Snaps- Greg Manusky used 21 of his 26 defenders over the course of 74 defensive snaps. This was the third straight game that the defense has been on the field for over 70 snaps.
The 5 who did not play on defense included 3 inactives (Zach Brown, Ryan Anderson and DeAngelo Hall) and 2 who worked exclusively on special teams (Otha Peters and Joshua Holsey).
QB Pressure- Brock Osweiler was pressured on 20 of 46 dropbacks; he completed just 5 of his 12 throws for 54 yards and a pick when he was pressured. Redskins’ defenders scored a combined 4 sacks and 9 hits on the much-maligned Broncos’ signal caller.
This was the fifth time this year the team has recorded 4 or more sacks in a game and the first time they’ve done so in consecutive contests since Weeks 3 and 4.
Turnovers- The Redskins tied a season-high with 3 takeaways on Sunday (Oakland). The team has outscored their opponents by a margin of 54-to-21 in the two games they have forced 3 turnovers. Washington’s record in games they’ve recorded multiple turnovers in this season is 5-2.
Of the team’s 27 points scored in the game, 14 of them (52%) came off of turnovers.
Points- After limiting the Arizona Cardinals to 15 points last week, Greg Manusky’s defense held Denver’s offense to just 11 points in this game, making this the first time since Weeks 4 and 5 of the 2010 season the Redskins’ held back-to-back opponents to 15 or fewer points.
The Broncos didn’t score their lone touchdown of the day until the final two minutes of the game. That score snapped the Redskins’ streak of eight consecutive quarters without allowing a TD. The last time a Washington team did that was in Weeks 1-3 of 2007.
Opening Drive Points- The Redskins forced a three-and-out on the Broncos’ first offensive drive, which marks an NFL-best 12th time they have denied an opponent from scoring on the opening drive of the game.
3rd and 4th Down- The defense only allowed conversions on 5-of-17 third downs (29%). This was due in large part to the fact Denver needed to gain 8 or more yards to move the chains on nine of those plays. Their average distance to go on third down was 9.1 yards.
The Redskins’ defense has only given up a first down on 28 of the last 91 third downs they’ve faced (31%). The team ranks 12th in the NFL in third-down conversion rate allowed this season (37.6%).
The Broncos did, however, move the chains on 1 of their 2 fourth-down tries.
Red Zone- The Broncos scored on 1 of their 2 trips to the red zone (50%). Unsurprisingly, the Redskins are 1-4 this season when their opponents convert on more than half of their red-zone opportunities.
Tight End Defense- This was the worst tight end corps the Redskins have played all season, which may explain why they had their best game of the year against the position on Sunday. The Skins only allowed Austin Traylor and Jeff Heuerman to make 1 reception that went for 22 yards and a first down on a total of 4 targets.
The defense also only gave up 1 reception against the Cowboys tight ends in Week 13 and Dallas only gained 8 yards on the play. The difference is the Cowboys scored a touchdown on that catch instead of just picking up a first down.
Rushing Defense- C.J. Anderson and company ran over and through the Washington defense for 159 rushing yards, 9 first downs and a touchdown on 29 attempts (5.5 YPC average).
Denver gained 5 or more yards on 48% of their rushes (14 of 29) and picked up 10 yards on a run more often than they failed to gain any yards (5 to 4).
The Redskins have allowed the following rushing totals and per game averages (in parenthesis) over their last four contests: 140 attempts (35 Att/G), 656 yards (164 YPG), 37 first downs (9.25 FD/G), 4 touchdowns (1 TD/G) and a 4.7 YPC average.
Washington’s defense ranks in the bottom-12 of every one of those statistics this season.
Matt Ioannidis- Matt Ioannidis led all Skins’ defensive linemen in snaps for a team-high eighth time this season and tied his second highest snap total of the year, with 52.
Ioannidis barely made it onto the stat sheet, as his only traditional stat was a single assisted tackle. Don’t be fooled, though; because he had another standout game as a pass rusher.
Matty I led all Washington D-linemen in QB pressures for the third week in a row (6 hurries). This was his third straight game with 6 or more pressures. Aaron Donald (27) and Malik Jackson (19) are the only interior defenders who have pressured opposing quarterbacks more than Matt Ioannidis (17) has since Week 14.
