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Before Further Review: Dallas Cowboys Eat Up Washington Redskins Defense

Manny Benton breaks down what happened in the Washington Redskins' loss to the Dallas Cowboys, including why Kirk Cousins should be excluded from any blame.

First off, Happy Thanksgiving! I know a Washington Redskins' (6-4-1) loss may put a bitter taste in your mouth, but I'm sure there's pie nearby to offset that taste. Washington fought hard against the NFC East-leading Dallas Cowboys (10-1) on Thursday evening but ultimately lost because of poor defensive play. Below we'll give a pre-film review look at what happened in Washington's 31-26 loss. 

 

Offense: 

  • In the past two games, QB Kirk Cousins has gone 62-of-83 for 824 yards, six TDs and zero INTs. This is by far the best two-game stretch I've ever seen him have. He's beginning to silence the critics but needs to keep up the good work. You can't expect perfection each week. But consistency is what the naysayers want to see from Cousins. This is a "what have you done for me lately" league, and recently, Cousins has been balling. Give credit where it's due. This loss had nothing to do with him. 

  • Listen, TE Jordan Reed is a dog. For him to suffer an AC joint separation, return to the game and register 10 receptions for 95 yards and two touchdowns -- animal. Reed has received the "injury prone" tag in the past and he's done everything possible to help shake that notion. The guy deserves a standing ovation for what he did Thursday evening. 

  • Say what you want about WR DeSean Jackson's future with the team, but he again showed why he's so valuable. His 67-yard touchdown reception was explosive and almost a game-changer. There's not a player on this team who can do that. There aren't many players in the entire league who can consistently make plays like that. He's historically been and still is a special player. I think Jamison Crowder is proving he's special in his own right. But Jackson's ability is tough to replace. 

http://www.scout.com/nfl/redskins/story/1731732-gruden-cousins-on-red-zo...

Defense:

  • Obviously, this game was lost on defense for the Washington Redskins. From start to finish, ILB Will Compton just struggled to make things happen. He's a super smart guy, but his lack of athleticism consistently gets exposed. He's also had far too many mental lapses, which is out of character. 

  • This was a tough game for rookie CB Kendall Fuller. As it's been for the past few weeks, I think we'll review the film and feel better about how he played after the fact. This team really likes him as a player and he's done a nice job in his transition to slot corner. He's essentially getting baptized by fire, having played some of the league's top slot receivers over the past few weeks. Not to mention, he defended Dez Bryant one-on-one several times Thursday night. I was surprised the defensive coaching staff couldn't come up with a better plan. Then again, they have tried dropping ILBs such as Compton underneath and put safeties over the top, but both positions have struggled. "[Fuller] is not going to come in and be Deion Sanders in his first year," said head coach Jay Gruden post-game. "He's going to be a very good player for us for a very long time."

  • A big missed opportunity for the Redskins' defense came in the first half when safety Duke Ihenacho dropped an interception. This is a defense that is extremely opportunistic. We talk about this defense struggling, but the Redskins don't win six games this year without the defense coming up with key plays. Here was an opportunity to get a key turnover, but Ihenacho was unable to get it done.

  • Safety Donte Whitner has been a liability every since he signed with the Redskins. He allowed two touchdowns in his first two starts, per my personal film study. He has also played extremely putrid football in the past two games, Thursday's effort included. Ihenacho has his faults but is a better player. The Redskins have just run out of options in the secondary's back end.

You can find Emmanual on Twitter @manny_benton.

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