The Week four matchup on Monday night featured the Washington Redskins traveling to Arrowhead Stadium to Face the undefeated Kansas City Chiefs. Arrowhead is one of the loudest venues in the league. Alex Smith came into the game hot and continued his surge this year of not throwing a interception. The Redskins come in off a huge Sunday night win against Oakland. Kirk Cousins had his best game of the year as did pretty much every unit on the team playing nearly mistake free football. Chris Thompson has been electric for the Redskins through three weeks this year. Washington had six starters come into the game questionable, and injuries proved to be a huge factor in this game. Early in the game the Redskins jumped out to a early 10 point lead and seemed to be on the verge of another Oakland type dominating performance. Midway through the second quarter thought the tide change and KC’s offense found a rhythm and Washington’s pass rush became a non factor for almost the rest of the game.
Below are the Good & Bad Takeaways from the Redskins defeat in Kansas City, as is always the case following a defeat – we start with the bad:
1 Pass Rush
Coming into this game Alex Smith was the most sacked quarterback in the league. Even though they are undefeated their pass blocking had been subpar. With Washington coming in with the likes of Ryan Kerrigan and Preston Smith playing at almost All Pro levels each this team should have been able to match their strength on defense against KC’s biggest weakness. Preston Smith had by far his worst game of the year. He had 3 or 4 penalties alone. To match up against the last undefeated team in the league you have too play mistake free football and this defense didn’t do that. Junior Gallett had a really blatantly late roughing the passer penalty. For this to be a strength of this team and to let Alex Smith run around and just have clean pockets because the lack of interior push this was the worst game for this front seven by far. When going against a team like KC you have to make sure that you can affect their game plan by putting pressure on Alex Smith to try and force mistakes. Smith moved the sticks with his arms and legs pretty much playing mistake free football and very rarely felt rush or had to stand in before being hit to make a throw. Kerrigan was also playing in his 100th consecutive game since being drafted. I think the pass rush was more about the lack of push from the interior from guys like Jonathan Allen and Matt Ioannidis who have been huge to this teams improved front seven play.
Yesterday more players were getting hurt then in one game then I can remember in recent memory. Josh Norman Fractured his ribs. Kendall Fuller looked like he hurt his back or neck getting wrapped up by a teammate. Trent Williams hurt his knee but he did return after a few plays. Rookie safety Monte Nicholson went down twice which would spell trouble due to his presence around the ball and the lack of depth at the safety position. Zach Brown went out for a few plays as did Mason Foster. Jordan Reed just hasn’t looked like himself all season due to a foot and chest. Jamison Crowder who is in my opinion the most complete pass catcher has been ineffective. Luckily for this team they go into the bye week with a chance to get some of these key guys back together and give them a much needed rest after these really tough physical stretch of teams they have gone against the first quarter of the season. There are a few positive’s you can take away from all these injuries is the guys coming off the field with bumps and bruises are getting things wrapped and coming back and having impacts. Also you look at reserve players like Quinton Dunbar and Martrell Spaight have came in and played a solid level of football coming off the bench. To have guys able to come off the bench and play at a high level speaks to the depth of this team.
3) Samaje Perine
Samaje Perine at times looks patient, decisive, powerful, and runs with good vision. All traits coming out of Oklahoma you could see watching film. He has the single game rushing record against Kansas rushing for 427 yards in a single game. He is also Oklahoma’s all time leading rusher only playing for 3 years at such a storied program. That said since early in preseason to date he has had issues with consistency. There have been a bunch off plays it seems like there is a hole and he doesn’t burst into it or simply runs into the back of a lineman. His patience and vision have been a issue. He has two fumbles this season and almost had a third mishandling a very routine toss sweep pitch that luckily made it to the sideline without KC recovering the football. Samaje has more then double the carries of Chris Thompson, yet only has one more yard rushing on the year.
Perine on the year has 46 carries for 143 yards. That is a 3.1 yard per carry average. Those numbers along with missing running lanes and costly fumbles are the type of mistakes that can get you sent too the practice squad or off a roster really quick. Just ask Matt Jones another higher draft pick who had issues hitting holes and holding the football. In this league you only get so many chances. With Rob Kelly going down and missing last week Samaje needs to get his game together or Mack Brown could replace him on the active roster on game days.
4) Bashaud Breeland
As a fan of this team there are moments were this guy looks like a true number one shutdown type corner. Then there are times where he gets sloppy with his fundamentals and he piles on costly penalties and gives up plays he generally makes. Before this game it was easy to put he and Preston Smith as two of the three most improved players on the team. His tackling is pretty solid as he’s willing and can lay a hit every now and again. But I think this guy is just simply a very solid number 2 corner back. There’s nothing wrong with being a solid number two but I think after the year if he plays the way he can and has previous to this game he will want to be paid as a number one. I just don’t see anything consistent, or in moments where he could really show he can be the number one guy, he simply doesn’t. This team has drafted Kendall Fuller and Fabian Moreau the past two years. you can never have enough good young corners in this league. Fuller has been played primarily in the nickel corner position so I personally believe if Breeland prices himself off this roster this offseason Moreau is the guy in line to take his spot. Breeland has all the talent and has shown good ability to press and play off and turn and run. But he has had issues with contact down the field and hands too the face when pressing guys when he’s playing a teams number one guy.
