The Washington Redskins were held to 64 total rushing yards in their season opener against the Philadelphia Eagles; it was one of the key reasons the team lost 30-17. A week after the embarrassing loss, the Redskins turned to their running game to lead them past the Los Angeles Rams, 27-20.
This week,have the Redskins as underdogs against the Oakland Raiders, but the Redskins believe they have what it takes to get the win.
During the offseason, Washington coach Jay Gruden emphasized that he wanted to have a more balanced offense, after relying heavily on quarterback Kirk Cousins last year. It was difficult to get their run game going against the Eagles in their season opener because they fell behind quickly.
Against the Rams, the Redskins could run the ball more since because they didn’t have to deal with a big deficit, and they finished the game with a healthy 229 net rushing yards. Washington should be able to get some yards on the ground this week because the Raiders allowed the Jets to rush for 126 yards last week, and have been shaky on defense this season. They’re averaging 4.8 yards per carry (against) in the first two games, and will have to do better than that against the Redskins.
This week, Gruden asked his offensive line what they wanted to do against the Raiders, and the answer was unanimous, run the ball. While the offensive line would probably say that every week, they all wanted to run the ball because they liked how they performed in practice, and feel they will be successful against Oakland.
Gruden said his offensive line is very active and big, so he feels they should be able to move people around easily. He added that he is very happy with his offensive line because they stepped up to the challenge, especially after their first game when they didn’t gain a lot of rushing yards.
Second year running back Rob Kelley loved the play of the offensive line, as he was able to gain 78 yards on 12 carries before missing the rest of the game with an injury.
Chris Thompson stepped in after Kelley was knocked out of the game, and scored on a 61 yard run. After the game, Thompson said the offensive line did such a great job, all he had to do was use his speed to get the job done.
Even rookie running backgot in on the action on Sunday, after not playing in the season opener. He finished with 67 yards on 21 carries.
Thanks to their performance last week, the Redskins offensive linemen are the talk of D.C., and their teammates and fans are hoping they can continue that level of play for the rest of the season.
One thing is for sure, the Redskins line started to show some kind of identity this week, and if the offensive line holds up for the rest of the season, the Redskins chances to win games improves exponentially. They have a long way to go to earn the nickname Hogs, but it starts with winning in the trenches consistently, like they did against the Rams on Sunday.