Wow, who saw that result coming? Coming into Sunday night Oakland was the team that terrorised the NFL last season before Derek Carr went down with a broken leg. The offense is young and has been giving the league fits over the first two games. The Raiders also have the reigning defensive player of the year in Khalil Mack. The Redskins entered after a win in Los Angeles against the Rams where they ran for over 200 yards. The Raiders were looking to get to 3-0 and keep pace with Kansas City in the AFC West, while the Redskins were looking to keep pace with the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC East at 2-1. Washington dominated in every faucet of the game Sunday night as they beat the Raiders 27-10. Below are my Redskins Week 3 Takeaways:
1) Kirk Cousins
First of all you can’t play much better in a game then Kirk played on Sunday. From a number standpoint Kirk posted 25 completions on 30 attempts, 365 yards and three TDs with zero interceptions. Those numbers are lights out by themselves even without factoring in some of the clutch plays he made under pressure. After a win or loss, the QB will be my first point every time.
This week Cousins showed he is here to stay and you can see him developing a comfort with the play calling and building chemistry with his pass catchers. In a game without Jordan Reed he showed he could still make the necessary plays even without his most trusted and talented weapon. Kirk threw a heck of a shot to Josh Doctson who went up and made the type of catch that he made routinely at TCU that made him a top pick last year. Kirk again made plays with his legs moving the pocket and rushing when he decided there was nothing down field instead of forcing a mistake. These are the types of games that warrant Kirks value he believes he is worth. It is very clear that the more games this guy logs the more comfort he builds in this system with his teammates.
This season I have noticed a few moments where a teammate draws a penalty and Kirk gets in their face and has shown a more vocal presence as a leader on this team. Sunday night he was decisive and he was letting the ball rip. He made good decisions on third downs and he played mistake free football which is all you can ask for from the leader of the offense. This is the type of confidence building type game that can carry a team into the rest of the season. Hopefully Kirk continues to build the relationship with Josh Doctson and Terrell Pryor. Once he figures out how to incorporate these two into his game along with his use of Chris Thompson, Jordan Reed, Jamison Crowder and Ryan Grant; This offense can really take this team to a whole different level.
2) Chris Thompson
This guy through the first three games has been nothing short of amazing. Thompson rushed for 38 yards on 8 carries, while adding 150 yards receiving on six receptions. This guy has been the x factor for this offense almost in the way Desean Jackson was the last three seasons. While Thompson isn’t taking the tops off defenses, in the open field this guy has been nothing short of amazing picking up chunks of yards in big moments. After a game like this it’s hard to single out just a few names to put in the good category because this was very much a team win and all 53 guys played huge roles in this victory. Chris has been huge on third downs and has changed the last two games in big moments. It seems like when other teams start to gain momentum Chris makes a play that just swings the game right back in the Redskins favor. Talent has never been a question for Thompson. Lets hope he can keep his health here because it has truly been a treat to watch this guy make plays for this team.
3) Preston Smith/Ryan Kerrigan
First off Preston Smith has looked like a All Pro Outside linebacker through the first 3 games. Were talking about a guy with 5 sacks already this season and a handful of tackles for loss against the run. Three weeks in I think you can say Preston Smith has been one of the best pass rushing players in the league. Ryan Kerrigan is just a lights out football player. I have said for years if you can build around this guy he would start to put up the type of numbers of the elite class. This year the biggest improvement on this team is the defensive front seven. These improvements have caused the center of the pocket to collapse so quarterbacks can no longer just step up when Kerrigan and Smith are coming off the edge. These Two are both having elite type impacts for this team and they would be the first too say it’s because the improvements on the defensive line and the interior pressure the defensive line has been giving. Guys such as Jonathan Allen and Matt Ioannidis have been huge upgrades this year and are a big reason for the jumps in Ryan and Preston’s performance.
