The Washington Redskins‘ Week 4 contest with the Oakland Raiders was the best performance by the much-maligned Redskins’ defense in quite some time. The unit produced seven sacks, held the Raiders’ offense under 300 total yards, and even got an interception return for a touchdown by rookie cornerback David Amerson.
Amerson’s touchdown was the third for the Washington defense in 2013, which gave the Redskins the momentum necessary to come from behind and defeat Oakland 24-14 for the Redskins’ first victory of the season. This performance was just what the doctor ordered, considering that it comes right before Washington’s bye week. A win heading into the bye week gives the Redskins the confidence they need to turn their season around.
However, we can’t get too carried away with Washington’s defense. The Redskins’ stellar defensive performance is skewed, considering that Raiders starting quarterback Terrelle Pryor missed the game due to a concussion sustained the previous week. In addition, Oakland running backs Darren McFadden and Marcel Reese didn’t finish the game due to a hamstring and knee injury respectively.
Simply put, with McFadden’s absence, the Redskins’ defense dominated a Raiders’ offense devoid of any true playmakers.
That doesn’t diminish the Redskins’ victory because the fact remains that wins are tough to come by in the NFL. The victory gives Washington a much-needed positive result, considering the adversity and underachievement that has plagued the franchise so far this season.
The Redskins will receive some good news regarding their defense. Defensive end Jarvis Jenkins and reserve linebacker Rob Jackson are set to return to the team after serving respective four-game suspensions for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy.
Neither is a difference-maker on the Redskins defense in comparison to outside linebackers Brian Orakpo and Ryan Kerrigan. However, Jenkins was a starter that solidified the run defense. Jackson provides depth at outside linebacker, and serves as an efficient performer on special teams.
Redskins fans hope the team’s defensive performance against Oakland serves as an impetus for continued improvement. Despite Washington’s slow start, they’re only one game out of first place in the NFC East. If there’s improvement on both sides of the ball, the Redskins could be very much in the thick of things in the division.