Snaps- Greg Manusky used 19 of his 25 defenders over the course of 64 defensive snaps in Sunday’s game against the Giants.
Of the six players who did not play, two were inactive (Caleb Brantley and Ryan Anderson) and four played exclusively on special teams (Montae Nicholson, Adonis Alexander, Danny Johnson and Zach Vigil).
QB Pressure- The defense was able to generate pressure on 11-of-29 Giants’ dropbacks, which equates to a 38% pressure rate, their best showing in this regard since Week 7 (52.3% vs. Cowboys). Two of those pressures went for sacks that pushed the New York offense back a total of 22 yards.
The Skins’ pressures had a much greater effect on Kyle Lauletta than it did with Eli Manning. Manning was sacked twice, but he also completed three of his five passes under duress for 45 yards. Lauletta, on the other hand, went 0-for-4 when hit or hurried.
Yards- Washington’s defense allowed 402 total yards this past Sunday, which marks the fifth time in the last six weeks that they’ve surrendered 400-plus yards. Of those 402 yards, 284 (70.6%) of them were put up in the first half. Just imagine how bad things could’ve been if the Giants had kept their foot on the gas.
Only the Eagles have given up more yards per game than the Redskins have since Week 9 (433.8 to 425.7).
Points- The Giants dropped a whopping 34 points on the Redskins in the first half alone. The -34-point scoring margin was the largest in any game this season and was tied for the third-highest point differential going into the break for the team since at least 1940.
The deficit ballooned to 40 before the Skins scored their first points of the contest. The last time a Washington team trailed by that much was against the undefeated 2007 Patriots team (52 points).
Red Zone- For the third consecutive week the Skins’ D allowed their opponent to score touchdowns on at least a 60% of their trips to the red zone, as Eli Manning and company went 3-for-5 in the red area in Sunday’s game. Manning was sacked on one of those plays, but tossed touchdown passes on all three of his completions.
3rd Down- The Skins’ defense held the Giants to a success rate of just 30.8% on third down (4-for-13). This was their best showing since they faced off with New York in Week 7 (14.3%).
All four of the money-down plays that New York successfully converted on needed just 4 yards or less to go to move the chains. What’s a bit disturbing about that is, they gained an average of 12.5 yards on those plays and scored a touchdown on one of them.
The defense recorded one sack and forced a turnover on a pair of Giants’ third downs.
Despite their success in this contest, the defense’s 50% conversion rate allowed on third down since Week 9 ranks dead last in the NFL.
The Redskins currently rank 29th in the league in percentage of third-down conversions converted against them.
Takeaways- Washington’s only forced turnover of the afternoon was an interception three plays into the fourth quarter off of backup Kyle Lauletta. Unfortunately, the game was already well out of reach at that point.
The Redskins have intercepted at least one pass in six of the last seven weeks and rank 8th in the league in that department.
Tight End Defense- The Skins got off to a great start against enemy tight ends this season, but struggled to defend against the position for the second week in a row.
Evan Engram only hauled in 3 receptions on his 5 targets, but he gained 77 yards and picked up 3 first downs on those plays. His gains of 39 and 30 yards were the Giants’ longest and third-longest passes of the afternoon.
Prior to last week, when Zach Ertz lit Washington up for 83 receiving yards, no tight end had topped 48 yards against the Burgundy and Gold defense. They’ve fallen to a very average 15th-place ranking in yards allowed to the position this season.
Rushing Defense- This was a new low for what was once considered one of the best rushing defenses in the entire league.
Saquon Barkley and company gashed the Skins for 227 yards, 6 first downs, a touchdown and a 6.68 YPC average on 34 rushes. Those carry, yardage and average figures were all new season highs against the Redskins defense.
New York gained five or more yards on a dozen of their runs and only failed to gain positive yardage on four of their non-kneel down attempts.
Barkley personally lit the defense up to the tune of 170 yards on just 14 carries (12.1 YPC). No other player had gained more than 121 yards or averaged more than 7 yards per carry against this defense prior to Sunday. In fact, 170 yards is the most rushing yards given up to an individual player in the Jay Gruden era (since 2014).
Barkley’s runs of 52 and 78 yards were the longest allowed by the Redskins this season; their previous long rushes allowed were 18 and 21 yards. The 78-yarder was also the biggest rush surrendered by the defense since 2014.
