Snaps- Greg Manusky used 18 of his 25 defenders over the course of the defense’s 61 snaps against the Vikings.
The group of 7 players that did not take a snap on defense was made up of 2 inactives (Matt Ioannidis and Montae Nicholson) and 5 defensive players who worked exclusively on special teams (Chris Carter, Josh Harvey-Clemmons, Quinton Dunbar, Joshua Holsey and Fabian Moreau).
Yards- The defense allowed over 400 yards (406 yards) for the second consecutive week and for the third time this season.
The Redskins rank 23rd in total yards allowed (344.6), 17th in yards per drive allowed (29) and 22nd in yards per play allowed (5.5).
Points- The Vikings hung up 38 points on the Redskins’ defense. You have to go back to the 2016 opener against the Steelers to find the last time the Burgundy and Gold gave up that many points. The other time they gave up 38 or more points in the last three years was in Week 15 of the 2015 season (Panthers).
The Vikings’ touchdown on their opening drive of the game snapped the Skins’ streak of seven straight games without allowing their opponents to score on their opening drive.
Quarterback Pressure- Unfortunately, that was not the only favorable defensive streak snapped on Sunday.
The Redskins’ defense did not record a sack for the first time in their last 33 games. The 32-game sack streak was the longest active such streak in the NFL and the second longest streak in franchise history (60 consecutive games with a sack between 1984 and 1987).
Washington pass rushers were also only able to register a season-low 2 QB hits, despite the fact that Case Keenum took about 30 dropbacks in the game.
On a positive note, the Redskins still rank 1st in the NFL in defensive pressure rate (32.7% per ESPN and 37.5% per Football Outsiders).
Third Down- Minnesota picked up first downs on 8 of their 12 third-down plays. The 8 third-down conversions ties the season-high set in Week 1 against the Eagles. This was the first time since Week 16 of last season that an opponent moved the chains on two-thirds or more of their third downs against the Redskins.
The defense’s 42.9% third-down conversion rate allowed ranks 26th in the NFL.
Red Zone- The Vikings scored touchdowns on all five of their trips to the red zone. This was the first time all season the Washington defense has allowed more than three red zone scores and that their opponents have converted on 100% of their RZ opportunities in a game where they made it to the red area three or more times.
The last time a team scored five red-zone touchdowns against the Redskins was the aforementioned 2015 beatdown by the Panthers.
Tight End Defense- The defense allowed Vikings tight ends to combine for 6 receptions, 38 yards, 3 first downs and a touchdown on 8 targets.
The yardage total was easily the lowest the Redskins have allowed to the position all season. On the other hand, this was the third time in the last four weeks that a tight end has scored against Washington.
Rushing Defense- The Vikings rushed the ball 31 times for 102 yards, 6 first downs and a touchdown. This was the fourth straight game in which Greg Manusky’s defense has given up over 100 yards on the ground; however, this was also the first time since Week 3 that the defense has held an opponent to under 3.8 YPC.
Ziggy Hood- Ziggy Hood led all Redskins D-linemen in snaps for fifth time this season. He recorded a solo and an assisted tackle, but the tackles came on back-to-back snaps in the fourth quarter. Minnesota gained 3 total yards on those plays.
Hood was the only defensive lineman and one of two players on the team to hit Keenum on Sunday. He did not record any other pressures.
Terrell McClain- After 12 tackles in his last two games combined, McClain disappeared against the Vikings on Sunday. He failed to record a single traditional snap or a pressure on his 34 snaps.
Stacy McGee- The former Raider started for the second straight week and for fifth time this year. He also played on season highs in snaps (34) and snap percentage (56%).
McGee posted new career highs in every traditional tackle statistic with 4 solo tackles, 4 assisted tackles and 8 total tackles. The Vikings only gained 24 yards on his eight tackles (3-yard average), and four of them came within 2 yards of the line of scrimmage.
He was not much of a difference maker against the pass, though. All of his tackles came on running plays and he did not get any pressure on Case Keenum.
Anthony Lanier- Lanier was on the field for 22 snaps against the Vikings. This was his third straight game with a snap share above 35%; he had never played on more than 27% of the snaps prior to that. He did not make any tackles for the second straight week, but he was the only Skins’ D-lineman besides Hood with a pressure.
Brandon Banks- This was the first career game for Banks, who was signed from the practice squad on Saturday. He was in for 12 snaps and made a solo tackle on a 5-yard Latavius Murray run in the fourth quarter. He too failed to generate any pressure. Banks was waived by the team today.
Matt Ioannidis- The breakout sophomore missed his second game with a broken hand. He has a legitimate shot to return this week against the Saints, but you could also certainly see the coaches waiting to bring him back until the Thanksgiving game against the Giants. That would prevent him from playing two games in five days.
Caraun Reid- Reid was signed to the active roster today. The soon-to-be 26-year-old has played in 34 games (12 starts) and recorded 36 tackles (including 3 sacks) in his 4-year NFL career.
Ryan Kerrigan- You may not have guessed that Ryan Kerrigan led all Washington outside linebackers in snaps, because he seemed to be invisible in this game.
He tied his season-low with 1 tackle, a solo tackle on a 1-yard gain in the first quarter. Kerrigan also failed to register a QB hit for just the third time this year.
He was, however, tied for a team-high 20% pressure rate.
Preston Smith- Preston Smith didn’t have a big game either, but he was the most effective player on this unit.
He recorded a solo and an assisted tackle on one of the few drives the Vikings didn’t score on, and his QB hit on a first quarter third-down pass altered Keenum’s delivery and ultimately caused the incompletion.
Smith’s 83.4 PFF grade for the game ranked 2nd on the defense.
Junior Galette- Galette led the OLB corps with 2 solo and 3 total tackles. He pressured Keenum on several plays. Galette has consistently made one or two plays per game, but he has yet to make a major impact for the Redskins’ defense.
Ryan Anderson- Anderson recorded a tackle (1 assist) in a game for the third time this season and for the second game in a row.
He failed to pressure the opposition’s quarterback for the seventh time this year. It’s disappointing to see Anderson go o-fer as a pass rusher again, after he finally got back on the board last week.
Chris Carter- Carter’s totals for the season: 9 games, 2 defensive snaps and 0 defensive stats. Carter has only been on the field for 311 career defensive snaps and has recorded just 26 total tackles. He is purely a special teams player.
Zach Brown- Brown was in for every defensive play, and, once again, led the team in tackles. This time out, he recorded 10 tackles (5 solo and 5 assisted), one of which was a TFL.
This was Brown’s seventh double-digit tackle game of the year. This is insane, considering that only one other player has recorded 10 or more tackles in more than four games this season. That player is Blake Martinez, and he only has five games with double-digit tackles.
There are only four players who have done this four times in a 2017 game (Bobby Wagner, Deion Jones, Joe Schobert and Tyvon Branch).
Brown is tied for the league-lead in solo tackles (62) and ranks second in assisted tackles (34). His whopping 96 total tackles lead the entire NFL by a margin of 13. There are only four other players with more than 75 tackles this year, which is a bar set 20 tackles below what Brown has.
Go vote for Zach Brown to make the Pro Bowl right now.
Will Compton- Compton started for the second consecutive week and played on about half of the defensive snaps before suffering a Lisfranc sprain. He made 1 solo tackle on the day.
He was placed on injured reserve today. The 2018 free agent may have just played his last snaps as a Washington Redskin.
Martrell Spaight- Spaight came in to replace the injured Compton and acquitted himself quite nicely in the second half of the game.
On just 29 snaps, Spaight recorded 2 solo, 5 assisted and 7 total tackles. He led the team in both assists and tackles-per-opportunity rate (23%). One of his tackles was a 2-yard TFL and all seven of them came within 3 yards of the line of scrimmage. The Vikings only gained an average of 1.7 yards per play on the snaps that Spaight made a tackle on.
Believe it or not, but Spaight who ranks 17th on the defense in snaps (159), has recorded the fourth most total tackles on the team. He will get plenty of opportunities to make tackles on Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara next week.
