Kirk Cousins and the Washington Redskins faced their Beltway rival in the Baltimore Ravens last Sunday. With the Redskins’ obvious deficiencies in run defense, many expected the Ravens to stick to the ground to move the chains. This looked to be the case early as Terrance West collected 60 yards on his first five carries.
A combination of Baltimore abandoning the run for no apparent reason, and the Washington defense making some much-needed adjustments, stopped the Ravens from scoring after the first quarter.
On offense, the Redskins success should be credited to Pierre Garcon; He consistently made key catches and gave Washington the lead-changing score in the middle of the third quarter.
The Redskins have a 2nd and 4 at the Baltimore 21. Here’s the ALL-22 angle of the play:
The Ravens show a two-high safety look pre-snap, while the Redskins motion tight end Jordan Reed to the left interior slot. Due to the lack of defensive adjustments post-motion, this tells Cousins that Baltimore is playing zone defense.
This assumption is correct as the deep right safety approaches the box to play a short zone, while C.J. Mosley blitzes from the center of the defense. The Ravens are now in a Cover 3 zone dog look only having six total zone defenders.
Washington runs a fake screen to receiver Jamison Crowder, selling it by setting up blocks with Reed and Garcon on their respective receivers. Seeing this, Baltimore cornerback Jimmy Smith (22) gets caught looking into the backfield, giving Garcon the free lane to the back left corner of the end zone.
Kirk Cousins’ pass was perfect. He places it in-stride to his receiver who doesn’t need to make any adjustments to bring it in. While the pass was excellent, the setup to the pass was even better.
Watch closely as Cousins looks to Crowder completely turning his body and then hard fakes the underneath throw. This is what sells the screen to Smith and buys enough time for Garcon to slip past him for the score.
This game was the tipping point for the Ravens’ management. Already frustrated with the lack of results on the field, Baltimore fired offensive coordinator Marc Trestman after the game. This obviously can’t be seen in the replay above with the Ravens defense, but much like the Buffalo Bills firing Greg Roman, perhaps they hope it has a positive effect on the team anyway.
The Seattle Seahawks don’t play Baltimore or Washington this year, but that doesn’t mean they’ll totally avoid the Redskins. Not only could they meet in the playoffs again like they did in 2012, but if Cousins has a solid season, it’ll probably force Washington to give him a long-term contract that may ultimately set a standard in the next round of negotiations between the Seahawks and quarterback Russell Wilson. If he struggles and hits the open market, Cousins could potentially find his way to San Francisco, and maybe even Arizona, next season.
Trestman was the offensive coordinator for the San Francisco 49ers in 1995, 1996, opposite of defensive coordinator Pete Carroll. Will Carroll consider giving him a job now?
Follow Samuel Gold on Twitter: @SamuelRGold.