Snaps- The Washington Redskins used 19 of their 25 defenders over the course of 72 defensive snaps against the Chargers. The 6 who did not play included 2 inactives (Terrell McClain and Montae Nicholson) and 4 players that worked exclusively on special teams (Chris Carter, Joshua Holsey, Fabian Moreau and DeAngelo Hall).
Yards- The defense gave up their second highest yardage total of the year (488 yards) and the team was outgained by 287, which represents by far the most lopsided negative yardage margin for the Redskins all year.
The only other team to be outgained by that many yards in 2017 was the Raiders. Remember when this same Redskins team put up 344 more yards than they did? It feels like that game was three years ago and not three months ago.
The -287 margin is also the second worst by a Redskins team since 1979; the other game in this span took place in 2001.
The Redskins currently rank 24th in total yards allowed and yards allowed per play.
Points- The Chargers scored on each of their first five possessions for the first time since 2011 and put up 30 points on a helpless Redskins defense.
This was the sixth time in the last eight games that Washington has given up 30 or more points. It was also a league-worst seventh time they’ve allowed 30 this season. The Redskins have only allowed seven or more 30-point games in a season 3 other times in their 86-year history.
They are one more 30-point game from tying the 1954 team for the most such games in franchise history (8).
The Redskins’ 344 points allowed this season ranks dead last in the NFL.
Quarterback Pressure- The Redskins sacked Philip Rivers twice and hit him a total of 7 times. Both of the sacks came when they only rushed four and did not blitz.
Everything went downhill when they blitzed. Rivers completed all 6 of his passes and threw for 127 yards and two touchdowns when he was blitzed. This was his first multi-score game against the blitz in the last two seasons.
Turnovers- The Washington defense scored directly off of a turnover for the second time this season. Surprisingly, the team lost the two games by a combined score of 60 to 30.
Third Down- The Chargers converted on 6-of-15 third downs (40%). Four of their six chain movers came on plays when they only needed to gain 1 or 2 yards.
Red Zone- The final score could have been much more lopsided if the defense had not been as stout in the red zone. The defense was tasked with making a season-high 6 red-zone stands, but they only surrendered 2 touchdowns (33%).
This was only the second time all season the defense has held their opponent to a red-zone success rate of below 40%, and the opposition only made one trip to the red area in that game (Giants).
Tight End Defense- The Redskins’ tight end defense was at its best against the Cowboys in Week 13 (5 targets, 1 reception, 8 yards and 1 touchdown), but struggled against the Chargers on Sunday.
Hunter Henry, Antonio Gates and Jeff Cumberland combined to catch 5 of 9 targets for 50 yards, 4 first downs and a touchdown against the Skins’ D. Three of those receptions and first downs, 42 of the yards and the touchdown all came on L.A.’s first-quarter touchdown drive.
The Redskins have allowed the second most yards (841) and the third most touchdowns (8) to enemy tight ends this season.
Rushing- Los Angeles runners combined for 174 yards and 7 first downs on 35 carries (5.0 YPC). This was the second straight week the Washington defense allowed its opponent to rush for over 170 yards.
The Chargers only failed to gain any yards on 2 carries (5.8%), compared to the 14 runs that they rushed for 5 or more yards on (40%).
The Redskins have allowed over 100 rushing yards in eight of their last ten games.
Take a look at some season-long rankings if you want to find out more about how bad this team has been at stopping the run: 26th in rushing yards (1,586), 27th in YPC (4.3), 24th in first downs, 21st in first down percentage (21.9%) and 17th in 20-yard runs (9). Look on the bright side; at least they’re not as bad as the offense in the rushing department.
Injured Reserved Redskins- The team placed three more players on injured reserve today (Chris Carter, Byron Marshall and Jordan Reed). That brings the total number of players on the team’s injured list to a whopping 18, and this doesn’t even include Su’a Cravens (Reserve/Left Squad) and Stefan McClure (waived).
The only other teams who have placed that many players on IR this season are the 2-11 New York Giants and the 3-11 San Francisco 49ers.
