The Redskins sit atop the NFC East at 4-2 after Sunday afternoons victory at home over the Cowboys. This was a defensive battle from the get-go, and quite fittingly, it was the Redskins defense who scored on a strip-sack to give them a 10 point lead with just under five minutes to play. The Cowboys missed a field goal that would have sent the game into overtime preserving the victory for the Skins.
Below are my Studs and Duds of the game, followed by some notes.
Adrian Peterson - AP whipped Father Time’s butt yet again Sunday afternoon, gashing the Cowboys defense for 99 rushing yards and catching one pass for 8 yards. He is the ultimate warrior out there on the field.
Great blocking here at the point of attack, but man can Adrian Peterson hit a hole! pic.twitter.com/f0VtDjYajU— Mark Tyler(Hogs Haven) (@Tiller5681) October 22, 2018
The offensive line - Trent Williams and company kept Smith clean for much of the afternoon (allowed just one sack) and paved the way for 130 rushing yards. This group looks so much better with Roullier back at center (who BTW is a stud).
This is how you draw it up! Unbelievable job by Roullier and Lauvao here. Man it’s nice to have a center who can get out on a pull and lead a play downfield! Roullier has been great all year playing in space either at C or G. pic.twitter.com/MgvuQbAwBZ— Mark Tyler(Hogs Haven) (@Tiller5681) October 22, 2018
Ryan Kerrigan - Kerrigan showed up and it was in a BIG way. The veteran outside linebacker was stout all day against the run, but it was his impact in the passing game that was the difference maker. He notched 5 tackles, 2 sacks, 1 pass defended, and multiple quarterback pressures, but it was his sack and forced fumble that was recovered for a touchdown by Preston Smith that was the difference in the game.
Play of the game here by Ryan Kerrigan and Preston Smith! pic.twitter.com/8usTv6PXe5— Mark Tyler(Hogs Haven) (@Tiller5681) October 22, 2018
Preston Smith - Smith did not record a sack, but he was a menace on defense, harassing Dak Prescott all afternoon, and drew a key holding penalty early in the game. He recorded multiple quarterback hits and pressures that disrupted Prescott throwing the football, and his timely fumble recovery of a Kerrigan strip-sack for a touchdown was huge!
Watch Preston Smith beat Tyron Smith and get a hand on Prescott altering the pass. pic.twitter.com/QIki7Srteg— Mark Tyler(Hogs Haven) (@Tiller5681) October 22, 2018
Daron Payne/Jonathan Allen - The Alabama due was active all afternoon, plugging holes so Elliott had no wear to run, and pushing the pocket to disrupt the rhythm of Prescott. Allen notched a sack and assisted on a tackle for a loss, while Payne had 4 tackles and a pass defended. Both men had multiple quarterback pressures.
This may be the only way to stop Jonathan Allen. pic.twitter.com/XGdxxRdTd8— Mark Tyler(Hogs Haven) (@Tiller5681) October 22, 2018
Zach Brown/Mason Foster - The duo combined for 18 tackles, 1.5 tackles for a loss, and a few quarterback pressures. Better yet, they held Ezekiel Elliott to just 33 yards on 15 carries.
D.J. Swearinger - Swearinger came out early and set the tone on defense with some big hits and a near miraculous interception on sideline. He forced a Prescott fumble which he recovered on a fourth and one early in the first quarter when the Cowboys decided to try and sneak for the first down. The defense seemed to feed off the veteran safety’s play all afternoon.
Cowboys long-snapper - Thank goodness for that snap infraction at the end of the game. If it wasn’t for that, the game would likely have went into overtime.
Greg Stroman - Stroman was torched in coverage yet again by another rookie, as Michael Gallup made him look silly on a double move which he blew by the unsuspecting corner for a 49 yards touchdown. He also fair caught a punt midway through the third quarter with no one within 10 yards of him.
Fabian Moreau - Moreau struggled in the slot, allowing receivers way too much separation and uncontested catches. The catch at the end of the game by Beasley could have proven costly (thankfully the FG was missed). I’d have liked to see him on the outside with Stroman in the slot.
Tony Romo - My goodness, could he be any more of a Cowboys homer in the broadcast booth? That was sickening!
- Alex Smith was far from perfect this game, but I did see him take some shots to covered receivers (mainly Doctson), who hauled in some of his well thrown balls. He also pressed the ball deep and just missed on some near connections. It may take a few more games, but I think we are seeing him become a bit more comfortable in this offense. That miss to Sprinkle in the end zone early in the third quarter however was inexcusable.
- Josh Doctson was not getting much separation, but he did a great job of hauling in some nice throws in coverage. Credit Alex for putting the ball on him and giving him a chance. For the first time all season, Doctson looked like he was playing with a chip on his shoulder.
This is not what you’d consider being open, but Alex Smith makes a perfect throw here and Doctson hauls it in, in traffic. I think this is what Jay Gruden meant when he said Smith sometimes just needs to put it in there and trust his receivers. Making progress... pic.twitter.com/lzpcVMn4Tt— Mark Tyler(Hogs Haven) (@Tiller5681) October 22, 2018
- Michael Floyd needs to come down with that Hail Mary at the end of the half.