Conventional wisdom suggested that a Redskins upset win over the Raiders on Sunday night at FedEx Field would require a shootout, with the Washington offense leading the way. After all, Oakland ranked sixth in total offense last season and added running back Marshawn Lynch to an attack that already featured quarterback Derek Carr and the dynamic receiving duo of Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree. Kirk Cousins had a huge game, completing more than 80 percent of his passes for 365 yards and three touchdowns, and Washington tallied 472 yards, but in a surprise twist, it was the Redskins' defense that paved the way to a 27-10 win.
"I think it was as good a defensive performance that I've seen in a long time by anybody," Redskins Coach Jay Gruden said after Washington improved to 2-1.
Fact check: True.
The last time the Redskins held an opponent to 128 or fewer yards of offense was Oct. 12, 1992, when they routed the Denver Broncos, 34-3, on "Monday Night Football" at RFK Stadium. Redskins wide receiver Art Monk moved past Steve Largent and into the top spot on the NFL's all-time receptions list; Washington sacked John Elway five times and intercepted three Broncos passes.
Sunday marked only the fifth time since the merger that the Redskins allowed 128 yards or fewer of offense. It was also only the second time in Gruden's three-plus seasons in Washington that the Redskins held an opponent to fewer than 200 yards. Washington had 10 sacks and limited the Jaguars to 148 yards of offense in a 41-10 win in Gruden's second game at the helm Sept. 14, 2014. Washington had only held an opponent to fewer than 250 yards of offense five times since then, and the last time the Redskins' maligned defense allowed fewer than 300 yards before Sunday was in Week 6 of last season.
"I think we were definitely feared today," said Redskins safety D.J. Swearinger, who lowered the boom on Lynch in the second half and helped limit "Beast Mode" to 18 yards on six carries. "The defense was definitely a big presence, and it's something we can keep building on."
Carr completed 19 of 31 passes for 118 yards and was sacked four times. Cooper and Crabtree combined for two catches for 13 yards, and Oakland was 0 for 11 on third down. The Raiders finished with their eighth-lowest offensive output since the merger and their fewest yards since Week 14 of the 2015 season. If not for a Vernon Davis holding penalty that wiped out a 19-yard run by Mack Brown with less than two minutes remaining, the Raiders likely would've failed to surpass 100 yards. With 1:37 remaining and the outcome no longer in doubt, Oakland marched 33 yards on five plays to push their yardage total into triple digits. The only time since the merger that Washington held an opponent to fewer than 100 yards was in a 23-0 shutout of the Eagles during their last Super Bowl season in 1991.
Redskins' fewest yards allowed in a game since the merger (1970):
89 – Sept. 30, 1991 vs. Philadelphia (W, 23-0)
120 – Dec. 3, 1972 at Philadelphia (W, 23-7)
126 – Dec. 15, 1974 vs. Chicago (W, 42-0)
128 – Sunday vs. Oakland (W, 27-10)
128 – Oct. 12, 1992 vs. Denver (W, 34-3)
Source: Pro Football Reference