- - Sunday, October 21, 2018

LANDOVER — It may be a video-game 21st century NFL, but the Washington Redskins appear determined to play like Y2K is still years away.

A running back, a good defense, solid special teams and winning the turnover battle — that recipe for success in your grandfather’s NFL is today’s blue-plate special for the Redskins.

Those were the ingredients the 20-17 win Washington cooked up over Dallas Sunday at FedEx Field.



Notice what is missing? The forward pass. Not sure if you are familiar with it. It’s all the rage.

An offense that scores 30 points a game? Anyone can win that way in today’s NFL.

Try winning with a $94 million quarterback who completes 14 passes in a game in 2018. Now that’s impressive.

This Redskins team might be able to afford to play with a Billy Kilmer-like 1972 offense as long as each they follow the recipe step-by-step:

First, score first. Then, when the offense stalls, win the field position battle on special teams. Finally, take advantage of those field-position victories with a defense that forces turnovers and keeps opponents on their own side of the field.

That’s the smell of winning Redskins football, for better or worse.

So far, with a 4-2 record, a rare two-game winning streak and first place in the NFC East, it’s for the better.

And who knows how far it will carry them? They travel to the Meadowlands next week to face the woeful 1-5 New York Giants, then they host the 2-4 Atlanta Falcons.

The defending Super Bowl champions and NFC East favorite Philadelphia Eagles? They lost 21-17 Sunday to the Carolina Panthers — the team Washington beat 23-17 last week at FedEx Field — and now have a losing 3-4 record. The Redskins have two games left with the struggling Eagles.

If they were going to go into the season with a limited quarterback like Alex Smith, this is the year to have done so. Everything seems to be falling their way — like a game-tying 52-yard field goal attempt by Cowboys kicker Brett Maher hitting the left upright as the clock ran out.

Washington loses one of its top offensive threats in running back Chris Thompson, along with receivers Jamison Crowder and Paul Richardson, going into Sunday afternoon’s game against Dallas — on an offense that can’t afford to lose any weapons — and it faces a Cowboys team that may even be more limited on offense than the Redskins.

The one weapon it can’t afford to lose, though, is 33-year-old Adrian Peterson, who had 99 yards rushing on 24 carries, which is extraordinary, since he is carrying the Redskins’ offense on his sore shoulders.

The first five minutes of the game Sunday was the blueprint for Washington to be successful on the field this season. Dallas opened with the ball on their 25-yard-line, then, after an incomplete pass from Dallas quarterback Dak Prescott to Michael Gallup, Prescott scrambled for 22 yards and what appeared to be a first down on the Washington 49 yard line. The play was brought back, though, on a holding call. After another incomplete Prescott pass, Dallas punted — a poor 33-yard kick by Chris Jones — and the Redskins took over possession on their own 48 — a field position victory.

Smith got the Redskins into the end zone on six plays — four of them runs by Peterson — and then connected with Kapri Bibbs on a 23-yard touchdown pass for a 7-0 Redskins lead five minutes into the first quarter. An early lead, another part of the formula for victory.

For Dallas to answer back, they would have to rely on its limited offense — running back Ezekiel Elliott, who rushed for 150 yards the last time he faced the Redskins. But not this defense, anchored up the middle by Alabama big men Jonathan Allen and Daron Payne, this defense held Elliott (who had 106 yards rushing against Jacksonville last week in Dallas’ 40-7 win) to just 34 yards on 15 carries — strong defense, also an ingredient for a Washington win.

And in case you weren’t paying attention, Redskins linebacker Ryan Kerrigan drove the point home with five minutes left in the game when, with Washington leading 13-10, he sacked Prescott, deep in his own territory on the 1 yard line, forcing a fumble that was recovered by Preston Smith, who carried it in for the score and a 20-10 lead.

Forward pass? Please. That’s so five minutes ago.

You can hear Thom Loverro on 106.7 The Fan Wednesday afternoons and Saturday mornings and on the Kevin Sheehan Show podcast every Tuesday and Thursday.

• Thom Loverro can be reached at tloverro@washingtontimes.com.

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