REPORT CARD: Redskins shine everywhere but on offense

Chris Russell
October 22, 2018 - 12:36 am
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Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

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The Redskins won again! Somehow, someway – they pulled one out to remain in first place all-alone for the third week in a row.

They beat the Dallas Cowboys 20-17 to advance to 4-2. They did it for themselves. They did it for everyone who can't stand the Cowboys. They did it for their fans. Most importantly, they did it for Rich Tandler.

Week 7 Report Card

Offense: C -

Adrian Peterson once again was very solid (24 carries, 99 yards) despite a handful of negative yardage carries. Where would this Redskins offense be without him? It's not very good with him.

Injuries are a big factor. For a second straight week, the Redskins were without Jamison Crowder and Chris Thompson. Throw in Paul Richardson to the mix this week and the Redskins were clearly facing an enormous challenge against a very good defense.

Their first drive was terrific, ending in a beautiful Kapri Bibbs screen touchdown off play-action. The Redskins set it up perfectly on the series with a "RPO" rush by Peterson – a read-option give to the future Hall Of Fame running back – and a 12-yard completion to Josh Doctson. Finally, the Redskins did not squander great field position.

After that, they did. The next drive started at the Dallas-45 and Washington got nothing. They also had to settle for field goals on a few red zone trips in another touchdown-less third quarter.

Alex Smith missed several big opportunities, including a pretty easy touchdown pass to Jeremy Sprinkle on the first drive after halftime. Smith also was off on a throw to the sidelines to Michael Floyd before the half and overthrew Doctson deep on that same drive. There was more, but you get the point. The offense is way too reliant on Peterson and extremely inconsistent.

Smith also ran out of bounds late instead of forcing a final timeout. No Bueno!

Defense: B +

If not for the final two drives and the long Michael Gallup touchdown, the defense would get an A+ grade. Ryan Kerrigan had two second-half sacks, doubling his season output, and on his last one forced a fumble which Preston Smith recovered for a Redskins touchdown.

D.J. Swearinger was terrific early in the game, forcing a fumble after making a stop on Dak Prescott on fourth-and-1, which gave the Redskins excellent field position. Swearinger was flying around on the first few drives.

I thought this was Zach Brown's best game of the year. He was constantly flying around the line of scrimmage and shutting down Ezekiel Elliott, who was held to 42 all-purpose yards (33 rushing, 9 receiving) on the day.

Washington's defense also held Dallas to 5-of-14 on third-downs and 323 net yards.

Special Teams: A

Nothing special out of this group like last week, but they didn't screw anything up and field position was very critical on a windy day. Dustin Hopkins made his two field goals (21, 25) and two extra points. He had four touchbacks out of five kickoffs as well. Tress Way and the Redskins punt team held Cole Beasley to three returns for 11 combined yards.

Coaching: B

Greg Manusky and Ben Kotwica's units were good as explained above. Jay Gruden is going to get fried in the media, but it's hard to crush Gruden. Some of his play-calling was very conservative. Some was too cute, especially on a few critical third-down situations. But overall, Gruden was patient with the run and dialed up some successful opportunities for his pass game.

Bonus grade: A+++++++++

The Washington Redskins as an organization for everything they did for Rich Tandler, his family and friends, who are still mourning his loss.

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