In a game that was likely to be a last resort for both teams to save their season, Washington absolutely embarrassed the Saints in Landover, 47-14.
Here's what we learned...
- Washington offensive line coach Bill Callahan is a genius when it comes to blocking schemes. This is a fact. But that does not excuse the Saints' defense on Sunday, which was absolutely embarrassed by a series of gouging screens and draws that led to 27 first-half points alone. Kirk Cousins is a starting-level NFL quarterback, but he is not the kind of quarterback that should be putting up 297 yards and three touchdowns AT HALFTIME. Washington had its second-highest yardage total within the first half hour. This will all eventually fall on the shoulders of defensive coordinator Rob Ryan. Over the years, I've been one of his biggest defenders and was a firm believer in the versatile run/pass secondary he was building in New Orleans. Those days are just about over. The Saints need to start thinking about a change.
- As an extension of our first point, the Saints look like an absolute mess sometimes. Coaches argue with one another and players argue with coaches, but it happens on an incredibly consistent basis for a franchise that is still viewed as "stable" by some. Brees waved off the punt team on Sunday deep in New Orleans' own territory and went on to sling a pass two yards short of the marker. Washington was up so many points, it didn't know if it was proper etiquette to kick a field goal up 44-14 or to go for it on fourth-and-three.
- At 4-5, Washington finds itself in an interesting position here, with games against the Giants, Eagles and Cowboys (2) still remaining on its schedule. Consistency has been the issue all season long, but if it can play half as efficient against the Panthers next week and against the Giants the following Sunday, Gruden and Co. could at least add to the absolute traffic jam atop the division.
- Why was Brees in at the end of the game, down 47-14? On the broadcast, the crew mentioned that Garrett Grayson would likely remain on the bench because he's still not familiar with the playbook. Would this not be a great opportunity to test it live? And really, what's the worst thing that could have happened? The Saints might give up some more points? Grayson might throw another two interceptions? The team was just begging to add insult to injury on a very, very ugly Sunday. Poor Tim Hightower had to run out the clock once it was clear they were keeping Brees in specifically for handoffs.
- This was a game between two teams more than likely not heading to the playoffs; however, they were two young teams with some very promising young talent to build off. Washington guard Brandon Scherff, running back Matt Jones and wide receiver Jamison Crowder -- how good was the top half of that draft class, by the way? -- all played well on Sunday. For New Orleans, linebacker Stephone Anthony and pass rusher Obum Gwacham both had nice games. For each team going forward, especially the Saints who have a far greater chance of running with a different coaching staff next season, building blocks like these are so important. Hopefully New Orleans invests in a coordinator with a similar style so that pieces like Anthony fit in 2016.