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Galdi Grades For The Redskins’ Loss At The Giants

Analysis of the Redskins’ passing game, running game, defense and special teams in the season-ending loss at the Giants

 

 

Week 17: Redskins concluded a 7-9 season with an 18-10 loss at the Giants on New Year’s Eve (Dec. 31, 2017)


Passing Game: F

What was potentially Kirk Cousins’ final game as a Redskin also was arguably his worst game as a Redskin.  He went 20-for-37 for just 158 yards, no touchdowns and three interceptions and was sacked three times.  This was his first three-pick game over the last three seasons.  Kirk’s Raw QBR was an abysmal 8.1, which was his worst in any game over the last three seasons.  His yards-per-pass-attempt was an atrocious 4.27, which was his worst in any game over the last three seasons.  And Kirk quarterbacked an offense that went 1-for-13 on third downs.

Kirk was so bad on so many throws.  Let’s just look at his three picks:

  • Pick no. 1 came on the third play of the Redskins’ first offensive drive…Kirk’s faced pressure in the form of an unblocked Andrew Adams but did not throw to a wide-open Jamison Crowder on a first-quarter third-and-seven pick to Kelvin Sheppard.
  • Pick no. 2 came on the third play of the Redskins’ ninth offensive drive, which was the opening drive of the second half…two plays after being way off on a first-and-10 shotgun play-action incompletion intended for Josh Doctson on an RPO, Kirk under-threw Ryan Grant on an early-third-quarter first-and-10 under-center play-action pick to Ross Cockrell.
  • Pick no. 3 came on the second play of the Redskins’ 15th offensive drive, which was their final offensive drive of season…Kirk, working on a second-and-six shotgun throw, extended the play in dodging Olivier Vernon but seemingly never saw Sheppard on his second pick of the game.

Here is where Kirk finished the season in some of the more telling stats for quarterbacks.  As you’ll see, he wasn’t as good as he was in 2015 and 2016, but he still was clearly at least in the upper half of NFL quarterbacks:

  • No. 17 in the NFL in Total QBR (52.0)
  • No. 16 among quarterbacks in the NFL in the Football Outsiders DYAR metric (402)
  • No. 15 among quarterbacks in the NFL in Total EPA (58.8)
  • No. 9 in the NFL in yards per pass attempt (7.58)
  • No. 9 in the NFL in completion percentage (64.26)

As bad as Kirk was in this game, this was yet another game in which his pass catchers didn’t do much.

Josh Doctson had just four receptions for 37 yards on 10 targets.  He played on 89 percent of the Redskins’ offensive snaps in leading all Redskins receivers in offensive snaps for an eighth consecutive game.  Here are Doctson’s stats during this season-ending eight-game stretch in which he played far more than any other Redskins receiver: 24 receptions for 313 yards and three touchdowns on 56 targets.  He played as much as a no. 1 receiver in the second half of the season, but he didn’t produce like a no. 1 receiver.  Doctson did lead the Redskins with six receiving touchdowns, but he also had a miserable catch percentage of 44.87, which was by far the worst on the team.  And he ranked tied for no. 148 in the NFL in YAC (138) per ESPN.

  • Redskins’ fifth offensive drive…resulted in a second-quarter punt…the second play of the drive was a Kirk second-and-four under-center play-action-boot deep incompletion intended for Doctson, who didn’t properly high-point the football.  Yes, it did bounce off of the helmet of Ross Cockrell, who did have good coverage.  But, still, this is precisely the kind of play that Doctson was drafted to make.
  • Redskins’ 11th offensive drive…resulted in Dustin Hopkins’ third-quarter missed 47-yard field-goal attempt…the play right before the missed field-goal try was Doctson with a drop on a slant on a Kirk third-and-nine shotgun incompletion…the play prior to this was Doctson perhaps being interfered with but not properly selling for a flag on a Kirk second-and-nine under-center play-action incompletion.
  • Redskins’ 10th offensive drive…resulted in a third-quarter punt…Kirk threw behind Doctson on a third-and-nine shotgun incompletion, but he had minimal separation on Cockrell anyway.

Jamison Crowder had three receptions for 25 yards on seven targets, including two drops.  Crowder finished the season leading the Redskins in receptions (66), receiving yards (789) and targets (103) and was no. 25 in the NFL in YAC (365) per ESPN.  But he had an issue with drops this season.