Josh Harvey-Clemons- JHC hadn’t taken a defensive snap all season going into Week 10, and that didn’t change on Sunday. I’d like to see more behind the reason why the coaches felt it was so necessary to keep him on the active roster instead of the practice squad. He should finally get some playing time with Will Compton on the shelf.
Zach Vigil- The team signed Zach Vigil to replace Will Compton. Vigil was on the Redskins’ roster from December of last year up until the final cuts in September.
Josh Norman- This was easily Josh Norman’s worst game as a Redskin and in at least the last three years. Norman, who had only allowed 169 yards and 1 touchdown coming into the game, allowed all six of the targets thrown in his direction to be caught and gave up a season-worst 131 yards and a score on Sunday.
Norman also missed what would’ve been a drive-ending tackle on a third-down and dropped yet another interception on a Vikings’ touchdown drive.
I know Norman isn’t targeted that often, and because of this he deserves some slack in the INT department, but he is the only corner on the team who has played on more than 60 snaps without recording at least one interception.
He set new season highs in solo (7) and total tackles (9). He only topped those numbers in Week 3 of 2012, which was his third game in the NFL.
However, the reason he made so many tackles in this game, and probably in the aforementioned 2012 contest, was he was constantly tasked with tackling players that had just caught a pass against him.
Norman better get himself right in time for Sunday’s date with the Saints in the Superdome.
Bashaud Breeland- Josh Norman wasn’t alone on Sunday. Bashaud Breeland also had what was likely his worst game of the year. He gave up 6 receptions for a season-high 66 yards and a touchdown on 6 targets. The touchdown was only the second score that Breeland has surrendered in 2017.
He made 2 solo and 1 assisted tackles in the game.
Kendall Fuller- Fuller played on a season-low 35 snaps on Sunday, and his 57% snap rate was his second lowest playing time clip of the year (55% at Kansas City in Week 3).
He recorded 3 tackles and only allowed 1 reception for 9 yards and a first down on 4 targets. He was lined up opposite of Jarius Wright on Wright’s touchdown, but the pass was a screen thrown 3 yards behind the line of scrimmage, so you can’t really fault Fuller much there.
Quinton Dunbar- You would think the coaching staff might consider giving Dunbar a shot after Norman and Breeland both allowed season highs in yardage and gave up a touchdown. Nope, that is not what happened at all.
Dunbar did not receive a single defensive snap, despite the fact he started in each of the team’s last four games and is the only Skins’ corner who has not allowed a single touchdown or more than 62 yards receiving in a game this season.
Other Cornerbacks- This was the third consecutive week that Fabian Moreau and Joshua Holsey did not play on defense.
If the Redskins fall out of the playoff picture it would be wise of them to give Moreau and Holsey more playing time. They need to find out what they have in these players before they make a decision about re-signing Bashaud Breeland.
D.J. Swearinger- Swearinger was one of the few bright spots for the Redskins’ defense on Sunday. He played on 100% of the snaps and recorded five tackles in the game (3 solo and 2 assists). One of those tackles was a TFL , he also stopped a Minnesota rush for no gain on another play.
He made his biggest impact of the game when he intercepted passes on consecutive drives in the second half, the second of which he nearly returned for a pick six (a 31-yard return to the Minnesota 2). Swearinger basically single-highhandedly put a struggling defense on his back and nearly willed the team to a comeback with those plays.
This was the first multi-interception game of his career and the first time that he has recorded a pick as a member of the Redskins.
Swearinger earned the highest PFF grade on the team (92.0) and the second best grade in the game for his performance against the Vikings.
DeAngelo Hall- DeAngelo Hall made his second straight start since coming off the PUP list. He made 2 solo tackles and assisted on another before he was forced to leave the game with a bone bruise. Hall, who was on the field for all 83 defensive snaps last week, was limited to just 21 snaps on Sunday.
At 34 years old, he is the third oldest safety to have started in a game this season. Hall simply can’t seem to stay healthy, and he is scheduled to hit free agency in March. His days as a Redskin are likely numbered.
