In what was supposed to be a statement game after going to Seattle and holding the Seahawks to 14 points, the defense came out and looked more like the 2016 defense that couldn’t stop a D-II offense. Adam Thielen ran circles around Josh Norman and the secondary putting up 8 catches for 166 yards and a TD. Stefon Diggs added an additional 4 receptions for 78 yards and a TD as well. The Vikings’ offense just ended up being too much for the Redskins’ defense to stop and for the offense to keep up with. There will be a lot to clean up this week prior to a season saving win in New Orleans.
Player of the Game
You could easily give this award to one of the offensive players who racked up statistics, but there were too many drops and missed opportunities to really give it to that side of the ball. As bad as the defense was, there was one bright spot, D.J. Swearinger. He came to play against the Vikings with two big interceptions. keeping the Redskins in the game and giving the offense opportunities to put points on the board. Outside of Zach Brown, Swearinger is clearly the best offseason acquisition. He has a swagger about his play and he was showing it on Sunday.
The offense was looking to drive the ball down the field and close the gap from 21-17. However, Kirk Cousins threw a ball that wound up being high and tipped by Jamison Crowder into the hands of Mackensie Alexander for his first interception of his career. The Vikings took over at the Redskins 25 and proceeded to score and take a 28-17 lead and the Vikings never took their foot off the peddle.
Passing Game: B-
Maurice Harris had a spectacular TD reception on the opening drive, but it did not get much better from there for the passing game. Cousins again had some head scratching throws. Nothing can be more frustrating that watching him not put enough air under the ball on a deep shot when the receiver has a couple yards on his defender.
It wasn’t all Kirk. He had another gutsy game against a top tier defense. Nothing kills a drive and passing game like dropped passing and slipping on routes. Crowder had two drops on a key drive in the third quarter with one of them being in the end zone. He wasn’t the only one with this problem. Vernon Davis and Josh Doctson also came up short in helping Cousins lift the defense up. This receiving core needs to figure this out, or they won’t be able to keep up against the Saints.
Running Game: C-
What was a promising start, ended with a complete thud. Rob Kelley, Samaje Perine, and Chris Thompson combined for 71 yards on 22 carries and 0 TDs in what should have been a return to success with the offensive line healthy for the first time since Week 7. This has been a continuous glaring problem for the Redskins and won’t continue to get better until the offseason. Perine looked improved from a week ago, and is set-up to have an opportunity to have a heavier workload if Kelley’s injury keeps him sidelined.
D didn’t mean defense on Sunday for the Redskins. Rather, it means dismal. This grade could honestly have been an F if it wasn’t for Swearinger and Zach Brown playing to their top capabilities. What was most disappointing was how Josh Norman let Thielen run circles around him. This was easily his worst game as a Redskin and one he should not forget the rest of the time he is in D.C. The defense is just not ready for prime time. It may take another offseason of moves to make that possible.
Special Teams: B
It was a solid game by the special teams that will most likely be overlooked by a complete gaff by a young kicker. Nick Rose knocked down a huge 55-yard field goal to bring the Redskins within eight with under two minutes to play in the game. The only thing he had to do was give his team a chance to recover the onside kick. Rose couldn’t get the ball past the 5-yard mark before it dribbled out of bounds thus all but ending the game.
The Redskins were poised to stay in the playoff picture with a win at home against the Vikings, but after this loss, the window has closed to just a crack. Next up, they have the red hot New Orleans Saints on the road who just put up 47 points against a Bills’ defense that has been formidable this year.
Next Game: Redskins (4-5) at Saints (7-2) 1:00 PM (FOX)