The Redskins beat the 49ers in a game that was way harder than it should have been, both by their own admission and to anyone who watched. Three thoughts from 106.7 The Fan beat reporter Craig Hoffman from an otherwise empty FedEx Field:
1) Depending on your perspective, it is either cruel or delightful irony that this game was sealed with a Kirk Cousins read-option. The play became a Redskins staple when Kyle Shanahan, the 49ers head coach, was the Redskins’ offensive coordinator and was coordinating for Robert Griffin III as Cousins watched from the sidelines.
“It’s always been there because you know – I would credit going back to my rookie year with Robert [Griffin III] here, we did it a lot,” Cousins said post-game. “It’s always going to be a part of our offense because it does give defenses something to think about. Kyle [Shanahan] told me when he left, he said ‘I’ve learned after working with Robert that this is a really valuable play no matter who the quarterback is,’ and I’ll always carry it with me. So, when Jay [Gruden] arrived, we kept it and valued it, and as I started playing, it can still be a great play. You just have to pick your spots, be smart with it, call it at the right times, and read it correctly, and then usually you can get some yards.”
Gruden claims not to love calling it but did twice in the red zone on Sunday with the latter being successful. “I don’t love it, but I do like it. It gets the numbers back in your favor a little bit…Obviously, Kirk [Cousins] is not exactly the read-option quarterback that you would be looking for if you were looking for a read-option quarterback, but he’s very effective at it.”
2) Chris Thompson has been begging Jay Gruden to increase his workload for weeks. Sunday, they finally did. Gruden knew this would happen without Rob Kelley, but didn’t tell Thompson. The diminutive running back found out Saturday night that he was starting and he said that contributed to him fumbling his first carry. He was too nervous.
That didn’t deter Gruden from going right back to him. “We’re going to have that screen up early – getting ready to call that and we just kept him in the game,” the coach explained after. “[It] was either going to be on a no-huddle or not, but we got to it and he made a big play and Chris is a guy that in some of these – when we have three receivers and one back, he is usually the back. So we were allowed that personnel group today and some other runs we had in two-tight end sets were very good for him. So, just happy that he was part of the game plan a little more than usual.”
As for how Thompson felt after the heaviest workload of his career? “I feel great.”
3) The game completely changed when C.J. Beathard came in the game, which no one expected–including C.J. Beathard. The 49ers backup said he prepared like usual, knowing a backup could get called into duty anytime, but there was no advanced warning or tip that he might replace Brian Hoyer if he struggled.
The Redskins didn’t expect the change either. D.J. Swearinger said that he didn’t even know who Beathard was and Ryan Kerrigan, Purdue alum, only knew him from watching Beathard play in the Big 10 at Iowa. Montae Nicholson (Michigan St.) actually played against him and thus knew what he was capable of.
Quote of the day: “Obviously we were already short a tackle with Ty missing, and (Gruden) asked me if there was anything I could do to push through and he would need me. So I told him ‘say no more. I’ll be out there.'” – Trent Williams, essentially admitting he would not have played if his head coach hadn’t told him he needed him without Ty Nsekhe available. TJ Clemmings feelings if he hears this are less important that Kirk Cousins well-being.
Stat of the day: The Redskins have scored on their opening drive in 3 straight games. The last time they did that was 2004.
Bonus stat of the day: Chris Thompson is the first Redskins running back since 1962 to have multiple 100+ yard receiving games in a season, tying Dick James. Why is this bonus? Because I’ve done a Chris Thompson stat nearly every week and at this rate, he’s not stopping anytime soon. What a weapon.
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