Nationally, most of the discussion Monday about the Redskins' win over the Packers a day earlier was limited to the controversial roughing-the-passer penalty on Green Bay linebacker Clay Matthews. The prevailing opinion: The new rule prohibiting a player from landing on a quarterback with most or all of his body weight should be tweaked, because, well, it’s a bit much to ask guys to defy the laws of gravity.
Matthews’s penalty Sunday, which had less of an effect on the outcome of the game than a similar call that went against him in Week 2, didn’t completely detract from the fact that Washington outplayed the Packers to improve to 2-1. Here’s what some of the pundits had to say about the win:
DeAngelo Hall praised the Redskins' defense, which entered the game ranked No. 1 in the league and sacked Aaron Rodgers four times.
“This Redskins defense is going to be as good as that front,” Hall told the Sports Junkies on 106.7 The Fan. “When they’re able to apply pressure, get to the quarterback and even stop the run with that front seven, they are a top 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 defense in the National Football League. But you also saw, in Week 2 . . . when they can’t stop the run and they are off balance and have to worry about both [the run and the pass], that the team struggles a little bit. For them, it’s about just being consistent. I think the defense can be as good of a defense as we’ve seen in Washington for a long time, since the old-school days back when we ran a 4-3."
Washington has allowed 44 points through three games, which is tied with the Jacksonville Jaguars for the second fewest in the league. It’s the fewest points the Redskins have allowed entering Week 4 since 2005, when they allowed 37 points and started 3-0 under Joe Gibbs. Washington allowed 18.3 points per game that year, good for ninth-best in the league. Since 2009, Hall’s second year with the Redskins, the team has ranked no better than 17th in points allowed by the end of the season. Former Redskins Coach Mike Shanahan switched Washington’s base defense from a 4-3 (four down linemen and three linebackers) to a 3-4 in 2010.
“The way those guys looked, man, watching [Daron] Payne and [Jonathan] Allen and [Matt] Ioannidis, it was amazing, man,” Hall said of the Redskins' defensive linemen, who accounted for all four of Washington’s sacks. “I saw Ioannidis, at one time, was getting blocked by a 330-pound guard. He’s pushing the guard, pushed him into Aaron Rodgers and came down with the sack. Literally, still with the guard blocking him. I said, ‘Man, that’s a grown-man play right there.’”
NFL analyst Brian Baldinger was impressed by Ioannidis’s sack, too, and noted that Washington’s defensive front “came to play in the muck” against the Packers.
“When you can get a bull rush the way Temple Tough’s Matt Ioannidis does against Bryan Bulaga, and walk him right back to the lap of Aaron Rodgers?” Baldinger said while breaking down a replay of Ioannidis’s sack on Twitter. “Jim Tomsula, defensive line coach, doing a great job with the young Matt Ioannidis. He’s becoming a factor on that front.”
Clinton Portis didn’t give the Redskins a chance of beating the Packers before Sunday, but the former Redskins running back now has a rosier outlook. Portis is predicting Washington will finish 10-6 or 11-5.
“I give us a great chance to win the division,” Portis said to Chris Cooley during a “Redskins Roundup” segment posted on Redskins.com. “Philly’s secondary isn’t that good. Dallas, their offense . . . uh, no. And then you look at the Giants, they have some issues, they have some guys coming back. So, hey, I give us a chance to win the division.”
FiveThirtyEight gives the Redskins a 14 percent chance of winning the NFC East and a 30 percent chance of making the playoffs.
On ESPN’s “First Take,” Damien Woody suggested that Adrian Peterson’s 120-yard effort against the Packers was the sign of more good things to come from the 33-year-old running back.
“Number one, the guy came into the season relatively fresh,” Woody said. “He didn’t have a lot of wear and tear coming in, because the Redskins signed him late. Number two, when you look at the Washington Redskins, they’re running the ball 44 percent of the time. That’s third in the National Football League. They have a formidable situation going in Washington. Coming into the game, they had the number one defense in the league. Combine that with running the football, with Adrian Peterson, behind a pretty doggone good offensive line.”
On NBC Sports Washington’s “Redskins Talk” podcast, Peter Hailey noted that the Redskins already have two wins by at least 14 points this season, which equals their total number of wins by 14 or more points last season. “Another non-squeaker,” Hailey said. “It’s weird.” It is indeed. Meanwhile, fellow host J.P. Finlay suggested the Redskins showed their true colors Sunday. “I believe that’s the team we’re going to see,” Finlay said. “I think that’s the team that the Redskins are, not the terrible performance we saw against the Colts.”
On his podcast, Kevin Sheehan shared what he liked and didn’t like about the win. One of the few things in the latter category was the confusion in the Redskins' secondary that allowed Geronimo Allison to get wide open for a long touchdown.
“You got to figure that out, because [Drew] Brees is next,” Sheehan said of Washington’s “Monday Night Football” game against the Saints, who put up 43 points on the Falcons on Sunday, after the bye week. “Brees and Mike [Thomas] and company, and Alvin Kamara and company, they’re next. There’s been some defensive backfield communication issues in the first three weeks here.”
Read more on the Redskins: