SNIDER: Redskins defense needs to regroup, not rejoice

Rick Snider
November 12, 2018 - 10:56 am
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The Washington Redskins have allowed nearly 1,000 yards in their last two games. A thousand yards? That used to be a monthly total, not consecutive Sundays.

They're going to start playing Dixie Chicks music at games because there are definitely "Wide Open Spaces" in the Redskins defense.

Yet, Washington now sits atop the NFC East at 6-3 with a two-game lead after beating the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 16-3 on Sunday despite allowing 501 yards. The most amazing part is Washington allowed 491 yards to Atlanta in a 38-14 loss on Nov. 4.

The Bucs played some stupid offense. Five trips to the red zone ended with one field goal. The Redskins made some nice red zone stands, but the Bucs should have led 21-3 early instead of barely managing a 3-3 tie.

Washington forced four turnovers while Tampa Bay quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick showed a Harvard education doesn't mean you'll play smart. It was the sixth team that Fitzpatrick led a team against Washington over his 14-year career, and he still hasn't learn not to make dumb mistakes.

The scary part for the Redskins is the defense is supposed to carry the team. The offense remains sluggish as quarterback Alex Smith seems only up for one good drive per game. If Washington is to keep winning, it needs low-scoring games.

The defense delivered against Tampa Bay, but are they really going to seal the red zone against Houston, Dallas and Philadelphia twice in coming weeks? Opposing quarterbacks are feasting on big holes between linebackers and the secondary. Need a few yards? Just throw towards the sideline, where no one is defending. If cornerbacks Fabian Moreau and Danny Johnson hang back any farther to avoid getting beat deep, opponents will continue to get 15-yard catches and move down the field in six plays.

Meanwhile, the pass rush is stuck outside, leaving quarterbacks to stroll up the middle untouched for big gains. And tackling has been terrible lately. The Bucs repeatedly pulled away for second-chance yards.

Good quarterbacks have roughed up the Redskins in their three losses. Fitzpatrick just couldn't finish off drives. Before the defense celebrates allowing three points, they should remember other opponents won’t be so kind. The defense needs not to rejoice, but regroup.

Rick Snider has covered Washington sports since 1978. Follow him on Twitter: @Snide_Remarks.

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