Here are four takeaways from the Redskins’ 21-9 loss to the Colts in Week 2.
Running game disappears: The Arizona Cardinals just might have the worst defensive line in the league. How else to explain why Adrian Peterson and the Redskins’ rushing offense managed to look so good in last week’s win in the desert and so awful in Sunday’s loss to the Colts, who allowed the seventh-most rushing yards per game a year ago? Peterson had three carries for one yard at halftime and finished with 11 carries for 20 yards. Chris Thompson had four carries for one yard. According to CBS play-by-play man Spero Dedes, Jamison Crowder, who opened the game with a 25-yard run on an end-around, became the first Redskins wide receiver to lead the team in rushing in a game since Bobby Mitchell … in 1968. Perhaps we should’ve seen this inconsistency coming with Peterson. After all, he had 134 yards rushing in his Cardinals debut last season and 21 yards the following week.
Downfield passing game fails to emerge: With the Redskins’ running game stuck in neutral, when it wasn’t in reverse, and Washington trailing for the entire game, more pressure fell on quarterback Alex Smith to generate offense with his arm. Smith’s 46 pass attempts were tied for the third-most in his 158-game career. He completed 33 of them for 292 yards, and while he played turnover-free football for a second consecutive week, he also didn’t take many shots downfield. Even with the Redskins trailing by two scores in the final two minutes, Smith was content dumping the ball off over the middle to Thompson and Jordan Reed. Thompson led all receivers with 13 catches for 92 yards, including five on Washington’s final desperation drive, which was decidedly lacking in urgency. Smith did hook up with Paul Richardson Jr. for a 34-yard strike late in the first half, but Washington is going to have to attempt to stretch the defense more often in the weeks ahead or risk offensive performances like Sunday’s.
Pressure lacking: With Colts left tackle Anthony Castanzo out with a hamstring injury, it figured to be a field day for Washington’s defensive line. Instead, Matt Ioannidis had the Redskins’ only sack of the game. The Redskins’ lack of pressure on Andrew Luck allowed the quarterback to find T.Y. Hilton seven times for 83 yards and a fourth-quarter touchdown. D.J. Swearinger had two interceptions, including one on an ill-advised throw by Luck, but the Colts burned the Redskins’ linebackers and secondary all afternoon with short pick plays and rub routes. Meanwhile, the Colts’ defense sacked Smith three times. Indianapolis rookie linebacker Darius Leonard was a one-man wrecking crew, with 18 tackles, a sack and a forced fumble.
Missed opportunities: The Redskins had a chance to build off the momentum of last week’s dominating performance and improve to 2-0 for the first time since 2011, but they came out flat and looked unprepared at home. The defense, which held the Cardinals scoreless until late in the fourth quarter, allowed the Colts to march 75 yards for a touchdown on their opening drive. Indianapolis converted five of its first seven third downs, and while the Washington defense eventually stiffened, the offense settled for field goals. With the Redskins trailing 14-3 early in the third quarter, Swearinger’s second interception of the game gave Washington the ball at the Indianapolis 22. The Redskins still couldn’t crack the end zone. Trailing 21-9 with 5 minutes remaining, Reed lost a fumble in Indianapolis territory to all but ice the game. Add in the Redskins’ seven penalties for 90 yards and it’s a wonder they were even in position to steal an ugly win as long as they were.
