LANDOVER – It didn't take long for fans to witness the ineptitude of the Washington Redskins’ offense during its preseason game with the Green Bay Packers on Aug 13.
Washington’s inability to maintain a steady rushing attack carried over into the second preseason game, as the Redskins fell to the Packers, 21-17, at FedExField.
“We stuttered and sputtered and missed a few throws, and I had a couple of runs rejected, but they stuck with it,” Washington Redskins Head Coach Jay Gruden said. “I think it was good for (the starters) to stay out there for the half, at least get a touchdown in there, have something positive happen.”
Redskins starting running back Robert Kelley had an abysmal performance after he accounted for nine total yards on nine attempts. That left quarterback Kirk Cousins with a lot of ground to cover in the first half despite being gifted a muffed punt recovery by Niles Paul after Green Bay’s Trevor Davis dropped the ball following a three-and-out opening series.
Washington was then in prime scoring position on the Green Bay 16-yard line. However, Cousins threw three consecutive incomplete passes and forced Gruden to send out kicker Dustin Hopkins. Hopkins nailed the 34-yarder, but the team's red zone woes continued.
Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers did not show any rust on the ensuing drive, and he led a 15-play possession that was capped off by a three-yard touchdown toss to newly acquired tight end Martellus Bennett. While Rodgers' evening was finished after one drive, Cousins still had work to do as the Redskins sought their first touchdown of the preseason.
With Rodgers enjoying the game on the sidelines, his backup, Brett Hundley picked up where he left off late in the second quarter. Hundley picked apart the Redskins’ secondary and led his team on a 73-yard drive before hooking up with Aaron Jones for a three-yard touchdown pass.
Cousins remained on the field, and the Michigan State product finally found some rhythm as he matriculated the ball downfield in a two-minute drill. That was, until the offense hit a wall in the redzone.
After missing the mark three times on the Packers 4-yard line, Cousins hit Jamison Crowder on fourth down for a four-yard touchdown pass. The Redskins finally gave their fans something to cheer about before the half came to a close.
Cousins finished the night 14-of-23 for 144 yards and a touchdown.
“We felt good about the fact that we scored at the end of the half, made some good plays,” Cousins said. “We didn’t run the ball as well as we would have liked, at times didn’t throw the ball as well as we wanted. It was a good step in the process to build toward Week 1, and I think we all believe we still got a lot of work to do.”
Colt McCoy took over the quarterbacking duties and played admirably. He led the Redskins on a scoring drive on the second possession of the second half after he hit Niles Paul on a 16-yard toss to retake the lead. McCoy finished the contest 7-of-11 for 70 yards and the touchdown to Paul.
Despite enjoying the lead, it did not last long. The Redskins’ defensive unit was gashed later in the game and finally broke down with a little more than six minutes remaining in the game. Packers rookie quarterback Taysom Hill scampered in from 23 yards out for the final touchdown of the contest.
Once again, the Redskins’ rushing attack was putrid and accounted for 59 yards on the evening. But rookie running back Samaje Perine bounced back from a less than stellar performance last week against the Ravens after he had eight carries for 45 yards.
“I just felt more comfortable,” Perine said. “You know, being the first game last week, I had to get my first-game jitters out. Now I’m just continuing to build and get more comfortable with the system and just keep doing whatever I have to do.”
If Washington wants to be a contender in the NFC East this season, the running game must be shored up. The Redskins will have another chance to see if the running back group can perform better than it has against the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday afternoon.