One of the biggest wins in recent memory for the Skins. The good, bad, and more.
1. RG3. He was brilliant in the first half in particular. Everything they tried worked and everything they asked of him was executed to near-perfection. There was a drop by Logan Paulson and a missed block by Paulson that led to a sack on the first two drives of the game but the first-half otherwise was a gem. He ran it well, threw it well, avoided pressure well. He's damn good and getting better.
2. The offensive scheme and Kyle Shanahan's playcalling. I've said this before and I'll keep saying it until all of the people I care about are worshiping at the same altar. The Shanahans know what they're doing with their scheme. RG3 as a run-threat out of the pistol and/or spread isn't a "college offense" about to be figured out , it's a "pro offense" that leverages the unique skills of its quarterback which might be easy to figure out but will never be easy to stop as long as RG3 is running it. I loved the playcalling today and it stayed aggressive even at the end of the half when last week they played for a field goal. I loved the aggressiveness on the drive after Dallas got it to within 28-13 when they took it down the field and scored on a gutsy 3rd and 1 TD pass to Niles Paul. Even better was the drive after the Cowboys closed to 35-28. 12 plays, great mix, field goal range, nothing stupid, field goal attempted, field goal made, game over.
3. Pierre Garcon. He IS a difference-maker.
4. Alfred Morris. He is also a difference-maker. He benefits greatly by the scheme that features RG3 as a consitent run-threat but he'd be good in any system.
5. The defensive scheme. For the 2nd straight week, Haslett had them ready to play. Yes a lot of yards and points given up by the time we got to the end of the game but the first half was a gem. Dallas had it five times in the first half and scored 3 points. The Skins were in position to make plays and made them more often than not.
6. Kai Forbath. A huge field goal to ice the game. He is 10 for 10 on the season.
7. Penalty improvement. After double-digit penalties the last few weeks, just 5 for 41 yards today.
1. 2nd half defensive execution. Too many people open althought the Cowboys made some very good plays after the catch.
2. Brandon Banks as a returner. I actually think Banks is helping offensively but his decision to field that punt in the end zone cost them significant yards.
1. I thought Cedric Griffin was pretty good in the first half.
2. The Skins' clock-management at the end of the first half was exceptional. The play call when they were down to no timeouts to roll RG# and throw to Moss where it's either a TD or an incomplete with no chance for sack was perfect.
3. Why they picked up the flag on the late hit on RG3 out of bounds I'll never know. He was clearly out of bounds when he got pushed to the turf.
Not pretty but a big win. The good, bad, and more.
1. Defense played its best game. It wasn't perfect but it was their best comparably to the rest. The three turnovers in the first half set the tone and they were all pretty much forced with pressure and a good fumble-force. The return of Merriweather before his injury in the 2nd half was a factor for sure. He's a big hitter and a playmaker. I'm not a huge fan of some of the playcalling like big blitzes on 2nd and 20 that allow simple screens to go for big yardage but Haslett was able to scheme up some pressure which really affected the rookie Foles. They did a good job making Foles look like a rookie QB, something they haven't done in 7 years to a rookie QB.
2. RG3. His running ability as a result of design or improvisation has been the key to all four Skins' wins this year. He makes chicken out of chicken-blank and it's why they have a chance in any game he plays.
3. Skins made the Eagles quit. The deep TD to Moss seem to be the play that did it but there was little legit fight from the Birds after that play.
1. Penalties. The Skins are an undisciplined team right now. They lead the league in penalties and most of them are concentration-related. They were penalized early and late. Even Lorenzo Alexander's late offsides penalty on a 4th and 3 with under 2 minutes left is bad and a reflection of a problem. How many false starts or illegal formations can you have in one game? How does 7 sound. Not good. The Perry Riley late hit on 3rd and 18 is a perfect example of undisciplined.
2. The offense. Despite the #'s and the victory, the offense struggled for much of the game when the game was competitive. Pass protection was bad during the competitive portion of the game although it was just good enough on the two long touchdown passes. Nice timing. The running game was ineffective early but RG3 extended drives with his feet on 3rd and 2nd and long on multiple occasions to keep drives alive. It got better as the game progressed when the Eagles seemed to lack will. The final #s would be pretty convincing to the contrary but context is important here....the offense didn't do much in the first 2.5 quarters and the team would've been in trouble if not for the Eagle turnovers.
