Snaps- The Redskins’ offense was on the field for 69 snaps against the Broncos, which is the team’s highest such total since Week 12 (New York).
Only 15 of the team’s 24 offensive players actually took snaps with Kirk Cousins and the offense. The 9 who did not play included 4 inactives (Maurice Harris, Kenny Hilliard, Kyle Kalis and Demetrius Rhaney), 3 players who worked solely on special teams (Robert Davis, Dare Ogunbowale and Tony Bergstrom) and 2 who did not take a snap of any kind (Colt McCoy and Tyler Catalina).
Yards- Washington’s offense put up 386 against the Broncos’ defense, which still ranks second in the NFL in total yards allowed (4,261). The Eagles (419) and Patriots (396) are the only teams that gained more yards against Denver this season.
That total put the team over 5,000 on the season for the 13th straight season. The only other teams that began the year with an active streak of 12 or more such seasons are the Patriots, Saints, Packers, Eagles and Cowboys.
Points- The Redskins scored 27 points for the third time in 2017, which is tied for their third highest total of the year. That is also the fifth most points scored against the Broncos this season.
The Broncos somehow only rank 22nd in points allowed this season, but it is worth noting three of the four other times Washington scored 27 or more came against defenses ranked in the top-8 in points allowed (Rams, Vikings and Saints).
The Kansas City Chiefs are the only other team that has scored 27 or more points against three of the NFL’s top-8 defenses in terms of points allowed.
3rd Down- KC and the Skins converted on 5 of their 13 third-down attempts. A big reason for this was only one of those plays were of the 3rd-and-short variety (3 yards to go) and seven of them required the offense to gain 8 or more yards to move the chains.
A 38.5% success rate on the money down is certainly not something teams should aspire to achieve, but it is the Redskins’ second best showing in this regard since Week 6 (San Francisco).
Red Zone- The offense went just 1-for-4 in the red area against the Broncos, with one of those non-successful trips ending in an interception.
This was the first time all season the Redskins have failed to score three times in the red zone. The only game the team had a worse TD rate inside the 20-yard line was in Week 1 against the Eagles (Philadelphia).
Rushing- The Redskins rushed the ball 29 times for 87 yards, 7 first downs and a 3.0 YPC average. Those aren’t great numbers, but they do represent the team’s best rushing output since the Week 12 win against the Giants. The 7 chain movers on the ground are tied for the team’s second most this season.
The biggest problem here is, as usual, the rushing attack produced as many big plays as they did negative ones. Even if you exclude the kneel downs, the offense lost yardage or rushed for no gain as many times as they took a rush for 5 or more yards (8 each). They lost yardage (5 times) on more plays than they gained 10-plus yards on (3).
Kirk Cousins (Traditional Stats)- Kirk Cousins completed 19 of his 37 passes for 299 yards, 12 first downs, 3 touchdowns and 1 interception.
Cousins’ 299 passing yards are the most that any player has passed for against the Broncos since Week 10 of last season (New Orleans) and the sixth highest total against Denver since the start of the 2014 season.
This was the fifth time this season that Cousins has posted a passer rating over 90 (94.3) and a YPA average over 8.0 (8.1). Tom Brady and Matthew Stafford are the only players with more such games this season (6 each).
His interception occurred in the end zone and was Cousins’ third red-zone pick this season, which is tied for the second most in the league with three other players. On the flip side, it was Cousins’ fourth game this season with 3 or more touchdown passes, which is tied for 4th in the league. Only top MVP candidates Carson Wentz, Tom Brady and Russell Wilson have more 3-TD games in 2017.
KC started the game by completing just 1 of his first 8 throws and that ultimately led to him finishing with a season-low 51% completion rate, the third lowest mark of his entire career. He did, however, post a passer rating of 94.3 while averaging 8.1 yards per attempt.
He was not sacked for only the second time this season, but did fumble for the 13th time this year, which ranks second in the NFL behind only Jameis Winston (15 fumbles).
Kirk Cousins (Rushing)- Cousins scrambled twice for first downs and gained 7 and 3 yards on those plays. His 18 rushing first downs on the year rank 11th among all quarterbacks this season.
Kirk Cousins (Advanced Stats)- Cousins’ adjusted QBR of 59.9 ranked 7th among all qualifying quarterbacks in Week 16. He also posted a respectable PFF grade of 69.6.
