By Kevin Ross II
The Redskins faced a difficult opponent on the road in Arizona. To make it plain, they failed miserably. In a game that had huge playoff implications, Washington allowed a hungry Cardinals team to take the game 31-23. This is how the Redskins grade out.
Offense Grade: C+
The Redskins’ offense was not the prolific unit that we have become accustomed to seeing over the past few weeks. However, they deserve a passing grade considering the fact that Arizona has the No. 1 ranked defense in all of football.
The Cardinals presented Washington with their biggest challenge of the season, and the offense didn’t live up to the bill. Quarterback Kirk Cousins was under constant pressure for the entire game, and had not seen such duress all season long. The pressure led Cousins to throw an interception with the game on the line late in the fourth quarter. This was Cousins’ first interception in his last 187 pass attempts. However, Cousins did finish the game with above-average numbers as he completed 21-of-37 passes for 271 yards and a touchdown. The QB also recorded his second rushing touchdown of the season.
The highlight for the offense occurred when Cousins was able to find DeSean Jackson for a 59-yard reception in the third quarter. Kirk Cousins has displayed incredible arm strength this season and hit Jackson in stride completing the long ball. This marked the second consecutive game that Jackson has recorded a catch of 50-yards or more.
Defense Grade: D
It’s becoming more apparent each game that the defense is the problem—and the reason why Washington may miss the playoffs. When the Redskins’ offense scores a touchdown it seems inevitable that the defense will allow the opponent to immediately match that score. Washington can never hold any momentum in a game because of the defensive unit.
The defense plays hard each week, but their lack of talent keeps them on the field when they desperately need a third down stop. The problems start in the secondary, where the Redskins are extremely weak at safety, and cornerback Bashaud Breeland has been underwhelming to say the least. Up front the pass rush is decent, but fairly inconsistent. When Washington needed a stop against Arizona, they let the Cardinals put the game out of reach with a touchdown pass.
Special Teams Grade: A
For once Washington’s special teams unit came to play. Kicker Dustin Hopkins was 3-for-3 on field goal attempts including hitting a crucial 53-yard attempt in the fourth quarter, which was his longest-made attempt of the season. Hopkins now has five career field goals of 50-yards or more, which has him tied for third-most in team history.
Coaching Grade: B
Jay Gruden and his coaching staff did not have any real blunders in this game. The players seemed to be well prepared—the offense didn’t miss a beat when starting center Spencer Long left the game with a concussion. Long’s backup John Sullivan finished the game and the offense adapted well. When reserves are well prepared, it is a direct reflection on the competency and preparation of the coaching staff.
Next Up For Washington
The Redskins will remain on the road and travel to Philadelphia to take on the Eagles. Philly is currently 5-7 and were trounced by the Bengals on Sunday, 32-14.