The Washington Redskins entered Monday night sitting in the final Wild Card spot in the NFC facing a home date with the Carolina Panthers. A Redskins win would have put them up a game and a half over the teams behind them in the race for the playoffs with two weeks to play. Instead, after a 26-15 loss to Carolina, Washington finds itself on the outside of the playoff picture looking in.
“It was a disaster for them, really from start to finish they didn’t play well in any capacity,” said 106.7 The Fan’s Grant Paulsen on CBS Sports Radio’s After Hours with Amy Lawrence show. “The letdown really came on the offensive side of the ball. They’ve been one of the best offenses in the league, they’ve been number two in the league in yards per play. They actually came into the game as the hardest team in the league to force into three and outs and they had six of them. They just couldn’t get into a rhythm. They couldn’t run the ball at all, which had been a strength for them in the second half of the season. Rob Kelley, their starting running back averaged about a yard per attempt. Kirk Cousins was the leading rusher in the game as a quarterback with 11 yards. Cousins himself as a passer, struggled a little bit. Just didn’t find receivers down the field wasn’t in the flow of the game early. He was not his normal sharp accurate self. It wasn’t his best game, they dropped about six passes, they couldn’t run the ball and the defense they gave up almost 250 yards in the first half of the game.”
“It was a forgettable performance, probably their second-worst game of the year dating all the way back to Week 1 also on Monday Night Football against the Steelers. It came at a really bad time because they were a half-game up in the playoff picture and now they find themselves on the outside looking in with two weeks to play.”
This season has been full of ups-and-downs for the team, but the offense, including quarterback Kirk Cousins, has been a bright spot for the most part. The defense, is a different story. The unit ranks 24th in the league in points allowed at 24.1 per game, 22nd against the run, and 26th against the pass. It’s fair to say that the defense has been the biggest disappointment for Jay Gruden’s squad this season.
“Their defense has really just not made the strides over the course of the year that I think was expected,” said Paulsen. “Because of that, their defensive coordinator Joe Barry has become maligned here in town. I think there’s a lot of question about whether or not at the end of this season they’re going to start to look at maybe one of these bigger name defensive coordinators who could become available if they lose a head coaching job. I’m not sure that that’s fair though. I think Barry, while he certainly to me isn’t one of the better DCs in the league, he doesn’t have a whole lot of talent to work with. The plan for the Redskins was they had this patchwork secondary that they felt like would give them some contributions. They’ve got eight interceptions all year, they don’t have a single player on this team with more than one interception, they’re just not opportunistic enough.”
The Redskins (7-6-1) will look to stay alive in the playoff chase when they head to Soldier Field this weekend for a date with the Chicago Bears (2-12) with kickoff set for 1 p.m. EST.