ASHBURN — At one point in Alex Smith’s career, the Redskins quarterback, then in Kansas City, went 18 straight games — dating from December 2013 to September 2015 — without throwing a touchdown pass to a wide receiver. It was one of the most random streaks in football, but Smith and the Chiefs offense still found ways to be productive.
During Sunday’s 24-6 win against the Arizona Cardinals, Smith did much of the same.
Wideouts Josh Doctson, Paul Richardson and Jamison Crowder accounted for just 65 of Smith’s 255 passing yards, but the Redskins’ offense was efficient — relying on running backs and tight ends to move the ball down the field.
But, Smith said, that’s what the flow of the game dictated. The win wasn’t an indication that the Redskins’ offense will depend less on its receivers this season.
“There was some unknown,” Smith said. “We didn’t know the way the game plan was going to go, you know? There’s going to be weeks like that. There’s going to be other weeks where it comes in bunches. All of a sudden, we’re going to lean on them offensively. … That’s the nature of week-to-week and who you’re playing.
“The great thing is we’ve got a bunch of selfless guys out there. All they care about is winning. Obviously, they want to be involved and included, but (they’re) team-first guys.”
The Redskins ran the ball 42 times in Arizona, while Smith had just 30 attempts for 21 completions and two touchdowns. Of those passing plays, running back Chris Thompson led the team with seven targets and six receptions.
Last year, the Redskins went the entire year without getting much from their receivers. Crowder led the franchise with 789 yards, but Washington had two wideouts in 2016 who finished with more than 1,000 yards. As a whole, the passing game took a step back — going from the fifth-most efficient attack in 2016 to the 14th, according to Football Outsiders.
In the offseason, Washington addressed the position, signing Richardson to a five-year, $40 million contract and drafting Trey Quinn in the seventh round. With Richardson, the Redskins hope the 26-year-old provides an element of speed to burn opposing secondaries.
Against the Cardinals, Smith almost connected with Richardson on a perfectly placed deep ball, but a defensive holding penalty prevented the completion. Richardson, though, was targeted six times throughout the game, catching four passes for 22 yards.
Smith said every week, the Redskins won’t know who’s “turn it’s going to be” until the games start.
The Redskins have their home opener Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts.
“Good offenses prepare every single guy included to do their job, that when their number is called, you make the play,” Smith said. “You’re accountable to the other guys on the offensive side and the team. You piece it together through playmakers and scheme that you can’t stop us all, you know that kind of mentality. I think you have to develop that and work at it.”
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