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Week 5 Game Recap: Washington Redskins 19, New Orleans Saints 43


What you need to know

Washington Redskins

Washington must get more consistent play from the offensive line if they want to be successful. This is especially the case for road games where they have looked overwhelmed at times. The offense is seriously lacking legit playmakers and as a result they have a tough time remaining on the field. Alex must be better as well with decision making but his supporting cast is doing him no favors. The defense has showed well at times but the lack of communication in the secondary is becoming more costly each week.

New Orleans Saints

If there ever was a case of a team needing one more piece to put it all together, it would be the 2018 New Orleans Saints. They floundered the first few weeks with a lack of identity and despite going 3-1 before the return of Mark Ingram, they just did not look like the same team as last year. Enter week 5, Ingram returns from suspension and everything seems right with the world. The Saints ran the ball more than they threw it, Brees faced softer coverage with Washington selling out to stop the run, and the defense was on the field less as the Saints moved the ball and controlled the clock. Drew Brees set the all-time passing yardage record and did it with style. He completed a 62-yard catch and run touchdown to Tre'Quan Smith to pass Peyton Manning all time. The defense created pressure all night and ended with 3 sacks, an interception, and a fumble recovery. This looked a lot more like the scary playoff team from a year ago and less like the team that almost lost to the Browns earlier this year. The Saints will look to get healthy during their Bye week before traveling to Baltimore to face the Ravens in week 7.

Washington Redskins

QB Alex Smith, Pass: 23 - 39 - 275 - 0 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 2 - 7 - 1
Alex Smith had a night filled with miscues, ill-timed throws, and inaccuracy. The offense as a unit struggled so it wasn't entirely on Alex Smith. He didn't get much protection and receivers weren't getting any separation which led to being behind on downs and sacks. Alex only converted one of two redzone opportunities as he ran in a touchdown. He threw thirty-nine passes on the night but between the drops and incompletions it didn't amount to a great outing. Without having proper protection Alex was skittish in the pocket and often looked unsure where to go with the ball. He hit a couple of 20+ yard completions when he had time but that was rare in this game. He also failed to throw a touchdown pass in this game which is concerning considering how vulnerable the Saints defense has become. It is hard to put this entire performance from the offense on Alex, but he certainly didn't help as he added a brutal interception as well. This offense is lacking serious playmakers.

RB Chris Thompson, Rush: 8 - 17 - 0, Rec: 6 - 45 - 0 (8 targets)
Chris Thompson was busy against the Saints as Washington had to go pass heavy. He had a total of fourteen touches and became a steady contributor as Adrian Peterson went down with an injury. Chris didn't do anything on the ground, but he did catch 6 receptions for forty-five yards through the air. As Washington faced such a large deficit it allowed Chris to get extra work on a night that was expected to be high scoring.

RB Adrian Peterson, Rush: 4 - 6 - 0, Rec: 2 - 36 - 0 (3 targets)
Adrian Peterson had more yards receiving than rushing which is very rare. He only carried the ball four times and got injured in this game. The game script of being down double digits and a separated shoulder contributed to Adrian having a quiet night. He had a total of 6 touches before ultimately sitting out much of the second half. The running lanes were nonexistent but playing from behind most of the game didn't help getting in a groove running the ball.

RB Kapri Bibbs, Rush: 4 - 9 - 1
Kapri Bibbs became they early down back once Adrian Peterson left the game, but he didn't make much of an impact. He had four carries for less than ten yards.

WR Paul Richardson, Rec: 4 - 50 - 0 (5 targets)
Paul Richardson caught a couple of big passes but seemed to be fighting an injury most of the game. He came down with a big twenty-five yard completion but then landed awkwardly. He was relatively quiet beyond that point. He was targeted five times total and Alex took a couple of big shots downfield to him that didn't connect. Paul has a penchant for big plays downfield but if he doesn't produce on those calculated shots then the game could be quiet for him. Washington should feature him more as he seems to be their more sure-handed receiver outside of Jordan Reed.

