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Instant Analysis: Big Plays Hurt Washington's Defense In Loss To Rams

Quarterback Alex Smith avoids pressure during the Washington Football Team's 30-10 loss to the Los Angeles Rams on Oct. 11, 2020. (Elijah Walter Griffin Sr./Washington Football Team)
Quarterback Alex Smith avoids pressure during the Washington Football Team's 30-10 loss to the Los Angeles Rams on Oct. 11, 2020. (Elijah Walter Griffin Sr./Washington Football Team)

It was 2nd-and-6 at the Los Angeles Rams' 44-yard line when quarterback Jared Goff looked to his left and fired a pass to Robert Woods, who was wide open and sprinting down the sideline.

Woods caught the ball in stride, and without any player from the Washington Football Team's defense in position to make the play, he ran into the end zone on a 56-yard play to make the score 13-7.

It was a difficult task for Washington's defense to keep up with the Rams, who boast one of the most efficient passing attacks in the NFL, in a 30-10 defeat. Big plays from Woods, Cooper Kupp and Gerald Everett fueled a unit that racked up 429 total yards and was 40% of its third downs. Offensively, Alex Smith returned to play nearly two years after suffering a gruesome injury, but Washington struggled to put together drives after a strong start and only mustered 108 total yards.

After starting the season as the only NFC East team to win a game in Week 1, Washington has lost four straight by at least two scores.

There were moments when Washington' defense got the better of Goff and the Rams. It forced a 3rd-and-7 at the Los Angeles' 34-yard line on the Rams' opening drive, but that was immediately followed up by a 23-yard catch-and-run from Everett. Washington responded with a 10-play, 73-yard drive that ended with Kyle Allen sprinting into the end zone on a seven-yard scramble to take a 7-6 lead, only for the Rams to respond with the touchdown pass to Woods on their next drive.

Washington seemed to get a spark when Smith trotted out onto the field in place of Allen, who was banged up on a sack in the second quarter. Kendall Fuller grabbed an interception with 49 seconds before halftime, and Smith directed the offense 29 yards downfield for a 48-yard field goal from Dustin Hopkins to make the score 20-10 at the break.

That ended up being the last points Washington would score for the day, as its defense continued to give up chunks of yardage. First, it was a 49-yard play by Kupp that brought the Rams to Washington's 10-yard line, setting up a field goal. Then, Josh Reynolds made a 29-yard reception, which allowed Goff to complete an 11-yard touchdown pass to Darrell Henderson Jr. two plays later.

And while the defense was able to hold the Rams out of the end zone for the rest of the game, the offense's four drives of the fourth quarter either resulted in a punt or a turnover on downs.

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