Keys to the Game: Aftermath
Yesterday I wrote a blog of simple keys to the Redskins-Lions game on how the Redskins could avoid a loss to the Lions. Well obviously they didn’t all occur considering the Skins lost 37-25, but lets take a deeper look into what happened (or didn’t happen):
Stop Ndamukong Suh: Well this didn’t even come close to happening, Suh dominated the Redskins offensive line all game, as he had 5 tackles including two sacks. He made the Redskins offensive line look like the Bears offensive line from a week ago. And while it is a solid unit that defensive line in general looked like Pro Bowlers against that Skins line. They ended up with 7 sacks, 11 tackles for a loss and 12 quarterback hits (blitzers were responsible for some of the damage). Suh is a stud, but the rest of those guys are above average players, so there is no reason they should have gotten that much pressure, and eliminated the run game so effectively.
Get The Tight End’s Involved Early and Often: The Tight Ends combined for just 5 catches yesterday and Fred Davis’ came on the last drive when Rex Grossman was in at quarterback. They were targeted a handful of more times (including Davis twice on two point conversion attempts) but to little avail. The passing game never got into a rhythm, and because of the ineffectiveness of the offensive line the Redskins were forced to keep their tight ends into block, more than they wanted. This was a major factor in the passing attack being stagnant.
Put Pressure on Matt Stafford: Not sure why this was such a problem, but the Redskins had just one sack and 4 quarterback hits against a basically rookie quarterback who was starting his 12th game of his career. The Redskins didn’t blitz with their usual intensity, and when they did it was picked up. Overall they seemed to let the Lions offense set the tone, and just reacted to them. When Stafford was under pressure he made his most errant throws, yet for some reason Washington failed to dial up the pressure.
Play Albert Haynesworth More: They played Haynesworth a good amount and he responded with a very good game, 4 tackles, including two for a loss and the team’s only sack. While his numbers were by far the most impressive of any front 7 player (and I’d argue any player on the team not named Brandon Banks), his biggest impact was felt on a number of plays where he didn’t even record a tackle. On 3rd and 1 from the 7, the Lions tried running up the middle, but Haynesworth, penetrated and was in the running lane, forcing Best to run outside, where the Redskins defense stopped him for no gain (of course the offside penalty on the FG attempt negated the stop). On a number of other plays Haynesworth got penetration and put pressure on Stafford. And when he wasn’t doing that, Haynesworth was drawing double and triple team blockers. Granted that other guard is there to take on any blitzing linebackers, but instead of going to help out a tackle to block Orakpo or Carter, his second read was to neutralize Haynesworth, now that is respect. While I thought he was effective when he was in there, for some reason they still don’t put him in on their base package, 1st and 10 situations. Sure he needs some plays off (and if you watched the Lions and Suh all DT’s need plays off), but he could still probably be used even more effectively.
Don’t Let Calvin Johnson Beat You: Well I will give them a B for effort, but an D- for execution. Johnson ended up with 9 catches for a 101 yards and 3 touchdowns. Now the Skins limited him on deep routes, but he killed them underneath. Early on Hall picked off Stafford in the end zone as he was looking for Johnson, but Johnson won the battle late. Stafford also missed an easy TD to Johnson at the end of the first half, when he floated one too short, despite Johnson getting past the secondary. In the end though Johnson won the battle, and the Lions won the game. His effort on those touchdown catches (all three of them honestly) was remarkable.
Overall: This was just a huge failure by the Redskins (and we didn’t even address some of the other coaching decisions, such as playing Rex Grossman, really Grossman???) as the only thing they came close to executing was utilizing Albert Haynesworth. Which is a joke, because that is the easiest thing to do, you just point him towards the quarterback and running back and let him play. And Washington can’t even do that completely right because they still hold him out of too many plays. How you don’t think that Suh and Calvin Johnson need to be game-planned for is beyond me. Because if they did game plan for them, it was really evident. And not getting more pressure against this offensive line is a joke (esp. with it being such an inexperienced QB). I really don’t know what the Redskins did in practice this past week, but whatever it was just stop (except for whatever they are doing in their kick return practice). It isn’t working, you just got beat by the Lions a team that has won as many games over the past 2 and a half seasons against the rest of the league as they have against the Redskins.