Redskins Report Card: 11/30/17

The Redskins lost in embarrassing fashion to the struggling Dallas Cowboys, with a final score of 38 to 14.  Going in to the game as road favorites, Washington should have been able to win despite the devastating series of injuries the team has suffered.  Instead, they were humiliated in prime time (again) on the way to sacrificing any reasonable expectation of a playoff bid this year.  No position group played well, but let’s take a look at each performance.

Quarterback:  Kirk Cousins, as usual, turned in a perfectly respectable performance.  His stat line was 26/37 passing for 251 yards, 2 touchdowns, 2 interceptions and a costly fumble.  While three turnovers from your QB sounds like a terrible showing, only the fumble can really be put on Kirk.  The two interceptions resulted from yet another dropped pass and a routine deflection at the line.  Cousins certainly didn’t have his best game, but he had some impressive scrambles and rushes as he tried to will this team to a win.  These Redskins have a pile of problems, but Kirk Cousins isn’t one of them.  And I suppose we need to mention Colt McCoy since he actually came into the game for the last few snaps.  There isn’t much to say, since all he did in his first game action of the season was hand the ball off to Byron Marshall repeatedly.     Grade:  B

Running Backs:  To call the Redskins running backs corps depleted is a massive understatement.  With both Fat Rob and Chris Thompson lost for the season, Samaje Perine and Byron Marshall are the last men standing and both turned in paltry performances.  Perine had just 12 rushes for 38 yards and 3 receptions on 3 targets for 31 yards, a disappointing follow up to his previous two 100+ yard showings.  Marshall was even worse, with 4 carries for only 12 yards and a meager 24 yards on 5 receptions.  To state the obvious, this club’s running game is a joke at this point.     Grade:  D

Receivers:  Needless to say, if Ryan Grant has the highest receiving yards on your team, you did not have a good night.  That’s not to take anything away from Grant, who had a decent game, with a very pretty touchdown on a 24 yard reception.  Doctson didn’t look great, with one excellent catch in the end zone for the Skins’ second touchdown in an otherwise thoroughly lackluster performance.  Which brings us to Jamison Crowder, for whom thoroughly lackluster would have been a significant upgrade.  He was simply awful in this game, with a fumbled punt return, a pass from Cousins that he couldn’t hold on to that wound up as the game’s first interception, and another almost-fumble that was ruled a down by contact.  It was a terrible game for a player who has been making a name for himself lately and garnering high praise from Jay Gruden.  Unfortunately, it came at the worst possible time for this team and his mistakes likely cost the Redskins their season.     Grade:  D

Offensive Line:  This group is so devastated by injuries that it’s hard to even give them a grade.  Morgan Moses, one of only three Redskins to start every game this season, left the game in the first half with what looked like a serious ankle injury.  Ty Nsekhe moved to RT in his place, where he had an absolutely dismal night, offering nothing in the way of protection for a beleaguered Cousins.  If fact, he may be the only Redskin who performed nearly as poorly as Crowder.  Trent Williams continues to battle a knee issue that has left him shell of himself since Week 4.  This line is little more than a motley crew of backups, practice squad guys, and the walking wounded.  They aren’t playing well at all, but it’s impossible to blame them.     Grade:  C –

Defensive Line:  Oh, where to start with the defense?  The Cowboys offense has been totally ineffective without Zeke Elliot and Dak Prescott hasn’t been able to get anything going.  (Even with the awful defensive performance from Washington, he only put up 102 yards with a 50% completion rate.)  Knowing Dak couldn’t throw the ball, all the Skins needed to do was stop Alfred Morris on the ground, which they failed spectacularly to do.  There were holes the size of Mack trucks and Morris feasted, looking like it was 2012 again.  Because they weren’t awful in the first quarter and a half, I’ll grade them slightly more generously than they probably deserve.     Grade:  C –

Linebackers:  The linebacking corps is another group that finds itself nearly unrecognizable after all the injuries.  Without Will Compton or Mason Foster, a banged up Zach Brown was their last, best hope and he had to briefly leave the game with an injury himself.  When Zach Vigil (who?!?) is left with the headset, you know things are about as bad as they can get.     Grade:  D

Secondary:  This group didn’t look good either.  Josh Norman is not playing like a guy making $20 million a year and although he says all the right things, he hasn’t walked the walk much lately.  Breeland got burned by Dez Bryant all night, allowing him to catch his first touchdown pass since Week 7 as a result.  These guys were better against the pass than the line was against the run, but it was overall an anemic performance.     Grade:  C-

Special Teams: Nick Rose successfully kicked two extra points and had no field goal attempts. Tress Way averaged 42.6 yards on 5 punts.  Those two were fine, but the rest of the special teams performance was disastrous.  Crowder (who should never, ever, ever be allowed to return punts) fumbled the ball away on a punt in the first quarter (right after dropping the pass that led to the first Dallas interception).  In the second quarter, the kicking unit allowed Ryan Switzer to return a punt 83 yards for an easy TD to put the Cowboys up 17-0.  It was a simply dreadful game for the special teams, which has been an unfortunate running theme for this ball club.     Grade:  F

Coaching Staff:  I find all of the “the coaches didn’t have the team ready to play” stuff a lot of nonsense, but there were definitely some questionable coaching decisions.  To start, once it became clear that Breeland couldn’t do anything against Dez Bryant, why not shadow him with Josh Norman, ostensibly your best defender?  Many of the Cowboys’ offensive packages telegraphed that they were going to run; why not focus your defensive efforts on stopping the rushing attack?  Players are ultimately responsible for their own performances, but the coaching staff needs to shoulder some of the blame for that debacle.     Grade:  C

Overall:  This was a dreadful performance by the Redskins.  There were a few decent individual performances, but as a team it could hardly have been much worse.  I’ll call it “flashes of adequacy in a sea of mediocrity”.    Grade:  D-

Amanda White

I was born and raised in Northern Virginia and I'm a lifelong DC sports fan. I spend my time watching, talking about, and thinking about sports, mixed in with raising my three kids and working a regular job. I'm an Army veteran, a working wife and mom, and an obsessed fan! Follow me on Twitter! @awhite7877

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