The Redskins turned the ball over seven times in a 27-26 road loss to the Falcons, and Kirk Cousins took responsibility for the defeat. But the Redskins had a chance to win at the end thanks to the quarterback’s three touchdown passes.
Let’s take a deeper look at what went right and wrong Sunday at the Georgia Dome.
Highlight: Alfred Morris rips off a 37-yard run.
What went right: A pancake block on the safety.
-The Redskins line up in a power running set with fullback Darrel Young in the backfield and tight end Logan Paulsen outside of the right tackle.
-The Falcons bring five men to the line with a linebacker outside of left tackle Trent Williams, leaving only two linebackers up the middle.
-The offensive line executes two successful double teams. Left guard Kory Lichtensteiger bumps Will Montgomery off of Corey Peters, freeing the center to seal off the backside backer.
-Chris Chester handles Peria Jerry, allowing Tyler Polumbus to block Sean Weatherspoon.
-Alfred Morris patiently follows his fullback through the hole between Chester and Paulsen.
-Young blasts through rookie safety Zeke Motta, and Morris has ample room to run.
Highlight: Kirk Cousins connects with Fred Davis on a 23-yard touchdown pass
What went right: The threat of the run.
-The Redskins trot out a power formation with a fullback, a tight end and an H-back.
-Pierre Garçon is the only receiver on the field. As a result, the Falcons bring eight men in the box to shut down Alfred Morris.
-Safety Zeke Motta is lined up on the left hash. Kirk Cousins fakes a handoff to Morris on the left side and bootlegs to his right.
-The play action draws all three linebackers to Morris and lures cornerback Robert Alford forward a few steps, allowing Fred Davis to run right past him.
-Davis breaks outside on a corner route, and neither Alford nor Motta can make up ground.
-Cousins delivers an accurate throw on the run right at eye level for his tight end. Davis catches the ball with both hands and tumbles in the end zone.
Highlight: Cousins launches a 62-yard bomb to Aldrick Robinson.
What went right: Another effective fake.
-Washington puts a tight end in the slot and a fullback in the backfield with two wide receivers out wide.
-Cornerback Alford gives Robinson five yards of cushion and plays an outside technique, keeping in mind he has safety William Moore in zone coverage inside to take away the deep threat behind him.
-After taking the snap, Kirk Cousins fakes a handoff to Alfred Morris on the left side.
-Robinson gets a jump on Alford and sprints right by him. Moore is eyeing the run as Robinson gets behind him.
-Cousins puts enough loft on the ball to allow Robinson to run under it, and the receiver makes the grab.
Highlight: Cousins hits Pierre Garçon for a 53-yard touchdown.
What went right: A potent double move.
-The Redskins align in a shotgun formation with running back, a tight end and three receivers.
-The Falcons send in five defensive backs for a disguised blitz. Cornerback Robet McClain rushes the passer from the slot, and linebacker Sean Weatherspoon joins him to overload the “B” gap.
-After faking a run, Roy Helu Jr. blocks McClain. Guard Chris Chester leaves his double team to chip Weatherspoon outside of the pocket to keep Cousins clean.
-Cornerback Desmond Trufant respects Garcon with a 7-yard cushion.
-Garcon sprints straight ahead for about six yards, then chops his feet and opens his inside shoulder as if he’s about to turn around for a comeback route.
-Kirk Cousins pumps to Garcon to sell the short pass.
-Conscious of all the space he’s given Garcon underneath, Trufant breaks hard on the route, but Garcon never turns around.
-Instead the receiver restarts his path up the field and blows by Trufant.
-Safety Zeke Motta moved to a zone in the center of the field and chose to help his linebacker cover Logan Paulsen. Motta tries to make a play on the ball, but instead bumps into Trufant.
-Cousins delivers a difficult throw hard enough to hit his receiver in stride but just high enough to clear the safety’s jump.
Low point: Steven Jackson scores a 3-yard touchdown to finish the Falcons’ first drive of the game.
What went wrong: A 52-pound difference.
-The Falcons overload the right side of the line, sending a tight end and an H-back over while motioning receiver Roddy White to the slot.
-The Redskins maintain their base 3-4 alignment with the inside linebackers bunched close to the line of scrimmage.
-Atlanta does a nice job executing its blocking assignments. Both tight ends take a linebacker out of the play, and White turns Reed Doughty out of the hole.
-This isolates the 240-pound running back with a 188-pound cornerback at the goal line, creating a matchup that favors the Falcons.
Low point: Jonathan Massaquoi strips Kirk Cousins of the football, and Jonathan Babineaux recovers the fumble.
What went wrong: A collapsed pocket.
-Washington aligns in a shotgun set with three receivers and two backs flanked on each side of Kirk Cousins.
-The Falcons bring a 4-3 alignment with safety Zeke Motta in the box. Atlanta sends all three linebackers and the safety on the blitz.
-Logan Paulsen and Roy Helu Jr. do a nice job picking up interior blitzers, but as a result, no one is available to help chip the defensive ends on the outside.
-Massaquoi uses to a speed rush to get position on Tyler Polumbus, then executes a rip to get his arm free.
-Cousins keeps his eyes down the field, so he can’t sense the rush. The defensive end knocks out the ball when Cousins rears back, and Babineaux falls on the ball after coming around the right side on a twist.
Low point: Tony Gonzalez caps off Atlanta’s second drive with a 13-yard touchdown catch.
What went wrong: A physical move.
-The Redskins rush four defenders and leave their linebackers in single coverage.
-London Fletcher lines up over Tony Gonzalez and wisely puts his hands on the tight end, whom he’s allowed to contact within the first five yards.
-Gonzalez uses the linebacker’s moment against him, embracing the contact and shedding Fletcher outside to create separation.
-After the catch, the tight end cuts back to his right, taking advantage of an over-pursuing defense and picking up four more yards to score.
-This is the point I mention Gonzalez is the NFL’s all-time leader in career receptions (1,313), receiving yards (15,008) and touchdown catches (110) among tight ends.
Low point: Desmond Trufant intercepts Kirk Cousins inside Washington’s 20-yard line.
What went wrong: Missing a small window.
-The Redskins trot out a fullback and bunch two receivers to the left side with Joshua Morgan on the right.
-At the snap, Kirk Cousins fakes a handoff to Alfred Morris, who then goes out for a pass underneath.
-Atlanta is content to rush four linemen and keep the back end of the defense in zone coverage. The Falcons don’t appear to bite on the fake.
-With a safety over the top, cornerback Desmond Trufant plays underneath Pierre Garçon.
-Santana Moss distracts the safety, but Cousins’ throw is just a little short and behind Garçon.
-Trufant is in good position to force Washington’s seventh turnover.
-Garçon gives a solid effort to pry the ball loose, but Trufant has it in a vice.
Tags: Alfred Morris, Falcons, Fred Davis, Kirk Cousins, Pierre Garcon, redskins, What went right, What Went Wrong
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