Zac Boyer will be entering his third season covering the Washington Redskins for The Free Lance-Star this fall. Make sure to follow Zac on Twitter (@ZacBoyer) for the latest updates or e-mail him with any questions at email@example.com.
Revitalized Pass Rush Key In Redskins Forcing Nick Foles Into Mistakes
ASHBURN – The Washington Redskins allowed their fewest yards of the season on Sunday when they held Philadelphia to 257 yards in the 31-6 victory at FedEx Field.
“That’s a dominant day,” defensive end Stephen Bowen said. “They say under 299 is a dominant defense, and we held them to 257? We’ve just got to keep it that consistent.”
Consistency has been the problem for the Redskins, whose defense was expected to be their strength this season but has been their main problem. They currently rank 26th in total defense, allowing 383.8 yards a game, and have surrendered 289.2 yards – the fourth-worst in the league.
Part of the issue, especially with regards to the passing game, has been the lack of a pass rush. That wasn’t the case Sunday, with the Redskins sacking Nick Foles four times and employing a steady stream of blitzes and stunts to keep the quarterback and the offensive line off balance.
“It was a combination of everything from a defensive standpoint,” linebacker London Fletcher said. “I think guys really targeted in and focused in on what their job was and accepted the challenge.”
On Brandon Meriweather’s interception midway through the first quarter, the Redskins rushed five, including linebackers Perry Riley and Keenan Robinson. Both got in Foles’ face, forcing a hurried throw that Meriweather grabbed well in front of receiver DeSean Jackson.
Washington’s early lead did Foles no favors. The Eagles wanted to establish the running game early behind LeSean McCoy, who entered as the 10th-leading rusher in the league, but couldn’t do so facing a quick deficit and a strong run defense.
They also called several screen passes, keeping the Redskins’ pass rush off balance. Once Washington opened up a 14-3 lead four minutes into the second quarter built off two turnovers, Philadelphia had to throw the ball.
“We expected them to try to establish the run,” Bowen said. “They wanted to get their running game going, but because of turnovers, it kind of took them out of their game plan, so they were forced to pass.”