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Snap Judgments: Buccaneers @ Redskins

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A look at the snap counts for each player on the Redskins in the team's epic Week 7 comeback win against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

The Washington Redskins' 24-point come from behind win against the Buccaneers was the team's largest comeback in franchise history.  It was also only the fourth time in the team's 84 season and 1,161 game history that they have come back from a deficit of more than 18 points. They had only come back from 14 points or more down on 12 other occasions.

Washington did not score against Tampa Bay until there were just over four minutes left remaining in the first half and came into the second half with a 17-point deficit.  Two of the three other Redskins teams with comebacks of greater than 18 points had scored 14 or more points going into half time.

However, the 24-point comeback isn't just historic in terms of Redskins history, it is also a milestone in NFL history.  Just check out this stat courtesy of ESPN Stats Info regarding comebacks of this magnitude in just the last 15 years.  You can even add a one to the loss column for the Chargers' failed Sunday evening attempt against the Raiders.

Fifteen years still doesn't give us adequate enough perspective though.  We need to go all the way back to when the NFL began almost 100 years ago.  There have been nearly 30,000 team games played in that time frame and there have only been five comebacks of more than 24 points, and just three of them came in the regular season.  That's right, the Redskins comeback win against the Bucs is tied for the sixth largest in all of NFL history and the 4th largest in regular season history.

It's not as if there has been a boatload of other 24 point comebacks either.  It has only happened 15 other times in an NFL game.

The Buccaneers aren't a very good team, and the Redskins might not be either this year; but that doesn't mean that we should take what this team did on Sunday for granted.  It was one of the all-time greatest comebacks in the history of the sport and we all should regard it and remember it as such.

Hopefully, it can and will also serve as a springboard for success for this season and beyond.  If there is one NFL franchise that desperately needs to make an epic comeback from an historic low-point and back into relevance it is the Washington Redskins

Offensive Snaps and Takeaways:

