There were several major storylines to follow going into Sunday's game against the Eagles. First place in the division was on the line and DeSean Jackson was making his return to Philadelphia, to name a few. However, the biggest story heading into Sunday's game focused on Kirk Cousins getting his first start in 2014 and whether or not he could carry over his success from last week's win over Jacksonville. Cousins did not disappoint, and if last week's performance surprised you, then what he did on Sunday blew you away.
Cousins passed for 427 yards and threw 3 touchdowns while leading an offense that gained 511 total yards and scored 34 points. Unfortunately, it was not enough to pull off the road upset, but perhaps his efforts were not in vein as this could leave a lasting impression on Jay Gruden. Even if this performance did not leave a mark on Gruden, it certainly has on the record books. Read on and take a deep dive into this historic game in Redskins history.
***Data Disclaimer: This is my own count after watching the game tape. Snap data for kneel-down snaps and plays negated by pre-snap penalties are not included.***
The Offense ran 77 snaps
- 50 Passing Snaps (65%) and 27 Rushing Snaps (35%)
- There were 21 active offensive players in this game. All of them except Colt McCoy and Spencer Long recorded a snap. This was the first game that Long has dressed for. Santana Moss, Morgan Mosses, Robert Griffin and Jordan Reed were declared inactive. Kory Lichtensteiger, Alfred Morris, Tyler Polumbus and Shawn Lauvao sustained injuries during the contest. Only Lauvao did not return to the game.
- The Redskins both led and trailed the Eagles for 22 of their offensive snaps (29% each). The teams were tied for the other 33 snaps (43%). This tightness of this game was a big part of what made it so exciting to watch.
- According to the ESPN play-by-play log, the Redskins ran 3 no-huddle snaps against the Eagles (4%).
- Washington committed 10 penalties for 131 yards on the day. This was the most penalty yardage assessed against any team in week 3. Don't blame the offense though. They were only responsible for three penalties for 25 yards (19%). Garcon was flagged for a 15-yard taunting personal foul, while Chester (false start) and Cousins (delay of game) were both called for 5-yard penalties. Cousins' delay of game was probably the most costly of the three infractions, as Kai Forbath narrowly missed a 33-yard field goal two plays later. Those five yards would have likely made the difference on the field goal try.
- The Redskins scored on 6 of their 12 drives on Sunday (a 13th drive that only included a single kneel-down at the end of the first half is not included in this count). They got off to another hot start by scoring on the first 4 drives (TD, TD, FG, FG). They did not record a first down on 2 of their 12 drives, and 2 other drives only lasted one play (Jackson touchdown and Cousins interception).
- In the first half the Redskins ran at least 11 plays on every drive, while in the second half they only eclipsed 5 plays on one of their eight drives.
- Washington ran the ball 19 times in the first half (41%) and had at least 4 rushes in each first-half drive. They only ran the ball 8 times in the second half (25%) and only had more than 2 rushes in one of their 8 second-half drives. This would have made more sense to me if the game was out-of-hand, but it never really was. They only trailed by more than seven points for 99 seconds of game-time and five offensive snaps. Jay Gruden needs to stay more committed to the run; although, to be fair, the Eagles were committed to stopping the run in this game, and they have a very underrated run-stopping defensive unit.
|Quarter||Number of Snaps (%)|
|Down||Number of Snaps (%)|
|Field Position||Number of Snaps (%)|
|Redskins Side||40 (52%)|
|Eagles Side||37 (48%)|
|Inside Own 20||12 (16%)|
|Red Zone||13 (17%)|
|Formation||Number of Snaps (%)|
|Under Center||45 (58%)
|Total Shotgun||32 (42%)
|Play Type||Number of Snaps (%)|
|Regular Pass||37 (48%)
|Regular Run||27 (35%)
|Read Option||0 (0%)
|Play Action||9 (12%)
- Cousins ran the offense from under center on 58% of the snaps. I almost put an exclamation point at the end of the last sentence because that is such a dramatic change from what we've seen so far this season. In week one, only 18% of the snaps came from under center (12 snaps), and in last week the number jumped up to 35% (29 snaps). I had supposed that last week's increase had something to do with both our wish to run out the clock and the fact that Kirk Cousins was more comfortable in this formation. However, It now appears to be clear that Cousins is the main reason for the change.
- This was the most third-down snaps (16) and highest percentage of third-down snaps (21%) for the Redskins on the season. This would've been a problem had they not converted over half of their third-down attempts (8 for 15 and 53%).
- This was the first week that Gruden did not call a reverse play.
- I'm glad to see that more screens are being incorporated (4 on the day). However, three of them were of the wide receiver variety, and I'd like to see more of them going to the running backs. The only running back screen that they ran against Philadelphia resulted in a 55-yard gain by Roy Helu. This was only the second running back screen that Gruden has dialed up all year.
Below is the snap breakdown of of the personnel groupings that were used along with a quick primer on how the coding is done:
- 1st number = # of Running Backs (including fullbacks) on the field
- 2nd number= # of Tight Ends on the field
- The number of Wide Receivers is determined by subtracting the sum of the other two numbers from the number five.
|Personnel||Number of Snaps (%)|
- For the third consecutive week the 11 personnel was the most used grouping, followed directly by the 12 and the 21. This shows that the team's three main/key offensive reserves are Andre Roberts (11), Logan Paulsen (12) and Darrel Young (21) in that order.
- The 01 Personnel (1 TE and 4 WRs) made a comeback this week after a one-week hiatus. Expect Gruden to keep sprinkling this package into games that the Redskins are trailing in.
