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Week 11 Game Recap: Washington Redskins 31, New Orleans Saints 34


What you need to know

Washington Redskins

As well as Kirk played; they were still awful on third downs. When they play the elite level offenses they can't afford to be inefficient on third downs. The run game was much improved and that helped Kirk navigate the passing game. His ability to make throws under pressure was better than normal today. If Washington can get that from him more often they will win more of these games. Losing Chris Thompson was brutal for an offense that relies so heavily on him for passing downs. The defense has to get more pressure on the quarterback but today they played against an elite passer. Every week the defense is showing a new leak and today it was the rush defense. It has to be a total team effort for Washington as they aren't elite in any area on this team.

New Orleans Saints

The Saints continue to march their way through opposing defenses as they ran for 160 yards and 7 yards per carry in this game. The Saints also had a big offensive showing through the air in this game as Brees threw for 385 yards and two touchdowns in a game that dictated that the Saints fell behind as they overcame a 15 point deficit in under 3 minutes. The passing game was spread across Michael Thomas, Ted Ginn Jr, while Alvin Kamara and Coby Fleener both played a significant role late in the game in the fourth quarter to lead the team back from what looked like an imminent defeat.

Washington Redskins

QB Kirk Cousins, 69 offensive snaps, Pass: 22 - 32 - 322 - 3 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 3 - 11 - 0
Kirk Cousins had one of his best games of the season down in New Orleans. Throwing under pressure has been a massive issue the past few weeks for Kirk, but he constantly made plays under duress. He found eight different receivers in this game as he spread it around and made correct reads. The run game was effective today as well which helped keep the passing game balanced. Kirk had thirty-two attempts in this game and he actually completed a few deep throws. The offense came out and got going quickly as Kirk played aggressive making decisive throws down field. He got Washington on the board with a sixteen yard pass to Chris Thompson on a great throw finding him on a wheel route. His second touchdown came against an all-out blitz when he found a wide open Ryan Grant up the sideline. The third down efficiency was still lackluster and ultimately came back to haunt them as they squandered a double digit lead in the last four minutes. Penalties were part of the issue as well, but Washington could not put this game away as the offense went stagnant. Kirk threw three touchdowns and got help from his supporting cast but this game was lost on both sides of the ball as the clock wound down. If Kirk can keep making plays under pressure like he did against New Orleans they will be in good position to win more of these type games.

RB Samaje Perine, 48 offensive snaps, Rush: 23 - 117 - 1, Rec: 1 - 9 - 0 (2 targets)
Samaje Perine had his biggest game as a rookie against the Saints. It seemed as if the game slowed down a bit for him today as he ran with patience and decisiveness. He also did a great job breaking tackles and keeping the chains moving. He had trouble setting up his blocks earlier in the year and showed improvement in that area as well. Most notable as they were trying to run the clock out and he gained back to back first downs showing great vision. Samaje looks ready to take on a lead role moving forward. He will have to be involved in the passing game as well moving forward as Chris went down with an injury today.

RB Chris Thompson, 18 offensive snaps, Rush: 4 - 17 - 0, Rec: 1 - 16 - 1 (1 targets)
Chris Thompson had five total touches in this game and accounted for one of the four touchdowns scored. He was very involved until going down with a leg injury. It is a devastating injury for Washington's most productive offensive player. His versatility has been a huge boost for Washington and now he is gone for the year. His touchdown was a perfect illustration of his explosive abilities as he beat a one on one matchup for a sixteen yard touchdown on a wheel route. His speed will be sorely missed in this offense.

WR Jamison Crowder, 41 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 4 - 0, Rec: 7 - 72 - 0 (8 targets)
Jamison Crowder led the team in receptions with seven against the Saints. Often running safety valve type routes, Jamison was able to get open and quickly get up field after the catch. Jamison became even more important in the passing game when Chris Thompson went down. His longest catch went for nineteen yards and Kirk leaned on him heavily in the fourth quarter. Jamison has come alive in the last few weeks and Kirk has reestablished their connection. Jamison's role should grow even more moving forward if Jordan Reed doesn't return soon.

WR Josh Doctson, 60 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 81 - 0 (7 targets)
Josh Doctson finally had a mini breakout today. With the injury starting to pile up it is forcing Washington to use him more often. He had a fast start as Kirk went to him early and tried to get him in a rhythm. He had four catches in this game and totaled eighty-one yards but was only targeted twice after halftime. The Saints gave him more attention in coverage and occasionally rolled a safety over the top to prevent the deep shots. Even with the added attention it was still bizarre to see him so quiet in the second half. Today was still an encouraging sign for Josh as the season winds down.