He completed 3-of-7 deep passes for 111 yards and 2 touchdowns. The touchdowns came on 4th quarter throws which gained 48 and 31 yards. Cousins is the first player to throw 2 TD passes of 30 or more yards in the 4th quarter of a win since Derek Carr did it in Week 11 of the 2016 season.
Kirk Cousins (Records)- Cousins’ 3 TD tosses in the game brought his total on the season up to 27 touchdowns. This is KC’s third consecutive season with 25 or more touchdown passes. He is the only quarterback in team history with such a streak.
He is two scores away from tying his career high of 29 TDs (2015) and four shy of tying the Redskins’ single-season record of 31 passing scores (31 by Sonny Jurgensen in 1967).
Cousins’ career TD total now stands at 99, which puts him two behind Mark Rypien for the fifth most passing touchdowns in team history. Captain Kirk passed Rypien in this game for 4th all time in passing yards by a Redskins QB (16,048).
He is just 175 yards away from having the top-3 seasons in both completions and passing yards in franchise history, all of which will have come in the last three years.
Josh Doctson- Not one other Redskins wideout has played on 100% of the snaps in a game since 2012, but Josh Doctson did it for the third time this season.
The second-year receiver played the whole game and led the team with a game and career-high 13 targets, which marks the first time in his career that Doctson has even received more than 7 targets. Unfortunately, Doctson was wildly inefficient with those opportunities.
He did not catch one of the first 8 passes thrown his way and finished the day with just 2 receptions. In the last 5 years, only four other players have caught 2 or fewer passes in a game where they were targeted more than 10 times. It’s the first time that has happened this season. Demaryius Thomas is the only other player who has caught 2 or fewer passes while receiving 13 or more targets in this span.
Doctson dropped a touchdown, failed to haul in another end zone target he was held on (no flag) and was Cousins’ target on an end-zone interception. His saving grace was a 48-yard TD catch in the 4th quarter, which was also the longest play in the game.
J-Doc now leads the team with 6 receiving touchdowns and is tied with Chris Thompson for the most overall touchdowns on the team. By the way, it is incredible that CT still leads the team in this category.
Doctson added another first-down reception, which gained 13 yards. His 61-yard total represents the second highest receiving yardage output of his career.
Ryan Grant- This may have been the best game of Ryan Grant’s career. The walk-year wideout put up a career-high 85 receiving yards on 4 receptions and 6 targets. Three of his four catches went for first downs, including a 36-yarder on third down.
This is the second time in the last four weeks that Grant has set a new career high in receiving yards (76 yards at Dallas).
Grant became just the fourth wide receiver to gain 85 or more yards against the Broncos since the start of the 2016 season (Kenny Stills, Brandin Cooks and Kelvin Benjamin).
Before we move on let’s take another look at Grant’s career totals coming into the season versus his 2017 numbers by themselves:
2014-2016: 8 starts, 39 receptions, 412 yards, 28 first downs, 2 touchdowns, 5 20-yard receptions, 3 30-yard receptions and 1 40-yard reception.
2017 alone: 6 starts, 43 receptions, 550 yards, 28 first downs, 4 touchdowns, 9 20-yard receptions, 4 30-yard receptions and 1 40-yard reception.
Jamison Crowder- Crowder saw what were by far his lowest playing time totals of the year on Sunday. His 31 snaps and 45% snap rate were 5 and 7% lower than his previous season lows respectively.
That didn’t stop the diminutive Duke product from putting up a solid line of 4 targets, 4 receptions, 3 first downs and a touchdown against the elite Broncos secondary. The score came against Bradley Roby and is Crowder’s second TD in his last two games. This is the first time Crowder has scored in consecutive contests since Weeks 8-11 of last season.
Crowder has topped 65 yards or scored in seven of his last eight games and is now up to 63 receptions on the year. He tied Gary Clark as just the second receiver in franchise history to rack up 60 or more receptions in two of their first three seasons. Jordan Reed (248), Clark (210) and Charley Taylor (197) are the only Redskins since 1950 who have caught more passes than Jamison Crowder (189) in their first 46 career games.