Matt Ioannidis- This was Ioannidis’ first game without a cast on his hand since Week 7 and the difference in his play was noticeable.
He led all Skins’ DL in snaps for the fourth straight game and made more than 2 tackles (3 total and 2 solo) for the first time since Week 8.
He also recorded his first sack since the Week 6 win over the 49ers and pressured Philip Rivers on 5 dropbacks.
Ziggy Hood- This was a pretty exceptional game for Hood, at least by his standards. He made a season-high 3 solo and 5 total tackles, 2 of which were counted as stops.
He also miraculously recorded a pressure in the game (a hurry).
Hood did his best to sully one of his better outings of the season by committing a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.
Anthony Lanier- This was one of the best games of Anthony Lanier’s career. He recorded a career high 3 solo and 4 total tackles; the Chargers lost yardage or failed to gain any yards on three of those plays.
It was his third career game with a sack and/or 2 QB hits. Lanier has sacked the opposing QB in three of the team’s last four games. He has scored 7 hits since Week 9, the most on the team.
Lanier also forced rookie guard Dan Feeney to commit a holding penalty and deflected a third-down pass in the red zone, the first PD of his career.
Stacy McGee- Stacy McGee started for the ninth time this year and recorded 3 tackles (2 solo and 1 assisted). The Chargers lost two yards on his assist and only gained 1 yard on one of his solo stops.
McGee has made 3 or more tackles seven times this season. That is impressive for a defensive lineman.
He was unable able to generate any pressure on Rivers as a pass rusher.
A.J. Francis- Francis set a new career high in snaps for the second consecutive game (26).
Unfortunately, his production tailed off relative to last week’s performance. Francis recorded 4 tackles and a hit against the Cowboys, but was held without a pressure and only made 1 tackle on Sunday.
Terrell McClain- He missed his third straight game with a toe injury. McClain was only in for 11 snaps in his last outing (Week 11 at New Orleans). The 2017 free agent ranks 4th among Skins’ D-linemen in snaps (280) and 5th in starts (2).
Preston Smith- Smith was on the field for 46 defensive snaps, yet he failed to record any traditional stats for the second time in the last three games.
Smith literally did not make a positive contribution of any kind until he hit Kellen Clemens on the play Bashaud Breeland recorded a pick six on.
That was his only pressure of the day and it came with 2:55 left in the game and the team was down by 24 points.
Ryan Kerrigan- Ryan Kerrigan failed to record a sack for the second straight game and only made two tackles, but the fact is that he was a menace as a pass rusher on Sunday.
On 27 pass-rushing snaps, he pressured Rivers a team-high 6 times (5 hurries and 1 hit). He has now tallied 4 or more pressures eight times this year.
Kerrigan also forced Russell Okung to commit a holding penalty; several other Chargers’ linemen got away with holding him, as well.
He led the Redskins with an 81.0 PFF grade.
Despite his success, Kerrigan was only on the field for a season-low 59% of the defensive snaps.
Junior Galette- Junior Galette has been complaining about his playing time and I guess it finally paid off for him. He set new season highs in snaps (35) and snap percentage (49%).
He only made 1 tackle for the third straight week, but he is not here to make tackles. He is here to pressure opposing signal callers, and that is exactly what he did against the Chargers. Galette racked up 3 hurries and a QB hit on just 11 pass rushes.
Galette has recorded just 1 fewer pressure than Preston Smith has this season, despite the fact Smith has played on 288 more total snaps and 95 more pass-rushing snaps than he has.
Galette tied Kerrigan with a team-high 81.0 PFF grade.
Ryan Anderson- The rookie outside backer tied a season high with 24 defensive snaps and recorded a season-best 5 tackles (all solo). The Chargers’ offense didn’t pick up a first down on any of the plays Anderson made a tackle on and only gained a yard or less on two of them.
Anderson also registered a QB hit for only the second time this year. The hit represented just his fourth pressure of any kind as a pro.
His performance was somewhat tainted by an unnecessary roughness infraction that he committed on the Chargers’ first touchdown drive of the game.