In-game updates and analysis
Final: Colts 21, Redskins 9
Tick, tick, tick: The Redskins are moving the ball down the field with short passes, but the clock is not their friend and is under a minute. At some point, Alex Smith has got to take a shot downfield, right? Nope. Washington turned the ball over on downs after Smith’s short pass over the middle to Chris Thompson fell incomplete. (Colts 21, Redskins 9, 0:46)
Redskins are out of timeouts: After forcing a punt and burning their final timeout with 3:58 remaining in the game, the Redskins began their latest drive from their own 20-yard line needing two scores. (Colts 21, Redskins 9, 3:47 4th Quarter)
A costly turnover: One play after Trent Williams hobbled off the field with an injury, things went from bad to worse for the Redskins. With Washington in Indianapolis territory, Jordan Reed made a short catch over the middle, but had the ball punched loose by Colts rookie linebacker Darius Leonard just before his knee hit the ground. Pierre Desir made the recovery at the Indianapolis 29-yard line. Leonard has had a huge game, with 15 tackles, a sack and now a forced fumble. (Colts 21, Redskins 9, 5:00 4th Quarter)
T.Y. Hilton touchdown catch extends Colts’ lead: It’s back to a two-score game in Landover. T.Y. Hilton capped a 13-play, 75-yard drive with a three-yard touchdown catch after some apparent miscommunication between D.J. Swearinger and Quinton Dunbar at the snap left the wide receiver wide open on a crossing route. Washington’s defense had stopped the Colts on third down on four consecutive possessions before the scoring march, which included four third-down conversions. Former Redskins wide receiver Ryan Grant had two catches for 30 yards on the drive. (Colts 21, Redskins 9, 7:32 4th Quarter)
Another Redskins drive ends in a field goal: Washington went backward on the first two plays of the fourth quarter, with Alex Smith taking a sack for a loss of nine and Chris Thompson unable to shake a horde of Colts defenders before being dropped for a loss of two on third-and-long. That brought on Dustin Hopkins, whose third field goal of the game in four attempts, from 49 yards out, pulled Washington a little closer. (Colts 14, Redskins 9, 13:28 4th Quarter)
Washington is on the move: It took three quarters, but the Redskins may have finally found a rhythm on offense. After the defense forced another three-and-out, Adrian Peterson broke off a 14-yard run, by far his longest of the game. Alex Smith threaded the needle to Jordan Reed for a 19-yard gain. Washington will open the fourth quarter at the Colts’ 19 looking for its first touchdown of the day. (Colts 14, Redskins 6, End of 3rd Quarter)
Redskins pull within 14-6: Josh Doctson couldn’t come down with what would’ve been an impressive catch in the corner of the end zone on a fade route, forcing the Redskins to settle for a 27-yard Dustin Hopkins field goal. Jordan Reed, who was quiet in the first half, had an 11-yard reception on third down during the short scoring drive. (Colts 14, Redskins 6, 5:40 3rd Quarter)
D.J. Swearinger makes another interception: D.J. Swearinger stepped in front of T.Y. Hilton and made his second interception of the game at the Indianapolis 22. Can the Redskins’ offense take advantage of the short field? (Colts 14, Redskins 3, 9:17 3rd Quarter)
Nothing doing for the offense: The Redskins’ opening drive of the second half got off to an inauspicious start, thanks to a holding penalty on the kickoff return and a false start by Trent Williams. A 14-yard completion to Josh Doctson on third down moved Washington out of the shadow of its own end zone, but the drive ultimately stalled just shy of midfield. Tress Way has more punts (5) than Adrian Peterson has rushing yards (3). (Colts 14, Redskins 3, 10:38 3rd Quarter)
Halftime: Colts 14, Redskins 3
Maybe the Cardinals are just really, really bad. The Redskins look nothing like they did in their Week 1 win at Arizona and have some adjustments to make at halftime if they’re to get to 2-0 for the first time in seven years. The halftime stats are ugly, especially for the Washington offense. Adrian Peterson has three carries for one yard. Chris Thompson has three carries for zero yards. Alex Smith is 10 for 16 for 97 yards. Meanwhile, the defense has allowed the Colts to convert five of their nine third downs.
