This game was advertised as the must see match-up between the best defense and one of the best offenses in the league. The question was which side would win out, and the answer is not an answer Redskins fans will like.
Though the scoreboard went back and forth, the Cardinals seemed in control from the first drive of the game, taking nearly half the first quarter to drive 75 yards for a touchdown. David Johnson made his presence known early, and Washington’s defense just didn’t seem to have an answer for the running back. When Kirk Cousins and the offense finally took the field, it wasn’t long before they turned around and left the field, starting with multiple penalties and a quick three-and-out.
With few bright spots, like Josh Norman’s pressure on the quarterback and Quinton Dunbar’s overall play were two bright spots, the defense had issues from the beginning to the end of the game. The unit couldn’t get off the field on third down, and they didn’t seem prepared to handle the combination of David Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald, Michael Floyd, and Jermaine Gresham. The team pressured Carson Palmer often, but Palmer’s unit totaled 388 yards, and Johnson alone had 175 yards (84 rushing/91 receiving).
On offense, the Redskins managed to take advantage of two of Arizona’s perceived weaknesses: a rushing touchdown from inside the red zone and a passing touchdown from outside the opponent’s 20 yard line. The offensive line struggled; Shawn Lavao had problems throughout the game, and the team lost Spencer Long to a concussion and Ty Nsekhe (temporarily) to injury. None of the receivers had a 100 yard game, and for the second week in a row, the Redskins couldn’t manage to hit 100 yards rushing. The team has to be looking ahead for when Trent Williams returns from suspension next week and Jordan Reed returns from his shoulder injury, whenever that may be.
The biggest impact of today’s loss: the Redskins are now on the outside of the playoff picture, looking in. Tampa Bay’s win puts the Buccaneers at 7-5, a half a game ahead of the Redskins’ 6-5-1 record. Next week’s game against Philadelphia now has even more meaning, and the Redskins are going to need some help to get back into the race for the postseason.
By the numbers: Cousins (21/37, 271 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT, 1 fumble), Kelley (14 carries, 63 yards), Garcon (7 receptions, 78 yards), Jackson (1 reception, 59 yards), Crowder (3 receptions, 42 yards, 1 TD), Ihenacho (6 tackles), Compton (6 tackles), Murphy (1 sack), Kerrigan (1 sack), Hopkins (3/3 FG, 2/2 XP)