Defense: Stop unit responsible for Redskins win
There’s no question that the defense was the reason that the Redskins were able to win on Sunday afternoon. Despite the fact that the Cardinals offense was on the field for 36 minutes, the Redskins defense never allowed them to get into a true rhythm and they never once allowed a touchdown. They held up well in the red zone, and the defensive front played particularly well.
Most notably, Anthony Lanier had a breakout game for the Redskins. Lanier, a second year man out of Alabama A&M, had been having a very good season as a rotational pass rusher. On Sunday, he was absolutely fantastic. He racked up two sacks in the first half and put a lot of heat on Blaine Gabbert.
Lanier wasn’t able to get as much pressure in the second half, but he repeatedly got his hands in passing lanes and he totaled three pass breakups. Lanier should see more action down the stretch, and it appears that he has potential as a future starter.
The other player who had a terrific game was Preston Smith. Smith started the game on the right foot by recovering a strip sack by Lanier and almost returning it for a touchdown. As the game went on, Smith put pressure on Gabbert and at one point, it appeared that he had a strip sack on him. However, the officials ruled it an incomplete pass which was a questionable call at best. Later in the game, Smith would notch a key interception to prevent the Cardinals from continuing to drive down the field.
The aggressive approach on the defensive front definitely helped the corners in this game as well. Bashaud Breeland had a good outing, but Josh Norman was beat on a couple of occasions. The pass rush did lessen the amount of time that the corners had to stay in coverage, so that was a big deal.
At the end of the day, Greg Manusky and the defensive personnel deserve credit for the effort they put forth on this side of the ball. After two uninspired performances, the team really came out and gave it everything they had on Sunday.