Thoughts On Yesterday’s Game: Positives and Negatives from the Skins vs. 49ers Game

Washington Commanders


Hello Helu:

For weeks now (even prior to Tim Hightower’s injury), it was apparent that the Redskins needed to get rookie running back Roy Helu more involved in the offense. Finally the Redskins apparently realized it too and it paid off. Helu set a Redskins record with 14 receptions in the game, and gained nearly 150 total yards. While he didn’t do much on the ground after his first run, it was a good all-around game for Helu and he showed that he can be an effective weapon for Washington. It wasn’t a perfect game as he had a few dropped passes and a crucial fumble in the game, but those are rookie mistakes that should hopefully be corrected. Going forward the Redskins need to keep trying to get the ball in Helu’s hands at least 20 times a game (preferably more rushing attempts), as he gives them their best chance to create mismatches.

Hankerson Looks To Make His Mark:

During the preseason and early part of this year, many people tried to label Leonard Hankerson a bust, after he was known more for his miscues than his positive play. Now though he looks to be coming into his element, as he stepped up with a solid game yesterday. Hankerson got valuable experience, while showing that he can be an emerging weapon going forward.

Kerrigan Continues To Shine:

It wasn’t a great day all-around for the defense, but Ryan Kerrigan showed through with another quality effort. Kerrigan had another sack, and got some pressure on a few other passes. He might have looked lost on a few plays, but overall he looked good and really looks like a star going forward.


O-line Still Struggling:

With John Beck getting sacked just one time, it is easy to think that the line had a good day, but that simply wasn’t the case. Outside of Helu’s first run, the Redskins managed just 27 yards on 10 carries (by their running backs). On top of that, John Beck was under some pressure, and the lack of that time in the pocket forced him to get screen happy. Now in fairness there were some improvements from the last couple of weeks, but this unit has a long way to go.

Fred ‘Houdini’ Davis:

Once again Fred Davis was a non-factor for about 55 minutes of this game, then he caught a few balls to make it seem like he did something. To make matters worse he had a bad drop earlier in the game. I know the passing offense is anemic, but if Davis wants to be considered a top TE, he has to show up throughout the game.

Where’s the Defense?:

Yes I know the offense isn’t doing them any favors, by continuously giving the ball back and forcing the Redskins to constantly play from behind, but the defense has to do a better job than that. The 49ers are a pretty basic team and you know who is getting the ball. Yet, somehow the 49ers are still able to gain over 100 yards on the ground and move the ball pretty well on Washington.

Beck Not the QB He was Made Out To Be:

We heard all off-season how John Beck had Mike Shanahan’s confidence and could lead this team. Unfortunately that hasn’t even been close to the reality that we have seen. Beck has been awful, and while he didn’t take as many sacks today, his predictable check downs and inaccurate throws killed Washington’s offense. I still think they have to give Beck another week or two, but it could get worse before it gets better.

Who’s Calling The Plays?:

The Redskins were ultra conservative, not even taking shots down the field when they were behind by two scores, and it cost them. The other thing I don’t get is the complete abandonment of the running game. Now I know that San Fran is tough to run on, but you have to try more than 11 rushing plays (not counting Beck scrambles) for the entire game. Especially when for much of the first half the 49ers were only up 3-0. The Skins are too scared in their play calling, and it is turning them into a ‘pass heavy’ teams (which isn’t good when John Beck is your QB and your top two pass catchers from last year are out with injury). The Redskins need to stop trying to have this passing identity and instead take a page out of the 49er’s playbook. They need to focus on the run, and getting better up front.

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