It is no coincidence the Week 14 contest against the Chargers was the first game that Ioannidis had played without a cast since he broke his hand in late October.
Anthony Lanier- The second-year DL didn’t record a sack for the first time in his last five contests, but still found a way to make an impact on the game in multiple other ways.
He assisted on a tackle, recorded a pass defense for the third consecutive week, hurried Osweiler on a dropback and recovered a fumble for the second time in his career. The Redskins scored a touchdown three plays after the fumble recovery.
Lanier was responsible for committing one of the defense’s two penalties. His delay of game infraction cost the defense 5 yards and gave Denver a fresh set of downs.
Stacy McGee- McGee made his 10th start of the year, but only played on 30% of the snaps, his lowest snap rate since Week 7 of last season.
The dip in PT didn’t stop McGee from putting up decent numbers. He tied his season high with 2 QB pressures (1 hit and 1 hurry) for the third time in the last four weeks and made solo stops on two Denver runs.
McGee’s 9.5% run stop rate ranks 14th in the NFL. He leads all Skins’ D-lineman in total tackles, with 43 of them, and is the only lineman on the team with more than 25 tackles this season.
A.J. Francis- The journeyman D-lineman made 1 solo and 2 assisted tackles against the Broncos. He also recorded a pressure (a hurry) for the third time this year.
Terrell McClain- McClain played for the first time since Week 11, but only made his way onto the field for 13 defensive snaps. He did not record a stat of any kind in the game.
Ziggy Hood- Ziggy Hood fractured his elbow early in the second quarter and was limited to a season-low 11 snaps, his lowest total when active since snap data began to be tracked in 2012.
Hood made an assisted tackle on a 1-yard C.J. Anderson run before exiting the game. He did not record a pressure on his 3 pass-rushing snaps.
His season ends with just 25 tackles (13 solo and 12 assisted), 0 TFLs, 0.5 sacks, 2 QB hits, 14 total pressures, 0 pass defenses, 0 forced fumbles and 0 fumble recoveries. Hood leads all Washington D-lineman this season with 13 starts and 537 snaps played.
Hood’s Pro Football Focus grade of 38.5 ranks dead last among the site’s 124 qualifying interior defenders. The Redskins must look for an upgrade at nose tackle this offseason.
Ryan Kerrigan- Kerrigan played on just 52% of the snaps and on a total of 38 plays, his lowest and second lowest playing time clips of the year. That didn’t stop the three-time Pro Bowler from destroying Brock Osweiler and the Denver offensive line.
Ryan Kerrigan sacked Osweiler twice and hit him on two other dropbacks, one of those plays ended with a Redskins interception. In total, Kerrigan recorded a hit, hurry or sack on 6 of his 18 pass rushing snaps. So, one of out of every three times that he rushed the quarterback he generated pressure. Kerrigan was the recipient of the second highest PFF grade on the team (84.2).
This was the Heartbreak Kid’s third 2.0-sack game of the year and the 12th such game of his career. He is only one 2.0-sack performance away from tying Charles Mann with the second most career games with 2 or more sacks by a Redskin.
Kerrigan’s sacks in this game were his team-best 10th and 11th of the year. The 11 sacks tie his 2016 total and is just 2.5 behind the career high of 13.5 sacks he recorded in 2014, which is tied for 4th on the team’s all time list since sacks began to be tracked in 1982.
This was his third career season with 10 or more sacks. Charles Mann (4), Dexter Manley (4) and Coy Bacon (3) are the only Redskins players with as many or more double-digit sack seasons. He also joined that same trio as one of the only players in recorded team history with 10-plus sacks in consecutive seasons. He is the first player who has accomplished this feat in a Burgundy and Gold uniform in the last 31 years.
Preston Smith- Preston Smith’s hot streak continued on Sunday.
Smith recorded 2 sacks and his first forced fumble of the season (4th career). This was his first multi-sack game of the year and his third such game in the pros. It was the third-year edge rusher’s second straight game with a sack; he hadn’t recorded a sack in consecutive games since Weeks 1-6.
The two takedowns of Osweiler brought Smith’s sack total on the year to 8.0, which ties the career high he set as a rookie in 2015. He joins Brian Orakpo and Ryan Kerrigan as the only players in team history with two or more 8-sack seasons in their first three seasons.
