Tha Sports Junkies 101

Washington Redskins Week 4 Review: The Running Game Resurfaces

Matt Jones Run Keith Allison


The Washington Redskins picked up their first home win of the season as they defeated the Cleveland Browns 31-20. Matt Jones and Jordan Reed were the driving force for the Redskins on offense. The duo combined for three Redskin touchdowns.

It wasn’t pretty but the Redskins took care of business Sunday. Matt Jones starred for the Skins’ as he picked up 117 yards on 22 carries. Jones also added a one-yard touchdown late in the fourth quarter. Jordan Reed scored his first two touchdowns of the season on catches of eight and nine yards.

Kirk Cousins threw another touchdown to running back Chris Thompson. Cousins made a great call as he checked out of a run, and found Thompson wide open for a five-yard touchdown. Dustin Hopkins also added a 49-yard field goal. Hopkins is 12/12 on the season.

Washington evened its record at 2-2, but more importantly they established some consistency in the win-loss column. The NFL is a week-to-week league. After the first two, the Redskins were heading toward a downward spiral, now not so much. Winning really does cure everything.

Cause for Concern

  • Kirk Cousins didn’t play horribly but he was intercepted and struggled with his pocket presence. On his interception he tried to force a pass to Jamison Crowder. Browns defensive back Jamar Taylor broke on the ball, and picked up solid return yards. The INT led to a Browns score. Cousins had  Matt Jones open on a check-down but opted for Crowder instead.


  • After a Will Compton fumble recovery, Washington failed to capitalize on the fumble by Duke Johnson. Cousins was sacked twice on the following drive leading to a Redskins punt. Both sacks could have been avoided had Cousins just ran for yardage or threw the ball away. Cousins also recovered his own fumble after he was sacked by Browns linebacker Cam Johnson.


  • The Redskins have allowed at least 120 rushing yards in three of their four games. The front office did very little to sure up the run defense in the off-season. The draft was rich in defensive line talent, but the Redskins selected only one (in the fifth round), and used a first round pick on a receiver (Josh Doctson) who’s barely made an impact on offense.


  • Missed tackles are a major component in the run defense being so porous. Isaiah Cromwell gained 120 yards on 16 carries. Third down woes remain an issue as the Redskins are allowing a whopping conversion rate of 57 percent.

“We’re not even close right now,” said coach Jay Gruden. “It’s an issue. We have to get better on third down. These teams that we play are very good coming up. Baltimore is an excellent team, Flacco, and we’re going to have to get better on third down.

Signs of Improvement

  • On Sunday, Matt Jones was indeed the difference in the Redskins win. Jones has shown marked improvement in his second year, averaging 4.5 yards per carry. Matt Jones has been better with ball security, and has been healthy through the first four games. He also has two rushing touchdowns. Jones had three of those in 2015.


  • Washington attempted 25 rushes on against Cleveland. Once again Jay Gruden was victorious as a head coach. The Redskins offense is at its best when coaches stick with the run game. The first two games Washington attempted 29 rushes in both games. Both of those games resulted in losses. The last two, the Redskins ran it 56 times.


  • Jordan Reed helped aid the red zone woes in the first quarter with his two touchdowns. Cousins has been struggling in the red zone all season, but he had a solid performance against Cleveland. The Redskins offense was 4-4 in the red zone.


  • Joe Barry’s defense has had its struggles, but for the second week in a row they won the turnover margin. The defense has eight forced fumbles through four games, recovering four. In 2015, the Redskins led the NFL with 14 forced fumbles.  Josh Norman also registered his first interception as a Redskin.

The Washington Redskins look to make it “three in a row” as they travel Baltimore to take on the Ravens Sunday. Kickoff is scheduled for 1:00 p.m.