The Washington Redskins have literally been two different teams this season, the differences between them playing on the road and at home were as wide as the Grand Canyon. They went into Chicago in a three way tie in the division. After yesterday’s close win over the Bears, the Redskins are now tied with the Eagles for first place in the NFC East. The Giants play tonight and are currently just a half game back of first place, what did Washington do right on their way to earning their first road win of the season?
Jordan Reed. He was outstanding, a beast if you will. The star tightend had a big afternoon, his effort in fighting for yards after the catch was phenomenal. Reed had nine catches for 120 yards and a score. Those nine catches came on exactly nine targets, a very efficient afternoon for one of Washington’s biggest weapons. He was just a nightmare for the Bears defense as they couldn’t find a linebacker or safety that could defend him successfully.
Hall the safety. It’s been a few games now for veteran defensive back DeAngelo Hall at his new position of safety. He’s been impressive in his willingness to play the run, he did a good job using that closing speed we saw for many years out at the boundary when he was playing corner to provide run support from his new position. It’s fun watching him succeed in a new role after a couple of injuries. The veteran led the defense with tackles with six.
Cousins was solid. It’s been a long year for Washington’s new signal caller on the road, he’s been struggling to find consistency. He mostly played well yesterday, but he did turn the ball over once with an interception. There were also a few flashes where he showed good poise in the pocket and threw the ball accurately. One of his biggest issues is throwing the ball on time or leading his pass catchers a bit so they can get yards after catch. More often than not, the ball is a bit behind them and they aren’t able to optimize their opportunity. He does however have a great rapport with Jordan Reed.
Commitment to the run. The Redskins have struggled with their identity this season, not in regards to what they “say” but as what actually happens. They want to be a physical team that runs the ball. A great barometer for how much they follow that line of thinking is the rushing attempts, against Chicago they ran the ball 29 times (33 total including four Cousins rushes). The commitment to the run makes things easier on their signal caller and allows them to take deep shots in the passing game. Those shots weren’t there all game or executed well, but sticking to the run opened things up for Reed and a few others.
Jeremy Langford. It would be disrespectful not to mention this youngster’s performance for the Bears. He had just 64 total yards from scrimmage including running and receiving. He didn’t have a great day, but he was definitely one of the few players for Chicago outside of Alshon Jeffery that gave Washington trouble. He’s a patient runner and quite physical for his size, also loved his ability to make plays in the pass game. The Bears have the perfect successor to Matt Forte.