For the first 30 minutes of Sunday’s game against the New England Patriots, the winless Washington Redskins were in striking distance against the reigning world champions: the team took a 7-0 lead and actually was ahead for a total of 14 minutes and 18 seconds of game time — the first time all season the Patriots trailed in a game. However, things started to come apart quickly with New England pulling away in the second half.
The Patriots made the necessary adjustments at the half: the offense focused more on the running game in order to take advantage of a defense that was on the field a lot during the first two quarters, while the defense simply continued out-executing the Redskins. In the end, the visitors — who were essentially playing in front of a home crowd despite the game being in Washington — won with a final score of 33-7.
Just a few hours after getting blown out by the Patriots, Washington pulled the plug on its head coach: as first reported by ESPN’s Dan Graziano, the team has parted ways with Jay Gruden. Sunday’s game is not the sole reason for the move considering the Redskins were entering the game with an 0-4 record after looking lost all season long, but it made obvious just how far away Gruden’s team was from a team like the Patriots.
Veteran running back Adrian Peterson made that obvious after the game, when speaking about New England’s defensive approach — giving a clear update on the state of the organization just a few hours before Gruden getting fired: “They showed a lot of exotic stuff on film. But against us, they didn’t really. You know? It was like, hey, we’ll sit back here and see what you guys do, allow you guys to mess up.”
The Patriots blew out the Redskins by simply playing better and taking advantage of their opponent’s mistakes. At the end of the day, this approach helped New England improve to 5-0 while it cost Jay Gruden his job.