  • Redskins’ second offensive drive…resulted in a first-quarter three-and-out…Crowder had a drop on a Kirk second-and-seven shotgun play-action incompletion on an RPO….the play after this was yet another play on which a Redskins receiver didn’t run his route past or at least to the sticks – a Kirk third-and-seven six-yard shotgun completion to Crowder.
  • Redskins’ 12th offensive drive…resulted in a third-quarter three-and-out…Crowder had a drop – and ran short of the sticks – on a Kirk third-and-six shotgun incompletion.

Ryan Grant had two receptions for 23 yards on five targets.  The Redskins’ seventh offensive drive, which resulted in a second-quarter three-and-out, included a Kirk third-and-eight shotgun incompletion on which he did a great job of avoiding an unblocked Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie but then threw behind Grant, who still could have made the catch.  The 2014 fifth-round pick out of Tulane and Jay Gruden favorite had by far the most productive season of his career (45 receptions for 573 yards and four touchdowns on 65 targets), but I still don’t see him as ever being anything more than a no. 4 receiver in a good receiving corps.  There’s no shame in that, but it’s important to understand what he is.

The Redskins allowed three more sacks in this game.  Kirk’s sack percentage for the season ended up being 7.1 as compared to 3.7 in 2016 and 4.6 in 2015.  The injuries to the offensive line and at running back and Kirk holding onto balls longer in order to make plays all played a role in this.

  • Ty Nsekhe suffered a knee injury on the Redskins’ third offensive play, which was Kirk’s first-quarter third-and-seven pick to Kelvin Sheppard.  And so the Redskins went with Tyler Catalina as their left tackle for the rest of the game.  Olivier Vernon blew by Catalina on a late-first-quarter first-and-10 sack for a six-yard loss, and Vernon and Jason Pierre-Paul beat Catalina and Morgan Moses on a fourth-quarter first-and-10 split-sack for a six-yard loss.
  • Brandon Scherff got beat by Devon Kennard on his second-quarter third-and-11 sack for a 10-yard loss.

If there was a bright spot for the Redskins passing game in this game, that bright spot was Kapri Bibbs in the screen game: eight receptions for 53 yards on nine targets.

The Redskins finished the season no. 14 in the NFL in passing offense per the Football Outsiders DVOA metric.

 

Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) greets New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning (10) after an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 31, 2017, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)


Running Game: D

In a Redskins season largely (though not entirely) ruined by injuries, no position group has been more ravaged than running back.  And so it was fitting that Samaje Perine suffered an ankle injury on the Redskins’ second offensive play of the game and did not return.  He finished with just two carries for three yards.

The Redskins went the rest of the game with Kapri Bibbs and Dare Ogunbowale as the team’s only available running backs.  Bibbs had 12 carries for 47 yards (3.92 yards per carry), including a second-and-eight 16-yard under-center-handoff run with jet-sweep action on the second play of the drive that resulted in Dustin Hopkins’ third-quarter missed 47-yard field-goal attempt.  There’s a burst with Bibbs that makes him worth keeping this offseason, especially when you factor in how well he did in the screen game over the last three games of the season.

Another positive for the Redskins’ running game came on the Redskins’ third offensive drive, which started at the Giants’ 20 thanks to Preston Smith’s first-and-20 pick of Eli Manning.  The second play of that drive was a Kirk Cousins second-and-two 12-yard shotgun read-option touchdown run.

But the Redskins even with that Kirk touchdown run averaged just 3.81 yards per carry.  Take out Kirk’s 12-yard touchdown run and that Bibbs 16-yad run, and the Redskins had 14 carries for just 33 yards (2.36 yards per carry).  And no carry was worse than what came on the first play of the Redskins’ sixth offensive drive, which resulted in a second-quarter three-and-out.  Jamison Crowder lost a yard on a first-and-10 under-center jet-sweep-handoff run on which he ran right into an Andrew Adams tackle, as Vernon Davis did a horrendous job of blocking Adams (Davis, in fact, was just dancing with Adams).

The Redskins finished the season no. 28 in the NFL in rushing offense per the Football Outsiders DVOA metric.


Defense: C-

This game was a perfect microcosm for the 2017 Redskins’ defense: good against the pass, bad against the run.  The Redskins finished the season per the Football Outsiders DVOA metric no. 6 in the NFL in pass defense but no. 29 in the NFL in run defense.

