Redskins: Jay Gruden should be coaching for his job
By Desmond Lee
Let’s not blame the players alone for the errors they made.
It would be simple to blame Crowder not only for that interception but his fumble on a subsequent punt return. Both were key turnovers that kept an efficient Redskins offense from building a lead that would’ve obligated the Cowboys to pass and become one-dimensional. But Crowder’s gaffes were emblematic of a team who couldn’t sustain the inspired play they displayed seven days before.
In a game where the Redskins needed a win to extend their postseason hopes, they needed to play – as the Cowboys did – a mistake free game. Aside from Crowder’s missteps were drops by Josh Doctson and a ruinous 83-yard punt return by Ryan Switzer. Switzer’s return put the Cowboys ahead 17-0 and provided them all the hope they needed that they lacked in spades since Zeke was suspended.
That the Cowboys did little to help themselves was starkly evident at both halftime and at game’s end. Prescott entered the third quarter by completing 7 of 15 passes for 44 yards (35 net yards) and one touchdown. Alfred Morris (11 carries, 38 yards), Prescott (4 carries, 25 yards) and Rod Smith (3 carries, 5 yards) rushed for a combined 68 yards on 18 carries at a paltry 3.78 yards per carry.
This was the reeling team that the Redskins expected to face and to put to rest at intermission. Aside from Prescott’s one touchdown, the 103-yard offensive production by the Cowboys would otherwise be exactly what the Redskins envisioned in evening the division series with its historical rival. The fact that they were down 17-7, however, was the result of a systemic failure whose responsibility was hardly just the player’s alone.
And when the game ended, Dallas didn’t do much better. Prescott finished by completing half of his 22 throws for 102 yards (93 net yards). The Cowboys mustered but 284 yards on offense, most of which was taken up by Morris, who ran for 127 yards and whose 4.7 yards per rushing attempt exceeded Prescott’s 4.6 yards per passing attempt.
This lopsided statistical disparity between the final 38-14 score and Dallas’ anemic offensive output speaks clearly to the fact that it wasn’t the Cowboys who won the game, but that it was the Redskins who gave it away. Outside of Morris, neither Prescott’s piddling 102 yards passing nor the other rushers 55 yards on 15 attempts (3.78 yards per attempt) could possibly have justified more than two touchdowns. And by playing a relatively pedestrian but clean game on offense, the Redskins should have easily surged past that total and comfortably won that game.