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Likes, dislikes, and more from the 33-19 loss to Dallas.

Good:

  1. Ryan Kerrigan. He was the best player on the field for the Redskins.  He was a nightmare for Collins and anyone else who had to deal with him.  He’s so much better this year than last.  He got hurt today (groin injury) but came back in.  He needs to be healthy.  When he is, you get what you got most of today….two sacks, he drew a holding penalty or two, and had multiple pressures.
  1. Jamison Crowder. The best day of the year for him with 9 catches for 123 yards.  Truth is, after Reed left the game, Crowder was one of the only legit options.
  1. Red zone defense. Dallas was 2 for 5 in the red zone but one of the touchdowns started at the Skins 2-yd line after the blocked FG return.  Much of the Dallas damage was self-inflicted (penalties) but still, holding Dallas to field goals kept the game within reach.

Bad:

  1. Blocked field goal/return. The blocked field goal and special teams in general impacted the game as much as anything else.  The blocked FG and 85-yard return was the biggest play of the game.  The Skins went from a potential 16-7 lead with just over 3 minutes to go in the first half to a 14-13 deficit.  That 10-point swing given how little margin for error the team had coming in was a big blow and a major momentum swing.
  1. Additional special teams disasters. The Redskins had a terrible special teams day on a day when they couldn’t afford it.  In addition to the blocked FG, Thompson fumbled a kickoff return, Holsey touched a 50+ yd punt illegally costing the Skins 30+ yards of field position, Crowder didn’t field that last punt of the game costing them a chance for better field position, and Rose missed a PAT. 
  1. Reality of injuries.  People that insist that the discussion of injuries is a lame excuse for losing don’t watch the NFL much.  Injuries in the NFL determine the outcome of games almost as much as anything else.  They are a reality, not an excuse, and the Skins just played a game with one of the most depleted situations in recent team history.  Three of their five starting offensive linemen were out and two backups were injured.  Of the three, two (Williams and Scherff) are among the best five players on the team.  Breeland was out, Foster went to IR on Friday, and there were 3-5 others that were compromised including their right tackle Morgan Moses.  During the game, the team lost six more players including two tight ends on a day where they planned many 3-TE sets.
  1. Drops/wide receivers not named Crowder. Pryor is a total non-factor and Doctson had another huge drop on what would’ve been a big play in a 20-13 game.  Grant dropped two as well.    
  1. Run defense. Zeke Elliott went for 150 on 33 carries.

More:

  1. Kirk Cousins. Cousins needed to put the team on his back and couldn’t do it.  Not many could have today.  He got off to a blazing start but when the game turned on the blocked FG, the team had already lost two tight ends and another lineman.  He got no help from a non-existent running game and his receivers more often than not disappointed.  It’s really hard to drop back and throw without the threat of run, a line that can protect, and receivers who can get open.  His worst throw of the day was a 3rd down miss to Pryor on the sideline.  That throw sailed on him and they had to kick a FG for a 13-7 lead.  His fumble on the Crawford quick sack was a bad job of ball protection.  At that point, I thought it had become obvious that dropping him back was a mistake.  They just couldn’t protect and Jordan Reed was gone leaving him with few options other than Crowder and Davis.
  1. Dallas penalties kept the game in reach. The Cowboys were held to field goals or punts because of penalties more times than not.  The defense made occasional plays but Dallas hurt themselves with 90 yards in penalties….6 for 57 in the first half.
  1. Gruden’s timeout with 1:45 to go in the first half made no sense at all. I’m not sure why he thought he would run out of time but they seemed to have Dallas off-balance a bit and he gave them time to regroup unnecessarily.  The play after the timeout was a screen that got blown up for a big loss.  The chance to get points and a halftime lead…minimized.
  1. Ryan Switzer took a knee at his own 14 on the kickoff return following the Skins’ touchdown that cut the lead to 26-20. Why?  It was a mistake and cost them field position.  As crazy as it sounds, one defensive stop there would’ve given the Skins offense plenty of time and timeouts for a game-tying drive.
  1. Dez Bryant got knocked out of bounds on a 3rd down conversion just before the 2-min warning. The side judge rolled the clock.  There has been an emphasis this year on speeding up games and that’s one way they’ve been doing it.  It cost the Skins 40 seconds after the Dallas punt.
  1. Zach Brown’s 15 yd-head butt penalty led to a Dallas FG and a 13-point lead instead of keeping it to 10.
  1. Brown on Elliott in coverage (when Elliott was split out as receiver) was never taken advantage of….lucky.
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