First half struggles for Washington continue
For whatever reason, offensive coordinator Scott Turner and defensive coordinator Jack del Rio can’t get things right to start a game. It continued in Detroit.
Washington’s offense was rolling on the first drive, then a botched reverse and Alex Smith horrible sack pushed them out of field goal range. Additionally, Turner’s game plan has only allowed Smith the ability to target start wide receiver Terry McLaurin 3 times. Running back J.D. McKissic has been targeted 11 times. McLaurin leads Washington with 27-yards rushing. Not a recipe for success. Washington’s only points of the half came on a 38-yard Dustin Hopkins field goal. Hopkins later missed from 43-yards out where he has struggled all season.
Alex Smith is struggling, especially on third down, as Detroit continues to blitz and take advantage of his lack of mobility. Washington is 3 for 8 on third down where 2 of them came on the second to last official drive of the first half. The other came on the first drive of the game. Smith’s lack of mobility and teams bringing pressure on third down could be a continuing theme while he continues to start.
The defense all around has been bad. The run defense on the first drive let rookie running back D’Andre Swift average 7.3 yards per carry and has continued to let him pick up chunk runs. Gap integrity by the linebackers continues to haunt this unit and get seem to get cleaned up. On the back end, Kendall Fuller is having his worst game since coming back to Washington. Fuller bit on a double move by Marvin Hall, Jr. that resulted in a 55-yard touchdown. A couple of drives later, Marvin Jones, Jr. found pay dirt after he found a soft spot in a cover-2 zone where Jones ran by Jimmy Moreland and Fuller couldn’t rotate over fast enough as the safety.
Washington is going to need to find another gear and clean up their play if they want to have a chance at a comeback. That may rely on Alex Smith finding opportunities in other places then McKissic. Turner needs to get McLaurin more involved and keep feeding running back Antonio Gibson as a way to wear down the Lions defensive line and save Smith from continuously getting clobbered.
Defensive end Ryan Anderson left the game with a right knee injury after making a tackle on special teams and was listed as probable to return.