Only the Falcons have given up more rushing yards since Week 9 (917 to 899).
#FireBruceAllen- The Redskins rank 27th in both winning percentage (.415) and point differential (-459) since Bruce Allen took over in 2010. Only the Titans, Buccaneers, Raiders, Jaguars and Browns have been worse in either statistic. The Bills and Jets rank just ahead of Washington in both categories.
Washington is one of the 13 teams without a playoff win in that span. They’ve been outscored by a total margin of 27 points in their two postseason games this decade, the worst playoff point differential in the league.
|Defensive Linemen (6 Players)|
|Player (* - starter)||Snaps||Snap %|
|Jonathan Allen *||58||91%|
|Daron Payne *||55||86%|
|Matt Ioannidis *||3||5%|
Jonathan Allen- Allen put forth yet another forgettable performance this past week.
He saw a 90.6% snap rate, which was the second-highest playing-time clip of his career, but only recorded 1 solo and 3 total tackles on the day and generated pressure on just one of his 25 pass-rushing plays (a hurry).
At least, all three of his tackles were made within 2 yards of the line of scrimmage on 1st-and-10 plays.
Allen, who racked up multiple pressures in 12 of his 13 first games, has failed to pressure opposing quarterbacks more than once in 3 of his last 6 contests.
Daron Payne- Daron Payne was the only Washington defensive lineman who showed up in a big way against the Giants.
He ranked second on the team with 3 pressures and recorded his second sack of the year and in the last three weeks. The sack was made on a third-down play in Redskins’ territory.
Payne led all Skins’ D-linemen with 5 tackles (3 solo) and 3 stops. Three of his four takedowns were made within a yard of the line of scrimmage or behind it.
His 79.9 PFF grade for the game ranked second on the team.
He leads all rookie interior defenders in snaps (660), tackles (45), stops (27) and sacks (5). Only fellow Alabama DL, Da’Shaun Hand, has registered more pressures in this cohort (25 to 22).
Matt Ioannidis- Ioannidis started but was limited to 3 snaps because of a banged-up shin, which was the second-lowest total of his career (when active). Unsurprisingly, he did not crack the stat sheet in the game.
The Temple product has not recorded a sack in any of the team’s last four games, he racked up 4.5 sacks between Weeks 8 and 10.
Stacy McGee- McGee was the biggest beneficiary of Ioannidis’ injury, as the sixth-year interior lineman logged his highest snap total (28) since Week 14 of last season.
Predictably, he didn’t do much with the opportunity. McGee failed to register a pressure on his ten rushes and made 2 tackles in the running game. His pair of stops came on gains of 1 and 2 yards and represented a new season high.
McGee has only registered 4 tackles and a single pressure (a hurry) on his 90 snaps and 40 pass rushes this season.
Tim Settle- The young rookie D-lineman played 20 snaps and enjoyed a career-best 31.3% snap share.
Settle was unable to generate any pressure on his 5 pass-rushing plays, and only recorded a single tackle on his 15 other snaps. The tackle was a 2-yard stop on a 1st-and-10 run by Wayne Gallman.
Caleb Brantley- After seeing the field for a season-high 4 snaps in Week 13, Caleb Brantley was inactive for the ninth time this season. No player currently on roster who has been with the team for more than a week, has played fewer snaps from scrimmage (7) than Brantley has this year. I’m still not sure if they should’ve gotten rid of Anthony Lanier for him.
|Outside Linebackers (5 Players)|
|Player (* - starter)||Snaps||Snap %|
|Preston Smith *||57||89%|
|Ryan Kerrigan *||54||84%|
Ryan Kerrigan- Ryan Kerrigan was one of the Redskins’ most productive defenders in Sunday’s game.
He made what was his 125th consecutive start and led or tied for the team lead in defensive stops (5), TFLs (2), penalties forced (1), pressures (5), hits (2) and sacks (1).
RyKer essentially single-handedly forced a Giants’ three-and-out on their opening drive of the game. He chased Barkley to the sideline on their first play, recorded a TFL on second down and forced a holding penalty on the third and final play of the drive.
