Redskins fall to Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints
NEW ORLEANS After Drew Brees became the NFL’s all-time leader in passing yards Monday, the game stopped momentarily.
The Saints quarterback had just completed a 62-yard touchdown pass to receiver Tre’Quon Smith and the crowd at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome erupted.
Brees, who needed just 201 yards to break Peyton Manning’s record of 71,940 career yards, greeted and thanked his teammates. He went over and met his family cementing a moment he’s likely to remember for the rest of his life.
The Redskins, however, would rather forget it.
Washington had no answer for Brees and the Saints Monday in a 43-19 loss, allowing the quarterback to throw for 363 yards while completing 89.6 percent of his passes for three touchdowns. Brees’ quarterback rating? Perfect.
The Redskins (2-2) were embarrassed, putting forth a confounding performance in which they were coming off a bye.
The Redskins couldn’t get out of their own way early. On the Saints’ first drive of the game, Washington seemingly made a stop on third down that would have forced a three-and-out but cornerback Josh Norman committed a holding penalty that allowed the Saints to extend the drive. New Orleans took advantage, later scoring on a two-yard rushing touchdown from Mark Ingram.
Washington needed to respond and did, but only to a point. The Redskins marched down the field a drive in which quarterback Alex Smith delivered a 23-yard strike to Paul Richardson only for the offense to stall in the red zone. At issue: pressure. The Saints sacked Smith on third down, setting up a 37-yard field goal for kicker Dustin Hopkins.
But it was the next series that even worse. Again, Washington shot themselves in the foot on third down.
First, a Ryan Kerrigan sack, his first of the year, was all for nothing as safety Montae Nicholson was called for an unnecessary roughness penalty after shoving a Saints lineman. Then, on the same drive, Quinton Dunbar was called for defensive holding in the end zone and Brees hit tight end Josh Hill for a one-yard touchdown instead of the Saints settling for the field goal.
The Redskins needed to be perfect moving forward. They weren’t.
The offense fell flat, failing to keep up with Brees. After settling for three points, Brees and the Saints continued to rack up yards. New Orleans went up 20-6 when Ingram punched in another score from the goal line.
Following that, the Redskins went three-and-out, which set up Brees’ wide-open 62-yard strike to break Manning’s record.
Washington went into halftime down 26-13, scoring late due to a Saints fumble that was scooped up by linebacker Pernell McPhee. That set up the Redskins’ lone first-half touchdown: a four-yard rushing draw from Smith.
The Redskins, too, tried to make adjustments to no avail. Coach Jay Gruden benched Norman to start the second half, opting to play rookie Greg Stroman who was subsequently burned en route to a 35-yard touchdown from Brees to Tre’Quon Smith. Norman returned later on.
Smith, meanwhile, was far from the type of quarterback the Redskins needed to force a comeback looking outright horrible at times. In the third quarter, he committed two costly turnovers, throwing an interception that was returned for 77 yards and lost a fumble as he was sacked for a loss of seven.
The 34-year-old quarterback finished the game just 23 for 39 for 275 yards.
The Redskins were without Josh Doctson (heel), but Smith missed open receivers. His offensive line, too, did him no favors, giving up three sacks.
Washington didn’t have the same rushing attack as they did in their two wins. Running back Adrian Peterson (knee) was hurt on the second play of the game, and while he returned, he did not take a snap in the second half. Trailing for all of the game, the Redskins also abandoned the running game.
Needless to say, the Redskins blew a huge opportunity in primetime. They entered the game with the chance to extend their lead in the NFC East to a game and a half, in part, because the Philadelphia Eagles, Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants all lost on Sunday.
Instead, the Redskins will now have to regroup on a short week to be ready for the 3-1 Carolina Panthers.