  • Kirk Cousins and the entire offensive line minus Trent Williams played on all 64 offensive snaps.  Williams was replaced by Ty Nsekhe for one snap.  With Dashon Goldson finally missing a plays this week, Kirk Cousins is now the only Redskins player that has not missed a snap this season (500 snaps).
KC vs. TB Rating QBR AY/A Yards Cmp TD INT
Value 124.7 78.7 9.43 317 33 3 0
Ranking 1st 3rd 1st 5th 1st t-1st t-1st
  • Cousins made me and countless others look foolish with his stellar performance in this game, and I am honestly glad that he did.  However, I still have not yet seen anywhere near enough to believe that he can take this franchise where it needs to go.  One of the main reasons for this belief is that Cousins has struggled to perform well on a consistent basis.  He has never won or not thrown an interception in back-to-back games, and he only posted a passer rating of over 100 and a QBR over 53 two times in a row once in his career (again this all excludes his seven snap game against the Ravens).  Those two games came against the lackluster pass defenses of the 2014 Jaguars and Eagles.  Tampa Bay's pass defense hasn't been anything to write home about either this year.  We just shouldn't be buying too much into Cousins' emergence until he can string together a few good games in a row and until he has one against a good passing defense.
  • Cousins has struggled mightily at times, but he has also shown flashes of brilliance on several occasions.  This made me want to find out when it is that he does well and when it is that he doesn't.  In order to do this I looked at several interesting game splits using Rotoviz's Game Splits App.  The first thing that I noticed was that when he faces top-half pass defenses (ranked 1-16) his touchdowns are nearly cut in half (1.64 to 0.9) and his passing yards per game decrease by over 25 percent (259 yards to 191 yards) compared to when he faces bottom-half passing defenses.  The odd thing was that his interception per game average more than doubles when he faces bottom-half defenses (0.8 to 1.73).  Perhaps, he had been given the green light to air it out in these games and more picks were the result.
  • The other thing that stood out to me was Cousins' home/road splits.  First of all, he is the owner of a road record of 1-8 with a -7.33 point differential per game and a home record of 6-6 with a -3.08 average margin.  Cousins' lone road win came in 2012 against the Browns.  He completes more passes (17.92 to 23.22) and throws for more yards (194 to 270) and touchdowns (1.17 to 1.44) away from home, but his volume unfortunately comes at the expense of lower efficiency.  Cousins throws more than double the number of interceptions per game (0.83 to 1.89) and his yards per attempt average drops by almost a full yard (7.87 to 6.91).  Captain Kirk is not a road warrior.  We'll see what he's made of in November road matchups against the undefeated Patriots and Panthers. 
  • I suspected that playing without Jordan Reed has had the biggest impact on Kirk Cousins, but I was wrong; Cousins is at his best when DeSean Jackson is on the field.  Cousins' passing yards (204 to 272), touchdowns (1.14 to 1.57) and yards per attempt (7.16 to 8.07) significantly increase in the games that he has played with Jackson versus the games in which he has not.  Cousins' adjusted yards per attempt average when throwing to DeSean Jackson is 11.3, which is by far the highest average for any player that he has targeted 30 or more times.  Jordan Reed comes in second with an AY/A of 7.5 on targets thrown by Cousins.
  • DeSean Jackson's absence isn't just hurting Kirk Cousins; it's hurting the whole offense and in turn the entire team.  Jackson is explosiveness personified.  He is not just the most explosive player on the Redskins' roster either; he may well be the most explosive player in the NFL.  His 20.88 yards per reception last year was the 14th highest average among players with at least 55 receptions in league history.  Last year he led the NFL with 13 plays of 40 or more yards.  With nearly half of the season complete, the 2015 Redskins have recorded just two plays of 40 or more yards as a team. 
  • With the exception of Jackson, and perhaps Rashad Ross, the Redskins are not an explosive team.  They are a team of possession receivers and chain movers and it shows.  According to Sporting Charts, the Redskins rank 31st in big plays with just 21 of them (big plays consist of runs of 10 or more yards or passes of 25 or more yards).  They also rank last in big passing plays (8) and all nine of their passing touchdowns have come from seven yards or less away from the end zone.  Washington ranks dead last in big play percentage (4.75%) and big play differential (-21).  Big play differential and turnover differential combine to form one of the most telling measures of team explosiveness and quality that we have: toxic differential.  The Redskins' toxic differential of -23 (-21 big play differential and -2 turnover differential) is the worst in the entire NFL
  • Jordan Reed is an unstoppable force and he is only improving as time goes on.  That is not a strong enough description though.  I'm looking for something between that and "Jordan Reed is a god."  You guys can fill in the blank there.  Reed caught a career-high 11 receptions and two touchdowns in this game, including the game-winner with 24 seconds left on the clock.  He leads all tight ends in yards per route run (2.43).  He has not allowed a QB pressure of any kind this year.  He has the third highest grade among all tight ends in 2015 (7.3).  He ranks second in receptions (35 receptions) and sixth in yards (350) among all tight ends, despite missing two games and ranking 30th in snaps at the position per PFF.  Almost two thirds of his receptions result in first downs (63%).  He is averaging an absurd league-leading seven receptions per game and .24 receptions per route run among all tight ends with at least three games played this year.  I could go on and on about Reed, but for brevity's sake we'll move on.
  • Morgan Moses tied Chris Baker for the highest PFF rating (3.7) on the team against Tampa.  Moses received the fifth highest grade among all offensive tackles this week.  He has finished in the top ten on a weekly basis three times this season.  Moses ranks 13th in PFF's pass blocking efficiency metric.  The Redskins got almost all of their rushing yards on Sunday when they ran to Moses' side of the line, as 36 of the team's 50 rushing yards (72%) came when they ran to the right side.  It looks like the Redskins will have an excellent set of bookend tackles for at least another two years.
  • Alfred Morris played on a career low 10 snaps in the game.  It was the third time this season that he has set a new career low in this category.  His six attempts, five rushing yards and seven yards from scrimmage in the game were also career worsts, and his per attempt average of 0.83 was the second lowest mark of his career.  Four of Morris' worst rushing yards performances and three out of his worst four yards per attempts averages have come this year.  He has been out-snapped by Matt Jones and/or Chris Thompson for five consecutive weeks.  He has been out-gained by Matt Jones and/or Chris Thompson in terms of yards from scrimmage in six consecutive weeks.  I won't be mentioning Morris for much longer if he doesn't give us anything to talk about other than his lack of playing time and production.

Defensive Snaps and Takeaways:

  • Will Blackmon was the only Washington defender to play on all 63 defensive snaps.  This is the first time this season that only one player has been in 100 percent of the defensive snaps.  In Weeks 1-5, at least four players played every snap.  Terrance Knighton (41 snaps), Kedric Golston (14 snaps) and Jackson Jeffcoat (13 snaps) all met or exceeded their season-high snap totals in this game.  Mason Foster saw his first defensive action of the season with two snaps.
  • Ryan Kerrigan fractured his hand and played on a career-low 18 snaps.  His lowest snap total prior to Sunday's game was 46 in last year's home blowout of the Jaguars.  Kerrigan should be able to return in Week 9 to face the Patriots after undergoing surgery on Monday.  Unfortunately, he will likely have to wear a cast or some other form of protection for his injured hand.
  • Stephen Paea also saw another season-low in snaps if you don't include last week's goose egg.  Since Paea entered the NFL in 2011, he had never played on less than 15 snaps in any game that he played in prior to joining the Redskins.  This year he has played on 14 or fewer snaps in four of the team's seven games.  It should, however, be noted that Paea was questionable for the second week in a row with a back injury.  He recorded a sack and a hurry in the limited amount of time that he got on the field.
  • Chris Baker and Jason Hatcher were Washington's highest rated defenders against Tampa Bay.  Hatcher hurried and hit Jameis Winston one time each and was credited with three combined tackles, including a tackle for a loss.  Hatcher has been either the first or second highest graded Washington defender by PFF a team-high four times this season.  Baker is second with 3 games in the top two.
  • For the second week in a row, Joe Barry dialed up a season-high number of blitz calls.  After not blitzing more than seven times and on more than 20 percent of their opponents' dropbacks in a game through Week 5, the Redskins have sent extra defenders after the quarterback at least 12 times and on 43 percent or more of the dropbacks in the last two weeks.  The defense blitzed rookie QB Jameis Winston 15 times and on 48 percent of his dropbacks in the game.  And for once this year it actually paid off, as Winston did not throw a touchdown and was sacked twice on Washington blitzes.  His QB rating dropped nearly 60 points when Barry sent the heat.
  • Perry Riley recorded just two tackles and a QB hit on his 39 snaps against Tampa Bay.  His PFF grade of -5.3 for the game was the worst on the team and the second worst by an inside linebacker in Week 7.  It was also the worst grade of his six-year career.   He has received the worst grade among all Redskins defenders and a bottom-ten grade among all inside backers three times this season. That is quite disconcerting considering that he has only played five games this year.
  • Trenton Robinson received the second worst PFF grade (-3.4) on the team in Week 7.  It was also the worst grade of his career and the second worst among all safeties this week.  This was primarily due to the fact that he missed a team-high four tackles in the game, which is tied for the most misses by a Washington defender this season.  His 11 missed tackles this year are the second most on the defense behind the team's other Robinson: Keenan Robinson, who has 12 whiffs on the year.
  • Missed tackles are becoming a major problem for the defense.  The Redskins missed on nine or more tackles for the fourth consecutive game and for the fifth time this season, when they failed to wrap up Tampa Bay defenders a season-most 13 times on Sunday.  Their latest failure in this department has them sitting at 60 misses in 2015, which is tied for the fifth most in the league.  This isn't just due to the team's lack of a bye week or a limited number of plays by the opposition either.  The Redskins rank 8th worst in both missed tackles per game (8.57) and missed tackles per play (.014).
  • The defense's poor tackling has helped to allow opposing runners to have a field day against the Redskins for three consecutive weeks now.  After not allowing more than 87 rushing yards in any of their first four games this year, Washington has allowed opponents to rush for 175 yards or more in each of the last three weeks.  This is only the third time since 1960 that the Redskins have allowed such a streak.  The Redskins' 899 rushing yards allowed on the year is the fifth worst total in the league and the most allowed by the franchise through the first seven games of the season in the last ten years

Special Teams Snaps and Takeaways:

  • Jeron Johnson finished with the most special teams snaps for the sixth time in seven games this season.  He was followed closely by Darrel Young, Will Compton and Deshazor Everett.  Young has finished with the first or second most teams snaps in each of the last six weeks, while Compton and Everett have both been in the top five in snaps for three weeks in a row now.
  • Everett and Young (sounds like an accounting firm or something) made good use of their playing time against the Bucs.   Everett led the way with two solo special teams tackles and Young added one of his own.  The NFL game book also credited Will Compton, Quinton Dunbar and Mason Foster with assisted tackles.  As usual, PFF had a different view of things, as they had Quinton Dunbar and Dashon Goldson with solo tackles and Jeron Johnson with an assist and a missed tackle.
  • The Redskins did not commit a special teams penalty for only the second time this season and for the first time since Week 1.  Despite their penchant for committing these types of infractions on a nearly weekly basis, the Redskins' rankings in this department are not quite as bad as one might suspect for a team that has not yet had their bye week.  According to NFL Penalty Tracker, Washington's seven accepted special teams penalties and 74 penalty yards rank 14th and 22nd in the NFL respectively. 
  • On four punts, Tress Way had his third highest gross punting average (47.3 yards) and his second best net average (42.8 yards) of the season.  The Buccaneers returned three punts for a total of only 18 yards.
  • Dustin Hopkins has attempted a league-leading four onside kicks this season, all four of which were pretty much flawless.  The Redskins finally recovered one of those kicks, and became the first team to recover an onside attempt this season.  However, the distinction was short-lived as Nick Folk and the Jets would also recover an onside kick later on Sunday.  That makes just two of the 30 attempts in the NFL this year that have been recovered (6.7%). 
  • Hopkins booted four more touchbacks in the game, which brings his total on the year to 22.  That is the third most touchbacks in a season by a Washington kicker on record (touchback stats dating back to 1991).  In first and second are Chip Lohmiller's 34 touchbacks in 1991 and Graham Gano's 32 in 2011.  Hopkins is easily on pace to pass both of them this season.  He is also PFF's sixth highest graded kicker (2.5) this year. 

Redskins Advanced Analytics Rankings:

2015 Redskins PFR SRS ESPN FPI numberFire nERD 538 ELO Rating Sagarin Rating Total PFF FO DVOA
Values -1.4 -3.5 -1.50 1376 16.94 -56.1 -3.2%
Rankings 18th 24th 18th 28th 24th 27th 19th

  • The Redskins' ranking fell or remained stagnant according to every one of these measures, despite pulling off the late comeback against the Buccaneers.  This is yet another reason why fans would be wise to temper their expectations and to pump the brakes on any premature playoff talk.
  • Sagarin Rating was added this week for the first time

**All statistics are courtesy of  538, ESPN, Football Outsiders, NFL.com, NFL Game Books, NFL Next Gen Stats, NFL Penalty Tracker,  numberFire, Pro Football Focus ,Pro Football Reference and Sporting Charts**