His sack on Manning moved the G-Men back from the Washington 3-yard line all the way to the 17; New York kicked a field goal two plays later. He is just two sacks away from passing Charles Mann for second-place on the all-time franchise rankings and one sack away from his fourth double-digit sack season in the last five years. Kerrigan also registered a QB hit on a play that ended with an incomplete pass; Kyle Lauletta threw an interception on the ensuing third-down play.
The Giants lost a combined 7 yards on Kerrigan’s 6 tackles.
Preston Smith- Preston Smith, who was riding hot off a 3-game sack streak between Weeks 10-12, turned in a second straight mediocre performance.
He only notched 2 pressures against New York, but one of them was an incompletion inducing QB hit. Smith has only generated pressure four times in the last two games, but three of those have been hits.
He made 5 tackles (3 solo), one of which went for a 5-yard loss on the Giants’ first play of the second half.
Pernell McPhee- On 14 snaps, Pernell McPhee assisted on the tackle of Evan Engram’s 30-yard catch and registered a hurry. His 48.8 PFF grade ranked second-worst among Redskins defenders in Week 14.
McPhee has not recorded a sack in his last 16 games, even though he rushed the passer 170 times in those contests.
The veteran outside backer turns 30 five days from now.
Marcus Smith- Marcus Smith played 3 defensive snaps in his Redskins debut and all three of those plays came in run defense. He did not record a stat in the game.
Unfortunately, this nothing new for Smith. Here is his total stat line from his last six games played: 71 snaps on defense, 63 snaps on special teams, 3 tackles and 2 pressures (a hit and a hurry).
Ryan Anderson- Anderson missed his first game of the year (hamstring). Even when healthy, he hasn’t contributed much lately, though. The only stats he recorded in the last six games were 4 solo tackles, two of which came on special teams, 4 assists and 2 hurries.
|Inside Linebackers (5 Players)|
|Player (* - starter)||Snaps||Snap %|
|Mason Foster *||64||100%|
|Shaun Dion Hamilton *||28||44%|
|Zach Vigil||ST Only||0%|
Mason Foster- Foster played 100% of the defensive snaps for the 12th straight game and had what was one of his better showings of the last several weeks.
Mase recorded 6 tackles and a team-high 5 defensive stops on the day. Four of those takedowns were made within 3 yards of the line of scrimmage and the other two stopped New York players short of the line to gain on third-down plays.
He only allowed 2 receptions for 19 yards and a single first down on the 3 targets thrown his way, all of which were his lowest totals since Week 8.
He did give up his second touchdown of the year on one of those receptions (Week 9 at Falcons), but he made up for it by intercepting a third-down pass on the final pass thrown into his coverage. The pick was Foster’s second of the year, which are his most picks in a single season since 2013 (3); that was his only other campaign with multiple interceptions.
Foster’s 65.3 PFF rating for the performance was his best such mark since Week 8 (at Giants).
Shaun Dion Hamilton- Hamilton made his NFL start on Sunday and played on a season-high 28 defensive snaps. Prior to this contest, he had only seen the field for a total of 9 snaps on defense (Weeks 12 and 13).
SDH tallied 5 solo and 7 total tackles before being forced from the game with a shoulder injury. He scored a QB hit on one of his two blitzes, as well.
Think about it this way: Hamilton record a tackle or a QB pressure on almost a third (32.1%) of the snaps he played against the Giants.
The rookie ILB also allowed a 16-yard first down reception on one of his 11 coverage snaps.
His 67.3 PFF grade ranked fourth on Washington’s defense.
With the season all but lost, its only makes sense for the team to give SDH more run in the final three games.
Zach Brown- Zach Brown did not start for the first time in his 26 games as a member of the Burgundy and Gold. The reasoning for this was that Brown was unable to practice last week because of an illness.
Not starting is one thing, but getting your lowest snap share in the last three years, like Brown did (43.8%), is something else entirely. Luckily for Brown, Hamilton’s injury afforded him more opportunities in the game.
ZB’s production was clearly hampered by his limited PT, as he posted his lowest totals as a Redskin in solo tackles (1), total tackles (2) and stops (0). His streak of games with a QB pressure ended at three, as well.
Brown only gave up one catch on the day, but it went for 13 yards on a 3rd-and-3 snap; the Giants scored their final touchdown of game five plays later.