1. Their short-yardage playcalling was questionable today. RG3 doesn't like the option against short-yardage goal line defenses unless it's the zone-read and they never seem to make short-yardage situations on pitch sweeps to Morris either. Not sure what the answer is when you're only playmaker is your quarterback and the parts around him are subpar but they need some new ideas.
2. Why didn't they know the 3rd quarter gameclock would run out before the playclock? Again, they seem to struggle with the simplest parts of managing the clock.
3. The end of first-half decision to run Morris and kick the FG instead of taking shots at the end zone seemed to be a result of no-confidence in the pass protection. Still, you've got to be able to take a few shots or at least throw a screen with one timeout and plenty of time left.
1. Kai Forbath. He's 8 for 8 with 6 of the 8 from 43 or longer although his onsides kick attempt sucked.
2. Alfred Morris. Excellent runner.
3. No turnovers. Amazing that the Redskins haven't committed a turnover in 2 weeks. Even more impressive on day like today when they dominated time of possession running 76 plays with a ton of passes in obvious passing situations in the 4th quarter.
1. Defense. It's awful. It is totally incapable of making plays to get off the field and totally reliant on the other team to self-destruct. Carolina was only stopped by its own dropped passes and penalties until the 4th quarter when their urgency to work clock instead of score became a factor. The Panthers rolled up 330 yards on just 50 plays. Can't decide which is worse, pass rush or coverage. Today, it was coverage and throw in the inability to stop the run as well. Can't decide who is worse, D-Hall or Wilson. I'd say Wilson today.
2. The 4th and goal play-call. I mentioned after the Saints game that the QB sweep with no pass or pitch option is just a bad play. It's a play more than the other run-oriented looks that really could get RG3 hurt.
3. Penalties. In a game that the head coach called "must-win", 13 penalties for 97 yards is unacceptable and on him. A team that is disciplined and playing a so-called "must-win" game can't commit false start and illegal formation penalties.
4. Urgency. Where was the desperation in a "must-win" game? It wasn't obvious to see, especially on defense, but the penalties and dropped passes on offense didn't look very desperate either.
5. Pass protection. Too much drop-back passing for this offensive line. RG3 took big shots in the pocket. Surprised he wasn't hurt on an early shot he took.
6. No playmaking pass receivers without Davis and Garcon. The lack of playmakers has killed them the last two weeks. Morgan and Paulson made a few plays but there's nobody on the field that can stretch it. Aldrick Robinson short-armed the first throw of the game and was targeted two more times the rest of the way managing 1 catch for 6 yards.
7. Shanahan's clock mgt. Calling a timeout on offense on the drive that cut the lead to 21-13 cost them 30-35 seconds when they got the ball back. Instead of getting it back with 18 seconds left, they would've had close to a full minute to try and tie the game. Coaches that know how to manage the clock don't use their timeouts on offense in that situation when they have the ability to snap the ball quickly. They use them on defense to prevent the other team from running the clock out. Pretty much anybody that watches a few games a week understands this. Apparently the Shanahans don't.
8. Officiating. The inadvertent whistle was bad, the 15-yarder on Fletcher was awful, but the delay of game penalty called on the Panthers when the ref was standing under center preventing Carolina from snapping the ball was worst of all. The replacement refs weren't any worse than the crew working the game today.
1. RG3's accuracy was off today even though he had some balls dropped. I also thought that he hung on to the ball in the pocket too long on occasion instead of tucking it and making a play with his feet outside of the pocket.
2. Fletcher just isn't good enough in coverage. Teams are throwing to tight ends as quickly as they can when he drops in coverage.
3. The Redskins were effective moving the ball but not effective scoring points. They took 30 snaps on their only two drives of the first half, rolled up 146 yards, but scored just 3 points. They took 44 snaps on 3 of their first 4 real drives of the game, rolled up 227 yards, but managed just 6 points. I hated the 4th and goal call but I'm not sure playcalling was as much the issue for not completing drives as much as mistakes and execution were. The holding penalty on Trent Williams on their first drive of the game derailed that opportunity. The 4th and goal wasn't my favorite playcall but the execution of it wasn't very good either. On the 3rd quarter drive that ended in field goal, Josh Morgan was open on the slant inside the 5 for a first down but the ball was a bit behind him and he couldn't pull it in. Down 14-6 with a little momentum after the only good defensive play made all day on the 3rd and 1 stop on Tolbert, a drive that appeared to be on the move was hurt by the illegal man downfield penalty on Lichtensteiger and a 3rd down drop by Morgan which was the difference between a punt and a potential field goal attempt.
