by Waleo (@UrbanSportScene)
In the third preseason game, The Washington Redskins defeated the Buffalo Bills 21-16. Every team’s goal is to win the game but the Redskins first team looked shaky against the first team of the Bills.
Quarterback Kirk Cousins started to the game looking rusty. Cousins, prior to the Bills game, threw the ball five times in the first preseason game, and didn’t play in second game. On Friday, Cousins completed 3 of 9 passes with an interception in the first quarter. When asked if Cousins was rusty Redskins Head Coach Jay Gruden said, “I don’t know if it’s rust, it could be rust. Got some pressure in the pocket at his feet and didn’t get enough on it. But we have to check out the film and find out why and coach him up.” Cousins did receive pressure in the pocket but he didn’t look poised in the 1st quarter. However, Cousins wasn’t the only offensive player who struggled.
Redskins’ pass catchers let Cousins and the team down as well. Wide receiver Pierre Garcon dropped a key 3rd and 7 pass in the 1st quarter that would have given the Redskins the first down. Also, star tight end Jordan Reed dropped a 3rd and 1 pass early in the 2nd quarter that could have been a big play first down. These two are two of the Redskins more sure handed pass catchers. The offense struggled but eventually the offensive play improved.
Kirk Cousins and the Redskins offense got into a rhythm in the 2nd quarter. Cousins end up throwing for 171 yards and three touchdowns in the 2nd quarter alone. Tight ends Jordan Reed and Vernon Davis both made plays in the 2nd quarter. Davis had three catches for 42 yards including a 22 yard reception. Reed had two catches for 28 yards including a 20 yard TD reception. The Redskins even featured a three tight end set with Reed, Davis and Niles Paul. This package should give opposing defenses something to worry about during the season. There were some consistent players from the start.
Wide receiver DeSean Jackson looked electric and unstoppable. He had four catches for 56 yards including a short reception that he turned into a 39 yard catch and run. Arguably you could say that Jackson looked like the best player on the field between the two teams. Also, rookie running back Robert Kelley emerged as the guy who will likely replace projected starter Matt Jones if Jones isn’t healthy for week one against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Kelley ended the game with 12 carries for 51 yards. He ran hard and showed good vision.
Defensively the Redskins as a whole were sharp. Cornerbacks Josh Norman and Bashaud Breeland looked like shut down corners. Both cornerbacks locked down the Bills wide receivers. Bills starting wide receivers Sammy Watkins Jr. and Robert Woods both had zero catches in the first half. Defensive end Ziggy Hood emerged as a force on the Redskins defensive line. Hood had a sack and also a tackle of Boom Herron for a 4 yard loss in the 2nd quarter. Hood and Chris Baker at the defense end position could be instant magic if Hood continues to play this way. Outside linebacker Preston Smith stood out as well. He cracked quarterback Tyrod Taylor in the 1st quarter on a 2nd and 12 passing play. Smith seems to be getting better with every play. The pass rush and pass coverage was great but the Redskins still have an issue with stopping the run.
The first team defense still seems a little light when stopping the run. There were big running lanes towards the beginning of the game. In the first half, Bills starting running back Reggie Bush averaged 5.7 yards per carry. Bush is not the Bills starting running back. That title goes to LeSean McCoy—who did not play. This is an issue. At the moment, the Redskins’ defense is better suited against the pass but stopping the run wins championships. In the first half alone, the Redskins gave up 113 yards on 21 carries.
There were positive takeaways from this game. Cousins bouncing back, Robert Kelley emerging as a respectable running back, DeSean Jackson looking like a stud, and Breeland and Norman being shutdown corners. However, fans should be concerned a little. In the dress rehearsal game, this team didn’t look sharp and there are some weaknesses on this team that could be taken advantage of. The coaching staff has some work to do, to get this team ready for the Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday Night.
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