Snaps- Greg Manusky used 19 of his 24 defenders over the course of the 68 defensive snaps taken against the Cowboys.
The 5 that did not see time on the defensive side of the ball included a season-low 1 inactive (Bashaud Breeland) and 4 defenders players who worked exclusively on special teams (Josh Harvey-Clemons, Chris Carter, Fabian Moreau and Joshua Holsey).
Quarterback Pressure- Redskins defenders sacked Dak Prescott twice over the course of his 24 dropbacks (8.3% sack percentage). That’s a good sack-to-dropback ratio; the problem is they only hit Prescott one other time.
This was the Redskins’ league-leading 31st straight game with a sack, which now sits alone as the second longest sack streak in franchise history.
Third Down- The Redskins only allowed the Cowboys to convert on 5 of their 14 third downs in the games. The 36% success rate allowed by the defense was their best mark outside of the third-down shutout against the Raiders. By the way, did that game even really happen?
A big reason for this was that the Cowboys needed to gain an average of 8.8 yards on their third downs. Dak Prescott and company were faced with five 3rd-and-longs (7, 11, 13, 18 and 19 yards) compared to just one 3rd-and-short (3 yards).
Red Zone Defense- The defense was also stout in the red zone.
Dallas made five trips to the red zone, which was a season high for the Washington D, but the Redskins only allowed them to score touchdowns on two of them. The 40% red-zone TD conversion rate was the team’s best success rate in the red area all year.
And don’t forget that one of the Cowboy’s red-zone possessions began with them on the 2-yard line.
Tight End Defense- This may have been the 2017 defense’s best performance against tight ends to date. Jason Witten and Jeff Swaim combined to catch 4 passes for 49 yards, 2 first downs and no touchdowns.
The 4 receptions and 49 yards allowed to the position are new season bests for the Redskins. The 2 first downs allowed ties a season low (49ers). This marks the fourth time in seven games that a tight end has not scored against Washington. It’s sad that these stats are even somewhat encouraging. I guess you have to start somewhere.
Rushing Defense- Things did not go as well in this department. The defense allowed Dallas to rush for 169 yards and 2 touchdowns. Every one of those numbers were new season worsts for the Redskins. The 8 first downs allowed on the ground ties what the team gave up to the Eagle’s last week. At least the 4.3 YPC was only the third worst average allowed by the defense this season.
Ezekiel Elliot became just the third Cowboy to rush for 150 yards and 2 touchdowns against the Redskins in a single game. The two others to do it were Calvin Hill (1969) and Emmitt Smith (1996).
Turnovers- The Redskins scored a takeaway on the Cowboys’ first play from scrimmage. This was the first time since Weeks 5 and 6 of the 2015 season that the team recorded takeaways on their opponent’s opening drive in back-to-back games.
Points- This was also the sixth straight game in which the defense has held the opponent scoreless on their opening drive. You have to go back to the end of 2011 and the start of 2012 to find the last time a Redskins team accomplished that feat.
Ziggy Hood- Hood finally woke up and made a few meaningful plays for the Redskins’ defense. He recorded 3 solo tackles in the game, which marks the first since Week 4 and only the second time this season that he has made a tackle in a game.
His tackles came on Ezekiel Elliot runs of 5 yards, no gain and a loss of 1 yard. The TFL was Hood’s first since Week 14 of last year.
He was also able to generate some pressure against Dak Prescott.
He set new season highs in snaps (48) and snap percentage (71%). Those snap total and percentage numbers have only been topped by Hood once since the 2013 season (Week 8 of 2016 for the snap total and Week 7 of 2016 for the percentage). Hood led all Skins D-linemen in snaps for the third time this season and in the last four weeks, and he now leads the unit in snaps on the year.
Terrell McClain- The former Cowboy had finished last or second-to-last in snaps among the team’s defensive linemen in 5 of the 6 previous games. That changed in Week 8 when McClain played on season-highs of 38 snaps and a 56% snap percentage and trailed only Hood among the team’s linemen in snaps.
He recorded 4 solo and 6 total tackles, which are both season highs for a Washington DL in 2017. Unfortunately, only one of those tackles came within 3 yards of the line of scrimmage and he was unable to get any pressure as a pass rusher.
These increases in tackle stats for the linemen are great, but this is probably a good time for me to point out that this had a lot to do with the opponent rushing the ball against the Redskins nearly 40 times.
