The Redskins survived their road trip vs the Giants to notch their first win of the year, but despite the win the Redskins were still a mixed bag yesterday of positives and negatives. Here is a breakdown of what went right and wrong yesterday on Offense:
Offense moved the football effectively-
The Redskins had over 400 yards of total offense and put up 29 points on the board, both are good numbers to have in a vacuum each week. The Redskins had 10 full drives and they only had 1 that ended in a 3 and out, while seven of their 10 drives ended in points. Considering that the Giants came into the game with a pretty stingy defense, that is a good offensive output on the road.
Kirk Cousins improved his play-
Though Cousins didn’t play on the level he closed out last season, he played a lot better in this game and made up for a few miscues on his own. Cousins moved the ball effectively throughout the game and had some nice big throws at key moments. Cousins avoided throwing any interceptions in this game, something that plagued him in each of the first two weeks.
Matt Jones comes up big at the end of the game-
With the Redskins needing a scoring drive to retake the lead with 7 minutes left in the 4th quarter the Redskins turned to Matt Jones to eat clock and move the football. Jones came up with multiple first down runs on this drive which helped get the Redskins inside the 20 yard line for the game winning field goal and leave the Giants with under 2 min left on the clock. Of Jones’ 8 runs on the final drive 4 went for 5 or more yards, including a 10 yard and 12 yard run that each picked up crucial first downs.
Redskins passing weapons come up big-
Kirk Cousins and the Redskins spread the passing attempts around as Jordan Reed, Jamison Crowder and Pierre Garcon each had 7 targets and DeSean Jackson led the team with 8 targets. Each of the Redskins top 4 playmakers had strong games and all had big individual efforts on key plays that helped turn this game in the Redskins favor. Crowder who also had a big 50 yard punt return that helped set up another FG, turned a screen pass into a 55 yard TD early in the 2nd half which really helped turn the momentum in this game.
Redskins red zone performance was terrible-
While the Redskins were able to move the ball effectively, they couldn’t close out drives as they were 0-4 inside the red zone, including going 0-2 in goal-to-go opportunities. In the final drive before the half the Redskins couldn’t even manage a FG as Kirk Cousins took a bad sack and time expired. This type of performance and these miscues inside the red zone have been a problem all year for the Redskins and they are lucky to still come away with a win. If the Redskins were even just semi-efficient in the red zone they would have blown out the Giants, and not needed to rely on the Giants own miscues to help win this game.
Cousins continues to have inconsistencies in his game-
Though Cousins played better and didn’t have an actual turnover, he does deserve a lot of heat for that sack he took right before the half. That is inexcusable to take a sack there in that situation, and it cost the Redskins 3 easy points. It meant at the end of the game the Giants only needed a FG to win the game, which could have come back to cost the Redskins the game if Eli didn’t throw an interception at the end. While Cousins had some other big throws, he also missed some key throws that hurt the Redskins as well. While no QB is perfect, the Redskins are counting on Cousins to play like he did at the end of last season and he’s still not at that point.
Running game continues to be a weakness of this team-
While Matt Jones was big on the Redskins final full drive, the Redskins run game was still pretty bad throughout the game. The Redskins running backs gained 95 yards on 27 carries for just a 3.5 ypc average. Both Matt Jones and Chris Thompson ended with 3.8 ypc averages, while Robert Kelly managed a 1.8 ypc on 4 carries. Granted it was a tough run defense the Redskins faced, but they need to get more out of this rushing offense for the Redskins to continue to trust it going forward. The Redskins final numbers would have been much worse if Jones didn’t have some big carries on that final drive. Up until then, Jones had 28 yards on 9 carries, and the total rushing offense was at 58 yards on 19 carries. That is a 3 ypc average and just a thorn in the side of any productive offense.