Last season, the Washington Redskins were the worst run defense in the NFL. A year later they are one of the most stout run defenses in the league. Sunday, led by the trio of Matt Ioannidis and the Alabama duo of Jonathan Allen and Daron Payne, the Redskins stifled sensational rookie running back Saquon Barkley and the New York Giants.
The Redskins added Barkley to a growing list of running backs they have stopped in their tracks. Barkley finished Sunday’s game with 38 yards and 2.9 yards per carry average as the Redskins beat the Giants 20-13 in dominating fashion.
The Redskins defense now ranks second in the league in run defense, allowing 80.1 yards per game. In addition, the Redskins haven’t allowed a run longer than 18 yards. Only the Minnesota Vikings haven’t allowed a longer run this season. Considering the running backs the Redskins have faced this season thus far, that’s an impressive feat. What’s more impressive is no running back has rushed for more than 61 yards against them in a game.
David Johnson, Alvin Kamara, Mark Ingram, Christian McCaffrey, Ezekiel Elliott, and Barkley are among the who’s who the Redskins have stopped. McCaffrey, Elliott, and Barkley coming in the past three weeks.
Inside linebackers Zach Brown and Mason Foster have pitched in behind the trio of a wall in front of them. Brown entered Week 8 as the third-rated linebacker in the league, garnering an 87.1 run defense grade, according to Pro Football Focus. And while Foster’s grade is not as impressive, he recorded 13 tackles in Sunday’s win over the Giants, nine against Elliott and the Cowboys a week before.
— Mark Bullock (@MarkBullockNFL) October 28, 2018
Still the attention will be on Payne, Allen, and Ioannidis. They are the beefcakes in front that keep blockers off Brown and Foster. They are the ones that clog the gaps, and control the battle of the line of scrimmage.
The Redskins defense can do a lot of things well on all three levels of the formation, however, it all starts with their ability to negate any opponents run game, essentially making them one dimensional. Stopping top level guys such as they have all season makes their complete turnaround going from the worst to one of the best in the league in a turn of a season what they’ve accomplished that more impressive.