Tha Sports Junkies 101

Washington Redskins Week 12 Review: Skins Falter in Big D



Redzone inefficiencies and susceptible defense doom Washington.

Despite dominating the stat line, the Washington Redskins were unable to capitalize where it matters most, on the scoreboard. Washington had five trips inside the redzone but only converted on two of those possessions. Dallas rushed out to a 7-0 lead after a four-yard rushing touchdown by Ezekiel Elliot on the Cowboys opening possession. It was clear early that the Redskins defense would have a tough time stopping the Dallas offense.

On the Redskins first offensive possession, they drove the ball to the Dallas 22. After a holding penalty by Ty Nsekhe, the Redskins were forced to settle for a field attempt. Dustin Hopkins however missed a 43-yard field goal. After forcing a Dallas three-and-out, Washington once again moved the ball inside the redzone, this time to the Dallas five yard line. After a Robert Kelley rushing attempt from the “Wildcat”and two incompletions by Kirk Cousins, Washington settled for a 24-yard field goal by Hopkins.

The following drive, Dak Prescott was able to pick on fellow rookie Kendall Fuller. Fuller allowed two third down conversions on the drive. The Redskins defense however, was able to limit the Cowboys to three points on that drive as Dan Bailey connected from 46-yards out. The ensuing possession, Jay Gruden settled for a 55-yard field goal, unfortunately for Washington, Hopkins kick sailed wide right.

Six plays later, Prescott connected with Terrance Williams for a 10-yard touchdown pass. On Washington’s next possession, they once again moved the ball downfield, only to have the drive stall inside the redzone at the Dallas two.  Hopkins added a 20-yard chip shot as the Redskins trailed 17-6 at the half.

On their second drive of the half, the Redskins were able to finally come away with a touchdown in the redzone. Kirk Cousins found Jordan Reed for the first of his three touchdown passes to cut the lead to 17-12. Head coach Jay Gruden opted to go for the two-point conversion try but the Redskins were unsuccessful.

The Cowboys quickly answered, going 75 yards in seven plays. Dak Prescott added a rushing touchdown from six yards out. The Redskins offense continued it’s momentum as Cousins found DeSean Jackson on a stop-and-go route for a 67 yard touchdown pass. With 9:50 remaining in the fourth quarter, Jay Gruden once again made a questionable call as the Redskins attempted a surprise onside kick. Dallas recovered the kick and scored eight plays later on Elliot’s second rushing touchdown on the afternoon to extend the lead to 31-19.

Penalties hurt the Redskins defense that drive as Donte Whitner was flagged for unnecessary roughness and Quinton Dunbar was flagged for defensive holding. Kendall Fuller was also beaten badly by Dez Bryant for 26 yards on a key third down.

Fifteen plays later Cousins connected with Jordan Reed once again, this time for an eight yard touchdown. That trimmed the lead to 31-26 but that was as close as Washington got as Dallas was able to escape with a five-point victory. 31.5 million households watched the game making it the most watched regular season game in Fox Sports history.

What were they Thinking?

Jay Gruden had several questionable calls on Thursday. Early in the game inside the Dallas 5, Washington attempted a running play from the Wildcat formation for the first time all season. Gruden and offensive coordinator Sean McVay got “too cute” and the play resulted in a one-yard loss.

Instead of playing field position, Gruden opted for a 55-yard field goal attempt from Dustin Hopkins who already missed a 43-yard attempt prior to his 55 yard attempt. Hopkins was blinded by the sunlight, as his kick sailed right.

Gruden also opted for a surprise onside kick with 9:50 left in the fourth quarter. It’s easy second guessing because the neither of the calls paid off but with nearly 10 minutes in regulation and only being down by six, it was indeed a questionable call to say the least. The Cowboys were able to add touchdowns after the missed field goal and failed onside attempt.

Redskins Regress in the Redzone

The Redskins continued their redzone struggles going 40 percent, scoring on two out of five tries. Former Redskins great and current Redskins analyst Brian Mitchell ripped the play-calling of coaches in the loss to Dallas. The Redskins do a lot of good things offensively but redzone execution is not one of them as the Skins’ are 28th in redzone scoring, scoring touchdowns 43.8 percent of the time. In 2015, the offense was sixth in the redzone scoring nearly 60 percent of the time.

Yes Kirk, We like that?

Kirk Cousins continues to put up big numbers for the Washington Redskins. Cousins was 41/53 with 449 passing yards, three touchdowns, and a 120.7 quarterback rating. Although the Redskins should have run the ball more, Kirk Cousins was not the reason the Redskins lost this game. In fact, he’s the only reason why they even had a chance.

The Redskins head to Arizona on December 4th when they’ll take on the Cardinals. Kickoff is set for 4:25 pm.