Matt Ioannidis- Matty I ripped the ball out of Ezekiel Elliot’s hands on the first play from scrimmage and recorded his first career forced fumble. The Redskins would recover and kick a field goal on the ensuing drive. This was the Redskins’ first takeaway on the first play from scrimmage since Week 6 of 2015 (Breeland).
Ioannidis would go on to make 2 more tackles to bring him to a total of 2 solo (somehow that is tied for his career high), 1 assisted and 3 total tackles. Sadly, his day was cut short when he fractured a bone in his hand. His injury caused him to receive a season-low 23 snaps in the game.
Jay Gruden stated that he expects Ioannidis to have surgery and miss 1 to 2 games. The once feared duo of Jonathan Allen and Matt Ioannidis have now both suffered major injuries.
Anthony Lanier- The biggest beneficiary of the Ioannidis injury was Anthony Lanier, who saw his snap count and percentage from Week 7 (his active game of the season) more than triple in this game.
Lanier, who had not recorded a tackle in any of the five previous games that he took defensive snaps in, finished Sunday’s contest with 2 solo and 1 assisted tackle. He led all Skins defensive linemen with a 9% pressure rate as a pass rusher.
I hope we continue to get see more of Lanier going forward; although, as I type this, I realize the coaches don’t really have much of a choice anymore.
Stacy McGee- With this group’s two best players suffering injuries, you would expect to see a jump in playing time from all of the team’s remaining healthy linemen, but that was not the case with Stacy McGee. His snap percentage in this game of 34% is about 7% lower than his season average of 41%.
He only made 1 tackle and failed to register any pressures against the Cowboys on Sunday.
Ryan Kerrigan- How does Ryan Kerrigan do it? The guy has never missed a start in his 7-year career and he seems to get better with age.
He only made 2 tackles in the game, but they were both sacks. He has now recorded at least a half sack in six of the team’s seven games, leads the team in sacks and is on pace to post a career-high 14 sacks this season. Kerrigan also recorded a hurry and forced a holding penalty by La’el Collins.
Preston Smith- Smith played on a season high 82% of the snaps and led all Skins’ OLBs in snaps against the Cowboys.
He only made one tackle in the game, but it was a TFL of Alfred Morris. He led the team with a 21% pressure rate (4 pressures) and forced Tyron Smith to commit a holding penalty just inside of Dallas’ own 20-yard line. Dallas did not score on that drive or the one Smith made his TFL on.
Smith earned an 83.0 PFF grade for his work on Sunday, the highest grade given to a Redskins player in the game.
Junior Galette- Galette played on his second lowest snap total of the year (15) and matched his lowest snap percentage (23.5%). What was previously his lowest percentage came in Week 1.
He was able to hurry and hit Prescott on a few dropbacks and he and Hood tackled Elliot for a loss of a yard. However, his biggest impact of the game may have come on the play after the TFL, when he was flagged for an offsides infraction. That penalty set up Dallas up for an easy first down. They would go on to score a field goal on the drive.
Junior Galette is guilty of almost as many accepted penalties (3) as the rest of the OLB corps combined (4) this season. This is not a good look considering that the other four guys have combined to play on 730 more defensive snaps than he has.
Other Outside Linebackers- Until he proves worthy of more, I have officially demoted Ryan Anderson to the “Other” section of this position group. So far he has played like a JAG, so that is where I am going to group him.
He has only recorded a traditional stat and a pressure once in an NFL game, and that game did not take place this past Sunday.
Chris Carter stuck to special teams for the fifth time in seven games this year.
Zach Brown- Zach Brown never left the field on defense for the third straight game and for the fifth time this season.
He led the team in solo (8), assisted (4) and total tackles (12). Brown has led the Redskins in tackles in all seven games this season and has recorded double-digit tackles in five of those contests.
He now sits alone atop of the NFL leaderboard in tackles with 75 total tackles on the year. What makes this even more impressive is that the Redskins have already had their bye and the player right behind has made 7 fewer tackles. Zach Brown leads the NFL with 10.7 tackles per game.
That is almost 2 per game more than second place Blake Martinez’s 9.0 average and exactly 2 per game more than what 2016’s NFL leader in tackles, Bobby Wagner, is averaging (Wagner ranks 3rd with 8.71 tackles per game).
Brown also fared much better in coverage against the Cowboys than he has for most of the year, as he only allowed 1 reception for 4 yards.
He did make one costly mistake on Sunday, though. He was flagged for unnecessary roughness right before what would’ve been a 3rd-and-5 play from the Redskins’ 39-yard line. The penalty gave Dallas the first down and both allowed them to waste more of the clock in the fourth quarter and kick a much easier field goal.