Brian Quick- Brian Quick was the last wide receiver standing outside of the “big 3” of Doctson, Crowder and Grant, so he actually got some playing time in this one. His 14 snaps are his third most this season and exceed his combined total excluding Weeks 9 and 14 (23 snaps in each of those games).
He moved the chains on his only target and catch of the day, a 9-yard reception on 3rd-and-8.
Quick has rarely been utilized this season, but has been very efficient when his number has been called. He’s hauled in 6 of his 7 targets and picked up a first down on 5 of those plays.
Robert Davis- Davis finally saw game action, but his time on the field was cut short after he suffered a concussion. He was limited to just 3 snaps on special teams in his first official pro game.
Maurice Harris- Harris did not play because of a back injury. He has only played in a total of 8 snaps in the team’s last four contests.
The 25-year-old wideout will likely finish the season with fewer games played, snaps, targets, receptions, yards and first downs than he recorded in 2016 as a rookie.
Vernon Davis- The ageless tight end played 90% of the snaps for the fifth time this season. This was Davis’ 29th start in a Redskins uniform; the last tight end to start that many games for Washington was Logan Paulsen (42 starts between 2010 and 2014).
VD was only targeted 3 times on Sunday, but he turned those passes into 2 receptions, 42 yards, 2 first downs and a touchdown; both of his catches came on third down.
The touchdown came from 31 yards out. The only tight ends with more 25-yard plus receptions than Davis (8) this season are Rob Gronkowski (11) and Travis Kelce (9).
It was his 60th career TD and his 3rd score of the season. The 60 touchdowns tie Redskins great Jerry Smith for seventh all time at the position. The last time VD found the paint three or more times in a season was in 2013, which was also the last season that Davis topped 600 yards in.
Niles Paul- Niles Paul set a new season-high in snaps (37) and snap percentage (54%) on Sunday. You have to go all the way back to 2014 to find the last time Paul played this much in a regular season contest.
Despite the increased PT and his two opportunities to do so (2 targets), Paul failed to extend his streak of games with at least 1 reception to six.
Jeremy Sprinkle- Sprinkle’s 14 snaps against the Broncos are double his total from the last three games combined (7). This was the first game that he did something other than run block since Week 12.
Sprinkle pass blocked on 1 snap and ran 3 routes in the game. He was targeted and caught a 6-yard pass on one of those routes.
On the year, the rookie has been targeted 3 times and has caught 2 of those passes for a total of 13 yards. He has played a total of 213 snaps (115 on offense and 108 on special teams).
Samaje Perine (Playing Time)- Samaje Perine was on the field for 49% of the offensive snaps on Sunday.
This was the first time since Week 10 he had not played on the majority of the snaps and led all Redskins running backs in playing time. The Week 10 contest against the Vikings was Chris Thompson’s last full game before suffering his season-ending injury against the Saints in Week 11.
However, it’s hard to say the drop was entirely performance related, because Perine barely practiced last week after injuring his groin.
Samaje Perine (Rushing)- Perine rushed the ball 17 times for 53 yards and 4 first downs. The 53 yards on the ground is his fourth highest total this season and the most he’s gained since his 100-plus yard performances in both Weeks 11 and 12. That is certainly not the kind of rushing production coaches and fans were hoping to see out of the rookie.
He forced 1 missed tackle on those runs and averaged 3.12 yards per rush and 2.34 yards after contact. The only times this season that Perine has averaged over 4.0 YPC on more than 6 carries were in the aforementioned 100-yard outings against the Saints and Giants.
The rookie fourth-rounder took 5 of his 17 runs against Denver for 5 or more yards (29%), but he also was stopped for no gain or a loss on the same number of totes.
Samaje Perine (Receiving)- Perine caught all 3 of his targets and gained 21 receiving yards, but did not move the chains on any of those receptions. He’s made catches on all but 2 of his targets this season (22-of-24) and has gained 182 yards through the air. Rob Kelley, Byron Marshall and Kapri Bibbs only have a combined career total of 278 receiving yards.
Kapri Bibbs- In his second game with the team, Bibbs led all Redskins RBs with 35 snaps.
Bibbs rushed for 26 yards and a first down. He averaged 3.7 yards per carry and 1.0 yards after contact. Like Perine, 29% of his runs gained 5 or more yards and another 29% didn’t gain any yards. Bibbs’ 13-yard scamper in the 2nd quarter was the team’s longest rush of the day.