- Two of the offense's four touchdowns were scored from the 11 personnel grouping. The other two TDs were scored out of the 12 and 22 personnel.
- This is the first week that the offense has not scored a touchdown with the 23 personnel (2 RBs and 3 TEs). Prior to week 3, four of the team's six touchdowns (67%) on the season had been scored out of the 23.
Individual Player Snaps:
- Niles Paul saw the most snaps by any skill position player (65 snaps/84%). He really has come a long way since last year.
- Andre Roberts (27/60%) and Niles Paul (12/18%) once again led the way with the most slot snaps.
- DeSean Jackson missed much of last week with a shoulder injury and as a result Ryan Grant saw a huge bump in playing time (36/43%). His snap count came back down to earth this week with Jackson's return (8/10%).
- Shawn Lauvao sat out the entire second half with an injury (or maybe just because he's not that good). Josh LeRibeus filled in for him at LG. LeRibues also got one snap at RG when Chester shifted over to center for a play to cover for an injured Kory Lichtensteiger.
- Time for your weekly Alfred Morris vs. Roy Helu update. Morris saw double the number of snaps that Helu did against the Eagles (50/65% to 25/32%). This was the highest snap share that Morris has received this season. It's interesting to note that his snap share/% has steadily increased in each week this year, while Helu's has decreased in each week. Morris also out-rushed Helu by a 23 to 1 mark. The offense passed on nearly every one of Helu's snaps (23 of 25 or 92%). When Morris was in, the offense saw an even 50-50 split with 25 passes and 25 runs. Helu was, however, the lead back on 13 of the 16 third-down snaps (81%).
Team Records, Streaks & Rankings:
- Kirk Cousins passed for over 400 yards on Sunday. This was only the 12th 400-yard passing day in franchise history (including postseason), and the second since 1999. Donovan McNabb had the other (426 yards) against the Texans in 2010.
- Kirk Cousin's 427 yards passing against the Eagles was the fifth-highest single-game passing yards total in franchise history (including playoffs). He was bested by only Brad Johnson's 471 yards in 1999, Sammy Baugh's 446 yards in 1948 (football did in fact exist before the 1960s), Mark Rypien's 442 yards in 1991 and Doug Williams 430 yards in 1988. Captain Kirk is keeping quite the company there.
- Brad Johnson needed overtime to set his mark, and Baugh, Rypien and Williams all posted their career highs at home (click the names for the box scores). This means that Cousins set the record for the most road passing yards in regulation in team history.
- This was Kirk Cousins' 10th regular season NFL game and his 5th start. Robert Griffin has played in 30 regular season games and his career high for passing yards in a game is 329. Griffin has never accumulated over 400 yards of total offense (passing + rushing) in a game.
- Cousins is one of seven Redskins since 1960 to throw 30 or completions in a game while also maintaining at least an 8 yards per attempt average.
- Kirk Cousins has thrown for over 300 yards in three of his ten regular seasons games (30%) and in three of his five starts (60%). Robert Griffin III has thrown for 300 yards in six of his thirty NFL games/starts (20%).
- Cousins has thrown at least one interception in each of his five starts (seven total).
- To see Cousin's 2014 NFL ranking in nearly every passing category check this article out.
- The Eagles are the only team in NFL history to trail by 10 points in each of their first three games and still go 3-0.
- The offense posted a whopping 511 yards of total offense against Philadelphia in week 3. The last time they put up more yards in a game was in 1991. In fact, it was their 9th highest total yardage output since 1940 (and likely all-time).
- Sunday's game marked just the 6th time in the last 30 years (and the 2nd in the last 15 years) that the Redskins had scored 34 or more points in back-to-back weeks.
- Pierre Garcon tied his career high with 11 receptions. This is the tied for 9th most in franchise history since 1960.
- Garcon and DeSean Jackson became only the second pair of Redskins teammates to both go over 100 yards receiving in a game since 1999. Laveranues Coles and Rod Gardner both went over 100 in road win against the Falcons in 2003.
- Alfred Morris (3,141 yards) passed Don Bosseler (3,112) for 10th in career rushing yards by a Redskin.
- For the third consecutive game Jay Gruden has lost a challenge (0 for 3 overall). This is probably not how he wanted to start his career in this department. Each of the three challenges have been related to whether a play was a catch or not. He made a bad call by throwing out his red flag against the Eagles; but in my opinion, he was more than justified in doing so in weeks 1 and 2.
- Darrel Young scored a touchdown in his third consecutive game. He is one of only six players to score in each of their three games this year. The other five players are: Marshawn Lynch, Martellus Bennett, Jeremy Maclin, DeMarco Murray and Julius Thomas. The last Redskins player to accomplish this feat to start a season was Santana Moss in 2008.
- The Redskins' offense ranks 2nd in total yards, 3rd in passing yards, 9th in rushing yards, 2nd in first downs and 5th points.
- They also rank 4th in Y/A, 5th in QB Rating, 1st in rushing TDs, 3rd in punt return yards and 4th in both penalties and penalty yards.
- Alfred Morris is 4th in rushing yards (253) and still leads the NFL in goal-to-go (8) and red zone (15) rushing attempts.
- Niles Paul is 10th in receiving yards (253). Pierre Garcon (227) and DeSean Jackson (198) both also rank in the top 25. Paul ranks 2nd in the NFL in yards per route run (2.94) by a tight end.
To buy tickets, visit the NFL Ticket Exchange.