Martrell Spaight- As expected, Spaight got the start over Compton with Mason Foster now out for the season. This was the third time this year that Spaight has played on over 50% of the snaps.
Spaight finished the game with 6 tackles, with every one of them coming on passing plays.
He allowed a couple of receptions for 15 yards and 1 first down.
Will Compton- After only seeing 7 total defensive snaps in Weeks 1-7, Compton made it on the field 29 times against the Cowboys.
He recorded a season-high 7 total tackles, his highest total since Week 11 of last season. Three of his tackles came within a yard of the line of scrimmage and they all were made on plays in which the Cowboys did not pick up the first down.
I had Compton only allowing 1 reception for 18 yards and a first down on the 2 targets thrown into his coverage.
Josh Harvey-Clemons- JHC was active for the second week in a row and for just the second time this season. He still has yet to take a snap on defense.
Josh Norman- Josh Norman was lights out in his return from injury. Just four weeks after fracturing a rib, Norman played on all 68 defensive snaps, recovered a fumble on the first play of the game (his first as a Redskin), made 2 tackles and did not allow a single reception.
In fact, the Cowboys did their best to avoid Norman by only targeting him once over the course of his 25 snaps in coverage (vs. Dez Bryant). The pass wasn’t really anywhere near Norman and Bryant either.
You have to go back to Week 2 of last season to find the last time when J-No was targeted and did not allow a single catch. Guess who that game was against: Dez Bryant and the Dallas Cowboys.
If there is still any debate about who has gotten the better of who in the matchups between Josh Norman and Dez Bryant, then that needs to stop right now. Since 2015, Norman has held Bryant to just 4 receptions and 38 yards on 13 targets.
Norman earned a season-high 80.7 PFF rating for his efforts against Bryant and the Cowboys on Sunday, which was the second highest grade on the team.
Quinton Dunbar- Quinton Dunbar made his third straight start and played on all but 1 snap for the second consecutive week.
He made 2 solo tackles, but was picked on by Prescott and the Cowboys in coverage all day.
Dunbar gave up team highs in receptions (4), receiving yards (62) and receiving first downs (4) in the game. That’s not a horrible line considering he was tasked with covering Dez Bryant for most of the contest, but things look much worse when you consider that he was responsible for allowing 44% of the Cowboys’ passing yards and first downs. All 4 of Bryant’s catches (39 yards) came against Dunbar.
He did at least come away with 2 pass defenses in the game (the only PDs by a Redskin on Sunday). Dunbar has defended 2 passes in each of the last three games and is tied for the team lead in PDs with Bashaud Breeland (6 each).
Kendall Fuller- Fuller got the start and played on over two-thirds of the defensive snaps for the fourth time this season.
He made 1 solo and 2 assisted tackles on the night.
Fuller did allow a couple of first-down receptions on third downs of Dallas field-goal drives, but the catches he gave up in the game only went for a total of about 15 yards.
Other Cornerbacks- Bashaud Breeland was a surprise inactive after he re-aggravated his injury during Friday’s practice.
Fabian Moreau was only used on special teams for the second week in a row. The last time we saw him he was giving up a late touchdown to Aldrick Robinson. Joshua Holsey was also not needed on defense, as all three starting corners made it through the game injury free.
D.J. Swearinger- Swearinger was in on 100% of the defensive snaps for the fourth time this season.
His 5 solo and 7 total tackles led all Redskins’ DBs, with 4 of those tackles coming within 4 yards of the line of scrimmage and 2 of them coming 1 yard away from the line to gain. The Cowboys did not pick up a first down on any of the plays that Swearinger made a tackle on.
He fared much better in coverage than he did last week, when gave up 2 touchdowns to the Eagles.
Montae Nicholson- Nicholson made his fifth start of the year in Sunday’s game. He was solid in coverage and made 5 tackles. Unfortunately, he suffered an injury and was forced to miss about a dozen of the defensive snaps.
Other Safeties- Deshazor Everett (12 snaps) and Stefan McClure (1 snap), came in to replace Nicholson when he was injured. Neither player recorded a stat or was targeted.
ALL DEFENSIVE SNAPS
Snaps- The Redskins used a season-high 39 of their 46 players over the course of 33 special teams snaps, which is another season high. The 39 special teamers consisted of 22 defenders, 14 offensive players and 3 specialists.