4) The Whole Defense
While the Raiders did score 10 points both scores were off turnovers where they got the ball inside the 30 yard line. This defense was being talked about as the reason the Raiders would walk away with the win. On Sunday the whole unit made a statement. The Redskins have a cornerbacks duo to match up with any offense in the league. With D.J. Swearinger and rookie Monte Nicholson, the Redskins are getting the best safety play since the death of Sean Taylor. D.J. has not only been a vocal leader but he put a lick on Marshawn Lynch that underlined the physical dominance Washington exerted. Lynch, normally the sparkplug for the raiders, was bottled up the entire night. Monte Nicholson has been amazing and a huge bright spot for this back end. He was behind the ball coming off shoulder surgery this offseason he basically missed all of training camp. But since he has been on the field he just keeps showing up and its a bright start for the rookie out of Michigan State.
This Front 7 has been lights out as well. First off new comer Zac Brown is just a tackling machine. This guy has wide receiver speed and he has all pro instincts when attacking the football. I have no idea why Buffalo didn’t resign this guy but he is showing why he was second in the league last season in tackles. This Defensive line has been huge as well. Many experts hail the Raiders offensive line the best or 1b behind Dallas. Well on sunday this defense had their way with their offensive line from start to finish. this defense allowed a total of 128 yards against one of the most explosive offenses in the league. like I said before this defense came out to make a statement and they did just that.
5) Offensive line
I cant believe this is my 5th point after the type of down field blocking and pass blocking this unit displayed all game long. First off Morgan Moses pretty much handled Khalil Mack all game without help or chips from backs and only allowed one sack. your talking about the defensive player of the year and Morgan Moses showed why Washington made him one of the highest paid at his respective position this offseason. Trent Williams and Brandon Schreff both showed why they were top 5 pick type talents all game long. Trent constantly pulled and was out front blocking on screens. Brandon I saw personally pancake 4 raiders defenders. that guy is a nasty player and this line showed serious athletic ability Sunday night. Kirk Cousins constantly had room to move and step up in the pocket. Just like the rest of the team this was this units best all around game of the season.
1) Jamison Crowder
I don’t have five bad points after such a dominating team performance but there were a few bad points. Jamison Crowder muffed his second punt of the season and it gave Oakland the ball back inside the 20. Crowder is a good player but this was a costly mistake that could have given the Raiders the spark they needed to try and come back in the football game. It was a concentration mistake but in a tight moment in the playoffs this is the type of mistake that will end your season. This is the type of thing he needs to clean up and I believe he will after two seasons of being above average in the punt returning department with very few mistakes.
2) Dustin Hopkins
He made 2-3 of his field goals but he continues to pull Kicks from the hash marks over 50. He has been a good kicker and I love his kickoffs. But we need him to get his 50 plus game more consistent. He has plenty of leg, but in big games dating back too last season he has had issues kicking from either side of the hash marks outside of 50 yards.
3) Running back injuries
Starter Rob Kelly was out with a rib injury from last week. This week rookie Samaje Perine took a helmet too the hand in the 4th quarter and fumbled the ball and didn’t return too the game. Lets hope the injury isn’t serious because this guy demonstrated patience and vision getting positive yards even with not much running room all game long. Mack Brown came in after the injury and looked solid but three weeks in you don’t want too be down to your 3rd running back. Lets hope Perines hand is okay, while I believe Kelly should be good to go this week or the next at the very least.
4) Situational awareness
This is a picky observation but there was a moment in the end of 2nd quarter where the refs gave the Redskins a favorable spot for a first down that clearly wasn’t gained. Guys like Arron Rogers and Tom Brady would have had the awareness to rush too the line and run a play befor the booth could stop for a review. Again this is a picky breakdown but that first could have allowed the Redskins to take a 28-7 lead into the half. Hopefully in the future this team can capitalize on gifts like this that don’t happen a lot to take advantage of other teams moving forward.
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Redskins Week 3 Takeaways.