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Texans vs Redskins: What We Learned From The Week 11 Matchup

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Washington suffers their fourth defeat of the 2018 season. What did we learn from the 23-21 loss to Houston?

NFL: Houston Texans at Washington Redskins Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The Redskins lost to the Houston Texans this past Sunday and fell to 6-4 on the season, a crushing loss. The Redskins lost their starting quarterback Alex Smith for the remainder of the season, whose recovery time may extend into the 2019 season, and fall victim to human error (the refs) in a close game.

For fans, the game may have been a wild emotional rollercoaster, given the circumstances within it. On the field, the offense led by Smith was the same old story, as they struggled to move the ball. Whether it was bad throws, dropped passes, turnovers, or some may even say poor officiating, Washington was unsuccessful offensively in the first half against the Texans. The defense had a great set of drives during critical portions of the game and forced five straight stops through turnovers or merely stopping the offense on third down (resulting in missed field goals).

The Redskins find themselves for the umpteenth time this season with their backs against the wall due to blown opportunities throughout the game. Though Colt McCoy provided a much-needed spark to the offense, there is no doubt the injury to Smith is devastating, which will create a much more daunting task this week against the Dallas Cowboys. All right, I think I have stalled enough; here is what we learned from the 2-point loss to the Houston Texans.

There should be no change in the makeup of this 2018 team, the Redskins defense each week is the key to a win. Lately, though, things have not looked promising, which may leave Colt in a poor spot.

The Redskins defense throughout the first seven games has been great to watch. With the outlier being the New Orleans Saints, who have run through every single defense they have faced, it seemed they would be the reason Washington was either 10-6 or under .500 at season’s end.

Well, the past couple of weeks for Washington have troubled many followers of the team. Although the Redskins held Houston to just 320 yards on the day, they are giving up 132 yards per game on the ground over the last three games.

The rushing yards are concerning because Atlanta, Tampa Bay, and Houston all struggled to run the ball this year but made it look pretty easy against Washington. Stop the run and make the opposing offense one dimensional, that was the strategy for Washington this year, and it worked before Atlanta.

However, since then, teams have been able to establish a balanced offensive attack against Washington. Although the defense remains very opportunistic (third in the NFL in forced turnovers) the Redskins have struggled to dictate what opposing offenses needs to do to move the ball downfield. Maybe the loss of Quinton Dunbar has been quite significant? Time may tell. Regardless, this quick turnaround will put the Redskins in a big spot as they face the number four ranked rush team in Dallas.

Controversial Dialogue coming up: Will backup quarterback Colt McCoy prove to the organization that he should have been the fallback option all along?

It is only a question, but here is the argument for possibly why this may have some validity to it. But first, what happened to Alex Smith is unfortunate for him and very untimely. For a quarterback who had struggled to this point to get accustomed to the offense, he was having a solid game and contributed to the Redskins 6-3 record (before the loss). It is unfortunate that Alex was not able to see this season the rest of the way through, regardless of the overall quality of play.

All right, back to Colt, he was an instant spark in his limited playing time on Sunday. He was quick to make his reads, he also gave receivers chances intermediately and downfield, was very decisive in his decisions to run, and showed situational awareness throughout the time he was playing. McCoy’s performance stems from preparedness in case he may have to play, and something did happen that caused Colt to be the starter for the remainder of the season.

With five years in Jay Gruden’s system, Colt knows this offense inside and out, he is not perfect, and throughout a game, he will show you that. However, is it possible that Colt was possibly the fallback option even before trading for Alex Smith? Colt displayed his level of knowledge for Gruden’s system. He knew where to go with the football, and before a legitimately questionable throw to receiver Josh Doctson with 16 seconds left on the clock, it seemed as though the players were able to make plays on all areas of the field. The challenge coming up versus Dallas would not be a good one to begin your campaign as the new starting quarterback; however, more significant feats were accomplished. Just look at the type of talent that surrounded Colt against the Cowboys in 2014, where the Redskins were 9.5 point underdogs against the 6-1 Dallas Cowboys.

If Trey Quinn can compile good games on top of one another, is it possible that Jamison Crowder may continue to miss extended time?

Now, look, the more talent on the field the better. However, it is safe to say at this point that Jamison Crowder is injury prone. Crowder has missed significant time this year dealing with an ankle injury and proved that he is not capable of staying on the field. Trey Quinn in his return hauled in four catches for 49 yards on four targets. If the offensive production is marginally better than what it has been under Alex and with the addition of Trey Quinn, it may behoove the coaching staff to take their time with Crowder.

What were the takeaways from the game against the Houston Texans?

What is your confidence/concern level with Colt McCoy leading the Redskins for the final six games?