00 pm

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports


The Redskins were pounded into submission and on the scoreboard on Sunday at FedExField by the Atlanta Falcons, 38-14. They’re now (5-3) and head to Tampa.

Our Week 9 report card grades:

Offense – D: Alex Smith passed for over 300 yards for the first time with the Redskins (306) and had a nice fade touchdown throw to Josh Doctson while leading another scoring drive that got Washington back in the game at 28-14 late in the third. He was mostly accurate (30-for-46) but had plenty of uneven moments too.

A few examples: Once again, Adrian Peterson and Smith weren’t on the same page on a screen to the right and the pass hit Peterson in the back as he never turned around. On a completion, Paul Richardson had to lay out for a ball that should have been an easy pitch-and-catch. With the Redskins looking for a late spark, Vernon Davis beat his coverage on a wheel route up the sideline and Smith was close, but just a hair short ball-placement wise and it wound up as an interception.

Speaking of Peterson: he could never get going. He finished with only 17 yards rushing. Smith (22), Kapri Bibbs (20 – TD) and Samaje Perine (20) all had more success on the ground on the day. That’s not a good recipe for success.

Josh Doctson had two drops and a controversial taunting penalty but made several nice, contested grabs including the touchdown and Maurice Harris had 10 receptions for 124 yards for career highs.

The offensive line is a huge problem moving forward as Trent Williams was out Sunday and may miss another game or two. Shawn Lauvao was injured early and never returned, while Brandon Scherff was hurt in the third quarter and didn’t return. The Falcons constantly pressured and flushed Smith throwing the passing game further out of rhythm.

Defense – F: It was a stinker of a performance in every way. The Redskins allowed 154 rushing yards to a team that was averaging 83 yards per game and 6.42 per rush attempt (Atlanta was 3.7 per attempt before Sunday).  They allowed 337 passing yards with most of them coming after the catch and all four Matt Ryan touchdown passes coming in the box-area of the line of scrimmage.

The Redskins defense allowed (10-for-13) on third down conversions and the Falcons controlled the ball for nearly 33 minutes.

Special Teams – C +: This unit was largely a non-factor, positively or negatively, which is better than the alternative. Tress Way once again averaged 49.0 per punt, with a long of 62 and four downed inside the 20.

Coaching – D +: Is it fair to say the Redskins did not handle prosperity well? They had won three in a row. Did the music DJ the team had at practice Friday install a loose and lax sense of accomplishment? Were the Redskins unprepared? Those are very difficult questions to answer.

Here’s the reality: Jay Gruden’s offense is way too sophisticated for my liking when everything goes to hell in a hurry. Longer, complex developing routes are great when you have an offensive line that’s not shredded by injury, a quarterback who is not missing targets and throws and receivers who don’t drop passes. When Washington gets behind by more than seven points, they are in enormous trouble.

Greg Manusky’s defense struggled in all phases as we mentioned but nothing he did worked. He tried to blitz and Matt Ryan smoked them. He played coverage and Atlanta tortured them on the ground. Just a bad day at the office against an offense firing on all cylinders. 


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