Smith tied a season-high with 5 solo tackles against the Broncos. Denver lost a combined total of 3 yards on the plays that Smith made a tackle on.
Junior Galette- Galette set new season highs in snaps (41) and snap percentage (56.2%). It was the first time all year he out-snapped Ryan Kerrigan. Three of Galette’s four highest snap totals have come in the last four contests.
The veteran edge rusher was a nightmare for the opposing offense, yet again. He generated a team-high 7 pressures against the Broncos (5 hurries and 2 hits). Osweiler threw incompletions on both of the plays Galette hit him on. One of those hits looked like it may have caused a fumble, but the referees thought otherwise.
Galette recorded 2 solo and 3 total tackles, with all three of them coming within 3 yards from the line of scrimmage.
Pete Robertson- This was Pete Robertson’s third career game and only the second time he played on defense. After only seeing 1 defensive snap in his two other career games combined, Robertson took 21 snaps with Greg Manusky’s unit on Sunday.
He recorded his first career tackle, a solo stop on a 3-yard Devontae Booker run. Robertson also registered a QB pressure for the first time in the pros when he hit Osweiler on a 2-and-8 pass to C.J. Anderson that fell incomplete.
Ryan Anderson- Anderson’s knee injury caused him to miss his first NFL game.
There is a good chance he will not play in Week 17 and that his rookie season will end with the following unimpressive stat line:
14 games played, 0 starts, 194 snaps, 14 tackles, 1 TFL, 3 hits, 1 hurry, 4 total pressures, 0 forced fumbles, 0 fumble recoveries, 0 interceptions, 0 passes defended, 147 special teams snaps and 1 solo special teams tackle.
Zach Vigil- Zach Vigil was one of the Redskins’ two starting inside linebackers for the fifth consecutive week. This was the second game he played 100% of the snaps in both over the course the last two weeks and his entire career.
Vigil recorded game and career highs with 12 solo and 14 total tackles. That is the most total and solo tackles by any Redskins’ player since Mason Foster made a whopping 15 solo and 17 total in the 2016 regular season finale against the Giants. Dashon Goldson posted the only other 14-plus-tackle game by a Washington defender since the start of the 2015 season.
There are only 11 other players who have recorded 12 or more solo tackles in a game this season. Vigil’s 29 solos in the last four weeks rank 1st in the entire NFL. His 37 total tackles in that span are good for 7th best in the league.
If only Vigil performed as well in coverage as he did as a tackler on Sunday. He allowed 6 of the 7 Osweiler passes thrown his way to be completed for 33 yards and a first down. His coverage line over the past month isn’t much prettier: 18 targets, 12 receptions and 93 yards.
Vigil also recovered a fumble for the first time in his career. The Redskins scored their first touchdown of the game on the ensuing offensive drive.
Martrell Spaight- The third-year inside backer started for the fifth time this year and played on his highest snap rate (62%) since Week 11, despite battling an illness heading into the game.
Spaight’s 5 solo and 8 total tackles both ranked second on the team, with five of those takedowns coming within 2 yards of the line of scrimmage, including a TFL.
Like Vigil, he didn’t fare as well in coverage. Spaight gave up team highs in both receiving yards (43) and first downs (2) on 5 targets and 4 receptions. He was also responsible for surrendering C.J. Anderson’s two-point conversion reception. At least he was able to chip in with a 4th quarter pass defense against tight end Jeff Heuerman.
His 83.0 PFF grade for the contest ranked 3rd on the team.
Josh Harvey-Clemons- Harvey-Clemons set new career highs in snaps (26) and snap percentage (35%) on Sunday.
JHC nearly doubled his old career tackle total of 5, by recording a season-best 4 total tackles (2 solo and 2 assists) against the Broncos. Two of those tackles were made a yard or two before the line-to-gain.
The rookie seventh-round pick wasn’t much better in coverage than his fellow inside backers were. He allowed 4 of the 5 passes thrown in his coverage to be completed for a total of 31 yards and a first down.
Otha Peters- This was Peters’ second career game, and like last week he worked strictly in a special teams capacity.
Zach Brown- Zach Brown missed his second consecutive game and finally lost his 1st-place ranking in total tackles. Brown fell all the way to 7th in this statistic, but still leads the league on a per-game basis (9.8). The only other players with an average of more than 9.0 tackles per game are Sean Lee (9.4) and Blake Martinez (9.1).
