Russell: Redskins have much to fix after win

Chris Russell
November 11, 2018 - 7:53 pm
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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

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The Redskins won a game Sunday in Tampa that in all honesty, they had no business winning. Yet for the “winning is the only thing that matters” crowd – they are (6-3) and will once again be in first place no matter what happens to the rest of the division.

They allowed 501 net yards, 398 of those through the air. The Bucs converted (6-of-10) on third down. The Redskins only racked up 286 yards of offense on a Buccaneers defense that was yielding 446.8 yards per game coming in.

The only numbers that ultimately matter? 16-3. The final score.

Now our game nine, week ten Redskins report card.

Offense: C- : The numbers and the lack of raw production are painful and yet somehow, the Redskins have been able to get away with it. Sunday was no different. Once again, Alex Smith threw for well under 200 yards (178), just as he did during the Redskins three-game winning streak. They ran the ball better on Sunday (116 net yards) than they did against Atlanta and it was just enough.

Smith was (19-for-27) on the day and while he had one egregious miss of Vernon Davis who had torched his coverage and was wide open about 25 yards downfield, Smith was mostly efficient.

The Redskins only touchdown drive was exactly what Smith was acquired for. He extended two plays back-to-back in the red zone, first with a sliding run inside the ten-yard line and then shuffling his feet to buy time for Josh Doctson to run along the back line of the end zone for a score. Another third-down conversion.

Earlier in the drive, Smith hooked up with Maurice Harris on a perfect dart for a huge third-and-9 conversion and then Jordan Reed on the very next play, on a great route, design and throw.

Adrian Peterson had a decent day, but five times ran for negative yardage on a first down call, including a big loss on the only touchdown drive.

Penalties derailed a couple of Redskins drives as usual. Jonathan Cooper committed two fouls and the first one wiped out a 40-yard screen gain by Kapri Bibbs. Washington is nowhere near good enough to overcome these constant problems.

Defense: C : It’s hard to be positive about a unit that was carved up like a Thanksgiving turkey for more than 500-yards but they somehow would tighten the screws in the red zone and force mistakes. Josh Norman had an interception at the goal line on the first Bucs drive of the game, Preston Smith had his first sack of the year which forced a turnover by Ryan Fitzpatrick and Ryan Anderson punched a ball out from behind just inside the red zone for a touchback.

Throw in two Chandler Catanzaro field goal misses and a couple of big stops on third down and you can find a way to bend, but not break. Greg Stroman also had his first career interception.

Special Teams: A- : Dustin Hopkins made all three of his field goal attempts, which on a day like Sunday, was absolutely huge. Once again, Tress Way was tremendous. He had five punts for a 49.4 average, a long of 58 and 4-of-5 were downed inside the 20.

Coaching: C+ : It was far from a “Picasso” but somehow Jay Gruden’s staff cobbled together just enough. The offense wasted timeouts in the second half that normally would have killed them. Bill Callahan’s offensive line was missing three starters and played reasonably well with Morgan Moses and Ty Nsekhe also banged up. Greg Manusky’s guys made the plays they had to have because they were dreadful outside of the red zone and Ben Kotwica’s special teams have been a consistent, steadying hand throughout the season. 

 

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