Redskins march over Saints

There was plenty to like in the Washington Redskins' rousing 47-14 victory over the Saints.

Well, that was fun. 

That hasn't been the case every week during the 2015 season, but this Sunday was a clear exception. The Washington Redskins scored on their first possession against the New Orleans Saints and never quit. Kirk Cousins was potent and statistically perfect. The running game boldly returned to levels not reached in a month. After early hiccups, the defense responded and eventually joined in the scoring fun. The end result, a one-sided 47-14 romp.

Perhaps this game didn't quite reach must win territory, but the Redskins (4-5) really couldn't afford a second straight loss with undefeated Carolina set for next week. Good thing they scored the final 33 points following a robust offensive start for both teams. 

The record books needed dusting off this blowout, starting with the final margin, which was Washington largest since October 2005 when the Redskins defeated the San Francisco 49ers 52-17.

Before getting into some specifics, let's start with this. The Saints are simply terrible defensively. This distinction isn't based on one day, but weeks of hot mess outcomes. Regardless, the Redskins took advantage. With all their skill players available and healthy, Washington recorded 514 yards of offense and Cousins threw four touchdown passes. Even if you want to dismiss the points because of the opponent's inept ways, holding the Saints offense without a point over the final 41 minutes counts toward the notion of progress.

* In a matchup against Saints star Drew Brees, Cousins entered as the underdog quarterback. On this day, he left as the victor and worthy adversary. Cousins finished 20 for 25 for 324 yards. He didn't throw an interception and finished with a perfect passer rating of 158.3. The longest score was more a catch-and-run by Matt Jones for 78 yards. He also hooked up with Jordan Reed twice from 16 and 8 yards, and Jamison Crowder caught an 11-yard touchdown. 

Here are the stats over Cousins' last three games: 75 of 105 (71.4%) for 858 yards, eight touchdown passes, one interception. As for his last four home games...

The Saints missed one clear interception chance along the sideline on Cousins' 12th pass of the game. Much of the yardage came after the catch, though a 42-yard pass to DeSean Jackson on the opening drive was spot on. In other words, against a better defense, the day might not look so splendid. For now, so what. Cousins continues answering the bell and the critics. Considering the main question remains whether the Redskins have a starting QB going forward, Cousins may be answering that as well.

* As for the running game, no need for pictures on the side of milk cartons anymore. Missing since Week 4, the ground attack churned out 213 yards on 31 attempts (6.9). Alfred Morris (15-92) turned in his best performance since the season opener thanks to several downhill runs including one for 28 yards. Jones used his speed and power en route to 187 yards from scrimmage (56 rush, 131 receiving) while Chris Thompson nearly matched him (54) on only two carries. The television broadcast frequently illustrated how the offensive line controlled the Saints front-7, which could be the biggest outlier of the offensive production, though Trent Williams continued his stout play at left tackle. 

* Numerous players made notable plays on defense, including the often criticized Perry Riley and Dashon Goldson, who turned a botched catch into a 35-yard touchdown return in the fourth quarter. Riley, often a subpar option in pass coverage, made a brilliant one-handed catch on Brees' second interception. Stephen Paea recorded his first full sack of the season while Trent Murphy and Chris Baker combined to take down Brees on one play. Baker has 3.5 sacks this season after entering the year with two for his career.

* All was not perfect on the defensive side. The Saints rushed for 158 yards on 25 carries (6.3 ypc). That marked the fifth straight week the Redskins have allowed at least 150. Mark Ingram picked up 70 on one spin-and-sprint dash down the right sideline after Goldson continued his bad habit of missing tackles. Oddly, New Orleans only ran Ingram five times. One of those chances didn't come on 4-and-1 from the Redskins 31-yard line in the third quarter trailing 27-14. Washington stuffed C.J. Spiller and Dustin Hopkins booted one of his four field goals after the change of possession.

* Riley and Will Compton formed the inside linebacker combination and shared the team lead with seven tackles. Keenan Robinson (neck/shoulder) was among the group of inactives.

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