5) Third down defense
Against Oakland the Redskins held the Raiders to 0-11 on third downs. That isn’t a normal nor should that be expected. But last season this team was historically bad getting off the field on third downs. This season third down defense was a huge focus and had been a huge improvement due to improved pass rush, great coverage, good pursuit and tackling. Against the Chiefs this team seemed to commit a penalty every time this team got the chiefs into a third down. Alex Smith has a good hard count but you can’t give a team like the chiefs free first downs or free short yardage third down opportunities. The Chiefs made the defense pay for the penalties and the lack of third down defense controlling the clock and running north of 70 offensive snaps. This defense has too do better and get back to the form they showed the first three weeks of the season.
1) Kirk Cousins
Normally after a loss he would be my first bullet in the bad, but this guy did everything he could to get the win and even threw the game winning throw that just couldn’t make the catch through the ground. Kirk went 14/24 for 220 yards passing wit two touchdowns. He also added seven rushes for 38 yards. On the Redskins last drive this guy had two huge first down runs. Kirk has always been knocked for his decision making in big moments and last night he made every play every throw and should have gotten the win against the best team in the league. Honestly even with the dropped pass from Josh Doctson the refs missed the defender putting his hands in Josh’s eyes when he was coming down with the ball.
People can knit pick and say Kirk should have thrown the ball to Jordan Reed open on the other side but either pass would have been right because both Josh and Jordan were open and Kirk made a heck of a throw and Josh had a great chance to make a awesome play. For the first month of the season Cousins has 121 attempts with 80 completions, 1004 yards passing with seven touchdowns and one interception. Those numbers put him at a 66.1 completion percentage which is kind of low but players have missed a lot of catchable passes. Since week one Kirk has looked better making the right plays. While he might not throw for 5,000 yards this season this team looks better with him being a low 4,000 yard guy with a good running game.
2) Vernon Davis
This guy is a freak of nature. Where talking about a 33 year old who looks like he can still run a 4.40 in the 40 yard dash at his size. Jordan Reed is the primary receiving threat at tight end but this year Vernon has been the guy with Reed hurt. He had a 69 yard completion to put the Redskins in position to go back ahead after the Chiefs took their first lead of the night in the 4th quarter. Vernon was thought too be done after San Francisco traded him to Denver and he simply wasn’t a factor. Since joining Washington he has made this team better. He has been a good blocking tight end while also making big timely catches for Kirk Cousins and this team. He only has 8 catches through 4 games but is averaging 20 yards per catch. That is a huge average for a guy usually working the middle of the defense and being a safety net for the quarterback.
3) Offensive line
This has been a mainstay in the good this year, and for this team to be in these football games they have to be the best unit on the field. Trent Williams went down with a knee but came back and toughed it out like he is known to do. Brandon Scherff is just a bully on the interior. No stat tracker has a pancake stat listed but I know this guy has to be leading the league in that category. On almost every huge run this guy is running out front wrecking things down the field. Morgan Moses has been exceptional going up against Khalil Mack, Justin Houston, Aaron Donald, and just a lot of All Pro pass rushing players. Morgan has shown he belongs in the conversation as one of the top right tackles in the game. Spencer Long is honestly one of the few centers in the league asked to pull and he does a excellent job. With the previous three guys getting most of the credit Long and Shawn Lauvao have been good to go in the run and pass blocking together. This unit has plenty of resources and are they key to this teams success.
4) Montae Nicholson
This kid has earned his own mention on this list. He went down twice late with what looked like shoulder injuries but continued to play through the pain. Not only did he play through the pain, on the Chiefs last drive he hit Albert Wilson on the sideline and almost as the ball hit his hands. Wilson made an amazing catch to hold on after taking that kind of lick, but Nicholson has been all over the field since earning playing time. Montae and Jonathan Allen have been huge instant impact rookies for this team for two units on this team that needed instant upgrades.
5) DJ Swearinger
Since signing here this offseason DJ has been a huge vocal leader this defense needs. He lines the guys on the back end up and he has been a physical presence this back end hasn’t had in years along with the rookie Nicholson. This defense has needed a vocal leader for some time. DJ has logged a lot of snaps but has ability to make a lot of different kind of impacts for this unit. He logged a sack late in the game and also made a ton of adjustments getting reserve players in the right position pre snap. DJ is on his forth team but I think he found his fit in this league with the Redskins. He and Josh Norman have a great chemistry on the field. DJ is always celebrating with teammates and keeps guys together and pumping guys up after series on the sidelines.
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Redskins Week 4 Takeaways