The Redskins, on the one hand, held Eli Manning (in perhaps his final game as a Giant) to just 10-of-28 for 132 yards.  Eli’s 4.71 yards per pass attempt was nearly as bad as Kirk’s (4.27) in this game.  Ryan Kerrigan destroyed a rookie out of Pitt, Adam Bisnowaty (bihz-noh-WAH-tee), for two sacks late in the second quarter (including a second-and-seven sack-strip on the play right before the two-minute warning).  Preston Smith had a first-and-20 interception that led to Kirk Cousins’ first-quarter second-and-two 12-yard shotgun read-option touchdown run.  Also, the Redskins held the Giants to 4-for-16 on third downs.

But as nice as all of that was, the Redskins’ run defense was as bad if not worse, because the Giants did have a number of drops.  The Redskins allowed Orleans Darkwa and Wayne Gallman to combine for 35 carries for 243 yards (6.94 yards per carry) and a touchdown.  This happened despite new Giants general manager Dave Gettleman having made their starting left tackle, Ereck Flowers, inactive and having cut their starting right tackle, Bobby Hart.

  • The tone for the game was set on its second offensive play.  Josh Norman and D.J. Swearinger missed on tackles on a Darkwa first-quarter second-and-10 75-yard shotgun-handoff touchdown run that Eli seemingly checked into.
  • The Giants’ 11th offensive drive, which resulted in a third-quarter punt, included a Gallman second-and-20 24-yard shotgun-handoff run on a draw play.  How often does a second-and-20 run result in a first down?

One of the more maddening aspects of the Redskins’ Week 17 loss to the Giants at FedEx Field on New Year’s Day 2017 was the Giants, who had had a really bad running game, having a season-high 144 net yards rushing – through three quarters.  Paul Perkins finished with 21 carries for 102 yards.  Well, the Giants, who again have had a very bad running game this season, finished this game with a season-high 260 net yards rushing.

Another item for the Redskins’ defense in this game was the team’s best defensive back this season having some problems.  Kendall Fuller got beat on an Eli first-quarter second-and-seven 16-yard under-center touchdown pass to Hunter Sharp two plays after Kirk Cousins’ third-and-seven shotgun pick to Kelvin Sheppard.  The touchdown gave the Giants a lead of 12 points or more for the first time this season.  And Fuller got beat on a screen and then stumbled on an Eli second-and-four 29-yard completion to Travis Rudolph on the drive that resulted in Aldrick Rosas’ first-quarter 23-yard field goal.


Special Teams: B-

Dustin Hopkins went 1-for-2 on field goals.  He made a 49-yarder on the final play of the first half but missed a 47-yarder in the third quarter.

That 49-yard field goal happened thanks to Jamison Crowder.  He averaged 15.33 yards on three punt returns, including a late-second-quarter 29-yarder that led to the 49-yard field goal on the next play.

Tress Way punted a ridiculous nine times in this game, averaging 47.3 yards and 43.9 net yards.  He had a second-quarter 51-yard punt that was nearly blocked but ultimately resulted Quinton Dunbar tackling Kalif Raymond for a minus-one-yard return.

Anthony Lanier blocked the Aldrick Rosas extra-point attempt that followed Orleans Darkwa’ first-quarter second-and-10 75-yard shotgun-handoff touchdown run.  That was good.  D. J. Swearinger recovered the ball and ran hard toward the end zone before being clotheslined by Brett Jones.  But as Swearinger was making the return, multiple Redskins were walking off the field, apparently unaware that the ball could be returned for two points.

Bashaud Breeland muffed the catch of the Aldrick Rosas kickoff that followed his first-quarter 23-yard field goal.  Kapri Bibbs recovered the ball, but the ensuing Redskins drive started at their 15 and resulted in a punt on the second play of the second quarter.

The Redskins finished the season no. 22 in the NFL in special-teams efficiency per the Football Outsiders DVOA metric.

