Week 10 Analysis
Another week another disappointing loss. Washington’s first-half woes continue and their attempt to correct wrongs is met with failure once again. Interesting fact, Washington is the only team in the league that has still not scored on the opening drive. Whether that is a touchdown or field goal. Washington Football now has a first-half point differential of -76 (148-72).
At times it seems as if whatever the analyst says becomes a jinx for the Washington Football Team. On the first drive, Washington was moving the ball on pace to finally score on the first drive of the game. The announcer says the statistic then Washington suffers a loss of yardage on two consecutive plays and is forced to punt.
The Detroit Lions (4-5) won at home for the first time in over a year. Detroit mainly dominated the game with a 14 point lead at halftime and 24-3 lead in the third quarter. Washington was only able to score 3 points in the first half and had over 14 minutes of possession. Truly disheartening.
Kendall Fuller has been regarded as one of the best defensive backs in the NFL. In seven games played this year, Fuller has 4 interceptions. The Lions game may have been his worst outing of 2020. Kendall was involved in two long bomb touchdowns thrown by Stafford. One of those touchdowns was completely his fault. On the first touchdown, Fuller was doomed in coverage from the start. He committed a passing interference penalty, lost his footing, and left his man wide open.
Chase Young who has been playing great in recent games had a detrimental hiccup in the final seconds that doomed Washington. Young was called for a roughing the passer penalty. A 15-yard penalty that gave the Lion’s a fresh set of downs ultimately fueling Detroit’s momentum to win the game on the last drive. Matt Prater kicked a 59-yard field goal as time expired and sealed Washington’s fate.
While Young’s call was damaging, Washington was saved by a few penalties on the drive prior to that kept them in the game. For example, Washington received a break when Detroit was called for a passing interference that would have sealed the game for them if ruled an incompletion. So was it karma or just Washington’s fate?
If this Washington defense is going to live up to the hype then they must make sure they are all on the same page. Miscommunication and lack of communication will cause uninspiring defensive play that always finds a way to burn Washington in the end. Washington must stop the run. Their inability to stop the run opens up other options for the offense they are playing against. The run and pass defense got exposed badly yesterday.
On the offensive side of play, fans could be happy with Alex Smith’s performance. Alex received his first start in over 700 days and made the most of it. Smith completed a career-high 38 completions and threw for 390 yards. The progress he has been able to make has been very special to watch. Of course, no one is perfect. Smith unfortunately missed some key downfield throws that could have changed the outcome of the game. Smith overthrew a sideline bomb to McKissic that he wished he could have thrown again.
To be completely honest, Alex’s confidence to take shots down the field was ultimately the reason why Washington was back in the game. Excited to see in upcoming games if this will be something we can expect to see or if it was just a trial.
Cam Sims is continuing to show why he deserves a spot on the starting lineup. Sims caught 4 receptions for 54 yards. The quality of catches he was making was primetime. All of his receptions were caught for first downs and his last catch put Washington in well-needed field goal range. He’s tough, quick, and accompanied with a 6-foot-5 frame making it difficult for any defender to stop.
Terry McLaurin suffered a very uncharacteristic fumble in the first half. McLaurin fumbled around the 50-yard line after getting blasted by a few defenders. Terry’s knee appeared to be down but the ball was coming loose prior, so there was not enough evidence to overturn the call. Despite the turnover, Scary Terry had a great game. McLaurin caught 7 receptions for 95 yards and had a breakout running play for 27 yards. Shake it off, Terry!
Seven Washington receivers caught four or more passes and 6 Washington players had over 40 yards receiving.
Week 11 Prediction
Next week, Washington faces the Cincinnati Bengals. A game that once looked like a “give me” on the schedule is looking a little more competitive than expected. Washington has the advantage on the defensive side but the Bengals rank higher than Washington Football in total yards per game, passing yards per game, rushing per game, and points.
The Bengals are winless on the road this year so either they will get their first win on the road or Washington will take care of business like we know they can. Their three keys to success are to stop the run, protect Alex Smith, and limit early turnovers. If Washington can do those things, they should be expecting a W in Week 11.
Score: 30-23, Washington
Sidenote: Dustin Hopkins must be fired. He is having a career-low year with only making 12 out of 17 kicks this year. Due to Washington’s scoring deficiency, every miss from Hopkins is magnified and detrimental. Washington has lost 3 games by 3 or less points and Hopkins has missed a field goal in each of those games.