The Washington Redskins surprised the NFL world on Sunday Night Football at FedExField, destroying the previously undefeated Oakland Raiders, 27-10.
It was a destruction from the start as the Redskins forced a turnover on the second play from scrimmage, a Montae Nicholson leaping interception off of Derek Carr and cashed that in on a eight-play, 67-yard scoring drive capped off by Chris Thompson’s 22-yard touchdown catch and run from Kirk Cousins.
It was just the start of a brilliant night for both Cousins and Thompson. The former, a Dad to be, at any point, lit up the Raiders defense like a Christmas tree with a sparkling (25-30) performance for 365 yards and three touchdowns. Cousins was sacked only once, had no turnovers and compiled a 150.7 rating.
Cousins’ numbers on the largest regular season stage, almost mirrored exactly what he did the
last time the Redskins played on Sunday Night Football
Thompson wasn’t done after that first scoring strike, as he broke the back of the Raiders time and time again, with six total catches for 150 yards including a smoke-screen from the slot area that went for 74 yards. Thompson also chipped in 38 rushing yards on eight attempts.
Back to Cousins, he dialed up a beautiful 52-yard touchdown heave to Josh Doctson for his first NFL touchdown. Cousins received great protection, appeared to scan from the middle of the field to his right and lofted one for Doctson, who adjusted and plucked the ball over former Redskins cornerback, David Amerson. Doctson had only one other target and he dropped a pass.
The Redskins defense was dominant as well, holding the Raiders to 128 net yards of offense (it was under 100 inside the two-minute warning). It
was the first time since 1992 that the Redskins had held an opponent to 128 yards or less
. That last time, October 12, 1992 against Denver, a 34-3 thrashing in which the Redskins held Denver to the same 128 yards. The year before that, they held Philadelphia to just 89 yards, courtesy of ProFootballReference.com
Forget about those numbers, the Redskins did something that they had not done since at least 1991 in a non week-17 game according to
Warren Sharp and Sharp Football.
That’s hold the Raiders to (0-11) no third down conversions.
who has an amazing statistical analysis site
, offered this nugget: Twice in week 17 games since 1991, the Redskins defense shut-out an opponent on third down (Week 17, 2007 vs. Dallas & Week 17 2001 vs Arizona) but at no other point before last night, after 1991, have the Redskins blanked an opponent on the money down.
The raw numbers look like this: The Redskins had 18 first downs to 7 for the Raiders. Washington was (7-15) on third-down while Oakland was (0-11). Washington had 472 net yards of offense to 128. They ran 65 plays compared to 48 for Oakland. They had a 38:06 to 21:54 time of possession edge.
They out-rushed the Raiders 116 – 32
. They out-passed Oakland 356 – 96. They forced three turnovers while turning the ball over twice, which is the only reason the Raiders scored their ten points.
Back to the defensive side of the ball, the unit as a whole, had four sacks. Ryan Kerrigan had one, in which he jacked the right tackle all the way back into Derek Carr. Preston Smith had a sack on a big third down stop, bashing left tackle Donald Penn into a hole in the ground. Matt Ioannidis and Junior Galette split a sack on the play before Smith’s sack. Rookie Jonathan Allen had the other Redskins sack for the first of his NFL career.
Zach Brown was everywhere as usual, with ten tackles to lead the way. Martrell Spaight didn’t start the game with Mason Foster out but he played the rest of the way, paired with Brown and had nine tackles. The speed that these two inside linebackers showed was beyond evident.
Kendall Fuller had a key interception that was set up by another good pressure by Ioannidis. The Redskins also held the Raiders on a first-and-goal situation after a bad fumble and turnover by Samaje Perine.
In that sequence, Bashaud Breeland had a big pass breakup and D.J. Swearinger helped line up everybody on defense pre-snap before a critical third-down snap, to help the Redskins force a field goal.
How many times in that spot, would the Redskins give in and allow a touchdown in years past. The Raiders started that drive at the Washington-12-yard line and only were able to muster a field goal.
Back to offense, the Redskins wound up running the ball (34 times) more than throwing it (30 pass attempts, 31 pass drop backs) for a second consecutive week.
Last week in Los Angeles,
it was 27 pass attempts plus two sacks for a total of 29 pass drop backs, while Washington ran it for 39 times.
Washington improved to (14-2-1) under Jay Gruden when running 30 or more times.
The only problem on the night? Special teams. Dustin Hopkins missed a long but makeable 52-yard field goal attempt, his second 50 + yard miss in two weeks, while Jamison Crowder had a second fumble on a punt catch/muff in the first three games. Oakland scored their only touchdown quickly and directly off of that turnover.
Chris Russell has covered the Washington Redskins for eight seasons for multiple media outlets and was a part of the Redskins Radio Network broadcast team for five years. He covers the Redskins, Washington Valor and Baltimore Brigade for Monumental Sports Network (www.DCHotRead.com). Listen to Chris on Washington D.C.'s # 1 sports radio station, 106.7 The FAN