Snaps- The Redskins utilized 18 of their 25 defenders over 71 defensive snaps on Sunday. The 7 who did not play included 2 inactives (Caraun Reid and Quinton Dunbar) and 5 players who saw time exclusively on special teams (Josh Harvey-Clemons, Zach Vigil, Joshua Holsey, Deshazor Everett and Chris Carter).
Yards- The defense allowed Brees and the Saints’ offense to gain 535 yards of total offense in the game, which is the most yards the Redskins have given up since Week 2 of the 2013 season. A Washington opponent has only racked up more offensive yards against the team 13 times since at least 1940 (including playoffs).
Points- The Skins’ D allowed 31 points on Sunday. This was the second straight week they have allowed 31 or more points, and as a result the team now ranks 31st in the NFL in points allowed per game (26.6). Only the Colts have given up more points (28 PPG) on a weekly basis.
They ranked 19th in points allowed per game last season, with a 24.0 average. Wasn’t the defense supposed to be much improved this season, or am I wrong?
Injured Reserved Redskins- As of this evening, the Washington Redskins currently have 15 players on their injured reserve list. That is a very high number relative to what you around the league.
The average team has about 9 players currently on injured reserve. Only six teams have 12 or more players on IR and 14 clubs have fewer than 8 players on this list.
Only the Giants and 49ers have more players on their injured lists (18 each) than the Redskins do.
Of Washington’s 15 players on IR, 12 of them either started in games or were projected to start for the team this year before getting injured in the preseason (2 players). This doesn’t even include Su’a Cravens.
Quarterback Pressure- The Redskins recorded 7 hits and 2 sacks on Drew Brees. This was only the second time all season Brees has been sacked multiple times in a game.
I can’t help but wonder what would’ve happened if the Redskins had done more to bother the Saints’ Hall of Fame signal caller on the final two drives of regulation.
Brees carved the Skins’ defense up for 164 yards and 2 touchdowns on those series and the Redskins only blitzed him and sent more than four rushers on 1 of the 11 dropbacks on those possessions.
Third Down- The Saints only picked up first downs on 4 of their 12 third downs (33.3%). This was the second lowest third-down success rate allowed by the defense this season (0% vs. Oakland).
Tight End Defense- In the shocker of the century, Saints’ tight ends caught all 6 of their targets for 92 yards, 4 first downs and a touchdown Sunday against the Redskins.
With the Giants streak of touchdowns allowed to a tight end snapped this week, the Redskins and Saints are now tied for the second most consecutive games allowing a TD to a tight end (3). Only the 49ers have allowed an opposing tight end to score in more consecutive games (4).
Rushing Defense- The Saints crushed the Redskins with their hyper-efficient ground attack. New Orleans runners combined to post the following team rushing line: 23 carries, 160 yards, 10 first downs, 1 touchdown and a 7.0 YPC average.
The yardage and first down totals, along with the average, were all season worsts for Washington’s defense.
Since Week 4, the Redskins have allowed their opponents to gain 959 rushing yards on 205 carries (4.7 YPC). The third and sixth worst marks in the league respectively in that time frame.
I have to imagine they would have fared a little bit better in this department if every member of their entire starting defensive line (Jonathan Allen, Phil Taylor and Matt Ioannidis) did not suffer serious injuries this season.
4th Quarter Comeback Misery- It doesn’t matter which win probability site you look at, they all pretty much had the Redskins with higher than a 99% chance to win the game late in the fourth quarter on Sunday.
As we all know things did not go to plan and the team blew a 15-point 4th-quarter lead and lost the game in overtime. Let me try to quantify how bad this was for you:
- Drew Brees was 0-50 in games that he trailed by 14 or more points in the fourth quarter prior to Sunday’s contest.
- The Saints had never won any of the 234 games they trailed by 14 or more points in the history of the team. Again, this changed in Week 11.