In his press conference today, Jay Gruden said that Brown is unlikely to play in Sunday’s 2017 season finale.
Josh Norman- Josh Norman played 100% of the defensive snaps for the 10th time this season and for the 21st time in his 29 games with the Redskins.
J-No only gave up 1 reception in his coverage, a 10-yard first-down catch by Demaryius Thomas on the Broncos’ sixth play from scrimmage. That was the only time he was targeted in the game.
Norman has bounced back from his horrible Week 14 showing against the Chargers (142 yards and a TD allowed) with back-to-back shutdown performances. Here are Norman’s coverage stats over the last two weeks combined: 95 coverage snaps, 2 targets, 1 reception, 10 yards, 1 first down, 0 touchdowns and 1 24-yard defensive pass interference.
He led all Redskins’ defensive backs with 4 solo and 5 total tackles against the Broncos. Unfortunately, Denver gained 10 or more yards and picked up a first down on all five of the plays Norman made a tackle on.
Bashaud Breeland- Breeland was the weakest link in coverage among the Redskins’ top defensive backs, but that says a lot about the overall play of this group considering he was far from terrible against the Broncos.
He surrendered 2 receptions for 32 yards and a first down on 4 targets, but 24 of those yards came on Osweiler’s second pass of the day, which was the Broncos’ longest play of the game.
BB’s defensive holding penalty cost the Redskins’ defense 5 yards and a Broncos first down. He has committed 13 total and 8 accepted penalties this season, both of which rank worst on the team.
He recorded a pass defense on a throw intended for Devontae Booker. That extends his team-best streak of consecutive games with a PD to six. Breeland leads the team with 16 pass defenses in 2017, six more than the player (D.J. Swearinger) with the second most PDs on the team.
Breeland made 4 tackles on Sunday, all of which were in front of the first-down marker, but also missed a team-high 2 tackles.
Kendall Fuller- Kendall Fuller’s stellar sophomore campaign continued with another terrific showing. He defended a pass and only gave up 1 reception and 7 receiving yards in his coverage despite being targeted 5 times.
This was the sixth game in which Fuller has allowed fewer than 20 receiving yards this season and the eighth time he’s allowed 2 or fewer receptions.
He made 2 solo tackles in the game, as well.
Kendall Fuller earned an 84.9 PFF rating for his efforts on Sunday, which was the best grade on the team.
Quinton Dunbar- Quinton Dunbar got action on 14 defensive snaps against the Broncos. He was not targeted for the second consecutive game. Dunbar’s only contribution to the stat sheet was a solo tackle that he made two yards shy of the line to gain on a C.J. Anderson reception.
Fabian Moreau- Third-round pick Fabian Moreau played on defense for just the second time in the last 10 games, but only saw the field for 5 defensive snaps, all of which came in coverage.
He was targeted twice (20% of his snaps) and gave up 2 receptions for 30 yards and a first down. The 22-yard reception that he allowed to Jordan Taylor was the Broncos’ second longest play of the game. Moreau tackled Taylor for what was his first takedown since Week 6.
That reception put the Broncos in field goal range at the end of the first half before Isaiah Mckenzie squandered Denver’s scoring opportunity by failing to get out of bounds as the time was expiring.
Part of me wants the Redskins to play this guy more, but it’s hard to argue with them sitting him when you see him allow a first-down on what seems like every other play he’s out there for.
Joshua Holsey- Holsey still isn’t playing on defense, but he did make a play on special teams for the second straight week.
D.J. Swearinger- D.J. Swearinger played on every snap for the 12th time this season; he’s only sat out for 3 snaps all season.
Swearinger wasn’t targeted for the second consecutive week, but he did intercept an errant Osweiler pass. It was his career-high fourth pick of the year, which ties him with Kendall Fuller for the most on the team.
He and Fuller are the first pair of Redskins’ teammates with 4 or more interceptions since DeAngelo Hall, London Fletcher and Rob Jackson did it in 2012.
He recorded 3 solo and 4 total tackles for the second straight week.
Deshazor Everett- Deshazor Everett started and played on over 90% of the snaps for the seventh and sixth times, respectively.
