Washington Redskins Week 7 Thoughts and Observations

NFL Washington Commanders

1. Alfred Morris Continues to Impress:

– Morris ran hard all day and racked up 120 yards on 22 carries (5.5 ypc). He did a great job hitting the hole and picking up extra yards after contract. You saw that even on plays where the Giants knew Morris was getting the ball he was able to pick up positive gains. That in turn set up a very effective play action passing attack for the Redskins. Morris did get bottled up more in the 2nd half, and had a fumble, but overall it was still a great game for Morris.

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2. Griffin Magic Continues to Shine Through:

It was not Robert Griffin III‘s best day as he fumbled twice (lost one) and threw an interception, but he still went 20-28 for 258 and two touchdowns and added another 89 yards on the ground. He drove the team to a score to take the lead with less than two minutes remaining, which is all you can ask from your quarterback (especially a rookie) and moved the ball on the road against a division rival. Griffin made two huge plays on the final touchdown drive. First and probably most impressive, was his play on a 4th and 10 with just over 2 minutes remaining from the Redskins 23 yard line, Griffin scrambled around in the pocket buying time for Logan Paulsen to get open, hitting him for the first down. Then three plays later Griffin threw a perfect ball to Santana Moss for the go ahead TD. Griffin recognized the blitz and that Moss would be one on one. Griffin threw it to a spot that only Moss was going to get to it and it ended up 6 points.

3. Santana Moss Comes Up Big:

Much will be made about Moss fumbling on the Redskins last play of the game, but the fact is if not for Moss’es first two catches the Washington Redskins wouldn’t have even been in a position to win that game. On his first touchdown catch, Moss took a screen pass 26 yards for the score. Though he was helped out with excellent blocking down the field, Moss made the right decision to cut inside and accelerated through the defense. Last year Moss may not have had the speed to score on that play, and it was big for the Redskins because they responded to the Giants touchdown. His second catch Moss did benefit from a perfect throw from Robert Griffin III, but he did beat his man, which was also just as important for that play to work.

One question is though why Santana Moss isn’t a bigger part of the offense. Moss has come up with some of the Redskins biggest plays throughout the year, yet only is targeted 4 times all game. What’s worse is three of those targets came in the final 2 minutes of the game. This is a game where Pierre Garcon is again out and Fred Davis leaves early, yet they can’t find more than one target for the first 58 minutes of the game for the Washington Redskins most productive receiver? It doesn’t make sense, and should be remedied going forward.

4. The Fred Davis Injury Is Big:

I’ve been one of the bigger “critics” of Fred Davis, but that had more to do with his value (or lack there of) relative to his franchise tag tender, or any future long term contract. He’s a good movement tight end who can create mismatches in the intermediate passing game, and he has the speed to pick up yards after the catch. Davis always lost some value in his consistency, as drops, penalties and poor blocking always plagued him. His blocking improved this year (still not good, but passable), and though not elite was a big weapon in the Redskins quick passing attack. Davis had become a favorite of Griffin’s when throwing off of the zone-read fakes which would freeze the linebacker and open things up for Davis. With Pierre Garcon missing so much time and more or less ineffective since week 1, Davis had become the closest thing to a go-to guy for Robert Griffin III.

You could make a case that Davis being healthy all game could have changed the outcome of this game, the real impact of the injury will be in the coming weeks. Though Chris Cooley, Logan Paulsen, and even Niles Paul can make up for much of the production of Davis it won’t be the same as if he was in the line-up. It also takes away another top threat, as Garcon could be missing more time (or at the very least still less than 100%).

5. Pass Defense Fails Again:

Yes they had two interceptions, but the Redskins only managed 1 sack all game, and allowed Eli Manning throw for over 330 yards. Though it is not an easy task to stop Manning or those Giants receivers, if the Washington Redskins want to be a contender they are going to have to. Though many of the failures are in the secondary and coverage, the lack of a pass rush (particularly against a weaker offensive line) is troubling. Way too often (including that 77 TD pass) was Manning comfortable in the pocket and able to step into his throws. Everyone knew the secondary was going to be bad, but the lack of the pass rush (even without Brian Orakpo) is troubling.

Other Notes:

-The Redskins offense line did well run blocking, but struggled against the pass rush. The Giants generated a good bit of pressure, including three sacks and a forced fumble on a QB run.

-Sav Rocca didn’t look right. Luckily the Redskins only needed to punt once, as Rocca only managed a 33 yard punt. Washington should consider signing a replacement for a week or two.

-Once again the new kick-off rule makes Brandon Banks a non-factor. The only returned kick-off for the Redskins was a squib kick to Niles Paul at the end of the half. Banks had one nice punt return, but it is hard to justify a return specialist if they aren’t able to generate field position.

Kai Forbath still perfect on field goals, but his kick-offs could be a growing concern. Four of his six kicks were returned, and David Wilson averaged 26.5 yards per return. Even when Forbath does kick it a couple yards deep in the end zone, they are returnable because they are lower line drives. The Redskins have to be happy with the field goals, but those kick-offs need to improve as well.

-Red Zone offense struggled and was unable to get the ball in the end zone. The Redskins can’t afford to give up points like that, not on the road and not in a divisional game. Hopefully it was a blip on the radar, but the Giants did seem to have an answer for the Skins.

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