Chris Carter- Chris Carter was lost for the season with a broken fibula. He only played on 2 defensive snaps in 2017 (1 each in Weeks 1 and 4).
The Redskins brought Carter in solely to play on special teams. They never had any intention of using him on defense unless more OLBs were injured. Carter likely wouldn’t have made the team in the first place if Trent Murphy had not torn his ACL in the preseason.
Zach Brown- Brown aggravated his Achilles injury was limited to a season-low 78% snap rate, but the Pro Bowler still managed to rack up 10 total tackles (5 solo and 5 assists). This was ZB’s league-best eighth double-digit tackle performance this year.
He also still leads the NFL with 127 tackles, but Joe Schobert (120), Blake Martinez (117), Bobby Wagner (115) and C.J. Mosley (115) are right on his tail.
If only Brown was as skilled in coverage as he is as a tackler. He allowed Keenan Allen to catch two first-down passes for a combined 49 yards. However, it’s tough to be too down on him for giving those numbers up to a player of Allen’s caliber.
Zach Vigil- Zach Vigil drew his third consecutive start opposite Brown and played on career highs of 67 snaps and a 93% snap share. Through just four games with the Redskins, the third-year pro has more than doubled his career snap and start totals.
He also set new career marks in solo (7) and total tackles (9). Vigil led the team with 4 defensive stops, each of those tackles were made within 3 yards of the line of scrimmage.
Vigil let up 2 receptions for 13 yards and 1 first down on the 3 targets thrown in his direction.
Josh Harvey-Clemons- JHC had played 17 and 12 defensive snaps against the Giants and Cowboys, respectively; he was only out there for 3 snaps on Sunday. Unsurprisingly, Harvey-Clemmons did not a record any stats on those 3 plays.
Martrell Spaight- Spaight, who was a limited participant in practice all week, played sparingly against the Chargers (15 snaps). After getting all 71 snaps against the Saints in Week 11, he’s been limited to a combined 23 plays in the team’s last three contests.
He made two solo tackles short of the first-down marker and was not targeted against the Chargers.
More Linebackers- The Redskins signed Pete Robertson and Otha Peters to the active roster on Tuesday.
Josh Norman- Simply put, Josh Norman’s play this year isn’t even coming close to matching his $20M price tag. His struggles continued on Sunday, when he allowed a season-high 142 receiving yards. According to PFF, this wasn’t just a season worst figure for J-No, it marked the first time in his entire career that he has allowed 100 or more receiving yards.
The bulk of the yardage was accumulated on a 75-yard touchdown strike to Tyrell Williams. That play wiped out any semblance of momentum the Redskins had built up on their lone touchdown drive and effectively ended the game even though there was still 10 minutes remaining in the first half.
Norman has now given up a combined total of 386 yards and 3 touchdowns over the course of his last five games.
In all, Norman allowed 4 of the 5 passes thrown in his coverage to be caught for 142 yards, 3 first downs and the aforementioned TD. He also recorded 3 tackles, a pass defense and committed a face mask penalty.
PFF tagged him with a lowly rating of 38.2 for this performance. Norman and Bashaud Breeland both have a 75.5 grade on the year, which ties them for 60th out of 118 qualifying cornerbacks.
Bashaud Breeland- Breeland was benched after the team’s second defensive drive and as a result only played on a season-low 28 snaps.
He gave up 4 receptions for 26 yards and 3 first downs; he also a committed a defensive pass interference penalty on one of the receptions. Three of those receptions and the DPI all took place during the aforementioned opening two series.
Breeland was able to salvage his day by tying a season high with 6 tackles and recording his first turnover of the year. The turnover was an interception that he returned 96 yards for a touchdown. This was the first score of Breeland’s career and the team’s first non-offensive touchdown since Week 1 (Kerrigan pick six).
The interception return was the second longest in Redskins’ history (100-yard return by Barry Wilburn in 1987) and the team’s first 90-yard offensive or defensive score since DeAngelo Hall’s 92-yard pick six against the Bears in 2010.
Breeland’s pick six is the fourth longest touchdown by any player in the NFL this season.