- The last time an NFL team blew a 15-point lead with under five minutes to play was in 2011 when Tim Tebow and Dolphins came back to beat the Broncos in overtime.
- The Redskins entered the fourth quarter with an 11-point lead. They were 215-11-2 with an 11-point lead going into the fourth quarter of games since 1940.
- They only led by 15 or more points at any time during the fourth quarter in three of those eleven other losses (Steelers in 1962, Giants in 1970 and Cowboys in 1999). This was one of the greatest collapses in Redskins history.
Matt Ioannidis- I’ve got good news and bad news.
The good news is Matt Ioannidis played for the first time in the last four games and led all Redskins D-linemen in snaps. Ziggy Hood led the way in playing time for this group in Weeks 8-10.
The bad news is Ioannidis did virtually nothing with his 44 defensive snaps. He struggled to get pressure on Brees (only 1 pressure / a QB hit) and did not record a tackle for this first time this season. Matty I’s play clearly looks to have been hampered by his broken hand.
Ziggy Hood- Hood led all Washington linemen with 2 solo and total tackles. This was the fourth game in a row Hood has recorded at least one tackle in. Hood is by no means growing on me, but I have to at least give him props for finding a way to make an appearance on the stat sheet for an extended stretch like that.
I can’t rightfully keep calling him Kedric Golston if he keeps making a tackle or two every week, now can I?
Hood didn’t record any pressures for what seems like the millionth time this season. So in that regard, he is still Golston 2.0.
Anthony Lanier- Lanier had a career game as a pass rusher.
He played 30 snaps for the defense and made a tackle for the first time since Week 8. The tackle came on a sack of Drew Brees, which was the first sack of Lanier’s career. He also registered a team and career-high 2 quarterback hits.
Lanier is only 24-years-old and has played fewer than 200 defensive snaps in his career. He needs to play a lot more over the final six games of the year.
Stacy McGee- McGee started for the sixth time this season, but only recorded 1 assisted tackle in the game. On the plus side, he was able generate some pressure on Drew Brees.
Terrell McClain- Terrell McClain left the game with a foot injury after 11 snaps. He did not record any traditional stats or pressures for the second week in a row.
Caraun Reid- Reid was inactive for his first game with the team.
Ryan Kerrigan- Kerrigan came back to life after sleep walking through last week’s home loss to the Vikings. He tied his season highs in solo and total tackles (4 each) and recorded sack #7 on the year and #65.5 for his career.
With that sack, Kerrigan became only the seventh player in NFL history to record at least 7 sacks in each of their first seven seasons. Check out the other members of the 7-7-7 club: Reggie White, Derrick Thomas, Greg Townsend, DeMarcus Ware, Peter Boulware and Jared Allen. Von Miller and Cameron Jordan will probably be a part of this list after next season.
The one bad play by Kerrigan that stood out on Sunday was the 29-yard first down he allowed Colby Fleener on the penultimate play of the Saints’ final touchdown-scoring drive.
I have to put this one on the coaches though, because there is no way Kerrigan should ever be covering a receiving tight end in the final minutes of a one-score game.
Preston Smith- He recorded 3 solo and 4 total tackles on Sunday. Somehow that mark of 4 tackles is tied for the third most in his 3-year career. New Orleans did not pick up a first down on any of those plays.
Two of the tackles stopped the Saints within 2 yards of the first down marker. On his best play of the day, Smith blew up a Ted Ginn end-around run for a loss of 12 yards.
He also hit Brees on a fourth-quarter dropback. Unfortunately, the only other time Smith got to the Saints’ quarterback he was called for roughing the passer. That penalty came on a third-down pass in the first quarter which fell incomplete. Instead of punting the ball back to the Redskins, the Saints would go on to score a touchdown two plays later.
Smith played on fewer than 74% of the snaps for just the second time in the last eight games. Our next outside backer was the main beneficiary of his reduced playing time.
