Redskins Thumbs Up and Thumbs Down: Week 14

Here are the Redskins Thumbs Up and Thumbs Down.  The Washington Redskins had a lock on the final Wild Card slot.  They just needed to take care of business.  They simply did not do it.  They fall to the Arizona Cardinals 31-23.

Redskins Thumbs Up

Pierre Garcon.  Garcon was one of the rare Redskins that came to play.  He caught 7 passes for 78 yards.  He bailed the Redskins out several times with crucial first downs.  Garcon has put together a string of strong games and has obviously developed a strong chemistry with Kirk Cousins.  When the Redskins and Cousins needed a play maker today, Garcon was front and center.

Robert Kelley.  Once again, the Redskins were entirely unbalanced on offense.  Cousins had 37 pass attempts while Robert Kelley only had 14 carries, again.  That is the second consecutive week that Kelley had a mere 14 carries.  Today, Kelley averaged 4.5 yards per carry.  He had several nice runs.  Yet, they only gave him the ball 14 times.  For the little they fed Kelley, kudos to him.  The  unbalanced offensive play calling also helped stall drives and give the Cardinals offense more field opportunities.

Honorable Mention:  Dustin Hopkins was 3 for 3 in field goals today.  Good to mention considering his recent struggles.  Unfortunately, that is also a sign of the poor red zone execution.  Chris Thompson had a nice day, though underutilized.  However, that is what you will get from the pass happy Sean McVay offense.  He had 2 carries and 1 reception.  between those three plays he gained 45 yards.  I love when Thompson touches that ball.  he gets acceleration outside and turns in solid gains.  The Redskins just do not use him enough.  Kudos to Ryan Kerrigan for recording his tenth sack, becoming the fifth Redskins in history to record multiple 10 sack seasons.

Redskins Thumbs Down

Third Down Defense.  The Redskins simply could not stop the Cardinal offense.  The Cardinals were 10 for 16 on third down conversions.  It was terrible.  The Cardinals moved the ball at will on the Redskins secondary.  However, beyond the terrible play in the secondary, you can also blame poor third down defensive execution on the lack of a pass rush.  The Cardinals have a batter and weak offensive line.  Getting pressure on Carson Palmer has proved to be fruitful, forcing bad throws and fumbles.  Yet, the Redskins defensive front did little of that today.  The poor third down defense also gave the Cardinals a 33:46 to 26:14 advantage in time of possession.  The Redskins usually win by controlling time of possession.  Can’t do that when you can’t get off the field.  Hence, a costly loss for the Redskins.

Red Zone Offense.  I might as well make this a permanent marker here.  The Redskins once again had two redone opportunities early and had to settle for field goals.  It is on ongoing season nightmare.  Sean McVay has really dialed up some seriously good offensive play calling.  However, his red zone play calls have been tremendously poor.  A fade throw to tiny DeSean Jackson.  Really?  That’s the plan?  The Red zone offense has been an Achilles Heel for this team this season and those woes continued today.  Fact is, the Redskins offense has been great at times.  Today it was just good.  A good offense is not enough to make up for a weak defense.  That was made very clear today.

Dishonorable Mention:  Penalties.  The Redskins were called for three offensive penalties on the opening drive.  THREE!  The offensive line was the culprit of all three.  The Redskins committed seven penalties today on a day their offense wasn’t anther best and their defense was awful.  That leads to a loss.  Turnovers.  Redskins had two turnovers today, and QB Kirk Cousins was one of those with a very costly fumble.