The Redskins returned home and dropped their fifth straight game to the New England Patriots on Sunday afternoon. Here are five takeaways from Washington’s 33-7 loss .
1. The front seven showed up in a big way
Quarterback Tom Brady enjoyed a clean pocket for the entire first quarter of the season. Prior to Sunday’s game, Brady was sacked just three times in four games, which was the least he’s had to start a season since 2007.
That wasn’t the case against the Redskins. Linebacker Ryan Kerrigan and the Redskins’ defensive front got Brady on the ground four times, which was the most since Sept. 24, 2017 against the Houston Texans when he was sacked five times.
The pressure clearly had an effect on Brady. With the ball at Washington’s 12-yard line and just over six minutes left in the second quarter, Montae Nicholson picked off a pass to James White that kept the Redskins within 9-7.
2. The offense played well at first but was inconsistent overall
There was a lot of reason to be excited in the first quarter, as Steven Sims Jr. took a jet sweep 65 yards to give the Redskins a 7-0 lead. It was the first time the Patriots had trailed in a game all season.
But that excitement slowly started to dwindle as the game progressed. Washington’s next four drives ended in three punts and a lost fumble and gained a total of 11 yards.
Things got worse for Washington after Brady’s interception that briefly gave the team a bit of new life. On their ensuing drive, the Redskins punted after just five plays. Two drives later, after the defense forced a three-and-out from the Patriots, quarterback Colt McCoy’s pass to Sims was intercepted by Jason McCourtey. New England went on to convert a field goal and end the half with a 12-7 lead.
3. Third downs were an issue throughout the game
One of the reasons the Redskins’ offense couldn’t take advantage of the defense’s stellar first-half performance was because it couldn’t stay on the field for long.
Third downs have been an issue throughout the year for an offense that ranked 28th heading into Sunday’s game. They entered the game 12 of 42 for just 28%.
Those problems continued against the Patriots and their No. 1-ranked defense. The Redskins finished the game with only one third-down conversion on 11 attempts.
The Patriots had their troubles as well. They finished the game 5 of 15, but many of their conversions came during scoring drives. The drive that put them up 33-7 was kept alive after running back Sony Michel made his way through the Redskins defense for 12 yards to Washington’s 16-yard line.
New England scored three plays later – on another third down conversion – when Brady threw to a wide open Ryan Izzo to put the team up by 26.
4. The Patriots established their running game in the second half
At the end of the first half, the Patriots had just 19 rushing yards with the longest run – six yards – coming from White.
By the end of the game they had 86, and while that is still shows solid defense, the runs came at inopportune moments that stymied the momentum gained in the first half.
The Patriots opened up the second half with a seven-play, 75-yard drive that was highlighted by five runs. On a 2nd-and-5, Michel gained 11 yards that helped set up a 29-yard touchdown pass to Brandon Bolden.
Two drives later, Michel broke free on a 14-yard run that put the Patriots up 26-7. Michel finished with the bulk of the carries and yards with 91 yards on 16 rushes.
Check out photos of the Washington Redskins warming up before their regular season Week 5 game against the New England Patriots presented by Bose.
5. “We are going to band together. That’s all we got.”
Starting the year 0-5 is enough to drag any team down, but that’s not the attitude the Redskins have heading into a matchup on the road against the Miami Dolphins next Sunday.
To cornerback Josh Norman, it’s a tough situation to be in. But with 11 games left remaining, his mentality is to come together and figure out how to get the first win of the year.
“Dig ourselves out of the hole that we put ourselves into,” Norman said when asked about the feeling in the locker room. “That’s all we got. I think the teams we’ve been playing are really good teams. They’ve done a good job of scouting and doing what they know necessary to get a W. We just have to be better in situations and crucial moments to be able to help the football team in any way we can.”