The Washington Redskins (4-3) lost a close battle against the Detroit Lions (4-3) Sunday, 20-17. After QB Kirk Cousins engineered a late scoring drive, Lions QB Matthew Stafford responded by dicing up the Redskins defense for a game-winning drive capped by an 18-yard touchdown to Anquan Boldin with 16 seconds remaining. Before we review the film, let's take a look at the initial game notes.
- We'll start with Cousins, as we mostly always do. My take: This was his best outing of the season. The Michigan native went 30 of 39 for 301 yards and a touchdown in his return home. He also had a nice touchdown run that originally gave the Redskins a lead with 1:05 remaining in the game. Last week was his most consistent. Sunday was his best. Again, he wasn't great, but he made a few tremendous throws. Not to mention, the aforementioned touchdown run was a nice job of noticing the OLB crashing. Cousins responded by racing around the right corner for the 19-yard score. The Redskins don't call zone read plays with Cousins often. When they do, Cousins rarely runs the ball. This time he did and it caught the Lions by surprise.
- RB Chris Thompson had an amazing outing with 113 all-purpose yards (73 rush yards and 40 receiving). He was undoubtedly the best running back for the team on Sunday. While the Redskins don't have a clear-cut guy to shoulder the load each week, their three backs have given them solid options each game. It was Thompson's day against the Lions.
- Speaking of running backs, Matt Jones had a rough day considering he fumbled the ball twice, losing one. It wasn't just a fumble, but one in the endzone which was costly and unfortunate. Denied initially around the 2-3 yard line, he was fighting for extra yardage and attempting to get a touchdown. It was a big missed-scoring opportunity for the Redskins. However, I wouldn't completely blame the loss on that turnover. Jones did have a few good short yardage pickups. His history of fumbles just makes you more frustrated with him. Robert Kelley (4 for 15) picked up some work and caught a 1-yard pass for his first NFL touchdown.
- Fine, WR Jamison Crowder had a drop in the game. Otherwise, wow. This guy is a baller. Considering the list is putrid, he may actually be the best wide receiver the team has drafted in over 20 years. He showed his excellent route running skills in this game. He's a technician with excellent footwork.
- The Redskins played the final 20 minutes or so without cornerback Josh Norman who left in the third quarter with a concussion. His absence left them shorthanded on the final drive. That must be remembered, but doesn't change the result, of course.
- I thought safety Will Blackmon had a very solid game. Maybe his best of the season, actually. He was active in run support and played fairly well in coverage. He also had a near interception.
- The Redskins have allowed at least 94 rushing yards in each game this season after Detroit finished with 94 yards on 19 carries. The yards per carry average is a bit misleading as Stafford's two scrambles accounted for 32 yards, but the Lions did enough considering they played without their top two running backs. LB Will Compton wasn't bad but I noticed him hitting the wrong run lanes a few times.
- Ryan Kerrigan had another sack Sunday. He continued his trend of just bulldozing right tackles out the building. Kerrigan, Trent Murphy and Preston Smith all had a sack in this game. Of course, none came on the final drive as the Redskins essentially rushed just 3-4.
- Veteran Safety Donte Whitner started and appeared to play more than Duke Ihenacho. He led the team in tackles (8 combined), although that's not always a good thing for a safety. The Redskins gave up a few big runs and passes that allowed Whitner to have that statline.
You can find Emmanual on Twitter @manny_benton.
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