Deshazor Everett- Everett replaced Hall at safety and played 38 snaps, by far his highest total since Week 1. In fact, that was only one less snap than he saw in his last four outings combined (39 snaps). He recorded 3 tackles on Sunday (2 solo and 1 assist).
Montae Nicholson- After starting in four consecutive contests between Weeks 4 and 7, the rookie safety missed his second straight game with a shoulder injury.
ALL DEFENSIVE SNAPS
Snaps- The team used 34 of its 46 active players over the course of 29 special teams snaps against the Vikings. The group of 34 consisted of 20 defenders, 11 offensive players and 3 specialists.
Chris Carter led the team in snaps for the ninth straight game. Quinton Dunbar got more work on this unit because he did not see any snaps on defense this week. He played the second most specials snaps on the team this week.
Kick Coverage- Nick Sundberg made a tackle on a 9-yard Vikings’ punt return that was taken out to the Minnesota 18-yard line. The Skins’ long snapper has now recorded an ST tackle in two of the last three games. This was Sundberg’s 100th career game.
Kendall Fuller made the solo stop on a Marcus Sherels return of 32 yards which ended at the Minnesota 29-yard line.
Chris Carter recorded his solo teams tackle on Sherels’ return of 25 yards that was taken out to the Vikings’ 28. Carter leads the Redskins with 7 special teams tackles this season.
Nick Rose- Rose went a perfect 3-for-3 on field goals by connecting on kicks from 21, 28 and 55 yards out. He also made all three of his extra point kicks.
His 55-yarder was the longest kick made a Redskins player since Graham Gano hit on a franchise-record 59-yard kick in 2011. Dustin Hopkins career long is 54 yards and he only made 4 field goals of more than 50 yards in his two-and-a-half years as the team’s starting kicker.
Four of Rose’s first six kickoffs went for touchbacks, while the other two kicks were returned for gains of 32 and 25 yards. Those returns were taken out to the Minnesota 28 and 29-yard lines, respectively.
The 57 return yards was the second highest total the Redskins have given up this season, and the 28.5 yards allowed per return is their worst average of the year.
The returns were not ideal, but Rose’s biggest issue of this game was his onside-kick attempt. The ball only traveled 4 of the required 10 yards, and as a result the Redskins were flagged and their hopes of completing a second consecutive comeback were officially dashed.
Tress Way- Tress Way only punted one time on Sunday. He was averaging 4.6 punts per game coming into the day and hadn’t punted fewer than 3 times in a contest this season. I guess when you go for it on five fourth-down plays and score six times this is what happens.
Way booted his only punt for 52 yards, it was returned 9 yards to the Minnesota 18. That gave him his best punt average and inside-of-the 20 percentage of the year, but those are hardly accomplishments since we are working with a sample size of just 1 punt.
Punt Returns- The Vikings were too busy scoring touchdowns, so they only punted the ball twice in the game. This was the first time all season the Redskins have not forced their opponent to punt on at least three possessions.
Jamison Crowder fair caught the punts at the Redskins 38 and 22-yard lines. That was the second time this year the team did not return a single punt in a game.
Kickoff Returns- This was, perhaps, the only area that either the defense or special teams excelled at against the Vikings. The Redskins returned four kickoffs for a season-best 104 KO return yards. Their previous season high was 77 yards.
All four of their returns gained at least 23 yards and three of them made it out to the 28-yard line or farther. This was the first time all season the team returned a kick out past their own 25.
Maurice Harris and Samaje Perine gained 24 and 28 yards on their respective returns. Chris Thompson totaled 52 yards on kickoffs, including a Redskins’ 2017 long of 29 yards.
It was nice to finally see a good performance by the kickoff team, but these plays aren’t going to win you many games unless you are taking kicks to the house for six points.
*All statistics are courtesy of CSN Mid Atlantic, ESPN, Football Outsiders, NFL.com, NFL Gamebooks, Player Profiler, Pro Football Focus, Pro Football Reference, Redskins.com, Sharp Football Stats and Team Rankings*
Which of these seldom-used Redskins defenders should get the most playing time in the second half of the season?
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