He hauled in 2 of the 4 passes thrown his way, and converted those catches into a combined total of 28 yards and 1 first down.
Dare Ogunbowale- Ogunbowale was signed to the active roster the day before the game and only played on special teams against the Broncos.
This was the first career game played for Ogunbowale. The undrafted rookie out of Wisconsin began his college career as a defensive back before converting to the running back position.
He gained 2,025 yards from scrimmage and scored 15 touchdowns over his final three college seasons.
Kenny Hilliard- Hilliard was also signed on Saturday and was listed as inactive for the game. The third-year back was with the team during training camp and the preseason before being cut just prior to Week 1.
Hilliard was waived today.
Running Back Roulette- Dare Ogunbowale was the eighth running back who has played in a game for the Redskins this season.
That is easily the most running backs the Redskins have used in the last 10 years. This is the first year the team has used more than four pure running backs in games since 2011. They’ve only used more than four RBs three times in the last decade (5 RBs each in the 2009, 2010 and 2011 seasons).
Offensive Line (Team)- This was just the second time this season and the first time since Week 4 the Redskins did not allow a single sack. They also held the Broncos vaunted defense to just 5 QB hits despite the fact that Cousins dropped back nearly 40 times in the game.
The 3.3 YPC average on the team’s 24 designed runs was much less impressive. The team failed to gain any yardage (7 rushes) as many times as they ran for 5-plus yards.
Ty Nsekhe- Nsekhe started for the second straight week and for the fourth time this season. He allowed a team-high 3 pressures (2 hurries and 1 hit). This was, however, his first 2017 start without giving up a sack.
Arie Kouandjio- Kouandjio made his third consecutive start and his fifth start of the year. He was responsible for allowing a hit.
He committed a false start penalty on a 3rd-and-7 play and was flagged for unnecessary roughness later in the game; the Redskins were forced to punt on both drives. Kounadjio committed two of Washington’s three offensive penalties in the game.
Chase Roullier- His low snap on a third down caused Kirk Cousins to fumble and be tackled for a loss of 7 yards. Roullier was solid outside of that. He only allowed 1 pressure in the game (a hurry).
Roullier has yet to surrender a sack and is only responsible for a total of 6 QB pressures on nearly 250 pass-blocking snaps this season. He also has never committed a penalty. Expect the sixth-round rookie to open next season as the team’s starting center.
Brandon Scherff- Scherff was tied with Nsekhe for the most pressures allowed on the team, but all of his were hurries.
The third-year guard was named to his second Pro Bowl last week, which makes him just the second Redskins O-linemen to ever be named to an NFL All-Star game in two of their first three seasons (Chris Samuels). Zack Martin, Kyle Long and Trai Turner are the only other guards who have accomplished this feat in the last 20 years.
Morgan Moses- Moses was excellent in this game considering the fact that he was going up against one of the best pass rushers of this generation, in Von Miller. The towering tackle only allowed 1 hit and 1 hurry.
This was the tenth time this season he has been on the field for 100% of the offensive snaps.
A Christmas Miracle: No OL Injuries- You may have noticed all five starters on the line played on 100% of the snaps against the Broncos. This is something that happens all the time in the NFL, just not with the 2017 Redskins. In fact, this was the very first time this season all of the starting O-lineman on the team played on every single offensive snap.
Tyler Catalina- Catalina, who played between 2 and 5 snaps for injured starters four times in the last five weeks, was not needed in this game. He and Colt McCoy were the only active offensive players on the team that did not see the field on Sunday.
Tony Bergstrom- With Roullier manning the pivot on 100% of the offensive snaps in Weeks 15 and 16, Bergstrom has been limited to a purely special teams role in the past two games (12 ST snaps combined). He played on all 201 offensive snaps between Weeks 12-14.
Kyle Kalis- Kalis has been inactive for all three of his games with the team.
Demetrius Rhaney- Rhaney was inactive for Sunday’s game. He has not taken a single snap of any kind in four of the five games that he’s been on the roster for. The last time he played on offense was almost exactly two years ago (1 snap in Week 17 of the 2015 season).
ALL OFFENSIVE PLAYERS
*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, Relative Athletic Scores, Sharp Football Stats, Team Rankings and The Washington Post*
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