Entering a Week 8 matchup against the New York Giants, the Redskins defensive line had been on quite a roll. Stifling talented offenses such as the Carolina Panthers and Dallas Cowboys in weeks past, the men upfront continued that trend on Sunday. In total, the Redskins recorded seven sacks and limited Giants running back Saquon Barkley to under 40 yards rushing. While numerous players contributed to the defensive dominance, lineman Matt Ioannidis had a particularly impressive day, making him this week's Kia MVP of the Game.
Ioannidis had 2.5 sacks on the day, as he got to Giants' quarterback Eli Manning in the closing moments of both the first and second quarter for his two solo takedowns. He also teamed up with linebacker Ryan Kerrigan for a combination sack. Ioannidis' constant pressure on the line of scrimmage kept the Giants offense off balance and uncomfortable throughout the game. With Ioannidis and his fellow defenders constantly in the face of Manning, New York's offense turned the ball over twice and only managed 13 points.
The third-year veteran's play on Sunday was a continuation of his strong start to the 2018 season. Ioannidis now has 5.5 sacks on the season, and has recorded at least one sack in four of the team's seven games. His play along the line has been a key reason as to why the Redskins find themselves in first place in the NFC East through eight weeks.
"It's very nice. That's what us pass rushers want to do, we want to put pressure on the quarterback and hopefully sack the quarterback," Kerrigan said. "It is gratifying to get to him, that's for sure. It was tough at times, I stayed positive throughout the first couple of weeks when it didn't seem to be going my way in terms of sacks. It's the game, you got to keep playing and keep working."
"He's just having fun right now," cornerback Josh Norman said about Ioannidis' performance. "The whole line is having fun. We're just enjoying them have fun."