The Washington Redskins needed two late-game scoring drives and a turnover to win a game that they dominated statistically Sunday. As a result, came away from their 22-21 win over the Cardinals with a boost of confidence, but also fully aware that improvement is needed.
Having outgained the Cardinals 455-324 in yards and won the first-down battle (28-16), Redskins players were proud of the resolve they showed, but said the game shouldn’t have been close. Washington’s offensive players believe they did much more to stop themselves than the Cardinals did.
They moved into the red zone seven times, but came away with only two touchdowns as a result of an interception, penalties and a blocked field goal.
“We put ourselves too many times in a situation where we don’t score in the red zone,” tight end Fred Davis said. “To be a great team in this league, score in the red zone. You have to execute. You look at the Patriots, all the great teams, they do it. So that’s what we have to do consistently.”
Davis’ assessment was pretty similar to Coach Mike Shanahan’s.
“You can’t make the big mistake as you go down the field; in the red zone, you can’t jump offsides,” Shanahan said. “Even though you’re tired, you can’t miss an assignment. We will learn as we grow as a football team that you have to be able to close the door, and we didn’t close the door. When you have 250-260 yards in the first half, you are doing a lot of good things, but when you lack the pull in the red zone, that’s not good enough. It’s hard to win games when you’re 1-4 down there [in the first half] especially when we moved the ball as consistently as we did.”
The Redskins’ offensive players believe that with more work, discipline and natural progression, their offense can be one of the best in the league.
“When it’s rolling, man, you can’t stop it,” said Davis, who in two weeks has 11 catches for 191 yards and a touchdown. “When we’re doing what we have to do, blocking assignments, making plays, catching it when we have to catch it, putting Rex in good situations, you can’t stop it. But that’s what we have to continue to do. First half we didn’t. Second half we finally did what we had to do.”
Receiver Santana Moss agreed: “I love this offense, man. That’s why I wasn’t trying to go anywhere [in free agency]. I’ve waited this long to be a part of something like this. I’ve never been a guy that’s all about me. I’ve been a guy wanting to be productive and something that can be to the level of where we are now. I love how Kyle does his playcalling and how he prepares us and our mentality to say, ‘Screw it. Whatever we did the other downs, put it behind us. This down matters and this is the down that counts.’”