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Week 1 Game Recap: Washington Redskins 24, Arizona Cardinals 6


What you need to know

Washington Redskins

Washington consistently won the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball and had control of this game throughout. The physicality of this team stood out and it was a welcomed site to have healthy bodies back to display this production. The threat of a running game also helped keep the Washington offense on schedule and balanced. If Washington can stay healthy they have the personnel to be a tough out for any opponent. Alex may prove to be key part of the rushing attack simply by his threat as a runner.

Arizona Cardinals

Arizona was thoroughly dominated in time of possession and total plays by Washington, especially in the first half (Washington with 44 plays, Arizona 14) to a pronounced deficit. It was not until down 24-0 Arizona found some offensive rhythm with Washington playing a prevent style defense in the fourth quarter. Arizona’s wide receivers struggled to separate and Sam Bradford was uncharacteristically inaccurate on fundamental throws. David Johnson had a quality showing in his regular season debut since missing almost all of 2017 with a wrist injury.

Washington Redskins

QB Alex Smith, 79 offensive snaps, Pass: 21 - 30 - 255 - 2 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 8 - 14 - 0
Alex Smith had a somewhat impressive debut for his new team the Washington Redskins. The first thing that immediately stood out with Alex running this offense is his mobility. Alex did a decent job most of the game escaping pressure to extend plays. Coach Gruden also implemented a few designed read option plays to utilize his legs if needed. Alex completed twenty one of his thirty passes as he displayed full command of the intermediate passing game. He added two touchdowns as well with both receivers using RAC to get in the endzone. Washington's ability to control the line of scrimmage gave Alex ample opportunity to read the field and get the ball into the hands of his playmakers. He totaled two hundred and fifty-five yards passing which productive considering how much they ran the ball in this game. Alex is used to spreading it around in the passing game and his ability to extend plays will be a bonus moving forward.

RB Adrian Peterson, 42 offensive snaps, Rush: 26 - 96 - 1, Rec: 2 - 70 - 0 (3 targets)
Adrian Peterson received a massive workload in his Redskins debut. He totaled twenty-eight touches with all but two coming from handoffs. It was clear that Adrian still has a little juice left as a runner by his display of jump cuts along with short area acceleration. His vision is still there as well with several instances shows of him finding cut back lanes. Adrian longest carry of the game went for seventeen yards and it should be noted his yards per carry were below four yards. The 2nd half of this game he didn't have as many running lanes and often got stuffed. One of Adrian's two receptions was a screen pass that went for fifty-two yards. Washington is willing to use Adrian in the passing game as well which shows they are all in on him being the bell-cow back. He scored the first touchdown of the day from the goal line and was the preferred back in the redzone. It will be interesting to see how fresh he stays throughout the year with such a large workload. Today may have had much to do with game script as Washington was in control majority of this game.

RB Chris Thompson, 33 offensive snaps, Rush: 5 - 65 - 0, Rec: 6 - 63 - 1 (7 targets)
Chris Thompson picked up right where he left off from last season. Showing no signs of rust coming off injury, Chris had a combined eleven touches that went for over one hundred and twenty yards. He also chipped in a touchdown for this game as he used his route running ability to take advantage of a linebacker. The play design looked to be an option route coming out of the backfield. It was an easy read for Alex as Chris took the short dump off about ten yards for the score. Chris is a major component to the Washington offense and his double-digit touches along with the efficient production shows he is ready to contribute immediately.

RB Rob Kelley, 8 offensive snaps, Rush: 3 - 7 - 0
Rob Kelley has been relegated to third running back duties and is now phased out of this offense. He totaled three carries on the day.

WR Paul Richardson, 61 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 22 - 0 (6 targets)
Paul Richardson couldn't get on track in this game as he put together a four catch, twenty-two-yard effort. Alex took a couple of shots downfield to Paul that came up empty but would have given him better numbers on the day. Paul's big play ability as a deep threat wasn't needed as much considering Washington had control of this game from the start.

WR Jamison Crowder, 49 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 32 - 0 (4 targets)
Jamison Crowder wasn't utilized as much in this game. He had three catches for thirty-two yards and was targeted just four times. Jamison's production will be inconsistent throughout the year if Jordan Reed and Chris Thompson are healthy. Jamison is Washington's slot receiver which means he runs most of his routes over the middle of the field. This is problematic considering Jordan dominates the targets in this area.

WR Josh Doctson, 70 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 11 - 0 (3 targets)
Josh Doctson was a forgotten man in Washington's offense as he only managed one catch for eleven yards. Josh has been talked up as the primary redzone threat along with Jordan Reed, but his number wasn't called in this game. Josh's role in this offense remains unclear.

