clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Three Good/Three Bad: New Orleans Saints

The Redskins dominated the Saints in one of the most impressive wins in recent franchise history.

Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

It's tough to find a whole lot of bad in a 47-14 win, especially one against a Hall of Fame quarterback and a team with a nearly-.500 record, so I'm not going to bother with a "Bad" this week.

The one note I will add is to again consider the context before overreacting about Kirk Cousins: the New Orleans Saints defense is on pace to give up the second most yards in NFL history (second only to the 2012 Saints defense) and nearly every quarterback who has faced the Saints this season has had his best game against them.

That said, let's get into a whole lotta goodness.

The Good

#1. Kirk Cousins

While I'm not freaking out nearly as much about Cousins' performance as most Redskins fans (see the above note), it's hard not to include him on the Good after the best game of his career and one of the best in Redskins quarterback history. A perfect 158.3 passer rating is certainly something to brag about, but how about being the only quarterback in franchise history to complete 20 or more passes on 30 or fewer attempts with at least 300 yards and four touchdowns?

#2. Matt Jones

Another obvious choice, but not just because of his 78-yard catch-and-run touchdown. His other two catches in the game went for 29 and 24 yards, and his 11 carries went for 56 yards. Even without the huge touchdown, Jones had probably the second best game of his young career, and the touchdown scamper made it all the sweeter. Also, he became the fifth Redskin in history with 50+ rushing yards and 100+ receiving yards in the same game, and the first in nearly three decades (Kelvin Bryant, 1986).

#3. Perry Riley

Oh what a difference a week makes. Against the New England Patriots, who ran the ball into the heart of the Redskins defense about a thousand times, Riley couldn't muster a single tackle and was eventually benched in favor of the reliable but unspectacular Will Compton. Against the Saints, Riley was in on six tackles, the third most on the team, and he hauled in a frankly unbelievable interception deep downfield in the fourth quarter.

If nothing else — and it certainly might be good for literally nothing else — Riley earned himself a hell of a highlight that will help convince some poor team to overpay for his services some time in the near future.

#4. Alfred Morris

I probably could have grouped Alf in with Matt Jones, but I'm so happy for him I had to give him his own line. With the possible exception of #TressWay4MVP, Morris is the most likable guy on the team and the one you (should) want to root for. He does everything the way it should be done, among other sports cliches, and he's mostly kept to himself as his season has gone to hell. He carried it 15 times for 92 yards against the Saints, but perhaps most importantly, he reverted to his old form in which he fights for extra yards and falls forward. Of his 15 carries, only one went for no gain and one went for one yard. Three went for two yards each and one went for three yards. The other nine carries each went for at least four yards, and he had three carries of at least 12 yards in the game. Jones might be the one to break the 78-yarders, but there will always be a place in the league for guys who can pick up 12+ yards on one-fifth of his carries.

#5. DeSean Jackson

Admittedly, this isn't exactly an analysis-heavy Three Good/Three Bad. That said, Redskins fans had to enjoy seeing DeSean Jackson catch a 42-yard bomb on just the fourth play from scrimmage. I couldn't help but think a fully healthy Jackson would have outrun Keenan Lewis there, but the pass was ever so slightly underthrown and perhaps didn't give him enough room to break it. Regardless, that pass did two things: 1) It restored Jackson's confidence, as well as Cousins' and Jay Gruden's confidence in him, and 2) It instilled fear in the Saints defense, which learned early on it had to respect the deep ball and the perpetual threat of Jackson taking one to the house. New Orleans has a truly terrible defense, so it might not have even been necessary, but it's not unfair to say Jackson's long catch — on a third down, no less — opened up the passing game for the rest of the day. It also gives the Carolina Panthers defense something to think about next week.

#6. Jay Gruden/Sean McVay

It's tough to say if Gruden/McVay have figured out this whole "How to Run an Offense" thing, but they certainly appear to be on the right track. The Redskins were throwing the ball on plays the defense expected a run, sticking to the run even when it failed once or twice in a row, throwing deep on short yardage situations (the Jackson catch came on a 3rd-and-4), running outside the tackles instead of right up the gut (between Morris, Jones and Chris Thompson, I counted just nine runs up the middle compared to 19 runs outside) and just generally understanding how to keep a defense off guard. It was glorious, like watching a legitimately good offense for once, and it very well might have secured both Gruden's and McVay's jobs for another year, not to mention earned Cousins a hell of a pay raise.

Honorable Mentions: Dustin Hopkins, Dashon Goldson, Jordan Reed