The Takeaways – Week 13, Redskins at Dallas
December 2, 2017
by Steve Thomas
Well, that sucked. Bad. To the tune of 38-14 bad. The last thing anyone expected was for the Redskins to lay a giant, steaming rotten egg against their most hated rival, in front of their utterly obnoxious fans, in what amounted to a playoff elimination game. Nothing good came out of Thursday’s night’s game And when I say “nothing”, I meant that I literally cannot come up with a single positive for Washington as a result of what occurred on the field. There are no shortage of Takeaways, though; just get ready for a pretty negative column this week, because that’s what the watercooler talk is going to be, unfortunately. So, without further ado, here are my week 13 Takeaways:
The Redskins utterly embarrassed themselves on national television, again
Just when we thought that, maybe, the Redskins were finally done stinking up the joint on the nationally televised games, this happens. Yes, I acknowledge that Washington’s injury situation went from bad to worse during this game – and that’s a real, serious, team-affecting issue, by the way, not an “excuse” – but still: the Dallas offensive and defensive lines utterly dominated their Redskins opponents, particularly in the second half. It was terrible optics, at a minimum. The Redskins look overmatched and out of their league in front of the entire football world, and now they’ve been written off by a public who most likely doesn’t thoroughly understand or care about the fact that the Redskins injury situation has devastated the roster. You should not expect an more national coverage on this team for the remainder of the year.
Jamison Crowder followed up his best game of his career with one of his worst
Whoooo boy. Jamison Crowder. Wow. His Thursday night performance stuck out as, well, terrible. There’s no other way to describe it. He dropped balls that were perfect passes that hit him dead in the hands (one of which resulted in a pick 6 by Dallas), fumbled yet another punt, and with one notable exception generally looked like a liability. As we discussed on the show, it appears as though Crowder has been exposed a bit this season – not as a player who doesn’t have talent, but rather as a player who perhaps isn’t good enough to be a team’s principal playmaker. Crowder has had his moments this season, most notably his play during the Giants game on Thanksgiving Day, but more often than not this season, he just hasn’t made the kind of impact that the team needed and the fans expected. He was something of a negative during this game outside of his one 50 yard catch, and that play came about more due to an amazing throw off the back foot of a scrambling, pressured Kirk Cousins than anything else. The team needs more than that from him.
If you’re being honest with yourself, you just knew that Alfred Morris was going to gain 127 yards, didn’t you? If you listened to our game preview show, I told you that one of the keys to this game was keeping Alfred Morris from taking control of the Dallas offense, because a dominating run game is how Dallas wins. For one week, at least, Morris looking like the 2012 version of himself, running behind an offensive line who slowly but surely began to dominate the Redskins defensive front 7, opening wide running lanes and allowing significant yards before contact. It was ugly, folks, but I just can’t ever get mad at Alfred Morris. Wish you were here[i], Alf.
The offensive and defensive lines both had their worst performances of the season
With the significant caveat that the offensive and defensive lines have suffered significant injuries this season, and even during this game, this was still the worst performances of the season for both units. While the defensive front 7 started the game strong, playing Dallas’ vaunted offensive line tough for the first half of the game, they clearly were worn down by the fourth quarter and were unable to prevent Morris from taking over the game. On the other hand, the offensive line looked terrible from the first moment, putting Kirk Cousins in so much pressure that head coach Jay Gruden eventually had to limit his play calling to include only screen passes and dump-offs to the flats due to the enormous amount of pressure that came on almost every play. Sure, injuries: Ty Nsekhe started at left guard, but ended up having to also play both left and right tackle. Not surprisingly, he didn’t do well. This game was not an adequate representation of what the 2017 Redskins can do in the trenches when healthy, but it was a generally awful performance on both sides of the ball. Again, this injury situation has had a significant impact on the team’s ability to perform.
Don’t pay attention to far-fetched scenarios; the playoff hunt is over
It’s over, kids. Don’t let anyone fool you with tales of playoff scenarios that include this team and that team losing, etc. It’s over for 2017 in terms of playoffs. I understand that it’s still mathematically possible, but that just isn’t going to happen this year. The good news, though, is that Washington still has something to play for, because ending up with a winning record in spite of the incredible amount of injuries the Redskins have suffered while having to play THE TOUGHEST SCHEDULE IN THE NFL would be a significant accomplishment, from my perspective. Now isn’t the time for you to get overly negative, call for Jay Gruden and Bruce Allen to be fired, and advocate for the team to just play their scrubs and try and tank. The Redskins aren’t going to be a playoff team this season, but they still can end up with a winning record, and that’s important. Also, for the record, the Redskins already are playing their backups, because the starters are all injured, so there’s that.
That’s it for this week. The Redskins next travel to Los Angeles to face the Chargers in their 27,000 seat stadium. The Chargers are better than expected, but that’s a game that the Redskins really should win. We’ll see, but either way, we’ll be back with another version of The Takeaways after the game.
[i] Apologies to Pink Floyd for co-opting their lyrics. Bonus points for you if you can name the song.