Junior Galette- In his “revenge game” against his former team, Junior Galette set new season highs in snaps played (34) and snap percentage (48%).
He didn’t record a tackle for the fifth time this year, but he did score a hit on Brees and hurried him on multiple other dropbacks.
Maybe it’s just rust, but Galette just is not converting any of his pressure into sacks (e.g. 7 hits and 1 sack this season).
It’s quite possible his age and the multiple serious leg injuries he’s suffered have sapped him of some of his ability, because this is just not the same guy that we saw wreak havoc with the Saints in 2013 and 2014.
In those seasons, he averaged 0.7 sacks per game and 1 sack for every 75 snaps played. Over half (52%) of his QB hits were sacks.
In 2017, Galette is averaging 0.1 sacks per game and has recorded a sack once over the course of his 227 snaps. Only 14% of his hits have been sacks.
I know Galette played many more snaps in 2013 and 2014, but I think I can confidently say a much greater percentage of snaps this season are coming on obvious passing downs, so that kind of evens things out.
Ryan Anderson- Anderson’s snap percentage slowly dropped for the third time in the last four games (34%>16%>21%>20%>18%).
He did, however, record a tackle for his third straight game. The tackle was actually his first of the solo variety since Week 2, when he made his only other solo stops of the year (2).
Anderson was also able to generate some pressure as a pass rusher for only the third time this season.
Chris Carter- Chris Carter is a defender who plays for the Redskins; he just doesn’t play on defense. Carter’s last defensive snap was in Week 4.
Zach Brown- This was Zach Brown’s least productive game as a Redskin. Despite playing on every snap for seventh time this season, Brown tied a season-low with 5 solo tackles and set new lows in assists (0) and total tackles (5).
He led the Burgundy and Gold in tackles in each of their first nine games, but only ranked sixth on the team against the Saints.
Brown, who did not make his first tackle, until the 1:35 mark in the second quarter, had hit double-digit tackle numbers in each of the last four games. You have to go all the way back to Week 9 of last season (Bills vs. Seahawks) to find the last game in which he recorded 5 or fewer tackles.
He didn’t fare much better in pass coverage. He gave up multiple first-down receptions in the fourth quarter alone. He did, however, defend a third-down pass to Mark Ingram in the 1st quarter.
Despite the down performance, Zach Brown still leads the league in tackles and became the first player in the NFL to hit 100 of them in 2017 (101 total tackles).
Martrell Spaight- Martrell Spaight got the start at inside linebacker for the third time this season and for the fourth time in his career.
He was in on all 71 defensive snaps in the game, which was the second highest total of his career. He had only played on 100% of the snaps in one other game during his three years in the pros (73 snaps vs. Panthers in 2016).
Spaight had an up-and-down day production-wise.
He was tied for the team lead with 7 total tackles (3 solo), including a TFL and an assist that the Saints lost a yard on. All but two of his takedowns came within 4 yards of the line of scrimmage and prevented the Saints from picking up a first down. He also defended a Brandon Coleman target and scored a QB hit for the first time in his career.
However, he struggled at times in pass coverage, particularly on the last two drives when he gave up 2 receptions for 23 yards and the Saints’ final touchdown to Alvin Kamara. He missed a tackle on that TD and on a couple of other plays, as well.
Spaight was spotted with a walking boot today, so that certainly leaves his status in doubt for Thursday night’s game, as does the signing of Pete Robertson.
Pete Robertson- Robertson was signed from the practice squad today. The rookie defender played both inside and outside linebacker for the Redskins in the preseason. He recorded 10 tackles, 3 hits, a sack and a forced fumble in exhibition play.
Josh Harvey-Clemons- He has been active in each of the last four games, but still hasn’t sniffed the field on defense. Spaight’s injury may finally pave the way for him to get some PT on defense.
JHC recorded 14 tackles, 2 QB hits and a pick six on defense in the preseason.