4. The Redskins only had the ball for 9 real drives in the game because they held it when they had it and Carolina held it when they had it. Also, for the 2nd straight week they played in a game that didn't have one turnover.
5. I hate the idea of labeling a pro game a "Homecoming" game. It would seem that the other team could use it as motivation.
A loss but it was nice to see D-Hall keep his cool at the end. The good, bad, and more.
1. RG3. It wasn't his fault his receivers dropped 10 balls. He missed one deep shot to Paulson but was mostly accurate. I'd like to see him use his legs more than he did today especially on 3rd-downs when it's necessary.
2. Logan Paulson. He didn't drop anything.
1. Defense. Awful across the board in this one. Obviously they can't cover and don't generate much pass pressure but they couldn't stop the run today either. The list of those culpable is long...the list of anyone who played or coached well doesn't exist. Pittsburgh scored on 5 of their first 6 drives and coasted the rest of the way.
2. 10 Dropped Passes. Drive killers most of them though the first two drops (Hankerson and Briscoe) didn't cost them a touchdown.
3. Not enough zone-read and other option looks. The first drive of the game was similar to the first two drives of the Minnesota game and much of the Atlanta game. Not enough option looks. Three under-center snaps to RG3 with no option possibility on the first drive or any drive usually equals punt. They should know by now that they move the ball much better as an offense when they run out of option-look formations.
4. Lack of 4th Qtr Urgency. Why didn't they get into their hurry-up offense down two scores in the 4th Qtr? Makes no sense. They should've gotten into it down 27-9 at the start of the 4th qtr. Sometimes Shanahan's clock management defies logic.
4. D-Hall's Lack of Composure. I've always liked his competitive feistiness even though he's not a very good corner but with that said, going after an official like he did should cost him big money if not a suspension. He was frustrated and clearly incapable of keeping his cool.
5. Rocca. One of the worst days of his career as a Redskin.
1. I didn't like the razzle-dazzle third-down Morgan pass to RG3. I'd rather they run option if they are going to expose RG3 to a hit.
2. The blocked PAT appeared to be a low kick by Forbath.
3. Forbath is now 6-6 on FGs...5 of them from 43 or longer.
4. Shanahan on missing Fred Davis--"of course we missed him...anybody tells you they don't miss a pro bowlplayer isn't being honest".
5. I didn't like the knee at the end of the game. Giving up sucks. I know the odds of scoring twice in 26 seconds is 10 million to 1 but there's no chance if you take a knee.
1. The Redskins ran more plays from option formations than they have all year long. After generating nothing offensively on the first two drives of the game, the Skins went to option-type formations for the majoritiy of their remaining plays. The Redskins give two primary option looks and if you watch a lot of college football, they look familiar. They run the Spread and the Pistol. The Spread is the shotgun look where the RB is next to RG3. The Pistol is the shotgun look where at least one back is behind RG3. It's important to note that these formations don't always result in runs by either a back (usually Morris, a QB-RG3, or a pitch to a back ) but they result in passes too. The majority of their big pass plays on Sunday were out of the Spread where RG3 fakes to the lead back Morris and throws quickly to a TE or WR running a skinny post. Linebackers get sucked in opening up the middle of the field. For those that continue to desire a more traditional approach that emphasizes passing from the pocket, they are passing from the pocket! They're just doing occasionally out of Spead/option formations.
2. It was RG3's best passing day. The yardage numbers weren't anywhere near his best this year but he was picture-perfect accurate. He went 17 of 22 and a few of his misses were intentional throwaways. He hit everyone in stride creating much easier opportunities for YAC. The only off-throw of the day was the throw to Banks in the backfield that Banks had to reach back for. If that ball had been thrown like all of his others, Banks would've taken it 15+ yards.