Dustin Hopkins misses before halftime: The Redskins put themselves in position to get points before the half, but Dustin Hopkins’s 49-yard field goal attempt in the final seconds of the second quarter sailed wide left. Alex Smith found Paul Richardson Jr. for a 34-yard completion on the drive. (Colts 14, Redskins 3, 0:01, 2nd Quarter)
Redskins bring pressure and get a stop: Andrew Luck and the Colts took over at their own 19-yard line with 1:52 remaining before halftime and all three timeouts, but their two-minute drill never got rolling. Zach Brown pressured Luck into an incompletion on first down, Matt Ioannidis sacked the Colts’ QB on second down and Mason Foster made an open-field tackle on Jack Doyle on third-and-long to bring on the punt team. Washington’s defense has forced consecutive three-and-outs after a slow start. (Colts 14, Redskins 3, 0:55 2nd Quarter)
Saved by replay review: After forcing a Colts punt, the Redskins initially appeared to give the ball right back when Jamison Crowder, who had ball security issues last season, fumbled the ensuing return. Malik Hooker recovered the ball for Indianapolis, but replay showed that Crowder was down by contact before the ball popped loose and Washington retained possession after a replay review. (Colts 14, Redskins 3, 3:58 2nd Quarter)
Washington goes three and out: Right guard Brandon Scherff returned to the game after leaving earlier in the second quarter to be evaluated for an injury, but the Redskins’ offense continues to struggle. Adrian Peterson was stopped for no gain on first down, Jordan Reed’s first catch of the day went for four yards on second down and Alex Smith threw incomplete on third down. (Colts 14, Redskins 3, 5:33 2nd Quarter)
Colts take 14-3 lead in the second quarter: The Redskins’ defense has been unable to get off the field in the first half. Rookie running back Nyheim Hines’s first career touchdown run capped an eight-play, 75-yard drive to extend Indianapolis’s lead. A 37-yard pass interference penalty on Fabian Moreau was the big play of the drive, which included the Colts’ fifth third-down conversion in seven attempts. (Colts 14, Redskins 3, 6:51 2nd Quarter)
Redskins get on the board: Washington capitalized on the first turnover of the game when Dustin Hopkins drilled a 49-yard field goal straight down the middle. The key play on the drive was a 21-yard screen pass to Adrian Peterson, who leads the Redskins with three catches for 30 yards. Peterson has never been known for his pass-catching skills (he had 11 receptions in 10 games last year), but he already has five catches this season. (Colts 7, Redskins 3, 11:12 2nd Quarter)
Brandon Scherff exits with an injury: Potentially brutal news for the Redskins, as right guard Brandon Scherff suffered a right knee injury while blocking on a screen pass and was examined in the injury tent. Scherff is questionable to return. (Colts 7, Redskins 0, 12:30 2nd Quarter)
Redskins force a key turnover: The Colts were threatening to add to their 7-0 lead after Andrew Luck and T.Y. Hilton hooked up for a 17-yard gain and a roughing the passer penalty on Pernell McPhee tacked on another 15 yards, but the Redskins’ defense responded with their biggest play of the game thus far. On third and short, Mason Foster batted Luck’s pass over the middle into the air and safety D.J. Swearinger made a diving interception at the Washington 37. Swearinger and his fellow defensive backs proceeded to break out their ‘Flight Marshals’ celebration. (Colts 7, Redskins 0, 13:09 2nd Quarter)
Colts get out of trouble, are on the move again: With Indianapolis facing third and 12 from its own 3-yard line, Andrew Luck found T.Y. Hilton for 22-yard gain on the final play of the first quarter. Former Redskins wide receiver Ryan Grant made the key block on the play to spring Hilton, who has two catches for 40 yards. (Colts 7, Redskins 0, End of 1st Quarter)
Washington’s second drive stalls: A defensive offsides penalty negated a Colts sack on third down and gave the Redskins new life on their second possession, but Washington couldn’t take advantage on their next series. Josh Doctson couldn’t haul in what would’ve been a big gain on first down. Two plays later, Chris Thompson was dropped for a loss of three on a misdirection pitch play on third and short. (Colts 7, Redskins 0, 0:57 1st Quarter)