Josh Harvey-Clemons- Josh Harvey-Clemons’ snap count bounced back up from one against the Eagles to 8 in this game. However, his 12.5% snap share was still significantly lower than his season-long average of just over 22%.
He was targeted twice on his 7 coverage snaps and gave up a 7-yard reception to Saquon Barkley on a 3rd-and-16 play before ending the play with a tackle. In all, he recorded 2 solo tackles on Sunday. Opposing quarterbacks have posted lowly YPA (4.0) and passer rating (65.9) figures when targeting Harvey-Clemons this season.
He earned a team-best 80.9 PFF grade for his efforts against the Giants.
Zach Vigil- Vigil hadn’t played on defense since Week 2 (1 snap), and that didn’t change against the Giants.
|Cornerbacks (5 Players)|
|Player (* - starter)||Snaps||Snap %|
|Josh Norman *||64||100%|
|Fabian Moreau *||63||98%|
|Danny Johnson||ST Only||0%|
|Adonis Alexander||ST Only||0%|
Josh Norman- Despite all the chaos around him, Josh Norman delivered another solid performance.
The veteran corner tied a season high with 2 pass defenses and only gave up one catch despite being targeted five times on Sunday. New York gained just 3 yards on that reception, but it was a touchdown that came on a third-down pass. Norman’s 6 touchdowns allowed this season are double his previous career high (3).
J-No recorded a single tackle on the day, but it was 3-yard tackle for a loss; this was his first TFL since Week 13 of the 2016 season (at Cardinals). He missed a tackle, as well.
Fabian Moreau- Fabian Moreau’s roller-coaster sophomore campaign continued on Sunday, with this week’s effort being counted as another lowlight.
He set a new career high with a 98.4% snap rate, but allowed both of the passes thrown his way to be caught for a total of 43 yards and 2 first downs. One of those receptions was a 30-yarder by Corey Coleman, which was the Giants’ fourth-longest play of the game.
On top of that, he was charged with committing a 25-yard DPI infraction against Coleman. Only three players have committed more pass interference penalties than Moreau has this season. He is tied with Morgan Moses for the sixth most penalty yards by an individual player in 2018 (95).
He earned the third-lowest grade on the defense (49.8).
Greg Stroman- Stroman was targeted three times on his 28 total and 19 coverage snaps. He gave up 2 receptions on those plays for 2 first downs and a team-high 53 yards. The 39-yarder he surrendered to Evan Engram at the end of the first quarter was New York’s third-longest play of contest.
He did, at least, defend a pass at the Redskins’ own 2-yard line on the Giants’ final offensive play of the first half. That’s great, but he also had a shot to intercept the pass and to return it for a 99-yard pick six.
The rookie DB chipped in with 2 solo takedowns, as well.
As you will soon see, things went even worse for Stroman on special teams.
Danny Johnson- Luckily for the Redskins, none of their top three corners missed time against the Giants and they were not forced to throw Danny Johnson to wolves again. This was the ninth game this year he’s worked exclusively on special teams in.
Adonis Alexander- After making his NFL debut on defense last week, Alexander was relegated to a special-teams only role for the fifth time this year. I guess that’s an improvement over being inactive seven times this season.
|Safeties (4 Players)|
|Player (* - starter)||Snaps||Snap %|
|Ha Ha Clinton-Dix *||64||100%|
|D.J. Swearinger *||64||100%|
|Montae Nicholson||ST Only||0%|
D.J. Swearinger- Swearinger had what was yet another subpar showing by his standards.
He was targeted three times on his 27 coverage snaps and gave up 2 receptions, 2 first downs, 36 yards and a touchdown on those plays. He was responsible for allowing Bennie Fowler’s 6-yard touchdown catch and Evan Engram’s 30-yard reception on a 3rd-and-2, which was the Giants’ fifth-longest play of the game.
The South Carolina safety did make 4 tackles on the day, but three of them were assists and he missed a game and season-high two takedowns.
This was the third game this year, and the second in as many weeks (at Eagles), in which he failed to record a single PD, FF, FR or INT.
His 46.7 PFF grade ranked dead last on the defense and sixth-worst among all safeties in Week 14 who played 30 or more snaps. This was the second week in a row that Swearinger has finished with a bottom-two rating on the defense and bottom-six rating among all qualifying safeties.
Maybe Swearinger should spend more time making plays and less time criticizing his teammates and coaches. Or not, just a thought.
