The Washington Redskins won their third consecutive game and improved to 5-2 on the season after a 20-13 win on the road against division rival New York Giants. The win kept the Redskins 1.5 games ahead of second place Philadelphia, in the NFC East. Here is what your Monday morning media had to say.
NFL Week 8 Grades, CBS Sports
Two months ago, no one wanted Adrian Peterson, and now, he’s mowing down the opposition and leading his team to victory. With Alex Smith struggling, the Redskins turned to their 33-year-old running back, who was more than happy to carry the load against the Giants. Peterson carried the ball 26 times for 149 yards and a touchdown, a total that includes a 64-yard scoring in the fourth quarter that iced the game. Peterson also CAUGHT a TD pass, which is notable because it was the first time since 2013 that he’s been on the receiving end of a touchdown. Defensively, Matt Ioaniddis had 2.5 sacks as the Redskins beat up Eli Manning for a total of seven sacks.
Sorting the Pile, CBS Sports
The Redskins were not a popular preseason pick,and perhaps even win the division. But after beating up on the Giants in a 20-13 road win, the Redskins remain in first in the NFC East and are looking very much like a team capable of continuing to pile up victories. What’s bizarre about Washington is it’s hard to fully understand how they’re dominating. But perhaps we just don’t need to look any further than the trenches to see how the Redskins are winning these football games. Defensively, they’ve been outstanding against the run and it’s been a huge net positive.
So far the Redskins haven’t had to open things up offensively in the passing game. Maybe they won’t. Maybe they can’t. Maybe it doesn’t matter: they can run the ball and stuff the run. In a year where we’ve started to see explosive offenses occurring all over the NFL, the Redskins are winning in a throwback, blue collar kind of way that looks entirely sustainable.
Our Comment: Just imagine if Alex Smith and Jay Gruden can get the passing game back on track, like earlier in the season? How dominating could this team be? Right now, it is a purely defensive monster with a one dimensional offense. As long as that one dimension is on, the Redskins are on. If Smith could get the passing game going, it would simply make Peterson even more dangerous.
NFL Week 8 Takeaways, ESPN
They have a defense that has dominated vs. the run, holding Christian McCaffrey, Ezekiel Elliott and Saquon Barkley to a combined 92 yards. Their offense runs well with Adrian Peterson, who now has 687 yards this season. But Washington will be in trouble if it doesn’t develop a passing attack, and it will be tested when facing more high-powered offenses over the next two weeks (Atlanta and Tampa Bay). However, what the Redskins are doing might be good enough in the NFC East.
Our Comment: Yes, they will be in trouble. Second, if they win the divisions, or make the playoffs via wild card, they won’t go very far being a one dimensional offense. Something has to give.
What We Learned, NFL.com
The gulf between first and last place in the NFC East seems remarkably shallow, with a top-tier defense proving to be the difference-maker over a team that might be just as focused on harvesting draft picks as it is winning games. Washington’s stifling pass rush caused a multitude of problems for Eli Manning, limiting the Giants to 273 total yards. Matt Ioannidis, Ryan Kerrigan and Da’Ron Payne played key roles in dominating the line of scrimmage. Ioannidis finished with 2.5 sacks as Washington tallied seven sacks and 10 hits on Manning. The secondary did their part, too. When Manning did have time to throw and venture beyond 10 yards, the Redskins usually made him pay. D.J. Swearinger picked off Manning twice, with his first interception coming in the red zone to dissolve what was the Giants’ best chance at a touchdown early in the game. Barring two pass interference penalties that helped fuel a late Giants field-goal drive, it was another impressive performance for an underrated defensive unit that has been the driving force behind the team’s 5-2 start.
The Redskins are in first place, and by more than a game, and somehow no one’s paying attention. Which is kind of funny, if you really think about it. Now? The Redskins are winning, and look functional in Jay Gruden’s fifth year, and don’t get a sniff of the noise they used to. Washington methodically took the Giants apart on Sunday, beating them on their turf, 20-13, to maintain a game-and-a-half lead over the reigning champion Eagles in the NFC East. That’s three straight wins by the way, if you’re counting, which you probably aren’t.
Our Comment: The Redskins are completely functional in Gruden’s fifth year. However, Gruden’s play calling at times still hobbles the offense. Gruden also has to figure out what is ailing Alex Smith’s assimilation into his offense.
Here’s the other thing: He really, really likes the makeup of his team. After nearly a half-decade at the helm, the roster is truly his. It’s not flashy, and that’s probably why so few are looking the Redskins’ way. But it’s remarkably functional, which is why they are where they are, regardless of whose eyes are on them.
So what ties the two? Gruden and the Redskins’ massive investment in big people, on both sides of the ball, allowed them to play bully ball when it mattered most.
Our Comment: Agreed. As brutal as Redskins fans have been toward the front office, credit is well deserved. The Redskins really focused on the Lines, particularly in the NFL Draft. Offensive line wise, Trent Williams, Chase Roullier, Morgan Moses, and Brandon Scherff, four of the five starters, are all draft picks. Defensively, the two studs in the middle, Jonathan Allen and Daron Payne, were heavy investments with first round picks. The most underrated player on the Line, Matt Ioannidis, was a draft selection, and so was Ryan Kerrigan. Games are won and lost in the trenches, offensively and defensively. The Redskins front office committed to that and are now reaping the benefits.
But there’s plenty to work with, as Gruden sees it, and that’s showing up all the way down to the details. One example: The Redskins are fourth in the NFL in turnover margin. Another: The coach was loves the work punter Tress Way has done in generating field position—“Tress Way is punting the s— out of the ball.”
Our Comment: The play of both P Tress Way and K Dustin Hopkins, is so underrated. Sure, Hopkins shanked a 41 yarder yesterday, but he also connected on a 39 and 53 yarder. Overall, he is having a solid season and is dependable Way, well, he is the best punter in the NFL and has helped pin offenses inside the 20 against a savage defense.
32 Things we Learned, USA Today
Adrian Peterson won’t forget Sunday’s win over the Giants. The Redskins’ veteran back rushed for a season-high 149 yards, passing Tony Dorsett for ninth on the all-time list. “AD” also scored twice, including a 64-yard run. His next TD run of at least 50 yards will give Peterson 16 and break his tie with Barry Sanders for most in league history.
NFL Week 8 Winners and Losers, USA Today
Washington Redskins: Let’s be clear. Washington’s 20-13 victory against the Giants was far from pretty. But Washington is now 5-2, remains in first place in the NFC East, and has some pieces that could keep them in contention in a wide open division. Namely, it’s a rushing defense that has smothered. Washington’s rushing D has limited Saquon Barkley, Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott and Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey to combine for only 91 yards on 36 carries. And 27 touches for 156 yards from scrimmage and two total scores – including a 64-yard touchdown scamper to seal the game – shows that adding Adrian Peterson weeks before the season was an inspired move.