HOFFMAN: Redskins get first win over dreadful Dolphins

Craig Hoffman
October 13, 2019 - 6:21 pm
Redskins get first win against dreadful Dolphins

Michael Reaves/Getty Images

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MIAMI – The Washington Redskins survived a winless and talent deprived Miami Dolphins team to earn their first win of the season despite a late push by Dolphins backup quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick that made things far more interesting than they should have been. 

Overall, the first game of the Bill Callahan era went exactly as many projected. The Redskins offense was run-heavy and created big plays in the passing game off of that. They proved they could do it against the league’s worst team for a 17-16 win. Now the question will be can they do it against anybody better after escaping with such slim margins. 

The Redskins knew their opponent and certainly didn’t empty their full arsenal, but did enough to win. Adrian Peterson rushed 23 times for 118 yards. He crossed into triple digits on his 17th carry in the 3rd quarter. When informed that he was averaging 7.0 yards per carry at that time, he simply went “Woah.”

Callahan has stressed rush attempts and said after the game he felt they did a really good job with them. For the first time all season, the Redskins ran more than they passed. That is what the Skins' interim head coach wants, but let’s not kid ourselves: The score helps. The Redskins were tied at zero or lead for the entire game. They don’t get to 33 rush attempts without that fact being true. Staying consistent with the run becomes a lot harder if they get down. 

The Redskins passing game looked the same as it was under Jay Gruden schematically, but unfortunately so did the execution. Case Keenum was bad again on Sunday, something he admitted after the game. Whether it was the miss to Chris Thompson in the end zone or a half dozen other misses, the Redskins quarterback didn’t exactly shine in his return to action.

The good news though is the looks were there. If Terry McLaurin catches the one drop he had (which is maybe his only major mistake so far during his rookie year), Keenum still winds up with over 200 yards and 3 touchdowns as McLaurin would have scored on that play.

Scoring seems to be all McLaurin does. Except for when he takes breaks to make just as significant plays in key situations. Callahan called McLaurin’s post route out of the end zone “a work of art” and said it was more impressive than either of his touchdowns. The rookie agreed, saying he wanted redemption for the drop earlier in the day.

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All in all, there isn’t much to take out of this game. It was a win, barely, but that doesn’t matter in the standings whether you’re racing to the top or the bottom. It’s a win.

It was a win against a really poor football team that I take next to nothing out of going forward. McLaurin is really good. We knew that. Callahan is going to run the ball more. We knew that. It helped the defense, who made plays and has seemingly rediscovered its pass rush. We figured that would happen, too. 

Kevin O’Connell called a really good game, but we could predict that too. The hard part is to do it again. As he develops tendencies, can he stay one step ahead of defenses? Only time will tell.

The biggest factor in this team’s potential to win games going forward is Keenum. If he’s Week 1 Case, they’re going to be competitive. If his foot doesn’t improve and bring his game with it, he’ll get replaced by rookie Dwayne Haskins in a few weeks time.

Stat of the day: ZERO, as in the number of offensive penalties the Redskins committed today. Maybe having referees at practice is actually helpful! 

Quote of the day: “Once I saw the motion, I’ve seen that play a thousand times. I know our defense prepared for that. They really put a stress and emphasis on that play.” – Terry McLaurin on the 2-point conversion.

The kid’s locked in on stuff that’s not even his job. I’m starting to think he’s a cyborg or something. 

Craig Hoffman is the Redskins beat reporter for 106.7 The Fan. His post-game columns are powered by Dell EMC and TVAR Solutions -- transforming the federal data center.

Follow @CraigHoffman on Twitter for more Redskins insights.