In a dominating performance, the Washington Redskins outclassed the Arizona Cardinals in week one in Glendale.
The Redskins put the game away early out in the desert, by outpacing the Cardinals 21-0 in the first half. They did so by dominating the time of possession, protecting the ball, and playing sound defense.
Alex Smith and Adrian Peterson looked especially strong, pleasing Redskins fans in their debut with the ball club.
Below, you will find a few notes and observations from the week 1 victory out in Arizona. Hope you enjoy.
Alex Smith: Boy was that fun. Smith made a seamless transition to the burgundy and gold and proved why he was one of the most coveted free agents this off-season. He was surgical in the first half going 17/20 for 174 yards and 2 touchdowns.
He made plays with his feet when the pocket broke down, and looked to throw the ball downfield while scrambling.
At one point, Smith had 15 consecutive passes completed to a variety of receivers.
On a key play in the second quarter, the Cardinals defense came in on a blitz, and Smith bought time, scrambling with space in front of him. The composed quarterback, reset and found Jordan Reed for an easy pitch and catch. First down. This allowed for our second touchdown drive of the quarter to continue.
Overall, Smith was as advertised. He excelled at avoiding negative plays that would hamper his team. He had zero turnovers, and avoided several sacks that would have put his team in a poor position. His play set the pace for an easy Redskins win.
Redskins Defense: Things didn’t start off well for the Redskins. On the Cardinals’ first possession, David Johnson had two long runs with his team pinned back near their own goal line. The Redskins linebackers were being blocked easily on halfback counters, and Montae Nicholson had a crucial missed tackle.
However, the disappointment didn’t last long. The Cardinals went 3-and-out on their next series and barely had the ball in their possession. The Cardinals next three possessions consisted of drives lasting 1:38, 51 and 8 seconds. They had the ball for a total of seven minutes in the first half.
The Cardinals began the game going 0 for 5 on third down, punting on their first five possessions.
You can’t win the game if you don’t have the ball. Kudos to the defense.
Penalties on the first drive: The Redskins offense moved down the field rather easily on the first possession of the game. In fact, they were in field goal range within the first five minutes.
However, the drive did not bear fruit due to mental errors by the team. On three consecutive plays the Redskins committed a penalty. There was a false start by Trent Williams. An intentional grounding by Smith, and a false start penalty by Nick Sundburg. Before we knew it, the Redskins were punting the ball and three points were left off the board.
First Series of the Second Half: Following an Arizona punt, the Redskins were pinned within the 10 yard line on their first possession. They clearly were flustered. In a quick 3-and-out, the Redskins possessed the ball for a mere 45 seconds. The offensive line struggled to maintain their blocks and a near intentional grounding almost resulted in a safety. The drive consisted of two incomplete passes and a run for negative four yards by Adrian Peterson.
Penalties: Clearly the officials wanted some air time in their first performance of the year. The refs threw the flag early and often in today’s game. In total, 18 flags were thrown, impacting the flow of the game. Both teams were flagged nine times for a total of 170 yards. Let the boys play.
Punt Coverage: Late in the fourth quarter, the Redskins allowed a long return to rookie Christian Kirk. The 26 yard return allowed for the Cardinals to start at the Redskins 29 yard line, already in field goal territory. Luckily, the game was in hand at the time, and no points were scored. But it’s something to monitor as the season progresses.
Chris Thompson: CT walked out onto the field and didn’t miss a beat. When he is healthy, he is as potent of a receiving back as there is in the league. He compiled 105 yards and a touchdown reception in the first half alone.
Thompson showed that he still has the burst to score any time he touches the ball. He’s a vital cog to the offense.
Quinton Dunbar: Overall, the secondary played a key role in a bullying defense. Bradford looked flustered as he struggled to complete 3 passes for 11 yards in the first half. However, Dunbar was the star of the show.
With four minutes remaining in the second quarter, he had an impressive break on the ball from a pass by Bradford. Dunbar jumped the route and nearly intercepted the telegraphed attempt. It would have been pretty if he held on.
Another play of note was in the second half. Bradford threw a jump ball to Larry Fitzgerald with 11 minutes remaining in the third quarter. Dunny skyed for the attempt and swat the ball out like it was blocked shot. Incomplete. He celebrated by crossing his arms, symbolizing he had things “locked down”.
Finally, he put his stamp on the game with a gift interception from Bradford late in the third quarter. The sailed pass fell right into his arms, and the Redskins had thier first interception of the year.
Dare I say… Quinton Dun”lock”?
News, Notes, and Trends:
- Trey Quinn lined up as our starting punt returner. He had a minimal impact, but it was notable considering the importance of the position.
- The Redskins ran the ball 17 times on first down. Seven times in quarter one alone.
- Josh Harvey-Clemons subbed in at linebacker on all passing downs, replacing Zach Brown
- In a goal-to-go situation, OLB Ryan Anderson lined up as fullback. This is the second time I can recall him doing so (last season).
- Anderson also recorded his first sack with the ball club with two minutes left in the third quarter
- The Read-Option was alive and well in the Redskins offense. Smith had four carries for minimal gains.