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Washington Football Team: Week 16 Takeaways

1.The Defensive Line can Impact the Game Without Generating Sacks

The Washington Football Team generated a total of zero sacks against a deadly Seattle passing attack. This may have come as somewhat of a surprise, given that Washington has one of the league’s fiercest defensive lines in the NFL.

However, what the box score will not say is that the defensive line played reasonably well overall. Washington’s front four was able to put pressure on Russell Wilson, which made him have to take dump down passes throughout the game.

This helped nullify the impact that star wide receiver DK Metcalf could have on the game’s outcome. This, in part, helps explain why he was held to only 43 yards.

What makes this number more impressive is that one of Washington’s starting linebacker’s Cole Holocomb, was out with a concussion. Washington had also previously placed safety Deshazor Everett on the injured reserve list before the game.

Another factor that explains Seattle’s low passing output was the score throughout the game. After an anemic looking opening drive for Washington, Seattle took the ball down the field for a field goal. Seattle never trailed throughout the game, while their lead ballooned as large as 17 points.

As a result, Seattle’s offense focused on milking the clock for a large portion of the second half.

2.Washington’s Rush Defense Still has Room to Improve

Washington Football Team's Chase Young warming up
Washington Football Team’s Chase Young warms up on December 20, 2020. Photo courtesy of The Washington Football Team.

While Seattle was focused on rushing the ball for a large portion of the game, the Washington defense did not always do a ton to help their cause.

Washington allowed a pair of explosive rushes on the day. The first occurred when defensive end Chase Young took an inside route to Russell Wilson, which gave Wilson a one on one with a player in the secondary, who he ended up burning.

The second came as a 50 yard rush by Carlos Hyde. On that rush, the Seattle offensive line [a unit that had been considered a cause for concern entering the week] managed to create a hole so large in Washington’s defensive line that someone could have driven a car through it. 

Washington’s defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio has done a great job this year. However, when coaching younger talents such as defensive tackle Daron Payne and defensive end Chase Young,  they will see some mistakes related to technique from time to time. That is what occurred on the mentioned plays.

3.Dwayne Haskins has “Matured” as an Athlete

Washington Football Team's Dwayne Haskins warming up
Washington Football Team’s QB Dwayne Haskins warming up on December 20, 2020. Photo courtesy of The Washington Football Team.

Quarterback Dwayne Haskins made some regrettable throws in the first half. These throws played a crucial role in why Washington was in such a poor position at the start of the second half.

However, Haskins’ response to his poor play was something that wasn’t seen in weeks past. After throwing a pair of crucial interceptions, Haskins led his team down the field on two touchdown drives and put the team in position to potentially win the game late.

When the Washington Football Team lost the game, a dejected Haskins could be seen on the sidelines.

While Haskins’s decision making is still very questionable, Haskins seems to have taken a more professional/serious approach to the fact that the team did not get the job done with him starting in week 15.

With the NFL season winding down, here are some NFC East playoff scenarios.

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