Kendall Fuller- Fuller was outstanding in coverage yet again. He only allowed 1 reception for 7 yards on 2 targets, and he stopped the receiver 1 yard shy of the first-down marker on that play.
Kendall Fuller hasn’t given up 40 or more yards in a game all season and has surrendered fewer than 20 yards five times in his 2017 campaign.
In their infinite wisdom, the coaches chose to utilize Fuller on a season-low 47% of the snaps against the Chargers. Instead they used our next player as Breeland’s replacement on the boundary.
Quinton Dunbar- Dunbar replaced Bashaud Breeland at right cornerback on the third defensive drive of the game and continued to man that spot for the majority of the remaining snaps. After only seeing the field for 8 snaps between Weeks 10-13, Dunbar played 47 defensive snaps on Sunday.
He did record a PD on a third down inside the red zone, but he also allowed 3 of the 6 passes thrown into his coverage to be caught for 57 yards and 3 first downs.
Dunbar made solo tackles after allowing two of those receptions and assisted on two rushing tackles.
Fabian Moreau- Moreau only saw action on special teams for the seventh time in the last eight games and for the ninth time all year. The third-round pick has only played 54 defensive snaps all year, and all but 20 of them came against the 49ers in Week 6 (34 snaps).
The season is over, play him. If you’re going to use Dunbar over Breeland, you might as well try the same thing with Moreau.
Joshua Holsey- If you think Moreau hasn’t gotten a lot of playing time, then consider that fellow CB Joshua Holsey has only taken 10 snaps for Greg Manusky all season. Those 10 plays all came in a two-game stretch between Weeks 6 and 7.
D.J. Swearinger- The fifth-year vet was out there for every defensive snap for the seventh consecutive contest. He has only missed 4 defensive snaps all season long.
Swearinger made 3 tackles on the day (2 solo and 1 assist), which was tied for his second lowest total of the year.
He wasn’t great in coverage, either. Swearinger did register a pass defense on a Keenan Allen target, but he was also partly at fault for giving up the back-breaking 75-yard touchdown to Tyrell Williams.
Despite what he says, Swearinger is much better suited to play strong safety. He has given up 4 touchdowns this year, which is tied for the eighth most scores allowed by a safety.
Deshazor Everett- Everett played on 100% of the snaps for the second time this season and as a pro.
He led the game with a career-best 11 tackles. His 6 solo and 5 assisted tackles were also new personal records. Unfortunately, the L.A. offense picked up first downs on all but 3 of the plays Everett recorded a takedown on.
Like his counterpart, D.J. Swearinger, Everett had some difficulties in coverage. He allowed 2 of the 3 targets thrown in his coverage to be completed for 28 yards and 2 first downs. He recorded a PD on the other target. The problem was that both of the catches he gave up had a major impact on the game.
The first reception came on a 3rd-and-9 pass to Hunter Henry from the Chargers own 9-yard line. If Everett would have prevented the completion, then the Redskins would have been set up to tie the game or take the lead on the ensuing drive.
Instead the Chargers drove 92 yards down the field and scored a touchdown to take a 10-0 first-quarter lead. The 8-yard TD to Henry on that drive was allowed by, you guessed it, Deshazor Everett.
DeAngelo Hall- Hall did not play on defense for the second time in the last three games. His single snap of the day came on special teams. He has only seen the field on a total of 2 snaps since his wretched performance against the Saints in Week 11.
Montae Nicholson- Nicholson sat out because of lingering concussion symptoms. The rookie safety has missed five of the last six games and has only played 18 snaps since Week 8.
Su’a Cravens- It was reported by Adam Schefter today that Cravens is healthy and plans to play next season. The 22-year-old safety was apparently suffering from post concussion syndrome.
A healthy quartet of Swearinger, Nicholson, Cravens and Everett in 2018 would easily form an above average safety corps, in my opinion. Now whether those four are all on the roster next year or not is another question entirely.
ALL DEFENSIVE PLAYERS
Snaps- Ben Kotwica used 36 of the team’s 46 active players throughout the Redskins’ 31 special teams snaps.
