clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Winning pretty

AD got 146 rushing yards and scored 2 TDs, the D sacked Eli 7 times and held Saquon to 38 rushing yards; the Redskins are 5-2 and in first place in the NFC East. This was a beautiful win.

Washington Redskins v New York Giants Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

The standings

The Redskins are 5-2, in first place in the NFC East, and 3rd in the NFC behind the Rams and Saints.

Washington is 2-0 inside the division, and has conference wins against the Panthers, Packers and Cardinals, giving the team potentially important tie-breakers.

While the loss to the Saints on MNF in week 5 stands out as an ugly stain on an otherwise pretty good season, the team is poised to make a run towards the playoffs and has what one writer recently described as a “tissue soft” remaining schedule. I’m not sure I’d go that far, but the Redskins suddenly don’t look like a long-shot for double-digit wins, following an offseason where many analysts and fans were projecting between 6 - 8 wins for the entire season.


Adrian Peterson rushed 26 times for 146 yards and 1 TD, which was a 64-yard scamper that pretty much sealed the victory. He passed Tony Dorsett to reach #9 on the all-time career rushing yards list. He pulled to within one of John Riggins, who is 7th on the all time career rushing TD list. He also notched one more 100-yard rushing game (and has just missed 3 other times this season, with games of 96, 97, and 99 yards on the 2018 resume).

Oh yeah, he also caught one pass for a touchdown.

Adrian Peterson is on pace for 1,341 yards and 9 touchdowns this season.

Per Elias Sports, Peterson finished with 149 rushing yards today, tied for the 3rd-most in a game in NFL history by a player at least 33 years old. Only John Riggins (165) and John Henry Johnson (200) had more at that age

Also, according to Adam Caplan, RB Adrian Peterson is the oldest player in NFL history to record at least 100 rushing yards and both a rushing and receiving touchdown in a single game.


The Redskins defense is ranked 5th in yards per game:

5th in points per game

2nd in rush defense

Also, Washington ranks 3rd in Time of Possession, 3rd in turnover differential, 4th in forced fumbles, 10th in sacks.

As talented as Odell Beckham Jr. and Saquon Barkley are, the defense held them largely in check, and limited the Giants offense to just 13 points.

Beckham did catch 8 passes for 136 yards, but he didn’t score, and on a critical play in the red zone, Swearinger beat him to the ball and grabbed one of his two interceptions for the game.

Barkley had less success than OBJ, rushing 13 time for 38 yards, and catching 9 passes for 73 yards. Again, his 111 yards might be decent fantasy stats, but the fact is that Barkley didn’t score, and never really hurt the Redskins. Barkley did okay as a pass receiver, but he was shut down as a rusher.

In fact, in the last three games, the Washington Redskins have held Christian McCaffrey, Ezekiel Elliott and Saquon Barkley under 100 yards.


The Redskins sacked Eli Manning seven times for the game. It’s true that the Giants offensive line has struggled all year, and may possibly be the worst in the league, but they had given up 24 sacks in the first 6 games, for an average of 4 per game. The Redskins Defensive Linemen and Outside Linebackers spent more time inside Eli’s jersey that Eli did.

Here’s the list of defensive players that got into the sack party:

  • Matt Ioannidis 2.5
  • Daron Payne 1.0
  • Josh Harvey-Clemons 1.0
  • Ryan Kerrigan 1.5
  • Jonathan Allen 1.0

D.J. Swearinger, meanwhile, grabbed two interceptions — the first one on a great play that resulted from film study, hard work, and simply out-hustling the Giant’s players to the spot.

From pillar to post

For the third straight game, and the fifth time this season, the Redskins were never once behind on the scoreboard. After scoring a 1st quarter touchdown, the Redskins were ahead on the scoreboard until the final whistle. In fact, the Redskins have not had a lead change in a single game this season. In their five victories, aside from being 0-0 to start each game, the Redskins have only been tied once — and that happened when the Cowboys scored just before the half in Week 7 to tie the game at 7-7.

The Redskins are playing a smothering defense for 3 12 quarters, then protecting the lead in the last 6-8 minutes of each of their wins, forcing opposing offenses to run out of clock before they can score enough points to tie or win.

A winning attitude?

A number of journalists who have spent years covering the team spent the offseason commenting on “a different vibe” around the team.

Recently, similar comments have surfaced, as journalists talk about the team having a different approach, and having come away from the Monday Night Football “debauchery” against the Saints with a new commitment.

There has been a lot of talk about leadership from players like D.J. Swearinger, Adrian Peterson, Jonathan Allen and Daron Payne.

An article in last week’s Washington Post focused on the players from Alabama bringing a lot of lessons they learned from Saban and his national championship program to the Redskins.

People have noticed that Daron Payne doesn’t talk a lot, but he gives great quotes. He pretty much goes right to the heart of the matter. This past week, he said that because Saquon Barkley is a powerful runner, the Redskins were going to have to tackle him hard. Gotta love that home grown wisdom, man.

It takes a little getting used to, but this Redskins team, coached by the offensive-minded Jay Gruden, is led by the defense, and a lot of that leadership appears to be coming from the first and second-year Alabama linemen, along with fiery competitors like Mason Foster and Swearinger.

The offense

In the end, the offense only needs to put up enough points to win.

This week, Tampa Bay scored 34 and lost, the Raiders scored 28 and lost, the Packers 27 in a loss. The Redskins are winning by controlling time of possession, protecting the football and winning the turnover battle, winning field position, and winning on the scoreboard.

Personally, I saw a lot of functional offense, and another great team win. This isn’t the kind of football that wins fantasy games, but it’s the kind that is winning real games.

Personally, I’m thrilled to see the 5-2 record and the division lead. I think that Alex Smith knows a lot about winning football games.

The season has been shaped by the need to face and overcome a number of obstacles this season. The one huge failure was the collapse on MNF, and the two losses this season came against the Saints, ranked 8th in total offense, and the Colts, ranked 11th.

The Redskins did beat the 5th ranked Packers, but that was with a hobbled Aaron Rodgers in a driving rain.

Other victories have come against the 19th ranked Panthers, 20th ranked Giants, 28th ranked Cowboys, and 32nd ranked Cardinals.

The next two games come against the Falcons and Buccaneers, who are ranked 7th and 1st in Total Offense at the moment. These two games will tell us a lot about whether the Redskins style of play can hold up against teams that can pile up the yards through the air (like the Saints) or whether those teams will simply overwhelm the Redskins on the scoreboard.

Happy Victory Monday!!