After reviewing the film of the Redskins-Cowboys week 12 game several times, I hand out the following class grades to the Redskins offense.
HEAD OF THE CLASS
C Will Montgomery. Although RG3, Alfred Morris and Pierre Garcon got all the attention, steady Will Montgomery was the best player on the Redskins offense in week 12. Montgomery has been quietly fantastic all season, until the 31-6 win over Philadelphia, where he had easily the weakest game of his season. He bouned back nicely, though, on Thanksgiving Day, with his best game of the season. Montgomery consistently got the better of Dallas defensive linemen and got to the second level, dominating linebackers like Bruce Carter, Ernie Sims. With all the attention understandably being lavished on the man who gets the ball from Montgomery on every play, the center has been largely overlooked, but he is having one of the great seasons ever by a Redskins center. Just months after re-signing Montgomery with a sizable pay raise, Redskins management must be satisified that for once they have spent their money wisely.
Robert Griffin III. Another splendid performance by RG3, coming off a truly great performance the week before. Griffin took only three shots down the field and while one of the resulted in an overthrow interception, the other two were touchdown passes. He threw 4 TD on the day. Griffin continued to work the short and intermediate passing game beautifully, with 17 of his 28 passes being thrown ten yards or less from the line of scrimmage. Although he didn't run a lot in this game, the threat of his running was powerful, as evidenced on the 68-yard TD pass to Aldrick Robinson, in which the receiver was wide open because Cowboys safety Danny McCray was frozen by the zone read option fake at the start of the play. On Washington's final drive of the game, RG3 calmly led his team down the field, repeatedly converting third downs, until PK Kai Forbath could kick the clinching field goal. Another brilliant performance from the young star.
Alfred Morris. He struggled to get enough touches during the 3-game losing streak and the Eagles effectively bottled him up most of that game, but Morris broke through against the Cowboys, gaining 113 yards and 1 TD on 24 carries. He ran hard, as usual, and made some great cutbacks, while really pressing his runs. This wasn't necessarily Morris at his best, but it was pretty close. He continues to make little impact in the passing game, though his blocking has improved since the beginning of the year.
WR Pierre Garcon. He was only in on 29 plays and ran only 22 routes, but on those routes he caught 5 passes for 93 yards, including an absolutely jaw-dropping 59-yard catch-and-run touchdown. He also blocked very well, but that's nothing new.
WR Santana Moss. Only on the field about half the time and ran only 23 routes, but caught the ball four of the five times it was thrown to him for 42 yards and a 1 TD. All of his catches were either first downs or touchdowns and he was often the man RG3 looked for in critical third down situations.
FB Darrel Young. He hasn't had a bad game all season and Thanksgiving Day was his best performance to date. Run blocking was very solid, both for Morris and on screen passes. He may be the second best fullback in the NFC this year.
WR Josh Morgan, TE Niles Paul, Aldrick Robinson. Morgan caught 5 of the 6 passes thrown to him, but gained less than 50 yards. He continues to be the consummate tough guy, running through walls for the offense. Paul caught a TD pass on a wide open play fake on third and inches to provide the winning margin. This was one of Paul's best performances of 2012. Robinson caught a 68-yard TD pass when a brilliant play fake by RG3 got him wide open. Otherwise, Robinson did little, getting in on only 10 plays.
MUST DO BETTER
RG Chris Chester, WR Leonard Hankerson. Hankerson was only thrown at once, catching the ball for 12 yards. He needs to get open more often, though his blocking is solid. Chris Chester was average, as he usually is.
LT Trent Williams. I was shocked at Williams' poor performance against Dallas, but was not surprised to learn that it happened because he sustained a deep thigh bruise on the third play from scrimmage and played through it the rest of the game. Williams has been good or great all season and this was his first down game. He got schooled on running and passing plays, sometimes by backup linemen. He didn't allow a sack, but did allow four QB hurries and had a rare penalty called against him.
LG Kory Lichtensteiger. He hasn't been very good this year, particularly in the run game, and has three games where he was downright bad. That was certainly the case against the Cowboys. He was consistently beaten in the run game, allowing penetration that spoiled otherwise promising plays. He also allowed a QB hit and a QB hurry
TE Logan Paulsen. He's been an average tight end this year, which is better than could have been expected from an undrafted free agent in his third season forced into a starting role by a season-ending injury to Fred Davis. Paulsen had his worst game against the Cowboys, giving up a sack and repeatedly getting blown up in the run game and failing to get to the second level.
This was the Redskins Report Card, Offense for Week 12. Look for similar articles upcoming on the defense and special teams in week 12.