The New Orleans Saints went into their Week 10 matchup looking to rebound from a tough overtime loss to the Tennessee Titans a week prior, but it wasn't meant to be. The game started out how you would expect: With a 96 yard TD drive from Washington to jump out to an early lead on a PA bootleg to Jordan Reed from 18 yards out.
The Saints, however, looked like they may be able to keep pace early. Mark Ingram ripped off a massive 70 yard run (a career long) to set up Brandin Cooks's 4th TD of the season from the 4 yard line. Washington would score again to go up 14-7 before both teams traded punts, and Drew Brees hit a 60 yard TD pass to Brandin Cooks to tie it at 14.
After that, all hell broke loose for New Orleans. Washington put up 33 unanswered points, taking a 47 to 14 lead. The Saints' defense ran like a sieve, and everything that Washington did got huge chunks of yardage. They averaged 6.9 yards per carry as they consistently seemed to rip huge holes in the New Orleans' defense. Whether Alfred Morris or Matt Jones were getting touches, it simply didn't matter. Morris averaged 6.2 yards per carry and Matt Jones sat at 5 yards per carry, further inflating his statistics with a ridiculous day through the air, including a 78 yard screen taken back for a touchdown.
The Saints, meanwhile, sat in total disarray, with the coaching staff and players both looking completely lost. After starting the game with 3 carries for 81 yards, Ingram saw limited action. On a 4th & 1 early in the second half, with the game still competitive, the Saints went for a 4th & 1 in which CJ Spiller took a carry up the middle and was stuffed. Ingram, meanwhile, was relegated to only receiving screens the entire second half. The true dagger was a pick 6 that fell off the hands of Marques Colston into the hands of Dashon Goldson that Goldson took back for a touchdown. The offensive line continued to struggle as well, as Brees was sacked 3 times and pressured even more.
Rob Ryan and his defense looked entirely lost, and ultimately gave up 513 total yards to the Redskins. This game more than any raised a question of what percentage of the incompetence was Ryan and what percentage was the defensive talent. Delvin Breaux missed some time with an early injury and Keenan Lewis suffered a nasty knee injury, but no one seemed to be able to make a play. Whether or not Ryan makes it past the bye week raises an interesting question, as Sean Payton is not one to make midseason moves (especially because in theory, by a very longshot, the Saints have an outside shot at the NFC Wild Card).
Sean Payton also had a brief moment of confusion in the 4th quarter, in which Drew Brees ushered the Saints' special teams back to the sideline when Payton tried to send them onto the field. The Saints would fail the 4th & 4, which Washington immediately converted to a field goal.
The Saints are watching their season in free fall after this game, as the defense hasn't held an offense to below 34 points in 3 games (conceding that one of those games was in overtime but also counter-conceding that it was against the Titans). Ryan shouldn't make it past the BYE, but it would be a major philosophical change to see him dismissed. One thing to say for New Orleans is that they don't like to alter philosophy, so these next two weeks will present a real test for them.
Here are some of the key stats from the game.
Drew Brees (NO): 19/28, 201 yards, 2 TD, 2 INT
Kirk Cousins (WAS): 20/25, 324 yards, 4 TD
Mark Ingram (NO): 5 RUSH, 77 yards, 70 LNG
Alfred Morris (WAS): 15 RUSH, 93 yards, 28 LNG
Matt Jones (WAS): 11 RUSH, 55 yards, 20 LNG
Brandin Cooks (NO): 5 rec, 98 yards, 2 TD
Matt Jones (WAS): 3 rec, 131 yards, 1 TD, 78 LNG
Jamison Crowder (WAS): 4 rec, 60 yards, 1 TD
Jordan Reed (WAS): 3 rec, 29 yards, 2 TD
Jo-Lonn Dunbar (NO): 10 tackles, 6 solo
Jairus Byrd (NO): 4 tackles, 4 solo
Perry Riley Jr (WAS): 7 tackles, 4 solo, 1 INT
Dashon Goldson (WAS): 5 tackles, 3 solo, 1 INT, 1 TD