Pleased to Meet You: Week 7, Washington Redskins

Wesley Hitt

The Bears take on the Washington Redskins on Sunday. Let's meet the Bears' next opponent.

Last week, the Bears took down the now 0-6 New York Giants en route to win number four on the year. This week, they get a step up (well, one win's a step up...) in the Washington Redskins.

Last Year: Finished 10-6 in Robert Griffin III's rookie season. They took the NFC East crown and lost in the first round of the playoffs to the Seahawks.

This Year: Currently, they sit at 1-4, which is good for third place in the NFC East.

When Last We Met: The Redskins and Bears faced off in Soldier Field back in 2010, which the Redskins won 17-14 to advance to 4-3 en route to a 6-10 season. The Bears actually scored 14 first-half points behind a Donovan McNabb interception returned for a touchdown by D.J. Moore and a touchdown thrown to Johnny Knox by Jay Cutler. Unfortunately, Cutler threw four picks this game to DeAngelo Hall, one of which was returned for a touchdown.

Offense:
Total Yardage:
1996 (4th)
Total Points: 107 (20th)
Passing Yardage: 1356 (10th)
Rushing Yardage: 640 (9th)

Robert Griffin III's end to last season was anything short of ideal, after tearing his ACL in the playoffs. His rough(er) start to the season kind of shows that as he became slightly more of a pocket passer, but lately his mobility's started to return, and with it his team's rushing numbers. Last week the Redskins rushed for a season-high 216 yards, including Griffin's 77 and Alfred Morris' 81 for a touchdown.

In the passing game, the Redskins signed Pierre Garcon last year after his surge under Peyton Manning in 2010, and last year he didn't necessarily light the world on fire in his ten games, but this year he's up to 35 receptions with 408 yards - he's gotten more looks and so far has no less than six receptions in any single game. In short, not having a bad season. After him, three players have seventeen receptions - Santana Moss (still getting it done at age 34), Leonard Hankerson, and tight end target Jordan Reed. So there's more than Garcon to worry about, especially as Griffin gets more mobile and is able to make more plays himself.

Defense:
Total Yardage: 1975 (27th)
Total Points: 143 (27th)
Passing Yardage: 1358 (24th)
Rushing Yardage: 617 (27th)

The Redskins' defense wasn't exactly the strong suit of the team last year (part of that might have been due to Brian Orakpo missing all but two games last season...), and this year there's a common thread - Brian Orakpo has three sacks in his team's five games so far, but not much else. He picked up two against the Raiders, but nothing against the Eagles, Lions or Cowboys. Maybe it's a little unfair to say, because the Redskins have 16 sacks on the season, with eight players hitting the sack column, Ryan Kerrigan laying down a Zerg rush five times on opposing quarterbacks. The Redskins are still getting after quarterbacks aggressively.

(Do I get bonus points for that Starcraft reference? Damn straight I do.)

But when the ball's in the air, the Redskins allow a 7.3 net-yards-per-attempt (and keep in mind, net includes yards on sack plays) which is the 6th highest in the league. And the six rushing touchdowns allowed are the fourth most in the league... Yet they allow scores on just about a third of their drives, which is actually in the top half of the league.

So what does that mean? If the play's in front, the Redskins can do a decent job of closing down the drive. When the play extends downfield or gets into the second level, drives explode. Part of that? Brandon Meriweather is playing safety.

If the Bears do this...

So, what I want the Bears to do this week is put together sustained drives. Try not to put yourselves in situations where the pass rush can just storm the castle and get the ball advancing past the line of scrimmage. Of course, there may or may not be deep-ball opportunities as well. But if the Bears can avoid taking sacks this week, they can move the ball on offense and do things with it.

If the Redskins do this...

If the Redskins' offense gets on track, especially running the ball, there could be problems for the Bears' defense. Jon Bostic's first start should see a lot of action in stopping the run, but watch for the Redskins to build play-action off it.

Closing Thoughts:

This is an intriguing matchup from the "What will the Redskins give us?" department. Let's hope it's a Bears win.

(Also, if I may be so bold, please, no discussion on the Redskins' name here in the comments. There are other places to make comments on the "right" or "wrong"-ness of the name, I'd prefer this post to stick to the football side of things. Thanks. - Management)

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