Three quick thoughts from the Redskins’ 27–10 beatdown against the Raiders, a game that wasn’t as close as the score might suggest:
1. Chris Thompson was mostly known for his pass-catching prowess out of the backfield heading into the season. The fourth-year tailback has taken it to a whole other level, and his breakout campaign won’t go unnoticed any longer after a sensational performance Sunday night in D.C. Thompson scored the game’s first touchdown, a 22-yard trip to pay dirt when he was uncovered on a flare route. He also had the contest’s biggest play and ultimate dagger: With the Raiders fresh off a touchdown drive and the Redskins facing a third-and-19, Thompson turned a screen into a 74-yard scamper. While Washington ultimately settled for a field goal on that drive, Thompson’s huge gain kept the Raiders at bay by turning it into a three-score game in the fourth quarter.
Kirk Cousins’s safety valve finished with 150 yards and a touchdown on six grabs, and Thompson added another 23 yards on five carries. He’s one of three players with two rushing and receiver touchdowns—Kareem Hunt and Todd Gurley are the others—and has clearly emerged as a difference maker for this offense. Fourth-round rookie tailback Samaje Perine actually garnered more snaps than him (21 to 14) in the first half, but it seems obvious that Thompson deserves a bigger role going forward, even when Robert Kelley returns from injury.
2. While Thompson certainly stole the show, Washington’s offense as a whole had no problem carving up Oakland’s defense. Cousins made another convincing argument toward his eventual enormous compensation, drastically outplaying the recently well-paid Derek Carr. Tight end Vernon Davis made the elderly envious about his fountain-of-youth game, coming up big with 58 yards and a touchdown in Jordan Reed’s absence. Former first-round wideout Josh Doctson only had one catch, but he made it count. The TCU product absolutely Moss’d Raiders cornerback David Amerson on this 52-yard scoring grab, the first touchdown in the young target’s career. Even with the offseason departures of DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon, Cousins still has plenty of tantalizing weapons to work with.
3. Oakland’s offense was a full-blown disaster in its first Eastern Time Zone primetime game since the opening week of the 2005 season. The Raiders took advantage for 10 points on short fields following two Redskins turnovers, but other than that, it was utter domination by the home team. The ugliness started on the first play of the game, as Carr was picked off on a deep ball that didn’t have quite enough zip on it. The Raiders mustered five first downs, went 0 for 11 on third-down attempts and turned the ball over three times. The offense didn’t cross the 100-yard mark until late in the fourth quarter, averaging a mere 2.6 yards per play as a unit. Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper caught one pass apiece, and the offensive line gave up four sacks. Oakland faces a tall task this upcoming week, traveling to Denver to face a Broncos team that also suffered a road loss on Sunday. The questions on both sides of the ball will be put under the microscope once again in a key AFC West battle.