Antonio Gibson, it’s time to Put up your Dukes
Maybe this is the week that running back Antonio Gibson finally records his first 100-yard rushing game of the season. Or, this could be another game in which Gibson’s fumbling issues continue for the Washington Football Team.
However, the resurgent running game for Washington has done wonders for the offense. In the past two games, the team has rushed for 288 yards.
Surprisingly, Washington has been able to regain their winning form with a ball-control type of offense. In the past two games, the Washington Football Team has won the time-of-possession battle and dominated at the line of scrimmage. The offensive line, in particular, is playing at a high level. Last Sunday, the team used three different centers against the Carolina Panthers, but ran for a season-high 194 rushing yards.
Antonio Gibson rushed for 95 yards on 19 carries but had his fifth fumble of the season. After being benched, Gibson ran for the majority of his yards in the second half in Carolina. However, he did respond once he returned to the game as he delivered some punishing runs to the Panthers’ defense.
Tonight, the Football Team will play host to Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks. It has been a down year for Pete Carroll’s team as they are 3-7 and face an uncertain future with the head coach-quarterback combo. Seattle’s defense is a far cry from the once feared Legion of Boom, and offensively, Russ hasn’t done much cooking all season.
Washington has been prone to allow get-right games for opposing teams. However, despite the low statistical output Wilson has weapons. Wide receiver’s D.K. Metcalf and Tyler Lockett are more than capable of producing big plays versus Washington’s secondary. Antonio Gibson’s production on the ground against the Seahawks will be vital to the Washington Football Team’s chances of winning. Wilson’s time on the field will need to be as limited as possible.
Despite allowing 4.0 yards per rush, the defense for Seattle overall is less than stellar. They are 30th in rushing attempts allowed per game (30.7) and are 23rd (122.2 ypg) against the run. In the past five games, though, Seattle has been stingier against the run. They have allowed 3.5 yards per carry and 103.2 rushing yards.
What to expect from Antonio Gibson in the remaining seven games
If offensive coordinator Scott Turner remains committed to the running game, Gibson should remain the featured back in Washington’s offense. With the Recommitment to the running game, the Washington Football Team appears to have found some identity on offense.
Head coach Ron Rivera recently spoke about Antonio Gibson’s fumbling issues after practice and offered a simple solution “Reinforce protecting the ball, not just saying, don’t fumble it.”
Antonio Gibson and the running game has, without question, revitalized Washington’s offense. However, the Seahawks are 32nd in pass defense (279.6 ypg) and 32nd in pass attempts allowed (40.4). So Turner can ill-afford to get too pass-happy with Taylor Heinicke.
He’s thrown zero interceptions in the past two games, and one reason is that Washington is becoming more consistent with its rushing attack. Washington is attempting the ninth-most rushes in the NFL per game (28.1) and is10th in rushing offense (122.9 ypg)
A win over the Seattle Seahawks would bring Washington back into the NFC playoffs. It’s pretty shocking because the WFT has started 2-6. However, the Washington Football Team would be 5-6 and into the seventh-seed of the NFC playoffs.
Despite Washington’s losing history on Monday Night Football, they’ll have a solid chance to earn a rare victory, as long as Antonio Gibson remains a focal point for the offense of the Washington Football Team.