Oh what a beautiful Victory Monday it is! Another “Cardiac Skins” type of performance, but Kirk Cousins and the Defense pulled out the victory. Although this was not a pretty game on offense, they pulled out the win showing true heart! I’m proud to be a Redskin Fan after that gritty performance! In years past (post 1991) the Skins routinely blew these types of games. On Sunday the Skins just looked more poised than the Seahawks with their veteran leadership. This game could be much more than just a comeback win, but a potential turning point for this franchise.
The Josh Doctson catch with a minute to to go in the game, was definitely the game changing play. Going through social media today many Skins fans are optimistic, but still not sold on Kirk Cousins as the Redskins franchise QB. Well that will have to be a story for another time because this post will focus on what the Skins did right vs Seattle. Who knows what’s going to happen on the next 8 games, but there is new hope for this Redskins team going forward. The Coaches prepared 2nd/3rd stringers for the challenge, showing that they belonged in the NFL vs the highly touted Seahawks. I’ll go through a few plays that stood out to me, as well as the players that stepped up in a big way!
*Kirk, Gruden and the Redskins Offense*
Although Kirk Cousins didn’t have one of his better games, but he did throw for 247 yards, with 69 of those yards coming on the game winning drive. He was hit 11 times by the Seattle defense with 6 being sacks, so he was under duress all day. No drive was bigger than the last drive of the game for Kirk. The sixth year veteran QB showed once again he can be clutch when giving the chance. The Skins started in their own 30 yard line and four plays later came the play of the game. On a deep route, Josh Doctson had one on coverage and Cousins took a shot. It seemed that Kik just threw the ball as far as he could down the sideline. The gamble paid off and Doc came up the highlight reel catch, which potentially could be the catch of the year for the Redskins! The official review determined that Doctson was touched at the 1 yard line, although I disagree with review. On the next play the Skins lined up in a jumbo set, similar to Kelly’s previous TD run. Once again Kelly pinches it into the end zone for the go ahead score, to take back the lead. Cousins had defenders in his face all day and took sacks, rather than trying to throw it away at times. The bottom line as fans is we can’t argue that Cousins produced the only final result that matteres, getting the W!
I came across an interesting statistic regarding cousins that was a surprising. Cousins has led 11 game winning drives out of his last 40 starts dating back to 2015. That’s an impressive statistic for a QB that many are still on the fence about, but today Skins fans must rejoice and keep the faith in our QB. As for Head Coach Jay Gruden he needs to call a better game, but as fans we don’t know which plays Gruden called and if Cousins audibled out of them. Many fans were confused why the Skins weren’t utilizing the “Quick Pass game”. After I re-watched the game, the play calling was not as cut and dry as it first seemed. On many plays the Redskins O-line was being pushed back into Kirk’s lap. Frequently Cousins had to pass up his first two options because he simply couldn’t see with a rush in his face. His O-line was consistently falling back into him. This O-Line played valiantly, but I hope we can get a few starters back before Kirk’s KO’d.
The selection of Josh Doctson has been highly scrutinized based in his injury history and being selected by the former GM. Doc certainly came through in the clutch with the game on the line. Although Doc only had 3 catches for 59 yards, he saved the best catch for last! His 38 yard diving catch was a thing of beauty! The ball was clearly overthrown by Cousins, but the TCU product laid our for the highlight real reception! Doctson also had the awareness to catch and roll, which nearly resulted in the TD before he was touched. That play was followed up with the go ahead game wining touchdown run by Robert Kelly. Cousins gains confidence in his receivers once they can bail him out on overthrows. This was certainly the case when DeSean Jackson was catching Kirk’s overthrows, which usually led to a score. At this point expectations should be tempered because it’s far to early in Doc’s career to name him the #1 receiver. For now he can be the Skins big ply threat, in hopes of a Jordan Reed/Jamison Crowder return to contribute as chain movers.
*The 2 Point Score That Never Was*
After Seahawks QB Russell Wilson threw a strike to TE Luke Wilson for the 10 yard TD, Seattle was a 2 point conversion away from tying the score with 11:48 left in the game. They opted to throw it on the conversion attempt, which was intercepted by DJ Swearinger. This would turn into one of the wildest plays in recent memory. After the safety snatched the ball out of the air, he took off down the field. He actually almost scored the improbable 2 points! A game of hot potatoe insude with the Redskins DB’s attempting to score. After pitching the ball back multiple times, the Skins were stopped short of the Seahawks 10 yard line. Unfortunately they didn’t convert the 2 points, but that single play showed the toughness and determination that Manusky has instilled in this defense.
The “Cerebral Assassin” is Back!*
On a pivotal 3rd down and short for Seattle in the 4th quarter, they Seahawks elected to throw the ball in the flat. The catch went RB Thomas Rawls who thought he had a clear path to the first down. Norman was right there, to meet the running back at the first down marker. Rawls attempted to stiff arm Norman, which per Norman’s post comments was “a sign of disrespect”. In a battle of wills, Norman yanked Rawls down by his arm for no gain, which forced the Seahawks to punt. Norman added in post game “I tried to rip off his arm”. Now that’s a player I want on my side in battle! That tackle for no gain won’t stand out in the stat sheet, but Norman showed just how vital he is to the Redskins defense.
*The Return of “The OG”*
The Eder statesman of the Squad DeAngelo Hall finally returned, after having two consecutive seasons cut short by injury. D.Hall was one of three players on defense to play every snap (Norman & Swearinger the others). Not only did Hall play, he was vital in the passing game consistently being around the ball. On the final play of the game, Wilson tossed up a Hail Merry pass to 6’6 tight end Jimmy Graham in the back of the end zone. The 5’10 Hall leaped simultaneously with Graham, nearly coming down with the interception. Hall has always been one of my favorite current Redskins players. I’m hoping with Montae Nicholson back in the lineup, the combination of the two with DJ Swearinger could be fantastic!
*The Mid-Season MVP*
Although defensive playmakers Zach Brown, Will Compton and Kendall Fuller had huge games it was all due to being in the right position. Defensive Coordinator Greg Manusky is the single reason for this teams change in culture. Bringing back the former Redskins LB as a position coach last year was a great move. Many were disappointed that Manusky was elevated to Defensive Coordinator, rather than getting a big name such as Rams D-Coordinator Wade Phillips. The truth is this was a marriage made in heaven. Manusky wasn’t very successful during his time as the Colts D-Coordinator, but I beleive the environment proved to be the difference. Manusky has a different feel about him this year per players. Running the defense he once played in, was a dream come true. Time after time vs Seattle he put his players in the right position and stayed aggressive. Keeping Zach Brown as the soy is exactly what I mentioned in the last B&G Report. Brown just shadowed Russell Wilson allowing the Skins pass rush to make him uneasy. Manusky has a bright future in D.C and I’m looking forward to th Minnesota.
Stayed tuned for the next B&G Report with Rookie Spotlight on former Alabama OLB Ryan Anderson! HTTR!🏹🏈