2. The Reality Is, both lines have to step up.
Having watched the game twice now, it’s abundantly clear that the Football Team got HANDLED on both lines. If football is still a game won and lost in the trenches, Washington got beat a lot worse than the 20-16 score indicated.
Both starting offensive tackles got worked, consistently. The interior of the offensive line held up much better, but Brandon Scherff was called for two killer penalties, one that nearly killed their only touchdown drive and the other that likely cost the team at least 3 points.
On the other side of the ball, the vaunted defensive line produced their worst showing since….they got punked in the playoffs by Tampa Bay’s offensive line. For all the accolades and conversation this line has garnered this offseason, they’ve put together three straight pathetic performances.
Going back to week 17 of least season against Philly, Chase Young, Jon Allen, Daron Payne, Montez Sweat, Matt Ioannidis, and Tim Settle have been pedestrian in their last three outings. For a unit that many expected to carry the team to a second-straight playoff berth, these guys have been underwhelming at best. They’ve averaged less than three sacks per game in that span despite facing 81, 74, and 68 snaps in those games.
If Washington is going to have any modicum of success this season, their defensive line has to generate more significant and consistent pressure on opposing quarterbacks. And their offensive line has to find a way to give their own quarterbacks enough time to operate the offense.
Prediction: The defensive line will have some massive games this season. They’ll also have a few more stinkers like they did Sunday against Los Angeles. But this week against the Giants, they’ll have a much more significant impact on the game, tallying at least five sacks as a group.
The offensive line, on the other hand, will need some help from Scott Turner moving the pocket around and generating some misdirection in order to consistently protect Heinicke and/or Allen and Fitz. If Turner doesn’t adjust the gameplan, expect more of the same from this unit this week, and a long day for Heinicke.