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Washington Redskins Stat of the Week: Big Plays

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In their first win of the season, the Redskins made a habit of putting together big gains.

Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Anybody who has watched the Washington Redskins play in recent years knows that they don't usually play like they did on Sunday. Unfortunately for fans of the team, dysfunction is more the standard than the exception, and it's not even close.

The good news is the Redskins definitely have some potential, and they have at least a few really good players and far more pretty good players, as evidenced by the victory over the St. Louis Rams this week. When a few things break in their direction, the Skins can actually be a decent team, and more victories like that one could be on the horizon.

It certainly helped that the Rams screwed themselves over a few times by dropping a bunch of passes, and Nick Foles didn't play very well at all. Still, Washington played a hell of a game and deserved the victory, so don't take anything away from that.

That brings us to the Tuesday Stat of the Week. The Redskins, behind Kirk Cousins and Matt Jones, racked up six plays of at least 20 yards against the Rams, including three plays of 30 or more yards. St. Louis, on the other hand, managed just one play that went for more than 16 yards, which was the 40-yard touchdown pass to Kenny Britt. Compare that to last week, when Washington had just two plays of 20+ yards and the Miami Dolphins had five such plays, and a theme begins to emerge.

Perhaps most interesting about those six plays this week is that three came on the ground. Generally, you don't see many runs of that length in a game, especially against a front seven as imposing as the Rams'. Alfred Morris had a 35-yard run early in the first quarter, then a minute or so later, Jones scampered for a 39-yard touchdown. Midway through the second quarter, Jones broke free for a 25-yarder.

The timing was key as well. All three of the big runs came in the first half, as did two of the three big passes. The only play of 20-plus yards that the Redskins managed after halftime was Cousins' 29-yard pass to Jordan Reed with about six minutes left in the game. Reed also caught a 21-yarder in the first quarter, and Ryan Grant hauled in a 35-yarder in the first quarter to round out the big plays.

This shouldn't come as a surprise, but when you cover 20 percent or more of the field on a single play, it's typically a good sign. It shouldn't come as a surprise, then, that the Redskins scored 17 of their 24 points in the first half.