3. Niles Paul is really good on special teams. He's impossible to block and a big reason the Skins have solid coverage teams.
A good win, especially considering the poor start. The good, bad, and more.
1. The offense of the first 4 weeks was back. It appeared that Kyle decided to take last week and the first two drives of today's game to rest RG3's legs. Bad idea. The threat of RG3 as a runner, especially out of the spread and pistol with option as a possibility makes everything easier. It's like a point guard who can also score in basketball. When the guy with the ball can score, the focus of the defense is on him which makes life easier for everyone else. Same idea with RG3. Everyone benefits when the defense honestly believes he might run. First two drives today, no spread, no pistol, no option potential, they got nothing. Then Kyle went to the spread and pistol with option looks and they became near-unstoppable. They scored on their next four drives and were only stopped by their own penalties. Those that think using him that way makes him more vulnerable to injury, you might be right. Those that think it doesn't work, you're wrong.
2. RG3. Brilliant. Against a good team, they can't win without him. He made plays with his arm, legs, and brain all day long. His 76-yard run for a touchdown on a key 3rd-down late will be talked about all week long but don't forget the other 10+ spectacular plays he made before that run. He was perfect on a 4th and 3 to Moss. His 3rd and 5 throw to a covered Moss kept their first TD drive alive. How 'bout the sales job on the late hit call that wasn't. His 15-yd run on 3rd and 11 early in the 3rd qtr followed by his 1st and goal check to a QB draw for a touchdown was off the charts. His decision-making was much less-risky today. After a holding penalty on Davis late in the 3rd qtr, he scrambled to the sideline and instead of taking a risk by staying in bounds and taking a big hit, he got out of bounds and avoided a hit. It was a play he couldn't make a first down on anyway. Two more things. His accuracy today throwing the ball was near-perfect. Of his five incompletions, a few of them were throw-aways and the one interception should've been reviewed. Also, his ball-handling on fakes out of the option formations, regular playaction, and bootleg are an underrated part of his game.
3. Lorenzo Alexander. Why hasn't he played more on defense over the years? He makes plays. His pass rush was tenacious and made an impact.
4. Kai Forbath. That 50-yard FG was huge. A miss and the Skins are down 9-nothing and Minnesota has great field position.
5. Madieu Williams. It's hard to give the defense much credit today but Williams made plays early that led to Minnesota field goals and his return on the interception was great.
6. Punt team/coverage. After the two blocked punts in weeks 1 & 2, this has become a strength on the team. Great hit by Niles Paul on one punt return and a nice Rocca punt downed inside the Viking 5 on another.
1. The defense. Yes they held the Vikes to field goals on Minnesota's first three drives but it's just not a good defense right now. They got more pressure than they have recently and their rush defense is solid but they just can't get off the field enough. Eli Manning is licking his chops.
2. Ability to protect/hold a lead. The Redskins led the Rams 21-6 and lost...led the Bucs 21-3 and nearly lost...and led the Vikes 31-12 today and needed a 3rd and 6 TD run from RG3 to ice the game. I thought Kyle got a little conservative on the Skins' first drive up 31-20. That 3rd and 1 pitch to Morris with RG3 under center was a play that hadn't worked all day. They were much more effective running the ball out of the spread/pistol option looks. They were on the ropes up 31-26 on 3rd and 6 before RG3 made the 76-yd TD run.
3. Officiating. I thought the unnecessary roughness call on Minnesota's Erin Henderson in the 2nd quarter was nothing more than a nice acting job by RG3. The P.I. on Josh Wilson late in the game in the end zone was just awful. The non-P.I. call on Perry Riley on the ensuing 2-pt conversion was a big miss. I also thought that the inteception of RG3 by Antoine Winfield should've been looked at longer. He didn't seem to have full possession of the ball with both feet in.
1. Skins' blocking by non-offensive linemen (see Josh Morgan, Logan Paulson, Niles Paul, Darrell Young, and Alfred Morris in pass pro) has been very good.
2. A new wrinkle for the Skins this week was the QB draw with RG3 under center that they scored on early in the 3rd qtr.
3. They won the turnover battle again but 2 of their 3 takeaways were Minnesota unforced errors. The Williams pick-6 was a horrible throw. The Hall INT at the end was Ponder desperation because of score/time. The Alexander fumble recovery was the one that may have been forced by Riley pushing Peterson into Ponder's arm. Still, no complaints about their turnover margin which is now +9 on the season.
