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Likes, dislikes, and more from the 20-15 win over the Cardinals.

Liked:

  1. Defense.  The defense made lots of plays despite allowing the opponent to run 80 snaps in the game.  Multiple batted balls, 13 passes defended, many QB pressures and hits to go along with 4 sacks and two takeaways.  They held the Cardinals to 4 for 19 on 3rd down.  Add to that, it was their best red zone performance of the season….the Cardinals went 0-6.  The one negative today was the run defense which allowed 141 yards (4.1 per carry).  Several players had great games but none had a better game than the guy below. 
  1. Anthony Lanier. He had a career-best game with 2 sacks and at least 3 deflected passes at the line of scrimmage.
  1. Kendall Fuller. He was always there even when he didn’t make the play.  His coverage on Larry Fitzgerald on the final drive was outstanding.  The pass interference call on the final drive against him was a bad call.
  1. Preston Smith & Junior Galette. Both had good games with pressures, sacks, batted balls, and in Smith’s case, an interception.  Galette nearly had one on a late bubble-screen attempt.
  1. Samaje Perine. Okay, laugh if you want because the running game generated nothing (20 for 31 yds) but Perine ran hard and broke a ton of tackles.  His longest run of the day got called back but his 37 yards on 14 carries & 2 catches and 29 yards were hard-earned with tough running.
  1. Blaine Gabbert. God he’s awful.  He helped the Skins out all day.  He missed a bunch of easy throws including an easy touchdown to a wide-open Holmes in the first half.  Yes he was pressured but there were at least five open receivers that he flat out missed.  Add to that, when he did make a decent throw, several of them were dropped including a drop by Niklas on what would’ve been a first & goal at the 1-yd line with 28 seconds left in the game.

Didn’t like:

  1. Play-count difference. The Cardinals ran 80 offensive plays.  The Skins ran just 47.  It was 47 to 16 in the first half with the Cardinals owning the ball for 23:26 of the first 30 minutes.
  1. 3rd down offense.  The Skins went 1-9 on 3rd-down.
  1. Officiating on final drive. The refs missed two calls that could’ve cost the Skins the game.  Zack Vigil had an interception and was on the ground before Niklas ripped the ball away from Compton.  There should’ve been a 2-min booth review and overturn of the call on the field but they missed it.  The pass interference on Fuller vs Fitzgerald on the final drive was a bad call. 
  1. Vernon Davis. He had just 2 catches and he fumbled one of them. He had a chance on a first-half 3rd down to pull in a slightly overthrown ball but like last week, didn’t lay out for it.  He’s had a rough month.
  1. No running game. The Cardinals came into the game with one of the best run-defenses in the league and the Skins felt it.  Although Perine ran hard, the Skins were able to generate just 31 yds on 20 attempts.  Josh Doctson had a 14-yd loss on a reverse but even if you exclude that from the statistics, the Skins would’ve had 19 for 45.  Not good enough.
  1. Special teams. More bad than good.  There were 2 good kickoff returns by Breeland and Harris and Tress Way averaged 53.2 per punt but that was it from the kicking units.  The 2nd half kickoff was a disaster and cost the Skins a possession and points.  Crowder let punts drop instead of fielding them.  Perhaps that’s strategy at this point given the fumbling problems he’s had.  The 32-yd field goal by Hopkins that gave the Skins a 20-15 lead wasn’t kicked well and just barely snuck inside the left upright.

More:

  1. Kirk Cousins. Cousins managed the game well considering the constant pressure he faced against a good defense on another day with no semblance of a running game.  He got lucky on the 3rd and goal throw to Davis that could’ve been picked in the end zone and he fumbled again after the whistle but it was close.  He also lost the handle of the ball (incomplete) on a ball he was trying to pull back on a 3rd-down play.  He also had several good throws while getting hit and most importantly, didn’t make the killer mistake.  He extended multiple plays to complete throws which is his greatest area of improvement this year.  At the same time, he was high on a few throws that were catch-able but barely (see incomplete to Doctson on the play Cousins got hurt).
  1. Josh Norman. While struggling to cover the 2nd half of the season he is still a very good tackler at the line of scrimmage.
  1. Matt Ioannidis should’ve been called for a late and low hit on Gabbert in the first half.
  1. The 3rd and 8 draw on the Skins final drive before the 2-min warning was too conservative for me. You’re 5 and 8….go win the game.  They tried a 2nd-down bootleg to get the first-down but it was sniffed out.
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