IT WAS OVER WHEN... Redskins CB/PR Richard Crawford, rookie 7th round pick, caught the punt at his own 12 yard line, made the first man miss and then picked up several blockers, including new DB Jerome Murphy, who really helped turn Crawford loose. He cut toward the middle of the field, raced across the 50 yard line and stumbled at the 30-yard line of the Ravens. Crawford was pulled down at the Baltimore 24-yard line after a 64-yard punt return in overtime in the first game he's ever played in the NFL as a punt returner. Ravens safety Ed Reed jumped offsides on first down, giving the Skins five free yards to the 19 yard line. The Redskins ran a few desultory plays before sending Kyle Forbath on from the 16-yard line to kick a field goal for the 14th time this year. Like the first 13 times, Forbath kicked the football straight and true to win the game from 34 yards away. It was Forbath's third field goal of the game, previously hitting kicks of 48 yards and 49 yards in the third quarter.
STATISTICALLY SPEAKING... I just heard ESPN 980 radio's postgame host refer to Robert Griffin III's performance today as merely "good." His final stats were 15-26 for 246 yards and 1 TD and no turnovers and a passer rating of 102.4. For almost anyone else that's a fantastic performance. The bar has been raised so high on RG3, by virtue of his own play, that a passer rating of 102.4 is something of a disappointment... The Redskins have the league's #1 rushing attack, but they were outgained on the ground today 186-172. Washington won the game because of five rookies -- RG3, Kirk Cousins, Alfred Morris, Richard Crawford and Kai Forbath -- and the fact that they won the turnover battle 2-1... Pierre Garcon had another fine game, catching 5 passes for 84 yards [17.4] and the game-tying TD.
(Patrick Semansky | The Associated Press)
I LIKED THAT... Anyone still want to complain about the Skins using a fourth round pick on Kirk Cousins? The young man came on twice in the fourth quarter and helped finish the game with a beautiful TD pass to WR Pierre Garcon. Then he ran in the 2-point conversion. Cousins never had to do anything in overtime but hand the ball off to Alfred Morris because of the great punt return by Richard Crawford, but based on what we've seen so far, there is no reason to believe Cousins couldn't have led the offense down the field for the winning score, if he'd had to do it... Crawford was great on punt returns today, with returns of 16, 20 and 64 yards. That's 100 yards on 3 punt returns. Not too shabby... PK Kai Forbath is 14 for 14 and real money for the Skins. He's hitting pressure kicks and difficult kicks... I love all the young talent on this team.
I DID NOT LIKE THAT...The Redskins gave up 186 rushing yards and 5.2 yards per carry on the day... For the third straight week the Redskins defense only showed up for one half of football. Two weeks ago in Dallas, the defense was great in the first half, but non-existent in the second half. Last week against the Giants, the defense was nowhere to be found in the first half, but really showed up in the second half. Tonight, the defense was terrific again in the second half, but couldn't get out of its own way in the first half. The defense really needs to put up a complete game; it is putting too much pressure on the offense... Once again there were too many penalties -- 8 flags for 70 yards. The Redskins are the most-penalized team in the NFL and it is nothing to be proud of. The Skins are too undisciplined... CB DeAngelo Hall was terrible again, giving up two TD passes, numerous other completions and committed a stupid personal foul penalty for hitting a Ravens receiver well after the play was over... TE/KR Niles Paul dropped a pass and then fumbled a kickoff return with less than five minutes left in regulation, which the Redskins were fortunate did not cost them the game... Redskins wideouts and tight ends are committing too many penalties.
AND IT ALL MEANS... The Redskins are 7-6 and still in the hunt for a playoff spot. The Cowboys went into Cincinnati and beat the Bengals 20-19 to improve to 7-6, tied with the Skins. The Giants are leading at halftime of their home game against the Saints, as I write this. The Vikings unexpectedly defeated the Bears today, which puts the Vikings at 7-6, but the Skins have a head-to-head tiebreaker with the Vikings. The Bears now fall to 8-5, only one game ahead of the Redskins in the wild card battle. The Seahawks romped over the hapless Arizona Cardinals, improving their record to 8-5, one game ahead of the Skins. Washington's best bet remains winning the NFC East by continuing to win games, with RG3 at the helm or not, and hoping the Giants lose. In any case, the future looks bright for the Redskins because it was five rookies -- Robert Griffin III, Kirk Cousins, TB Alfred Morris, PK Kai Forbath and CB/PR Richard Crawford -- who delivered the victory today.