Colts go three and out: Andrew Luck threw incomplete on third down after Marlon Mack was stuffed for short gains on the first two plays of the Colts’ second possession, leading to a Rigoberto Sanchez punt from just outside his own end zone. The Redskins will begin their second drive on their own 38-yard line. (Colts 7, Redskins 0, 4:58 1st Quarter)
Redskins forced to punt: Washington’s first possession began with a 25-yard run by Jamison Crowder on an end-around, but stalled just across midfield when linebacker Darius Leonard tackled Paul Richardson Jr. for a gain of one when the Redskins needed five on third down. Washington downed Tress Way’s ensuing punt at the Indianapolis 10. (Colts 7, Redskins 0, 6:37 1st Quarter)
Eric Ebron gives the Colts an early lead: Well, that didn’t take long. The Redskins’ shutout-less streak is at 429 games and counting after Andrew Luck led Indianapolis on an 11-play, 75-yard touchdown drive to open the game. Luck was 4 for 5 on the drive, including a seven-yard touchdown pass to tight end Eric Ebron on a fade route with Montae Nicholson in coverage. Indianapolis converted all three of its third downs and was successful running the ball, as rookie Jordan Wilkins and Marlon Mack combined for 35 yards on six carries. (Colts 7, Redskins 0, 9:25 1st Quarter)
Colts start with the ball: The Redskins won the coin toss and elected to defer, giving the defense an early look at Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis offense.
Redskins pregame introductions will look a little different this year. Out: The inflatable helmet tunnel. In: Pyrotechnics.
Washington Capitals star Alex Ovechkin returned to FedEx Field before Sunday’s Washington Redskins home opener against the Indianapolis Colts, donning his own customized burgundy and gold uniform. He had already met with Redskins stars Josh Norman and Derrius Guice earlier this week, both of whom reveled in Ovechkin and the Capitals ending the city’s championship drought earlier this spring.
Ovechkin was still being celebrated on the sidelines on Sunday, less than 48 hours after he opened training camp with the Capitals; he took countless selfies and waved to admirers in the NFL crowd, and he was the centerpiece of the coin toss a few minutes before kickoff. (via Roman Stubbs)
Don’t expect to see Ovechkin hoisting the Stanley Cup in his suite during the game as he did when the Capitals visited Nationals Park in June; the trophy was in China and Hong Kong over the weekend. Meanwhile, Norman and the Redskins will wear burgundy jerseys with white pants for the first time since 2012.
Redskins defensive lineman Preston Smith arrived in a Capitals jersey.
Wide receiver Maurice Harris is among the inactives for the Redskins. Fellow wide receiver Paul Richardson Jr., who was questionable with a shoulder injury, will play. Running back Marlon Mack is active for the Colts.
Washington Redskins (1-0) vs. Indianapolis Colts (0-1)
Kickoff: 1 p.m. ET, FedEx Field
Radio: 630 and 980 AM; 92.7, 94.3 and 105.9 FM
Line: Redskins by 6
After a dominating win in Week 1 at Arizona, the Redskins are back home to face the Colts with a chance to open the season 2-0 for the first time since 2011. Running backs Adrian Peterson and Chris Thompson combined for 294 total yards against the Cardinals and quarterback Alex Smith was efficient in his Redskins debut, doing most of his damage with short passes to Peterson, Thompson and tight end Jordan Reed.
Washington’s defense nearly registered a shutout for the first time since 1991 and limited running back David Johnson to 37 yards rushing. The Colts, who dropped their season opener to the Bengals, don’t have a running back on their roster anywhere close to Johnson’s caliber, but quarterback Andrew Luck should provide the Redskins’ secondary a stiffer test than Sam Bradford did a week ago. Luck, who threw five touchdown passes in these teams’ last meeting in 2014, looked sharp in Week 1 after missing all of last season with a shoulder injury.