Catching up with PFF's Redskins grades

Thoughts on the offensive line, the passing game, Bashaud Breeland and an inside linebacker surprise from Pro Football Focus after Redskins-Cowboys.

The game is over which means it's time to look back and figure out what the heck happened. ProFootballFocus helps the review process with the initial grades following the Redskins' 19-16 loss to the Cowboys.

Offensive line

* Always feels like we must add a disclaimer that there is lft tackle Trent Williams and then everyone. This game was no exception.

PFF: This game saw two of the top offensive tackles in the NFL square off, and while both showed why they are in that top bracket, it was Trent Williams (+6.0) who earned the higher grade of the two players. Washington’s numbers on the ground may not impress, but Williams routinely made strong blocks throughout the game, both in line against defensive linemen and working to the second level to neutralize linebackers. After this game, Williams sits as our fifth-ranked offensive tackle, both in terms of overall grade and as a run blocker.

* Actually let's make an exception to the previous disclaimer. PFF gave positive grades to right tackle Morgan Moses (+2.1) and right guard Brandon Scherff (1.7). As for left guard Spencer Long, he received the worst Pass Blocking grade from PFF thanks to a "a hit and three hurries allowed in 40 pass snaps", but did get the second best Run Blocking grade. Dallas feasted with pass pressure ip the middle.

New Guy

* PFF was impressed with inside linebacker Mason Foster, who made his first start of the season with Perry Riley injured. He graded out as the fifth best Redskin. "Making his first start since signing with Washington back in September, Mason Foster earned his highest single-game grade (+1.6) since Week 10 of 2013. Foster provided an upgrade over the standard performance of Washington’s inside linebackers this season, with a notable lack of missed tackles and busted coverages. While not the most productive of displays (two stops, one hurry) this was only the ninth time in 24 starts that a Washington linebacker has earned a positive grade this season." 

* Meanwhile PFF graded the other ILB, Will Compton, as the worst defender. 

Pass Unhappy Offense

* Very little production from the aerial attack other than during the final drive of the first half and the game-tying 28-yard touchdown pass to DeSean Jackson. The PFF Take:

"The Washington passing game was caught in the low tempo of this contest for much of the night, with the only real spark coming on DeSean Jackson’s (+1.9) redemptive game-tying touchdown in the final two minutes of the game. Aside from that one pass, Kirk Cousins (-0.8) went 0-for-3 on his other deep passes and was erratic with his short passing, as six passes hit the deck, and a conservative approach saw Washington squander a chance to seize some measure of control of the NFC East."

* PFF says "Kirk Cousins was under pressure on 14 drop-backs and completed seven of 11 passes for 63 yards.

Etc, etc

* Dallas repeatedly attacked Cousins, but Washington's defense was less succesful getting after Matt Cassel, finishing with a sack, nine hurries, and two batted passes

Bashaud Breeland, the primary corner against Dez Bryant, was the most targeted defender (five). He allowed three catches for 45 yards. Bryant didn't have a catch until he hauled in a 42-yard pass with under seven minutes remaining against Will Blackmon.

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