WR Jamison Crowder, Rec: 4 - 55 - 0 (8 targets)
Jamison Crowder had one of his more productive games as he caught four passes for fifty-five yards. However, he was targeted eight times and struggled to get separation on a few potential catches. Alex was off target as well, but Jamison could have had a bigger night if played better. Jamison is one of Washington's more reliable receivers, so this was a down game for him considering the amount of targets he received.

WR Maurice Harris, Rec: 3 - 47 - 0 (8 targets)
Maurice Harris stepped in for Josh Doctson but played very inconsistent. He had three receptions but was targeted eight times. Maurice often failed to gain separation in his routes and had a couple of bad drops. If this was an opportunity to catch the coaches eye for more playing time it certainly didn't go his way against the Saints.

WR Brian Quick, Rec: 1 - 6 - 0 (1 targets)
Brian Quick was not involved in the offense tonight as he only tallied one catch for six yards. He isn't a main contributor in the Washington offense.

TE Vernon Davis, Rec: 2 - 15 - 0 (3 targets)
Vernon Davis played a secondary role again as Jordan was on the field. He tallied two catches for fifteen yards.

TE Jordan Reed, Rec: 1 - 21 - 0 (2 targets)
Jordan Reed was held in check as he only recorded one catch for twenty-one yards. It is unclear if he was being double covered but considering Washington receivers get no special treatment in coverage it is possible. He will need to start showing up bigger if the passing attack is going to flourish.


New Orleans Saints

QB Drew Brees, Pass: 26 - 29 - 363 - 3 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 2 - 1 - 0, Rec: 1 - 1 - 0 (1 targets)
After putting up a dud last week (by Brees standards), the offense got back one of its biggest weapons and Brees found it much easier to move the ball down the field. With Mark Ingram back in the fold, teams had to commit to stopping the run more and this opened things up for Brees behind the linebackers. He was able to set the all-time passing yardage record in the first half and really did not need to play past that point as the Saints dominated the Redskins from the first drive. Brees got the party started with a 1-yard touchdown pass to Josh Hill. It was a play action pass that the Washington defense bit on and Hill was all alone in the back of the end zone for the easy score. Ingram had already taken the ball in from the 2-yard line earlier in the game and the defense sold out to try and stop the run. The second touchdown broke the all-time record for Brees. It was a 62-yard catch and run down the sideline to Tre'Quan Smith. The speedy receiver found himself wide open along the sideline after a blown coverage and he was able to run 38 yards untouched into the end zone. His final touchdown was another 35-yard strike to a streaking Smith. The ball was thrown perfectly down the sideline and hit Smith in stride. The safety bit on an in route and Smith had a step on his man to the outside. Brees made the perfect throw for another easy touchdown. This is the balanced team that won its division and went into the playoffs last season. If they continue to play at this level it will be very interesting to see how far they can go.

QB Taysom Hill, Rush: 5 - 23 - 1
The Saints continue to show their love for Hill and his versatility. He was given 5 carries this week in the blowout win against Washington. This is a season high for him and he even managed to take one into the end zone from a yard out. Drew Brees was still on the field at wide receiver, but it never looked to be a trick play. It was a designed run off the right end for an easy score. Hill has lost the backup position with the Saints bringing in Teddy Bridgewater, but he still gets reps on special teams and in the wild cat. He does not have any fantasy value from week to week, but it is a lot of fun to watch when he does get to play.

RB Mark Ingram, Rush: 16 - 53 - 2, Rec: 2 - 20 - 0 (3 targets)
There were a lot of questions coming into the game about how Ingram would fit into the offense with the success Kamara has been having. Coach Sean Peyton said he would resume his normal work load and be the starter in his return, but it is hard to argue with what Kamara had done. Then the game got going and Ingram was given the first carry and almost all the goal line work. The overall yardage may not have been impressive, but the 2 touchdowns and number of touches tell the whole story. Ingram out touched Kamara 18-9 in his first week back and took control of the offense. He scored from 2 yards out on the first drive and then from 1 yard in a power running formation in the second quarter. Even more telling of how the split is going to go is that Ingram had 3 targets in the passing game to Kamara's 4. He also managed to do more with these targets and stayed on the field on third down. The Saints will look to establish their run game early for the rest of the season and that should provide plenty of work for Ingram going forward. He already has the freshest legs on the team and gets a Bye week to get ready for Baltimore in week 7.

