Falcons at Redskins – Can Washington Shutdown Aerial Attack
- Updated: October 5, 2012
Washington was able to squeak away with a win against the worst team in the NFC South, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but will they be able to do the same against the undefeated, first place, Atlanta Falcons?
Needless to say the Washington Redskins are the underdog Sunday which rightfully they should be. The Redskins passing defense is still without a doubt one of the worst in the league. Not only are they giving up 326 yards a game, but they’ve also already allowed 11 touchdowns through the air, which ironically is the same amount of touchdowns the Atlanta Falcons have scored through the air this season.
There is a bright side to this passing attack, and that is the fact that it’s supposed to rain on Sunday, the question is will that have as much of an impact as most Redskins fans feel it should. The answer is simply no.
The Atlanta Falcons might play in a dome stadium, but that doesn’t mean that’s where they’ve played football their entire lives. Through pee-wee, high school, college, and even the NFL for those players who have been traded around, they’ve all played in the rain before. They also play Tampa Bay, an area that see’s a lot of rain throughout the year, not to mention the rest of the away games they play during each season.
You also have to remember the Redskins practice in a bubble now as well. They are no longer the team of old that would always practice in the elements, so if one expects the rain to affect the performance of the Atlanta Falcons, you most definitely should expect the same from the Washington Redskins.
Moving away from that, we should see a bigger attack by both the Redskins and Atlanta Falcons ground games as you normally see in rainy climates. That happens to be one area where the Redskins hold the upper hand, as they are the second best team in the NFL with rookie running back, Alfred Morris. Last week they went up against the then number-one rushing defense and needless to say made a mockery of them.
That however is where the problem comes in for the Redskins. With Atlanta having the eighth best passing defense in the league, Robert Griffin III is bound to throw into mistakes. This is the first team that can play against the pass effectively that Griffin will see this season. As we saw last week, Griffin nearly threw two interceptions when he threw into triple coverage, twice. If they forced Peyton Manning into throwing three interceptions, tricking a rookie shouldn’t be too hard.
With that said, the Redskins will obviously want to stick to the run game much more than the pass, not only because of the pass defense, but also the rain. This in essence will make the Atlanta Falcons job a bit easier than would be expected. Look for them to stack the box as we saw a lot last year with Rex Grossman, forcing the ball into Robert Griffin III’s hands and causing him to make mistakes. Atlanta is one of the best teams in takeaways for a reason.
On the other side of the ball, the Redskins MUST get pressure on Matt Ryan, whom throughout his career has crumbled when under pressure. Unfortunately with the injuries to the defensive line, the Redskins pass rush has become irrelevant. That’s not to say pressure is not being put on quarterbacks, but it’s nothing close to what we expected during the offseason.
Washington might be one of the better teams against the rush (10th in the league), but that doesn’t mean Atlanta will be afraid to throw the ball. After all the rain isn’t going to make an already bad secondary any better, especially when going against two elite wide receivers in Julio Jones and Roddy White, not to mention future Hall of Famer, Tony Gonzalez.
You can never leave out Michael Turner who has been a complete beast his entire career. He is almost impossible to bring down, and with wet jerseys you would have to expect the tackling to be even harder.
Washington will need a lot of help by the offense this game if they plan to win back-to-back games. They’ve already beaten two of the four NFC South teams they’ve faced this season, not only would beating the Atlanta Falcons be number three, but it would be a statement to the rest of the NFL. Cam Newton and the Panthers nearly came away with a victory if it weren’t for an amazing catch by Roddy White, so a win isn’t entirely out of the question.
Ideally the Redskins will need to do what they did in New Orleans, control the time of possession and score on just about every drive they have. Additionally they cannot get conservative with the play calling towards the end of games as they’ve done the entire season. A full 60 minutes of Redskins football will win this game.