4. Stopping Eli and the Giant offense next week starts and ends with RG3 and the Skins' offense dominating time of possession and scoring a ton of points. I have no confidence that the Skins' defense can slow Eli and company down.
Another loss that could've easily been a win. Today's loss was at least partly self-inflicted. The good, bad,and more.
1. Alfred Morris. The real deal. If the Skins could've made some third downs, he would've had a lot more than 115 yards.
2. Ryan Kerrigan. His feel, vision, and anticipation are so good and the reasons he's such a great playmaker. However, he needs to get more consistent pressure on the quarterback.
3. Run defense. They held the Falcons to 2.9 yards per carry. Falcons pretty much abandoned the run because it became clear they couldn't.
1. RG3's injury. It happened on a pass play/scramble. The hit by Witherspoon was clean. He told Shanahan he was "alright" on the way off the field, he wasn't. Let's hope he's ready for next week.
2. Not enough RG3 runs. This may seem counter-intuitive considering he got knocked out of the game with a concussion but there were opportunities on the zone-read where it looked like if he kept the ball he'd still be running. Atlanta was prepared after getting burned repeatedly last week by Newton but there were at least two plays, one on the missed FG drive and the other on the made FG drive where it looked like he could've kept it on the zone-read for big yardage. Another thing. If they weren't going to use their designed runs, how bout some more bootleg where he's outside the pocket with the option to throw or run. I think they ran one boot the whole day.
3. Third down conversions & stops. Offensively they couldn't make any, defensively they couldn't get off the field enough. Some catchable passes weren't caught in the first half by Davis and Moss in particular. It was the difference between moving the sticks and getting more carries for Morris versus giving up the ball. The Skins ran 46 total plays on offense, just 22 in the first half. That's not enough. Atlanta was 9 for 17 on third down.
4. Billy Cundiff. Just awful! There's no excuse for keeping him another week. He cost them major momentum in this game, a game the Skins may have taken control of before halftime. You just can't miss inside 40 yards in the NFL. It's not acceptable. In fact, you really can't miss inside 50. He's a godawful kicker who shouldn't have been signed in the first place and better be gone by Wednesday.
5. Pass pressure. Just not enough of it. When a quarterback drops back 52 times, you should get more than one sack. Carolina had 7 last week. One is pathetic.
6. Dropped passes. The Falcons had several, the Redskins had a few themselves. For the Skins, it cost them on third downs, especially in the first half when they managed just 22 plays in 30 minutes.
7. End of first-half. Why would you call back to back timeouts and then run the clock out on a third straight run from your own 36? Totally ridiculous to get yourself into position to complete a pass or two to get into FG range and instead choose to run the clock out. If you were going to run the clock out, why call the 2 timeouts in the first place? You just can't afford to throw away scoring opportunities in games you know will be close. It made no sense unless of course, Shanahan knows what we all know....that Cundiff would've missed a long FG anyway.
1. Skins' DBs are just too short. Fletcher in coverage is also. Teams with bigger receivers are going to eat them up. Last week it was Williams and Jackson, this week Jones and Gonzalez. Some of those catches were well-covered but it's too hard to stop guys like Jones and Gonzalez from going up and taking it away when they have a half-foot height advantage.
2. Cousins' 77-yd TD pass to Moss was clearly a blown coverage but good job taking advantage of it.
3. If RG3 can't go, first guess is that Rex gets the start next week against Minnesota. Just a guess.
4. Banks had the big kickoff return against Cincinnati but has been contained for the most part this year. Would like to see more of him on offense.
1. They run the football like Carolina did last week against the Falcons. Carolina rushed for 199 yards and had 11 rushes that went for 6 or more yards, not counting Newton's scrambles on passing plays. It's the Skins' NFC-best rushing attack against the Falcons' 2nd-worst rush defense in the NFC....should be a huge advantage for Washington.
2. Pressure Matt Ryan without a ton of blitzing. Carolina sacked Ryan 7 times last week. Falcons' right tackle Tyson Clabo struggled last week which could mean a big day today for Ryan Kerrigan. The Skins' secondary can't cover, we know that. Pressure without a ton of blitzing against what will likely be some short drop/quick throws means the pressure must come from up the middle. Jenkins and Bowen need big days.