WR Ryan Grant, 53 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 59 - 1 (3 targets)
Ryan Grant had three catches but his biggest one went for a forty-yard touchdown. He was wide open down the sideline as the Saints sent a full on blitz. Kirk was able to stand in and find Ryan who beat the nonexistent coverage for the easiest six points Washington may have scored all year.

TE Vernon Davis, 62 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 67 - 0 (6 targets)
Vernon Davis wasn't as big a factor in today's game. He had three catches, but he made the most of them as his longest reception went for thirty-six yards. Kirk targeted Vernon three times in the second half but couldn't connect. He had sixty-seven yards on just three receptions showing that he can still be a game breaker when given opportunities.


New Orleans Saints

QB Drew Brees, 71 offensive snaps, Pass: 29 - 41 - 385 - 2 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 1 - 2 - 0
Just when Brees was starting to get questions about whether or not he still had it, he shows that this offense is a dual-threat and when they need to throw and go pass-heavy they can do that as game script dictated that the Saints throw the ball as the Saints were trailing in the fourth quarter. Brees threw for 165 yards in the fourth quarter as the team scored 18 points in the fourth-quarter to force overtime in this game.

RB Mark Ingram, 28 offensive snaps, Rush: 11 - 134 - 1, Rec: 3 - 21 - 0 (4 targets)
Early on in the game, the Saints went run heavy with Mark Ingram and were very successful at it as Ingram as Ingram showcased his rushing ability in the first quarter on a 36-yard touchdown in which Ingram remained very patient for the hole to develop made one cut and then used his speed to outrun oncoming defenders. Ingram only touched the ball one time in the fourth quarter as the team went to a pass-heavy attack with Alvin Kamara, but Ingram came back in overtime to lead the Saints to victory as he had two long runs for 51 yards in overtime which led the Saints to victory.

RB Alvin Kamara, 46 offensive snaps, Rush: 8 - 42 - 0, Rec: 6 - 74 - 1 (9 targets)
Much like the rest of the Saints offense, Kamara did most of his damage in the fourth quarter as heading into the fourth quarter Kamara had just 43 yards heading into the quarter. Kamara was shut down early as five of his eight touches went for two yards or less in the first three quarters. In the fourth quarter, Kamara erupted as he had three receptions for 48 yards including a touchdown in which he showed off his hands as the ball popped up into the air and Kamara was able to catch it and elude three tacklers on some very poor tackling by the Redskins secondary.

WR Ted Ginn, 53 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - -12 - 0, Rec: 6 - 87 - 0 (6 targets)
Ted Ginn bounced back nicely after a disappointing game last week against Buffalo in which he was held to just one catch for three yards. Ginn caught all six of his targets which has been a trend this season as he has caught 35 of his 43 targets as the Saints are trying to put him in position in which he can make a catch and run after the catch. Ginn primarily worked over the middle of the field on post routes in which he caught two catches over 20-yards in the first half one for 22 yards the other for 23 yards. For as good as Ginn was in this game, he was only credited with three yards after the catch as most of his receptions in this game were contested catches in which he was either going to the ground or brought down quickly.

WR Michael Thomas, 56 offensive snaps, Rec: 6 - 91 - 0 (11 targets)
Michael Thomas started the day off slow as he only caught one of his first five targets in this game, but it was great to see that Brees continued to trust Thomas as he targeted him 11 times in this game. The biggest trend for Thomas continues to be the lack of touchdowns as he was not targeted in the red zone in this game and 9 of his 11 targets were in the Saints own territory which for a physical receiver who does not have great speed is going to make it difficult for the touchdowns to come.

TE Coby Fleener, 36 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 91 - 0 (5 targets)
Heading into the fourth quarter, Coby Fleener did not have a catch or even a target. However, Fleener played a significant role in this comeback this week as he had 91 yards in the fourth quarter as the defense seemingly left him wide open at times as they played a soft zone coverage. Fleener who has been disappointing this season led the team in snaps as a tight end for the first time since week four. This is likely a scenario in which it is difficult to imagine Fleener's role increasing due to having a big garbage time performance this week.