Thoughts and Observations On Redskins Loss to the Seahawks
1. The Redskins fought hard to the end:
-I know people don’t like to hear the term “moral victory”, but the Redskins did get something out of their loss to the Seahawks Monday night. Yes it’s still a loss on their record, but they didn’t give up, which they so easily could have done. Most people were expecting the Redskins to lose by 20-30 points to the defending champs and there were definitely times where it looked like it would be a blowout, but the Redskins fought and kept the game close. Hopefully that is something the Redskins can build upon and it can start leading to some wins, but at the very least they saved themselves an embarrassment in primetime. It of course wasn’t all the Redskins doing as the Seahawks played sloppy and shot themselves in the foot multiple times, but the Redskins could have easily made the same kind of mistakes and they didn’t.
2. Kirk Cousins had a good game:
-The game started out ugly versus the Seahawks defense as Cousins managed just 93 yards on 7 for 17 passing in the first half. And his numbers were only that good due to a 60 yard TD strike to DeSean Jackson (though that was a great throw). Cousins was much better in the 2nd half where he was 14 of 19 for 192 yards and another TD. Those numbers are even more impressive considering that the Redskins were forced to start three straight drives inside the 10 yardline, which made it very tough on the Redskins offense. Cousins overall numbers would have been better if not for 4 drops by his receivers throughout the game. Though this wasn’t a perfect game or even a great game, it was without a doubt a good game for Cousins versus one of the best defenses in the league. The Seahawks defense has already made Aaron Rodgers look ordinary this season and held Peyton Manning in check for 58 minutes. The fact that Cousins was able to find some effectiveness and make some big throws was impressive. Some may knock the Redskins having 5 three and out drives and 8 total drives (not counting the last one) that gained less than 20 yards as some knock on Cousins, but the Broncos vaunted offense had 4 three and out drives and 8 drives of less than 20 yards when they faced off.
This is not to suggest that Kirk Cousins deserves a ticker tape parade for his performance, but it should be taken as a good sign that Cousins was able to put up good numbers versus such a relentless defense. Cousins played well enough for the Redskins to win this game and that is what they needed from him.
3. DeSean Jackson came up big:
-Outside of Jackson’s revenge game versus the Eagles, he’s been very quiet for the Redskins this season. And early on it looked like he would have another forgettable game for the Redskins as he dropped two early passes. Jackson made up for his early mistakes and came up big in the game with 5 catches for 157 yards and a TD. Jackson proved himself to be a real threat to the Seahawks secondary and he was able to get open a couple of times allowing Kirk Cousins to get some big chunk plays. If Jackson can play like this most weeks it will be a big boost to the Redskins passing game and make him worth the contract they gave him.
4. The Offensive line is a growing concern:
Everyone knew the offensive line was an issue heading into the season, but now it is even worse than expected. Not only are a number of starters dealing with nagging injuries, but they are now struggling in the one area where they were considered semi-good; run blocking. It was obviously going to be tough to run on the Seahawks defense and the Redskins didn’t do themselves any favors in their schemes, but the biggest issue was just that the line got beat. On almost every rushing down at least one offensive lineman was missing a block (sometimes it was more than one) leaving little room for Alfred Morris to run. This is the 3rd straight game where the line has struggled to consistently open running lanes and Morris has paid the price.
5. Too many defensive breakdowns:
-The defense played better as the game wore on and at the end the Seahawks needed some incredible plays to beat them, but early on there were just too many defensive breakdowns for the Redskins to overcome. Whether it was containment on Russell Wilson, coverage lapses or bad angles in the open field, the Redskins defense continued to show their weaknesses. The Seahawks exploited these weaknesses (just like other teams have this year) and were able to convert them into points a couple of times. While some of this is scheme related, it’s pretty clear that the Redskins just lack talent overall on the defense. This is particularly true in the secondary, where their continue to be major defensive lapses in coverage.
6. The onside kick was a mistake:
-While I thought the Redskins should take some chances in this game, I thought the onside kick was a major mistake. In general trying a “surprise” on-side kick isn’t a bad idea in a game like this, but the Redskins tried it right after they passed up a 4th and 1 situation for a FG. If you want to take a risk, going for it on 4th and 1 would have been the much better call. The game was 17-7 at that point and you had 4th and 1 from the 9 yard line. If you get that and can get a TD, you turn it into a 3 point game and really get momentum on your side. If you fail on the 4th down, then the Seahawks are 91 yards away from the TD and if the defense holds you could get some good field position. Instead the Redskins kicked the FG, and then tried an on-side kick. The Seahawks weren’t surprised and they had excellent field position. Though the Redskins defense forced 3 straight 3 and outs, it meant the Seahawks could pin the Redskins deep and they did so three straight times inside the 10 yard line. When the Seahawks got the ball for the 4th straight time in excellent field position they were able to finally move it and score a back-breaking TD.
7. Field position was a major issue in this game:
-As mentioned above field position was a deciding factor in this game. The Redskins only started one of their 12 drives beyond the 20 yard line, and it was their final drive where they had all of 21 seconds to score 10 points. The Seahawks pinned the Redskins inside their 10 yard line 4 times in this game including one time at the 1 yard line. Even if the Redskins had a top 5 offense they weren’t going to continuously move the ball 80-90 yards on this defense. The Redskins average starting field position for the game was their own 17 yard line, meanwhile the Seahawks were starting on their own 35 yard line. They started just one of their drives inside the 20 yard line and just a total of 4 drives inside the 30. You aren’t going to beat the Seahawks when they have that sort of yardage advantage on drives.
8. Final Thoughts:
-At the end of the day it’s a loss and the Redskins are now 1-4, and in a division where everyone else has at least 3 wins. If the Redskins don’t want to get knocked out of the playoffs before November they have to start winning and hope that their NFC East foes come back to earth.