The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Falcons hold Redskins to season-low rushing performance

ATLANTA — The Washington Redskins entered Sunday’s game against the Atlanta Falcons leading the NFL with a robust 139.5 rushing yards per game. But the Falcons thwarted that attack and held Washington to a season-worst 51 rushing yards, which in turn greatly disrupted the flow of the Redskins’ offense.

Washington averaged just 2.1 yards per carry against Altanta, which had allowed 4.4 yards per carry (fifth-most in the league) coming into Sunday.

Alfred Morris managed only 15 yards on eight carries, his longest carry going for four yards. Matt Jones mustered 20 yards on 11 carries, but did rush for a two-yard touchdown. Chris Thompson had the most success, picking up 15 yards on three carries.

Kirk Cousins scrambled for a yard, and the Falcons foiled an end-around attempt by Jamison Crowder, holding him to no gain.

An inability to run the ball led to more longer down-and-distance situations for the offense, and Washington converted only 4 of 12 third downs for first downs.

“I think they did a – from what I could see, obviously – they did an excellent job stopping our runs,” coach Jay Gruden said. “They held us to I think two yards per carry, if that, and stuck us in second and eight. We couldn’t get any rhythm going really, and it was tough. It forced us into some third and longs again. We converted a couple but really failed to get the momentum going with our running game and the rhythm that we like to go with calling plays. You know we have a good balance usually calling plays. Today we just couldn’t find that balance, couldn’t find that rhythm. They did a nice job stopping the run.”

Washington’s offense had produced at least 125 rushing yards in three of the first four games of the season. The unit got off to a monster start in Weeks 1 and 2, rushing for 161 yards in Week 1 and 182 in Week 2. The production waned in Week 3 against the Giants as Washington trailed much of that game and ran for only 88 yards. The unit rebounded last week against Philadelphia with 127 rushing yards.

The Redskins appeared poised to succeed against the Falcons, but wound up doing the opposite.

“It’s nothing I can put my finger on right now, it’s just not working for us right now,” Redskins running back Alfred Morris said when asked about the struggles.

He also said, “We’ve got to figure out a way to do better and figure out a way to win that battle. The first two weeks we did great. These last three weeks, we haven’t been doing great. I know we’ll find a way to get back to it.”

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