Chris Carter and some other random full-time special teamer have tied for the lead in special teams snaps in three of the past four games, so why change. This time Carter’s running mate was Deshazor Everett, who tied Carter with 28 snaps.
Kick Coverage- Washington special teamers made tackles on both of Dallas’ punt returns in the game. Carter and Fabian Moreau teamed up to take Ryan Switzer down on an 8-yard punt return that made it out to the 43. Martrell Spaight and Nick Sundberg combined to corral Switzer on his other return, an 11-yarder that he took to the 37-yard line.
We’ll discuss the most impressive special team tackle of the game in the following section about Nick Rose.
Nick Rose & The Play Of The Game- Rose started out strong in his second NFL game, by connecting on field goals from 38 and 42 yards out and hitting on his first extra point attempt. Everything went downhill for Rose and the Skins’ special teams after that.
It all went wrong for Washington on a 36-yard field goal attempt, which if converted would have put the Redskins up by 9 (16 to 7) with 3 minutes left in the first half. Nick Sundberg’s snap was low, Way struggled to handle and place the ball and finally Rose kicked it low and the Cowboys blocked it.
The blocked kick would have been returned all the way for a touchdown if Morgan Moses hadn’t run over 80 yards down the field on two bum ankles to miraculously make a touchdown-saving tackle.
Unfortunately, Dallas scored a TD on the very next play and took a 1-point lead. Going from potentially taking a 9-point lead to trailing by 1 in a 20-second span was a disastrous turn of events for a depleted Redskins team that already needed luck on their side to win this game.
That play was essentially a 10-point swing in a contest where the scoring margin was within 7 points in the final minute of the game.
Not only did Rose miss on field goal, he missed an extra point with 4 minutes left in the game. This is not entirely shocking, considering that he’s missed at least one extra point in three of the last four years between college football and the NFL preseason.
At least we still count on Rose booting the hell out of his kickoffs, as 4 of his 5 kickoffs went for touchbacks. Ryan Switzer took the only Cowboys kickoff of the night just 6 yards before unnecessarily and cowardly downing the ball at his own 14-yard line.
Tress Way- Tress Way punted the ball a season-low three times for just 140 yards, which was another 2017 low.
His first punt was downed at Dallas’ own 9-yard line, but his next two kicks were returned for gains of 11 and 8 yards, respectively. Those drives started on the Dallas 43 and 37-yard lines.
As we previously discussed, Way had a hard time handling the snaps while holding for Nick Rose. He also was flagged for a low block on the Cowboys return of their blocked field goal.
Kickoff Returns- Chris Thompson doubled his season total of 3 kickoff returns by returning 3 kicks in this game alone. It didn’t go well for Thompson and the Redskins
CT did set new season highs in number of returns (3), return yardage (61), return average (20.3) and long return (22 yards); but his returns only got the Redskins out to the 21 (twice) and the 24-yard lines.
In fact, the Redskins have not been able to take a single one of their 9 kickoff returns this year out to or past the 25; so, ultimately, the team would’ve been better off if they just let everyone of their kickoffs go for touchbacks (i.e. take the automatic start at the 25).
When Thompson got close to the 25 on Sunday (24-yard line) he fumbled the ball and Dallas recovered. On the next drive, the Cowboys would make their second field goal in the last two minutes of game time and extend their lead to 7 points.
The Redskins have now fumbled on five kickoff or punt returns this season. They are tied with the Jets for the fifth most fumbles on returns in 2017.
Punt Returns- The Cowboys punted three times in the game. The first punt went out of bounds at the Washington 27-yard line. The second one was fair caught by Jamison Crowder at the Redskins’ 40.
Crowder actually tried to return the third and final Cowboys’ punt, but of course he muffed it at the 13-yard line and lost a yard on his only return in the game. That will do wonders for his sub-5.5 yard return average.
Special Teams Points Lost- Add up all the points the Redskins lost (4 points from the missed field goal and extra point) and gave to the Cowboys (10 points from the Dallas touchdown scored after the block and the field goal scored after Thompson’s fumble) on special teams and you have yourself a total of 14 points. That is exactly how many points the Cowboys won by on Sunday (33 to 19).
*All statistics are courtesy of CSN Mid Atlantic, ESPN, Football Outsiders, NFL.com, NFL Gamebooks, Pro Football Focus, Pro Football Reference, Redskins.com and Sharp Football Stats*
COMING SOON: Skins Stats & Snaps: Cowboys @ Redskins (Offense)
Which of these 2018 defensive free agents should the Redskins prioritize re-signing the most?
This poll is closed