Zach Vigil- This was Vigil’s first game of the season. He appeared in nine games last year (7 for the Dolphins and 2 for the Redskins).
He shouldn’t see much time on defense at all if Brown and Spaight can stay healthy (knock on wood). Vigil has only played 1 defensive snap since the 2015 season.
Josh Norman- Norman returned from a broken rib about a month ago. He looked great outside of a few errant plays against the Cowboys and Seahawks in his first games back. Things have not gone as well in the last two weeks.
Norman has either aggravated his injury, suffered another injury or is just plain starting to fall off as he rapidly approaches age 30. I hope it’s the former, but something is definitely going on here.
Norman gave up 5 receptions for 78 yards on 5 targets. This was the third game in a row he has allowed 70 or more yards in. After only giving up 99 yards in his first six games combined, he has allowed a whopping 279 in his last three outings.
Sure, J-No has recorded 6 or more tackles in each of those games, but that is a product of him getting beat in coverage more than it is him making plays up around the line of scrimmage.
Just take a look at the his tackle numbers this week and you’ll see none of his tackles came within 7 or fewer yards of the line of scrimmage and the Saints gained an average of 14 yards on those plays.
Norman is currently in the midst of his worst three-game stretch going back to at least 2014.
Bashaud Breeland- Breeland put forth another impressive performance on Sunday. He was targeted 10 times but only allowed 5 receptions for 55 yards on those throws. That means Brees only averaged 5.5 yards per attempt and posted a passer rating of 66.7 when targeting receivers in Breeland’s coverage.
The veteran corner also defended a game and season-high 3 passes and made tackles on Saints’ gains of 2 and 4 yards.
He earned a 90.4 PFF grade for the performance, the highest grade on the team.
Kendall Fuller- Kendall Fuller played on over 70% of the snaps for the fifth time this season and recorded season highs in solo and total tackles (5 and 7), one of which the Saints lost yardage on. Two of his other stops came just shy of the line to gain.
He sniffed out a screen pass on the Saints’ opening drive and forced Drew Brees to throw the ball away. In all, Fuller was targeted 5 times, but for the second week in a row he only allowed 1 reception for 9 yards.
He nearly ended the game with an interception on the Saint’s final drive of regulation, but his hands to the face penalty nullified the pick and the Saints scored a touchdown four plays later.
Fabian Moreau- Moreau played on defense for the first time since Week 5. On 1 of his 2 snaps in the game, he and DeAngelo Hall gave up a 24-yard reception to Michael Thomas.
Quinton Dunbar- Dunbar missed the game with an illness. He only played on special teams against the Vikings in Week 10.
Joshua Holsey- Holsey did not play on defense and has not done so outside of the 10 combined snaps he took in Weeks 6 and 7. I can understand why the coaches might not want to put him out there on defense when he is making multiple mistakes on special teams the way he did in this game.
D.J. Swearinger- For the seventh time this season Swearinger played on 100% of the defensive snaps.
After intercepting Case Keenum in the third and fourth quarter of last week’s game, Swearinger picked off Drew Brees on the third play from scrimmage on Sunday. Brees had not thrown an interception in 111 consecutive attempts prior to this play.
That makes it two straight games and three straight quarters with an interception by Swearinger. This is the first time in his career he’s scored a pick in back-to-back games, and it’s the first time any Redskin has accomplished this feat since Bashaud Breeland did in Weeks 5 and 6 of the 2015 season.
Swearinger’s latest pick tied the single-season career high 3 interceptions that he recorded in 2016, and tied Kendall Fuller for the team lead in interceptions this season.
He also recorded 5 solo and 6 total tackles against the Saints; unfortunately for Swearinger and the Redskins, New Orleans picked up a first down on every single one of them.
Montae Nicholson- The speedy rookie out of Michigan State started for the sixth time this season, but was forced to leave the game with an injury once again.