He was targeted twice in the passing game and only allowed 1 reception for a gain of 4 yards.
He made 2 tackles in the game (1 solo and 1 assist) and forced a fumble on the solo stop. It was the first forced fumble of Everett’s career. Vigil recovered the ball and the Redskins scored the game-sealing touchdown three plays later.
Fish Smithson- In what was his first NFL game, Fish Smithson replaced Deshazor Everett on 4 snaps. He did not record a stat and was not targeted, but he did miss a tackle in the running game.
DeAngelo Hall- DeAngelo Hall, who was not listed on the injury report, was inactive for the first time this season. His career will likely end four days from now, so I think it’s time to start honoring the veteran safety.
I’ll start today by telling you that his 23 interceptions with the Burgundy and Gold rank 10th in team history. He ranks 5th in interception yards (369) and is tied with four other players for the second most pick sixes in team history (3).
Hall recorded 9 fumble recoveries as a Redskin and returned a franchise record 3 of them for touchdowns (tied with Chris Hanburger and Brad Dusek). His 161 fumble return yards also rank 1st all time by a Washington player.
If you’re counting at home then you know that makes 6 defensive touchdowns for DeAngelo Hall in his time with the Redskins. Darrell Green is the only player in franchise history who has scored more defensive touchdowns than Hall has (8 defensive touchdowns).
ALL DEFENSIVE PLAYERS
Snaps- The Redskins used 37 of their 46 active players throughout their 26 special teams snaps. The group of 37 consisted of 21 defenders, 13 offensive players and 3 specialists.
Fabian Moreau led all Redskins in special teams snaps (21 snaps) for the sixth time this season and for the fifth consecutive week. Pete Robertson (20), Josh Harvey-Clemmons (18) and Otha Peters (18) were right behind him in terms of special-teams playing time.
Kick Coverage- Deshazor Everett recorded a team-high 2 solo specials tackles on a pair of Broncos’ punt returns that gained 6 and 7 yards, with the first tackle taking place at the Denver 16-yard line. Everett leads the team in solo and total teams tackles this season (10).
Otha Peters chipped in with a solo stop of his own when he tackled Devontae Booker at the 17-yard line on a kickoff. Quinton Dunbar recorded the team’s other solo specials tackle on a punt that was returned to the Denver 21-yard line.
Fish Smithson made an assist in his first career game and Niles Paul chipped in with his first two assisted special teams tackles of the year.
The Broncos’ longest return in the game gained 16 yards.
Dustin Hopkins- Hopkins connected on field goals from 26 and 29 yards out and made all three of his extra points. Hopkins has hit on each of his last 10 field goals, which represents his third career streak of 10 or more consecutive field goals made.
Four of his six kickoffs were touchbacks and the two Broncos’ returns went for 16 and 10 yards; they were taken out to the 15 and 17-yard lines, respectively.
Tress Way- Way kicked his 5 punts for a total of 247 yards (49.4 average). The Broncos returned three of those punts for a total of 18 yards.
The 18 punt return yards allowed by the Redskins on Sunday were the fewest allowed by the team in the last four weeks.
Way’s 45.8-yard net average in the game was a new season high.
Special Teams Miscues- There is only one major special teams gaffe to report this week. Quinton Dunbar was flagged for unnecessary roughness on a Redskins’ punt return.
Punt Returns- Riley Dixon punted to the Redskins six times.
Two of the punts were kicked out of bounds, the ball went out at the 32 and 11-yard lines on those plays.
Two other kicks were downed inside the Redskins’ 10 (3 and 9-yard lines). It’s my contention that Crowder should have fair caught both punts to prevent them from rolling further towards Washington’s end zone.
Jamison Crowder did fair catch one of the two punts that he fielded, but it was at the 34-yard line. He took his only punt return of the game 3 yards to the Washington 23.
Crowder’s 125 punt return yards this season rank 30th in the NFL. His 5.2-yard return average ranks dead last among the 25 qualifying return men this season.
Kickoff Returns- The Broncos only scored twice, so they kicked the ball off three times on Sunday.
The first kickoff went for a touchback and Niles Paul returned the second one 24 yards to the Washington 23-yard line. Paul essentially ended the game by catching the Broncos’ last-minute onside kick. His two returns in this game doubled his previous career total of 1.
*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*
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