Unfortunately, Chris Carter broke his fibula on a Chargers’ punt return in the third quarter. He was placed on injured reserve today. Carter had led the Redskins in specials snaps in all 12 of the team’s games going into Sunday.
The injury caused that streak to be snapped, and Fabian Moreau led the team with 29 specials snaps, which was the highest ST snap total by a Redskins player all season long.
Carter tied Joshua Holsey for second in teams snaps, with 27 of them. Chris Carter still leads the entire NFL with 330 special teams snaps this season. He also finishes his 2017 campaign with a team-high 7 total specials tackles.
Nick Rose- Rose didn’t attempt a field goal for the second consecutive week and for the second time this season.
Two of his three kickoffs went for touchbacks and the Chargers’ lone return was taken 20 yards out to the 22-yard line.
Rose missed one of his two extra points in the game, his second miss of the year, but Tress Way was partly to blame on the miss because of a bad hold.
Tress Way- Way tied a season and career high with 8 punts. At one point in the game, he punted on seven consecutive Redskins’ drives. His 347 punt yards are his second most this season (New York) and the fourth most of his career.
This was the third straight game in which 3 or more of Way’s punts have been downed inside the 20-yard line. He is up to a career-high 26 such punts this season.
Two of his kicks were returned. Los Angeles gained two yards on their first one, but took the final return for 47 yards before being tackled at the Redskins’ own 27-yard line.
This was the second longest punt return allowed by the team this season; the longest one came in Week 13 against Ryan Switzer and the Cowboys (83 yards). That was the only other time a team has gained more punt return yards against Washington this season (88 and 49 yards).
Kick Coverage- Quinton Dunbar made the tackle on Travis Benjamin’s 47-yard punt return and likely prevented the team from giving up a return TD for the second consecutive week.
Brian Quick tackled Desmond King at the Los Angeles 22-yard line on the Chargers’ only kickoff return of the game.
Punt Returns- Jamison Crowder fielded four of the Chargers’ five punts. He fair caught one of them and returned the other three for a total of 15 yards (5 yards per return).
He took his first return out to the 16-yard line, but a Josh Harvey-Clemons hold moved the team back to the 8. Crowder took both of his other returns out to the Washington 22-yard line.
The Chargers did not punt until there was 9:34 left in the third quarter.
Kickoff Returns- Byron Marshall fielded L.A.’s first kickoff at the goal line and returned it to the 22. He suffered a season-ending hamstring injury trying to get under a kickoff that wound up going for a touchback. With the exception of one Niles Paul return for 18 yards, Bashaud Breeland took over as the Skins’ primary kickoff return man after Marshall exited.
Breeland gained a career-high 88 yards on four returns, which is the most KO return yards by a Redskins’ player since Rashad Ross racked up 117 yards against the Cowboys in Week 13 of the 2015 season.
The 35-yarder Breeland returned to the Washington 40 was the team’s longest kick or punt return all season. The problem is that was the only kickoff return the team took out past the 25. The Chargers wisely kicked as many balls inside of the Redskins’ 5-yard line as they could, in order to prevent Skins’ returners from taking the free yards on touchbacks.
Nevertheless, the Redskins 128 kickoff return yards in the game were their most since the 44-16 beating at the hands of the NFC Champion Panthers in Week 11 of the 2015 season (190 yards).
*All statistics are courtesy of Air Yards, CSN Mid Atlantic, ESPN, Football Perspective, NFL.com, NFL Gamebooks, Player Profiler, Pro Football Focus, Pro Football Reference, Redskins.com, Sharp Football Stats, Team Rankings and The Washington Post*
Assuming all of the following defensive players are available when the Redskins pick in the 1st round of the 2018 draft, which one of them should team select?
This poll is closed
Vita Vea (DL - Washington)
Christian Wilkins (DL - Clemson)
Arden Key (Edge - LSU)
Harold Landry (Edge - Boston College)
Rashaan Evans (LB - Alabama)
Roquan Smith (LB - Georgia)
Joshua Jackson (CB - Iowa)
Denzel Ward (CB - Ohio State)
Ronnie Harrison (S - Alabama)