He hasn’t been able to play a full game since Week 6 (72 snaps over the team’s last 4 games). In fact, Week 6 (at Philadephia) was the only time Nicholson has played on more than 88% of the snaps this season.
He made 4 solo tackles before exiting the game, even though he only played on 18 snaps
PFF has Nicholson as the highest graded safety on the Redskins’ roster (77.5).
DeAngelo Hall- DeAngelo Hall was pressed into action for the final 53 snaps of the game after Montae Nicholson went down.
He was great against the Seahawks in his 2017 debut, but his play has fallen off a cliff since then.
He did record a season-high 5 solo and 6 total tackles, but all 5 of his solo tackles came 18 or more yards from the line of scrimmage. The rest of the news on Hall is bad. First, he missed 3 tackles, which may or may not include when Mark Ingram broke his ankles on a 36-yard touchdown run.
He was just as bad, if not worse in coverage. All 4 of the targets thrown in his direction were caught for a total of 67 yards and a touchdown.
PFF gave Hall a grade of 24.6 for this absolutely atrocious performance.
Sunday was both Hall’s 34th birthday and the day we all accepted the fact that he will probably only be playing pro football for another month-and-a half. I’ve actually grown pretty fond of D-Hall, but the truth is the truth. Hall had a run, but he is done.
Deshazor Everett- I know Everett probably isn’t the Redskins’ “starting safety of the future,” but tell me why he didn’t play a single defensive snap when the team saw Hall struggling so badly in the game. Everett has averaged fewer than 13 defensive snaps per game since Week 3.
ALL DEFENSIVE SNAPS
Snaps- Ben Kotwica used 37 of the team’s 46 active players over the course of a season-high tying 33 special teams snaps. The group of 37 was comprised of 20 defenders, 14 offensive players and 3 specialists.
Kick Coverage- Carter and Everett led the team with 28 specials snaps. Fabian Moreau, Holsey, JHC and Zach Vigil rounded out the top five. Vigil and Harvey-Clemmons led the team with two solo special teams tackles. Holsey and Bashaud Breeland chipped in with solo stops of their own.
Overall, the Redskins’ coverage units were horrible on Sunday. The team allowed a season-worst 80 kickoff return yards and 118 total return yards. The previous highs allowed in those categories this season were 57 and 83 yards.
Special Teams Miscues- Stacy McGee was called for a false start on what would have been a 51-yard field goal attempt by Nick Rose. The coaches decided to punt the ball back to New Orleans instead of attempting a kick from 56 yards out.
Josh Holsey could have easily pinned the Saints at their own 1-yard line on the punt with 1:40 left in the first half. Instead, he unnecessarily stepped on the goal line and forced the touchback, which cost the Redskins 20 yards of field position. The Saints went on to kick a 29-yard field goal as time expired in the half.
That’s a 6-point swing in a game that would ultimately be decided by a field goal in overtime.
Nick Rose- Rose hit on a 38-yarder and connected on all four of his extra points. He has now made 13 of his 14 extra points and 8 of his 9 field goals this season.
He had 6 kickoffs in the game. Two of them went for touchbacks and not one of the four kicks the Saints returned was taken out past the 20-yard line.
Tress Way- Way punted five times for 248 yards and a 49.6-yard average. Only one of his punts either went for a touchback or pinned the Saints inside their own 20.
Punt Returns- The Redskins did not return a single punt for the second consecutive week and for the third time this year.
Instead, Jamison Crowder fair caught punts at Washington’s 8 and 15-yard lines and chose to let the Saints down the other punt at the 6.
Kickoff Returns- All seven of the Saint’s kickoffs went for touchbacks. It would’ve been nice to see what Byron Marshall could do as a kick returner, but taking the free yards on kickoffs is almost always the right move.
This was the second time this season and only the third time since 1980 that the Redskins did not return either a kick or a punt in a regular season game.
*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 Redskins defender do you think was the most responsible for Sunday’s epic meltdown against the Saints?
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