Ha Ha Clinton-Dix- Ha Ha Clinton-Dix played every defensive snap and tied for the team lead in solo (5) and total tackles (7). This was his second consecutive game with seven takedowns and no missed tackles.
HHCD did not surrender a catch on the lone target thrown his way and he defended a third-down pass to Evan Engram. He’s given up fewer than 10 receiving yards in each of the last three weeks.
His problem is not that he can’t tackle or not that he gives up a lot of passes. It’s that he takes horrible angles. He gave us a perfect example of this on Saquon Barkley’s 78-yard touchdown run. As the team’s free safety, he is tasked with being the last line of defense and preventing big plays from happening. Well, if that is in fact his job, then he is failing miserably.
The Redskins defense only allowed seven plays of 20 or more yards in Weeks 1-8 (7 games), which ranked third in the NFL. Since Clinton-Dix arrived in Week 9 (6 games), the team has surrendered a whopping 28 plays of 20-plus yards, which ranks 30th. Yes, you read that right, in one less game they’ve allowed four times as many big plays.
Not only has the team given up almost exponentially more big plays since Ha Ha arrived, he hasn’t countered that by making many big plays of his own. HHCD has recorded just 2 PDs, 1 FF, 1 FR, no interceptions, no TFLs and no sacks on his 387 snaps with the team.
I find it ironic that the team gave up a fourth-round pick for Clinton-Dix, who hasn’t played well and will probably only appear in three more games for the Redskins, and benched an upcoming fourth rounder to do so. They’ve wasted much of our following players’ development time and burned essentially the same draft pick they used to acquire him to do so.
Montae Nicholson- Nicholson played solely on special teams for the third straight week. He’s only seen the field on defense for 4 snaps in team’s last five contests.
Deshazor Everett- Deshazor Everett played just one snap with the defense on Sunday, which was his second-lowest total of the season (0 defensive snaps in Week 6 vs. Panthers).
Everett made a tackle to end Engram’s 30-yard reception on his lone defensive play of the afternoon.
ALL DEFENSIVE PLAYERS
|Defense (25 Players)|
|Player (* - starter)||Snaps||Snap %||Player (* - starter)||Snaps||Snap %|
|Ha Ha Clinton-Dix *||64||100%||Tim Settle||20||31%|
|Mason Foster *||64||100%||Pernell McPhee||14||22%|
|Josh Norman *||64||100%||Josh Harvey-Clemons||8||12%|
|D.J. Swearinger *||64||100%||Matt Ioannidis *||3||5%|
|Fabian Moreau *||63||98%||Marcus Smith||3||5%|
|Jonathan Allen *||58||91%||Deshazor Everett||1||2%|
|Preston Smith *||57||89%||Adonis Alexander||ST Only||0%|
|Daron Payne *||55||86%||Danny Johnson||ST Only||0%|
|Ryan Kerrigan *||54||84%||Montae Nicholson||ST Only||0%|
|Zach Brown||28||44%||Zach Vigil||ST Only||0%|
|Shaun Dion Hamilton *||28||44%||Ryan Anderson||Inactive||N/A|
|Stacy McGee||28||44%||Caleb Brantley||Inactive||N/A|
|Special Teams (25 Players)|
|Player||Snaps||Snap %||Player||Snaps||Snap %|
|Jehu Chesson||32||100%||Greg Stroman||8||25%|
|Deshazor Everett||32||100%||Nick Sundberg||8||25%|
|Zach Vigil||32||100%||Tress Way||8||25%|
|Danny Johnson||29||91%||Jonathan Allen||7||22%|
|Josh Harvey-Clemons||25||78%||Matt Ioannidis||7||22%|
|Montae Nicholson||22||69%||Ryan Kerrigan||7||22%|
|Jeremy Sprinkle||21||66%||Pernell McPhee||7||22%|
|Shaun Dion Hamilton||18||56%||Daron Payne||7||22%|
|Byron Marshall||18||56%||Tim Settle||7||22%|
|Adonis Alexander||17||53%||Ha Ha Clinton-Dix||3||9%|
|Marcus Smith||15||47%||Dustin Hopkins||3||9%|
|Michael Floyd||9||28%||Maurice Harris||1||3%|
Snaps-Ben Kotwica used 25 players on a season-high 32 special teams snaps in Sunday’s game. The group of was made up of 17 defenders, five offensive players and three specialists.
