There's a convoluded-yet-common line of thinking in sports. If Team A beats Team B, and Team C beats Team A, then Team C should also be able to beat Team B. Right?
In Week 2, the Washington Football Team beat the New York Giants, albeit barely. In Week 4, those same Giants beat the New Orleans Saints. So, if you apply the above mental gymastics, then WFT should be able to get a win in Week 5 over those same Saints.
Perhaps. And Washington should be in an even better position considering the Giants beat the Saints last Sunday without injured receivers Sterling Shepard and Darius Slayton.
Of course, if the game were that simple, it would be almost a sure win for the burgundy and gold. But it's not.
The transference of wins doesn't work that way, but there are items from other team's schemes the Washington coaching staff could adopt in their efforts to drop New Orleans to 2-3 on the year.
"A couple of things that we didn't really want to happen in that game that were keys was to eliminate the explosives," said Saints head coach Sean Payton on Monday after studying film of his team's 27-21 overtime loss to the New York Giants. "They had a number of big plays, particularly in the passing game. They were spreading us out and throwing it real quick, or condensing some formations with more of a shot play."
In the win, the Giants had a touchdown pass of 52 yards from quarterback Daniel Jones to wide receiver John Ross, a 54-yard scoring throw to running back Saquon Barkley, and three more receivers (Kenny Golladay, Kadarius Toney, and tight end Kyle Rudolph) had long catches of 20+ yards.
Jones finished with 402-yards, two touchdowns, one interception, a 108.5 quarterback rating, and the Giants' first win of the 2021 NFL Season.
He had some help from their third unit as well, the special teams.
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With less than eight minutes remaining, the Saints held a 21-10 lead and seemed well on their way to their third win.
Saints punter Blake Gillikin sent a kick to the Giants' 20-yard line where it was fielded by Giants return man C.J. Board. From there, Board took the punt back 26 yards to midfield, running out of bounds at the Giants' 46-yard line.
The play shot life into the Giants and, on the next play, they got the explosive score from Jones and Barkley, trimming the lead to just three after a successful two-point conversion.
Spread the defense, get contributions from special teams, and take shots. Sounds like something Washington can replicate.
Even with backup-turned-starter Taylor Heinicke, Washington hasn't shied away from deep shots. Through four weeks, the WFT quarterback is tied for 17th in the league with 16 pass attempts covering 20+ yards.
Jones had five deep throws against the Saints, while Heinicke led the NFL in Week 4 with eight.
Heinicke is also currently sitting sixth in the league when it comes to completing deep passes. However, he also leads the league with three turnovers when taking those shots.
So it's not just about throwing it deep, it's about doing when the coverage and protection allow it. Something we saw from the more of in Atlanta, compared to Buffalo.