3. Antonio Gibson is the offense’s X-factor
Sunday was the latest evidence that this is Brian Robinson’s backfield, but Gibson has proven over the last two games that he can still contribute in a big way despite not being the lead running back. In fact, a part-time role in a shared backfield might be best suited for his skillset.
In Week 6, Gibson provided a needed spark after halftime and averaged seven yards per carry. Ron Rivera admitted after the game that Gibson should’ve been more involved and that manifested itself against the Packers as the third-year back finished with 10 carries for 59 yards and three catches for 18 yards and a timely touchdown that brought Washington back within four after falling behind 14-3.
Gibson serving as the change-of-pace back behind Robinson’s physical, bruising rushing style is paying huge dividends for the Memphis product. It’s human nature for defense’s to adjust to one player’s style of running. That leaves them unprepared for Gibson’s shiftier brand of running even though they know he’s lined up in the backfield. It’s impossible to quantify, but it’s a real thing.
It’s long been theorized that Curtis Samuel is Washington’s offensive X-factor, but Sunday proved that title belongs to Gibson. That’s no dig at Samuel, who was at the epicenter of the Commanders’ offensive success, but Gibson’s ability to provide a spark on the ground and through the air is incredibly valuable.