The Washington Redskins utilized an all-around, dominating effort on Sunday to defeat the New Orleans Saints, 47-14, at FedExField.
Early in the second quarter of Sunday's Redskins-Saints matchup, as each team seemingly couldn't stop scoring, the 75,086 in attendance at FedExField probably thought they were going to be treated to a high-scoring nail biter between two clicking offenses.
Check out these top photos from the Washington Redskins' 2015 Week 10 matchup against the New Orleans Saints Nov. 15, 2015, at FedExField.
But the Redskins' defense put on the clamps from that point, while their offense didn't slow down one bit.
Washington turned in its most solid all-around performance on Sunday in their 47-14 victory over New Orleans, improving its record to 4-5 on the season heading into next Sunday's showdown on the road against the NFC's top team, the Carolina Panthers.
The Redskins certainly had all the momentum going into the fourth quarter, as evidenced by tight end Jordan Reed's second touchdown catch of the day with 11 seconds left in the third.
But Washington managed to step on New Orleans' throat to begin the fourth quarter, when veteran safety Dashon Goldson picked off a Drew Brees pass and returned it 35 yards for a touchdown.
It was Goldson's second-career pick six, and it sent the home crowd into a frenzy.
Once again, the defense stood tall on the Saints' ensuing drive, forcing a turnover on downs and giving the ball to its offense at the New Orleans' 22-yard line. The Redskins would turn that into points six plays later, when Dustin Hopkins converted his fourth field goal in four tries and extended their lead to 47-14 with just less than 10 minutes left in the game.
And wouldn't you know it, the Redskins' defense responded once again. Veteran middle linebacker Perry Riley Jr., this time, picked off Brees on an impressive play while being dragged to the ground deep in Washington territory.
That'll do it.
Cousins' final stat line? 20-of-25 with 324 yards and four touchdowns and no interceptions, for a perfect passer rating of 158.3.
Washington's 47 points? The they've scored since 2005.
THIRD QUARTER: Redskins 37, Saints 14
After seeing the league's top offense have its way for the first quarter-plus of action Sunday at FedExField, the Washington Redskins' defense has responded in a big way.
After winning the opening coin toss, the Saints decided to defer to the second half, giving them the kickoff to open the third quarter.
Drew Brees and Co. drove all the way to the Washington 31-yard line on their opening drive of the second half, but decided to go for it on 4th and 1.
Stuffed. Not in here.
C.J. Spiller was stopped short of the first-down marker by pretty much the entire Redskins' defense, as their high-quality play continues.
On their ensuing drive, the Redskins drove all the way to the New Orleans 22-yard line before Kirk Cousins, on third down, was forced out of the pocket and threw the ball away. A 40-yard field goal attempt from Dustin Hopkins was good -- his third field goal of the game -- and extended Washington's lead to 30-14 with 4:38 left in the second quarter.
Sure, the Redskins would like to come away with a touchdown there, but any points off the turnover on downs to extend the lead on the league's top offense are obviously going to help in this situation.
The Washington defense answered the call once again on the ensuing New Orleans drive, forcing a punt. To this point of the game, the Redskins' offense has been really impressive, but it's hard to overlook the performance -- and the response -- by this Redskins defense.
And this time, the Redskins' offense would capitalize with a touchdown. Kirk Cousins found Jordan Reed on an eight-yard touchdown pass with less than 10 seconds remaining in the third quarter. It was the Florida product's second receiving touchdown of the game, and, after the Hopkins extra point, Washington extended its lead to 37-14.
Good offense. Good defense. Good special teams. This has got to feel great for Jay Gruden and his team.
HALFTIME: Redskins 27, Saints 14
The Redskins and Saints are locked into a close back-and-forth, blow-for-blow battle today at FedExField.
After getting out to a 14-7 lead at the end of the first quarter, the Redskins' defense made a huge play to start the second quarter. On 3rd and 8 from the New Orleans 22-yard line, Saints quarterback Drew Brees dropped back and was quickly harassed by defensive end Stephen Paea, who brought him down for an 8-yard loss.