 

Other Thoughts:

A few humbling facts to be aware of regarding the Redskins:

  • The Redskins now have missed the playoffs in 20 of the last 25 seasons
  • The Redskins now have finished third or fourth in the NFC East in 13 of the last 16 seasons
  • The Redskins now have finished with a non-winning record in 17 of the last 25 seasons

The Redskins’ offense played this game without:

  • Receiver Robert Davis (inactive due to a concussion suffered in the Week 16 win over Denver)
  • Guard Kyle Kalis (inactive for a fourth consecutive game)
  • Center Demetrius Rhaney (inactive for a third consecutive game)
  • Left tackle Trent Williams (placed on injured reserve on Dec. 22 off having been inactive for four of the previous eight games due to an ailing right kneecap on which he underwent surgery on Dec. 29)
  • Tight end Jordan Reed (placed on injured reserve on Dec. 12 off having been inactive for six consecutive games due to a hamstring injury suffered in the Week 8 loss to Dallas)
  • Running back Chris Thompson (placed on injured reserve on Nov. 21 due to a fractured fibula suffered in the Week 11 overtime loss at New Orleans)
  • Running back Rob Kelley (placed on injured reserve on Nov. 14 due to an MCL sprain suffered in the Week 10 loss to Minnesota and ailing ankle)
  • Running back Byron Marshall (placed on injured reserve due to a hamstring injury suffered in the Week 14 loss at the Chargers)
  • Running back LeShun Daniels (placed on injured reserve on Dec. 23 due to a fractured hand suffered in practice on Dec. 22)
  • Center Spencer Long (placed on injured reserve on Nov. 21 off being inactive for a three of the previous four games due to two knee injuries that emerged in the Week 7 loss at Philadelphia on Monday Night Football)
  • Left guard Shawn Lauvao (placed on injured reserve on Nov. 21 due to a stinger that was aggravated in the Week 11 overtime loss at New Orleans)
  • Receiver Terrelle Pryor Sr. (placed on injured reserve on Nov. 21 due to an ankle injury)
  • Tackle T.J. Clemmings (placed on injured reserve on Nov. 16 due to an ailing ankle)
  • Running back Keith Marshall (placed on injured reserve due to a torn right patellar tendon suffered in practice on July 29; the 2016 seventh-round pick out of Georgia spent all of last season on injured reserve due to an elbow injury suffered in the preseason)
  • Tackle Kevin Bowen (placed on injured reserve due to a labrum injury suffered during training camp)

The Redskins’ defense played this game without:

  • Linebacker Zach Brown (inactive for a third consecutive game off not practicing for thirdd consecutive week, this time due to three ailments: Achilles, knee and illness)
  • Linebacker Ryan Anderson (inactive for a second consecutive game due to a patella-tendon strain suffered in the Week 15 win over Arizona)
  • Defensive lineman Ziggy Hood (inactive due to a fractured elbow suffered in the Week 16 win over Denver)
  • Safety DeAngelo Hall (inactive for a second consecutive game off having played on just one defensive snap in the four games since the Week 11 overtime loss at New Orleans)
  • Safety Montae Nicholson (placed on injured reserve on Dec. 19 off having been inactive for the previous four games due to a concussion suffered in the Week 11 overtime loss at New Orleans)
  • Linebacker Mason Foster (placed on injured reserve on Oct. 28 due to a torn labrum suffered in the Week 2 win at the Rams; he missed the Week 3 win over Oakland but then played the next three games with the injury before going on IR)
  • Defensive lineman Jonathan Allen (placed on injured reserve on Oct. 19 due to a Lisfranc injury suffered in the Week 6 win over San Francisco)
  • Linebacker Will Compton (placed on injured reserve on Nov. 14 due to a Lisfranc injury suffered in the Week 10 loss to Minnesota)
  • Linebacker Chris Carter (placed on injured reserve on Dec. 12 due to a fractured fibula suffered in the Week 14 loss at the Chargers)
  • Defensive lineman Arthur Jones (placed on injured reserve on Nov. 11 due to a shoulder dislocation suffered in the Week 9 win at Seattle; the Redskins signed him on Nov. 1)
  • Safety Su’a Cravens (placed on the reserve/left-squad list on Sept. 18; this off being placed on the exempt/left-squad list on Sept. 3 due to contemplating retirement; he also suffered a meniscus injury in the preseason-opening loss at Baltimore and underwent surgery on Aug. 15)
  • Linebacker Trent Murphy (placed on injured reserve on Aug. 12 due to a torn left ACL and MCL suffered in the preseason-opening loss at Baltimore)
  • Defensive lineman Phil Taylor Sr. (placed on injured reserve on Sept. 2 due to a torn left quadriceps tendon suffered in the preseason win over Cincinnati on Aug.27
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