Deshazor Everett, Jehu Chesson and Zach Vigil led the unit with the most snaps, playing on 100% of them for the first time in their careers. This was the first time that any Redskins’ player had been in on every teams snap this year.
Dustin Hopkins- Hopkins had a pretty easy day at the office. For the first time in his career he did not even attempt a single field goal or extra point. In fact, this was the first time he’s never made an XP or a field goal as a pro.
He also only kicked the ball off three times and all three went for touchbacks.
Tress Way- Way’s 8 punts and 409 yards were the second-highest totals of his career. The only time he’s ever punted more times and for more yards was in the 2017 finale against these same Giants. He averaged 51.3 yards on his kicks, which is his seventh-highest average as a pro.
He pinned the New York offense inside their own 20-yard line three times, which upped his NFL high in this statistic to 36, and avoided punting a touchback for the 15th game in a row.
His final kick in the contest went for a season-long 63 yards.
Way’s brilliant season is the primary reason that the Redskins rank fourth in the NFL in special teams DVOA (4.1%).
Kick Coverage- There wasn’t much to be done as far as covering kickoffs, as all three of the Redskins’ kicks went for touchbacks. The coverage team did get plenty of work on punts, though.
Byron Marshall led the team with 2 special tackles (1 solo). He stopped one return at the 27 after a gain of 2 yards and teamed up with Zach Vigil to end a 15-yarder at the Giants 42-yard line. Those were the first tackles of Marshall’s career. Vigil, who assisted on the second of those takedowns, ranks second on the team with 6 total ST stops.
Shaun Dion Hamilton recorded a solo tackle on an 11-yard return that was taken out to the 21-yard line. SDH’s 4 solo specials tackles ranks second on the team. Washington’s leader in solo (5) and total (7) teams tackles, Deshazor Everett, put an end to the Giants’ longest return of the afternoon when he tackled return man Jawill Davis at the 40.
Montae Nicholson notched his third teams tackle in the last four weeks, when he shut down a return for no gain at the 18.
Nicholson and Danny Johnson downed punts at the New York 19 and 22-yard lines, respectively.
Penalties- The Skins’ special teams committed their most total (5) and accepted (4) penalties of the year in this game. This group was flagged at least once in every quarter.
Matt Ioannidis was penalized for unnecessary roughness when he fell on top of New York’s long snapper on an extra point attempt. That 15-yard punishment was enforced on the ensuing kickoff. Nicholson got in on the action when he was called for holding during a punt return, which pushed the Skins back 10 yards to their own 25.
Washington’s special teams also somehow managed to get flagged for having 12 men on a punt return, despite the fact that they had just called timeout.
College teammates Adonis Alexander and Greg Stroman decided to team up yet again, when they both committed penalties on the same punt return. Alexander’s holding infraction was accepted in favor of Stroman’s illegal fair catch penalty.
Punt Returns- Greg Stroman’s performance as a punt returner against the Giants could be best described as a comedy of errors. Not only did Stroman inexplicably call for a fair catch after the ball had already hit the ground (see above), he muffed the catch on New York’s second punt and lost 2 yards between his two returns in the game.
Stroman ranks 49th in return average (3.4 yards) among the 53 players who have returned five or more punts this year.
Washington’s 79 punt return yards ranks dead last in the NFL by 21 yards. That figure puts the team on pace to finish the year with just 98 yards, which would be the third-lowest total in franchise history.
Kickoff Returns- Five of the Giants’ seven kickoffs went for touchbacks. Danny Johnson handled the Skins’ two returns on the day and gained 29 yards on both plays before being tackled at the 29 and 32-yard lines.
Those 29-yarders were the second-longest kickoff returns for Johnson and the Redskins this season (44-yarder at Cowboys in Week 12).
Kotwica would be wise to consider replacing Greg Stroman with Johnson on punt returns.
*All statistics are courtesy of ESPN, The Football Database, NBC Sports, NFL.com, NFL Gamebooks, Pro Football Focus, Pro Football Reference, Redskins.com, Team Rankings and The Washington Post*
Which of the following players has played the biggest part in the defense’s late-season decline
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Ha Ha Clinton-Dix