TE Jordan Reed, 41 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 48 - 1 (5 targets)
Jordan Reed had the most productive day of all Washington receivers as he totaled four receptions for sixty-eight yards with a touchdown. Jordan looks to be healthy now after battling lower body injuries all last season. His touchdown displayed his trademark quickness as he shook loose from his defender to gain separation in coverage. Jordan ran a quick out route then used his run after catch ability to turn up field and pick up five yards to the endzone. Alex and Jordan look to have developed chemistry and is primed to lead Washington's receiving core. If he remains healthy.

TE Vernon Davis, 47 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 9 - 0 (1 targets)
Vernon Davis reverted to 2nd string as Jordan is now healthy. Vernon had one catch for nine yards. Most of his impact comes when he is the starter, so his production will stay minimal with Jordan Reed in the lineup.


Arizona Cardinals

QB Sam Bradford, 53 offensive snaps, Pass: 20 - 34 - 153 - 0 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 2 - 7 - 0
Bradford and the Arizona offense barely saw the field in the first half, both because of Washington’s offensive efficiency and Arizona’s own inefficiency, logging a mere 14 plays. Bradford’s first half play of note was nearly throwing an interception on a slant route to Christian Kirk as the offense sputtered to 36 total yards. Bradford found more rhythm in the second half, delivering a long accurate throw to Larry Fitzgerald on a corner route for more than 25 yards and another deep out to Fitzgerald to get Arizona finally into Washington territory late in the third quarter. Washington playing prevent defense as the second half progressed with a big lead did play a part in Arizona finally moving the ball. Bradford’s handful of successful throws downfield, however, was marred by an overthrow of a wide open Ricky Seals-Jones for an easy interception and an underthrow of Seals-Jones in the end zone in the closing minutes. To end the game, Bradford was stripped of the ball in the closing seconds. Without a notable deep threat, Arizona will need to see improvement from Bradford with intermediate and short route ball placement and see more receiver separation in the coming weeks.

RB David Johnson, 36 offensive snaps, Rush: 9 - 37 - 1, Rec: 5 - 30 - 0 (9 targets)
After playing only one game in 2017 due to a wrist injury, Johnson returned to the field against Washington in Week 1. A mere 14 touches is a light day at the office for Johnson, but Arizona struggled to sustain drives and was dominated in time of possession in the first half specifically. Johnson was involved early in the game with two runs of more than 10 yards, exhibiting strong cuts. However, he did not flash again until the late third quarter as Arizona’s offense as a whole struggled to stay on the field. Johnson did find the end zone with a goal line plunge as Arizona’s lone touchdown in the game. As the Cardinals played catch up, Johnson did uncharacteristically drop two passes among his nine targets, second on the team.

RB Chase Edmonds, 17 offensive snaps, Rush: 4 - 24 - 0, Rec: 4 - 24 - 0 (4 targets)
Edmonds was the primary backup running back to David Johnson in Arizona’s Week 1 blowout loss to Washington. Edmonds did not see snaps until the third quarter on offense, mostly due to Arizona logging only 14 total plays in the first half. Edmonds had a nice cut and eluded a defender on his most notable carry, buried in the fourth quarter. Edmonds also accrued most of his production in garbage time with the outcome already well decided.

WR Larry Fitzgerald, 52 offensive snaps, Rec: 7 - 76 - 0 (10 targets)
Fitzgerald led Arizona is targets with 10 against Washington. Overall, Fitzgerald struggled to separate on his short and intermediate routes. Fitzgerald collected most of his yardage on two downfield catches, a corner route with an excellent throw by Sam Bradford for more than 25 yards and a deep out route as Arizona finally gained some offensive momentum late in the third quarter. Fitzgerald had a touchdown opportunity with a goal line shovel pass, but was stuffed on the play by Washington front seven.

WR Christian Kirk, 45 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 4 - 0 (2 targets)
Kirk saw a strong snap share as the third wide receiver for Arizona; however, he saw a mere two targets. One was a slant route well short of the first down marker on an early-game third down. Kirk was targeted on a two-point conversion attempt, but well covered and overthrown by Sam Bradford. Kirk’s biggest impact came on special teams with a long punt return to keep Arizona’s comeback chances on life support in the second half.

TE Ricky Seals-Jones, 49 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 19 - 0 (6 targets)
Seals-Jones rarely left the field as Arizona’s starting tight end. His impact was minimal, however, has Seals-Jones’ long deep target was tipped away by a well-covering defender. On two quick out route receptions, Seals-Jones was tackled immediately. Seals-Jones did have a touchdown opportunity with an end zone target from the red zone, but Sam Bradford underthrew Seals-Jones in the closing minutes of the game.