Before Further Review: Redskins' Defense Stout In Win Over The Ravens

The Washington Redskins pulled out a tough win against the Baltimore Ravens Sunday. Washington's defense was a huge reason for the victory.

BALTIMORE, MD - The Washington Redskins (3-2) came up with a nail-biting 16-10 win against the Baltimore Ravens (3-2) Sunday in what Maryland natives call "the battle of the beltway." It was a pretty sloppy game on a windy day where both offenses had their share of struggles. But at the end of the day, Washington was able to pull out the win, thanks in big part to their defense. We'll discuss more below in our pre-film review notes. 

Offense:

  • We might as well get this out the way... QB Kirk Cousins, in all honesty, continued to struggle big time in this game. He had a nice touchdown throw to WR Pierre Garcon and made a smart play on the botched snap late in the game. However, Cousins nearly lost this game for the team. His interception would've been a major issue had it not been fumbled. Yet, it essentially became a gain of 17. Washington apparently saw something in Baltimore's defense that prompted them to pass on third and short downs -- showing trust in their $20 million QB. Yet, Cousins failed to execute on several third and short scenarios. He did not play well in this game and should be happy that the opposing QB struggled as well. 

  • Moving on to something more positive -- Trent Williams was a complete dog Sunday. I watched him on several passing situations completely stonewall Pro Bowl LB Terrell Suggs. He also had a couple really nice run blocks. 

  • RB Matt Jones followed up his best game of the season with maybe his worst game of the season. Jones had a fumble that fortunately for him resulted in zero points, thanks to the Ravens' failed fake field goal. On 14 carries, Jones only had 31 yard  and 12 of those yards came on one carry. 

  • It's tough to say much about the receivers in this game because Cousins missed so many. However, TE Jordan Reed had some key third down conversions. His day could've been bigger with better passes. WR DeSean Jackson was visibly frustrated throughout the game because the ball wasn't going his way. He did have a few late catches and a near touchdown. Garcon also had several nice catches including the 21 yard touchdown. 

  • Jamison Crowder continues to grow as an impact player for this team. His 85 yard touchdown on a punt return was huge considering the team didn't score on offense until the second half. It was interesting on that return how the Redskins had both Will Blackmon and Crowder back to receive the punt. It really paved the way for Crowder's big return. Crowder also had a great third down catch in this game.

Defense:

  • ILB's Will Compton and Mason Foster had a poor opening drive with several missed tackles between the two. However, they were able to clean up on those missed tackles and played a solid game. The Redskins still had their issues against the run. But it wasn't nearly as bad as it could've been. 

  • You have to admire Josh Norman's competitive nature and his toughness. Norman suffered a wrist/hand injury that looked pretty scary for a moment there. Yet, he later re-entered the game and only surrendered one catch. Safety Will Blackmon said that he helped tape Norman's hand prior to him re-entering the game. Norman's hand looked a bit swollen in the locker room. He wasn't able to move it much and had to call for help to remove his pads. But Norman said that he'll be fine. He thought it broke for a minute there. So that's very good news. Redskins' defensive players appeared very inspired by Norman's toughness. I even heard Chris Baker walking around the locker-room singing Jay-Z's lyrics: "I perform like Josh Norman, I ain't normal." Norman has been a stud.  

  • Safety Duke Ihenacho led the team with 9 combined sacks. It could've been more had he not whiffed on a few. Ihenacho has had his struggles in that regard so far this season. 

  • OLB Trent Murphy continues to play at a high level. He had three QB hits and a half sack in this game. He just looks different this year. Playing with more juice off the line and he's using his hands a lot better. 

  • Fellow OLB Preston Smith still remains without a sack. He leads the team in near-sacks, which isn't enough. But he's played extremely well against the run and had a key QB hit on the last play of the game.

  • I don't understand why it took an injury for the Redskins to use their rookie CB Kendall Fuller. He played some good ball in this game and had a pass breakup that prevented a touchdown. 

You can find Emmanual on Twitter @manny_benton.

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