3. No turnovers. Atlanta is 2nd in the NFC in takeaways with 12 and it's made the difference in their games. They're 4-0 but probably would be closer to 2-2 with fewer takeaways. The Skins have been very good at protecting the ball this year with just two turnovers in four games. It must continue today.
Upset alert. Skins 33-24.
What a great college football Saturday. South Carolina's defense makes the 'Cocks a legit national championship contender under Spurrier. Florida has been in trouble at halftime in 3 of their games and won all of them (at Texas A&M, at Tenn, vs. LSU). Oregon's defense is improved which is scary considering how good their offense is. How thrilled must West Virginia fans be to play a game at Texas as a member of the Big 12 instead of what would've been a home game against Syracuse. Florida State put the breaks on their offense up 16-nothing thinking NC State couldn't and wouldn't score. It cost them a shot at the national championship. Notre Dame's defense is legit but what a schedule left with Stanford, BYU, Oklahoma, and USC still remaining. Duke is 5-1 and one game short of bowl eligibility. This may be Virginia Tech's worst defense in recent memory. Maryland's Stefon Diggs has been worth 3 wins to the Terps this year. Without him, they could be 0-5, no better than 1-4. What was Edsall thinking when he opted to kick the PAT up 19-14 with 5:30 left? Just amazing that so many coaches can't compute simple math. With that said, the Terps are night & day better on defense compared to last year. They go to Virginia next week and the Cavs aren't very good. 4-2 is a possibility.
1. The notion that the Redskins ditched the option for the week is wrong. While they didn't run very much "triple option" like they did last week, they ran plenty of "zone-read" option. But unlike previous weeks, RG3's read resulted in the ball going to the lead back Morris on all but two occasions. Those plays, like previous weeks, were very effective. One more note on this. In the redzone, the "zone-read" is a staple for them. It's typically what they like to do between the 20 and 10 with the QB draw being more preferable inside the 10. Bottom line, it's working as the Skins lead the NFC in touchdowns and are 3rd in the NFL in red zone offense scoring touchdowns 67% of the time.
2. Will Montgomery is doing a very good job snapping the ball. This seems trivial but the significant majority of their offensive plays are in shotgun whether it be "Pistol", "Spread" or other. They haven't really had any mishaps in four games.
3. Cundiff's two short misses weren't close. Not that you didn't know that already but at least Gano's misses were close.
4. Skins' pass defense WAS better. This was obvious after watching it again. D-Hall was damn close on almost every catch made against him as was Wilson. The safeties, Williams in particular, played better. With that said, comparing it to the St. Louis and Cincy games it didn't take much to show improvement.
5. The sideline was confused in the final 18 seconds. Little doubt that after the spike with 18 seconds, they lost track of playclock time. And then after the last completion to Moss, they looked stumped on the sideline. Thank god they had one timeout left even if they did call it too early with 7 seconds left.
Four games, four nailbiters, this one shouldn't have been. The good, bad, and more.
RG3. I know it's only four games but it's official....he's the real deal. His two runs in the redzone in the first half are a perfect example of why the Redskins are so different offensively this year. They can score touchdowns. I know he fumbled on the first QB draw but did you see his acceleration and toughness! It's his arm, legs, smarts, toughness, it's everything. He's already the best player they've had here since....?? Now, was that penalty on Mark Barron in the first half for unnecessary roughness a BS call...for sure. It was almost like he was getting NBA superstar treatment on that play. His command and confidence are growing. The hardcount cadence drew at least one offsides penalty, may have been two. The final drive was poised and flawless...seemed that it was never in doubt. Finally, after a long wait, the Redskins have a quarterback and leader.
