Quick Thoughts on the Washington Redskins Game:
1. Don't Blame the Refs:
-Was this the best officiated game of all time? No of course not, but it wasn't close to the worst either. Their were blown calls from either side, which pretty much evened things out. Now there is no doubt the final sequence was painful, but it was hardly unprecedented to see officials (replacement or regular) misstate the 10-second run-off rule. If two officials did signal the end of the game, as has been reported, then you can't say the Bengals should be penalized for unsportsman like conduct, or anything along those lines. And while it is obviously frustrating, for the Redskins coaching staff to lose their cool and berate the officials it is inexcusable. It may be even worse than what Josh Morgandid last week, given that the coaches job is to be more level headed. Also, the NFL warned every team that attacking replacement officials would not be tolerated. The only thing the replacement officials did that was really wrong was mark off a 15 yard penalty, 20 yards.
2. Poor Clock Management Was a Key:
-Look I realize you have a rookie quarterback in Robert Griffin III, but you can't take two timeouts after two successive plays in the middle of the 3rd quarter. Yes the Redskins ended up scoring after the 2nd timeout, and it was a crucial touchdown to tie the game at 24 all, but burning two timeouts there just wasn't worth it. On the first timeout the Redskins should have had at least two plays from the coaches, so if Griffin's scramble didn't work, they had the 2nd down play ready. Also, challenging whether the punt hit the goalline was a really poor decision when you only had one timeout/challenge available. Sure that would have been a 19 yard loss essentially for the Bengals, but was that worth it when there was no indisputable evidence that it didn't touch the goalline? Of the two replays they showed in the stadium, one made it look like the officials may have missed the call, but it was from a really poor angle, while the other seemed to confirm the officials call (though again not the best angle). Either way there didn't seem to be close to enough visual evidence to warrant challenging in that situation. That left the Redskins with zero challenges for the rest of the game, and no timeouts for their last drive. . .
3. The Secondary Really Struggled:
-People can talk about scheme all they want, but nothing seems to be working with this group of guys. Last week the Redskins were more in a zone coverage and they got beat, this week they played a lot more man-to-man and got beat just as bad, including three plays over 40 yards. Now every member of the Redskins secondary got beat yesterday, but DeAngelo Hall had a really poor game (primarily on A.J. Green). Look A.J. Green is a tough assignment for any corner, but this is the assignment that Hall has always campaigned for. Also, it's an assignment that he should be able to at least partially win given his contract and the notion that he is a Pro Bowler.
4. The Redskins Run Defense Came to Play:
– A big concern for me going in was how the run defense would hold up. They got torched by a rookie runner last week, and couldn't afford a repeat performance this week. Now obviously it wasn't enough to slow down the Bengals completely, but in the 3rd quarter it almost turned the tide of the game. On the Bengals first drive of the 3rd quarter after the Redskins cut the lead to 7, the Skins stuffed Green-Ellis on a 3rd and 2 forcing a punt. Then after tying it up, Andy Dalton hit A.J. Green for a 27 yard completion on the first play of the next drive. On the 2nd play of that drive, the Redskins Defense stopped Green-Ellis again and stripped the ball, stopping the Bengals drive. On the Bengals final drive of the 3rd quarter, Green-Ellis was stropped for a one yard loss on the first play, which put Cincy in 2nd and 3rd and long plays, which forced a 3 and out. .
5. The Offensive Line Really Struggled in Pass Protection:
-Yes a lot can be blamed on the injury to Trent Williams, but the Redskins should have been better prepared for that eventuality. The debacle of relying on Jammal Brown is well documented, and it forced a journeyman tackle in Tyler Polumbus into a starting role. In addition, to not relying on Jammal Brown though the Redskins needed to be concerned about Trent Williams. Even barring any future chance for suspension, he's a guy who has always seemed to get a little banged up each season. And the Redskins shouldn't be that surprised, the offensive line is one of the most highly injured positions, which is why depth is so critical. Washington relying on a guy in Jordan Black, who not only was out of football last season but wasn't even in football shape when he signed in August is unacceptable. It put a lot of undue pressure on Robert Griffin which led to some poor throws, and a number of sacks. Now Black wasn't the only one at fault, as Polumbus struggled and a lot of pressure came up the middle as well, but losing that blindside protector meant there were fewer places Griffin could escape too.
6. The Redskins Passing Attack Cost them This Game:
-Now no one player or coach should be blamed here as everyone is pretty much at fault. The line didn't give Robert Griffin much time, Griffin made some poor decisions and passes, the receivers didn't get as open, and the game plan was pretty poor, but the end result was bad. In the first half the Redskins had five of ten passes for 36 yards, but gave up 30 yards in sacks meaning the net passing was just 6 yards at halftime. For the game Griffin was 21-34 for 221, but the net passing was just 168 yards. Most of those yards didn't even come until the Washington Redskins final two drives when the Bengals were playing more of a prevent defense and not rushing as many guys. While it is good that the Redskins could advance the ball at the end of the game, it's not good that the Redskins couldn't effectively pass the ball on a defense that was without their top two corners in Leon Hall and Dre Kirkpatrick. The Bengals gave up over 300 yards to both the Ravens and the Browns with Hall in the line-up, the Redskins should have been able to move the ball in the air even without Pierre Garcon healthy. The only member of the Redskins passing offense that seemed to come to play was Fred Davis who caught a team high 7 passes for 90 yards, including the Washington Redskins longest play of the day a 29 yard catch in the 4th quarter. Yes the Redskins were able to run the ball very effectively, but when you give up 38 points you have to be able to throw the ball if you want to win the game.