RB Alvin Kamara, Rush: 6 - 24 - 0, Rec: 3 - 15 - 0 (4 targets)
Oh, what could have been? Kamara was the offensive leader for the Saints in the first 4 weeks and one of the only players not named Michael Thomas to excel in the offense. Then enter week5 and the return of Mark Ingram and it all changed. Kamara was out touched 9-18 and even lost work in the passing game to Ingram. His longest play of the game was a meaningless 9-yard rush and a 6-yard reception. The Saints made it clear that Ingram is still the starter despite what Kamara has done in recent weeks. Going forward, this season should look a lot like last with the offense riding the hot back from week to week. If Kamara can break a play early he should see more work, but he is always in danger of losing goal line carries to Ingram for the rest of the season. If the split continues this way, Kamara is going to move down in a lot of the rankings.

WR Cameron Meredith, Rec: 5 - 71 - 0 (5 targets)
It was a very efficient game for Meredith this week as he pulled in all 5 of his targets. The big play was a 46-yard catch and run from Brees where he was pushed out of bounds before he could make it into the end zone. Meredith has shown he has a full grasp of the offense now and Brees has shown trust in his new receiver. The most interesting part about Meredith is how much work he is taking away from Michael Thomas. It is hard to trust any of the secondary receivers in New Orleans with all the competition for targets, but Meredith is emerging as the second-best option behind Thomas this season.

WR Michael Thomas, Rec: 4 - 74 - 0 (5 targets)
After putting on a show the first few weeks of the season, Thomas has been much quieter as of late. He did not need to do as much this week with the return of Mark Ingram and the rushing offense. Brees still targeted Thomas a team high 5 times, but this is a steep decline from the 10+ it was earlier in the season. The emergence of Cameron Meredith has also cut into the number of targets for Thomas. He did have a long catch of 31 yards, but that was overshadowed by the big game of Tre'Quan Smith. Thomas is still the top receiver in the Saints offense, but he is going to see a slight decline in his numbers with the return of Ingram and all the other offensive weapons that Brees has to throw to.

WR TreQuan Smith, Rec: 3 - 111 - 2 (3 targets)
Filling in for an injured Ted Ginn, Smith showed that he has all the same skills. The speedy receiver surpassed 100 yards on 3 catches and hauled in 2 touchdowns. He was not featured in the offense but did make the best of his opportunities. The first pass was the one that broke the all-time passing yards record. Smith settled into a void left by a blown coverage along the sideline and Brees found him open and alone for 62 yards and a touchdown. The second play he simply outran his man in coverage and with the safety jumping a deep in route all it took was a perfect ball thrown by Brees for a 35-yard touchdown. Smith showed that he can do all the same things as Ginn and is a much younger and cheaper option. It will be interesting to see how his role in the offense evolves over the course of the season.

TE Ben Watson, Rec: 4 - 30 - 0 (4 targets)
Watson pulled in all 4 of his targets this week but he was unable to do very much with them. His longest play of the day was 9 yards and he was not featured in any of the goal line work. With the return of Mark Ingram, the Saints committed to running the ball more and used Josh Hill as the blocking tight end. Watson is still the starter, but he is going to need to prove his worth or he may find his tenure in New Orleans to be a short one.

TE Josh Hill, Rec: 2 - 24 - 1 (2 targets)
There is starting to be some more competition at the tight end position as Hill is taking some of the work away from Watson. It was Hill who ran the 1-yard play action route on the goal line instead of Watson this week. This is a play that Brees and Watson failed to hit on earlier in the season and there appears to be more trust in Hill right now. The duo also connected on a 23-yard play for a big first down later in the game. Hill will not take the starting job from Watson, but he does seem to be the tight end that they want in power run and play action situations right now.