The offense. 474 total yards. Not nearly the total points they could've or should've had but that was a result of missed field goals and penalties. They are so hard to defend right now. RG3 threatens a defense in so many ways that preparation for the Redskins must be a bitch. Alfred Morris is a perfect fit and then some. He's a perfect zone-stretch runner. He's a perfect spread/zone-read runner. He's a perfect triple option fullback. Not bad for a 6th rounder. Thank goodness Skins' brass didn't succomb to the "do the right thing and let Donovan go" crowd. That 6th rounder back from Minnesota for McNabb is Alfred Morris. Additionally, the Skins finally have receivers who draw P.I. penalties and run after the catch. It's nice to see additional yards after a catch instead of the "catch and immediately fall down" move of recent vintage. BTW, it helped today that Trent Williams was back. He's easily a top 3-4 must-have player on this team and he led the offensive line to a very good day against a pretty good front 4.
The fullback and tight ends. Darrell Young has been and is currently a very underrated player on this team. He's a very good blocker. He can catch passes and make yards after the catch. He can run it too even though we haven't seen much of that this year. The tight ends (Davis and Paulson) have been very good the last two weeks. Paulson is a big-time blocker and Davis is catching everything and making big plays after the catch.
Ryan Kerrigan. Multiple pass deflections and a sack. Plus, a huge third-down stop on a screen late in the game with the Skins holding a 21-19 lead. He's very good, getting better, and has become a fixture on this list.
Billy Cundiff. He missed three kicks before barely making the game-winner. He looked like he was either going to cry or vomit on that final drive and actually looked terrified right before the final kick yet somehow he managed to get it through that left upright. I'd cut him and re-sign Rackers or Gano tomorrow. He can lead the league in touchbacks till the cows come home but his field goal kicking is going to cost them a game or two. The missed 57-yarder at the end of the first half really makes wonder what Shanahan was thinking in St. Louis. I know it's indoors versus outdoors but he was 3-5 yards short on that one today. His missed 31-yarder was brutal, the 41-yarder wasn't close, and I still can't for the life of me figure out why they signed him and cut Rackers and Gano.
Penalties. Too many big ones that resulted in drive killers. The clip on Montgomery killed the first drive of the 2nd half. The 15-yarder on Garcon killed the 2nd drive of the 2nd half. They got bailed out by some big calls against Tampa so things were evened out a bit but still, an offense that was humming stopped itself a few times in the 2nd half and missed opportunities to make this a no-sweat win.
3rd down conversions. They made 2 of 11and one of the two was the razzle-dazzle Banks-to RG3-to Niles Paul play. What's interesting is that it didn't really hurt them. They rolled up 27 more first downs for the game and are now near the conference lead with 98 first downs in 4 games.
1. Good clock mgt/questionable clock mgt. They did a nice job at the end of the first half being aggressive and using their last timeout to get the ball back. It gave them a chance on a long field goal attempt. With that said, they looked confused on the final play before the game-winning Cundiff kick. After the spike stopped the clock with 18 seconds left, Shanahan carried on a conversation with RG3 on the sideline as if he was in timeout mode. It cost them a frantic false start penalty and five yards. That five yards could've been the difference between win and loss. The next play was a 7-yard completion to Moss after which there seemed to be some confusion on the Skins sideline as to what to do next. They should've let the clock tick down to 3 seconds and made the field goal the final play of the game. Instead, they kicked it with 7 seconds leaving time for a potential miracle kickoff return.
2. The five yard penalty against Tampa on their 2-pt conversion was huge. It was the difference between a Skins' win and overtime.
3. It seems obvious to say that the pass coverage was bad in the 2nd half because of the numbers but I didn't think it was as bad as the last two weeks. Unlike the last two weeks, Skins' defenders were closer to making plays with the exception of that first long one to Williams that got Freeman going. I thought Freeman and Jackson in particular made some really good throws and catches.
4. Sav Rocca and the punt coverage team had a pretty good day.
5. The Redskins got bailed out of that horrible field position on their 2nd drive of the 2nd half by two huge plays. The first was the play that nearly ended in safety and the second was the next play which resulted in a late-hit on RG3 in the back of the end zone.
6. The 3rd and 9 stop before the go-ahead Bucs field goal by Wilson on Underwood was huge. Without it, the Bucs go-ahead field goal would've been a game-winning field goal.
7. RG3 needed to stick that ball out in front of the first-down marker on that key 3rd down with 3:45 left. Shanahan's challenge on that play was questionable.
8. Merriweather and Robinson getting hurt before the game....are you kidding me!
9. The Skins have won the turnover battle in all four games. They have just 2 turnovers on the season, tied for the best in the NFL.