The play was Paea's first-career whole sack for the Redskins.
But the Redskins, who scored on their first two possessions, couldn't cash in this time around, and were forced to punt.
The Saints did cash in, however, in the form of a 60-yard touchdown pass from Brees to Brandin Cooks on their next possession -- Cooks' second touchdown grab of the day.
Right back at you.
The Redskins started their next drive from their 20 and two plays later struck gold, as Kirk Cousins found running back Matt Jones for a 78-yard touchdown pass. The rookie running back out of Florida showed impressive moves in the open field to break free -- and to break away -- from the Saints defenders.
The Redskins' defense did a tremendous job on the Saints' ensuing drive, highlighted by a bone-crunching sack of Brees shared by Trent Murphy and Chris Baker. Two plays later, New Orleans was forced to punt.
Washington would get all the way to the New Orleans 7-yard line on their ensuing drive, but a big sack on third down by Obum Gwacham for a loss of 10 stalled that drive. Dustin Hopkins would connect on a 35-yard field goal to extend the Redskins' lead to 24-14.
Washington would benefit from a dropped pass by Brandin Cooks on third down on the Saints' ensuing drive to force another punt, which was fielded by Jamison Crowder and taken to the Washington 31-yard line, giving the team 1:53 to try to notch a few more points before halftime.
A defensive holding call on the Saints on third down certainly helped matters for Cousins and the Redskins, who got across midfield on the very next play when the Michigan State product found running back Chris Thompson for 23 yards to the New Orleans 36.
Cousins is doing a terrific job today getting the ball into the hands of his playmakers and seeing what they can do with it.
Same thing, two plays later, this time to Crowder for 31 yards to the 16. Man is this guy shifty.
Twelve seconds remained on the clock after a false start put the ball at the New Orleans 21. Thompson took the handoff on a draw play all the way to the 5-yard line, setting up a 23-yard attempt for Hopkins.
The attempt was good, and the Redskins are feeling good in the locker room, up 27-14.
What a half for the Redskins' offense. Cousins has completed 17-of-20 passes for 296 yards and three touchdowns to no interceptions. Jones has caught the ball three times for 131 yards and a 78-yard touchdown. The Redskins already have 122 yards on the ground, led by 54 from Thompson.
FIRST QUARTER: Redskins 14, Saints 7
The Washington Redskins' offense put itself in quite the predicament to open Sunday's home matchup against the New Orleans Saints.
To start, the opening kickoff, a short kick by former Redskins kicker Kai Forbath, landed at the 6-yard line and bounced into returner Rashad Ross' hands at the goal line. Ross did a little too much dancing and was tackled at the 8-yard line.
But a holding call started Washington's opening drive from the 4. Their first play from scrimmage? Holding. Ball at the 2.
The Redskins would steady things out from there, however. After two huge third-down conversions – a beautiful 42-yard, over-the-shoulder connection from Kirk Cousins to DeSean Jackson and a three-yard conversion to Pierre Garçon – Washington scored on a 16-yard pass from Cousins to tight end Jordan Reed, who hopped high into the air to get into the end zone.
The scoring drive – 10 plays, 96 yards and 6:46 off the close – represented the Redskins' first scoring drive of 96 yards or more since a 97-yard scoring drive Dec. 3, 2000, against the New York Giants.
But the league's top offense didn't take long to respond. The Saints used a 70-yard run down the sideline by Mark Ingram on their first drive to get to the Washington 5-yard line, and a couple plays later, Drew Brees found Brandin Cooks four a four-yard touchdown score. After the extra point, the Saints had tied it up at 7.
Credit the Redskins, however, as they struck right back.Five plays and 83 yards into their second drive, Cousins found rookie Jamison Crowder, who crossed into the end zone and made a very impressive catch as he hit hard by two Saints defenders.
Crowder's first touchdown of his career, and an extra point from Dustin Hopkins, gave Washington their 14-7 lead going into the second quarter.