At 5-2, NFC East-leading Skins off to best start since 2008
By HOWARD FENDRICH
WASHINGTON (AP) Yes, the Washington Redskins are 5-2 for the first time in a decade.
And now, forget that the when they started that well in 2008, they ended up 8-8.
Yes, they're 5-1 against the NFC for the first time since 2005.
Yes, they're leading their division on the strength of a three-game winning streak.
And, looking ahead, yes, they have an enviable schedule, with only one remaining foe currently holding a record above .500. Next weekend's opponent, Atlanta , is 3-4.
There is still a long way to go, though, for a team that scores very little and passes rather poorly, getting by thanks to a terrific run defense and a strong rushing offense led by 33-year-old Adrian Peterson. That formula worked yet again Sunday in a 20-13 victory against the can't-do-anything-right New York Giants. How sustainable is that approach?
"We feel good," said Peterson, who gained 149 yards on the ground with a TD and caught a 7-yard scoring pass from Alex Smith, "but we can't get too excited."
Coach Jay Gruden acknowledges there is a plenty of room for improvement with Smith, acquired in an offseason trade with the Kansas City Chiefs to replace Kirk Cousins and signed to a $94 million, four-year contract.
Smith hasn't thrown for more than 178 yards in any of the past three games. His completion percentage has been 60 or worse in four of the last five. His season passer rating of 91.3 ranks only 22nd among QBs with at least 100 attempts.
"We're close. We missed some opportunities, of course. But we're going to get there. Just a matter of (what) might be a missed throw here or there. Might be a poor route, maybe. Might be a protection issue," Gruden said. "We're just not quite in full sync right now at this time."
Things looked rather bleak for the Redskins after a 43-19 loss to the New Orleans Saints dropped Gruden's club to 2-2.
Look where they are now.
"I knew it was going to take some time, but finally we're starting to get over that hump and starting to get over that hill," cornerback Josh Norman said. "We're just riding our tricycles down it."
Notes: LT Trent Williams dislocated his right thumb against the Giants and the Redskins will try to figure out a way to allow him to move the thumb with a cast on. ... S Troy Apke reinjured his hamstring and was put on injured reserve. Washington signed LB Cassanova McKinzy to their active roster from their practice squad and added DB Jason Thompson to the practice squad. ... Other injuries: RB Chris Thompson (rib), RB Kapri Bibbs (shoulder), LB Ryan Anderson (knee).
More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP-NFL
Updated October 29, 2018