IT WAS OVER WHEN...
WR Josh Morgan, stopped just short of a first down, reacted to a late hit by Rams CB Courtland Finnegan by throwing the ball at Finnegan. The refs caught the second guy, of course, and called a 15-yard penalty on Washington. It turned a 4th and1 with a 47 yard field goal attempt coming up into a 4th and 16 and a 62 yard field goal attempt.
The Redskins won the turnover battle, scored more touchdowns and were perfect in red zone efficiency -- and they still lost the game. I don't know how often a team loses a game in that situation, but it must be very, very rare.
THAT WAS GOOD...
- Robert Griffin III was fantastic again, this time under much less favorable conditions.
- RG3 kept his composure for almost the entire game, only throwing one or two ill-advised passes.
- RG3's running kep the Skins in the game, picking up 6 first downs, 2 TD and 82 yards on 11 carries [7.5].
- RG3 completed 20 of 29 for 206 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT and a passer rating of 86.3, but his player efficiency was much higher because of his rushing plays.
- RG3 continues to be a very good deep passer. His 68-yard TD to Leonard Hankerson was beautiful and he had a perfect long pass dropped by Aldrick Robinson.
- TB Alfred Morris averaged 5.6 yards per carry and looks like the real deal.
- London Fletcher did everything to keep the Skins in this game, creating two turnovers with an INT in the end zone and a forced fumble late in the game.
THAT WAS BAD...
- Redskins held a 15-point lead in the 2nd quarter, but couldn't hang on to win.
- Obviously, Morgan's unsportsmanlike conduct penalty was critical. No excuse for a veteran to lose his composure like that.
- Redskins committed 11 penalties for 96 yards. That's 23 penalties for about 200 yards in the first two weeks of the season. When will coaches crack down on that?
- The Redskins had a second punt blocked in the last two weeks. One blocker left early, allowing a Rams blitzer to get in easily.
- The Skins had 5 blocked FG attempts & 1 PAT last year so blocking in the kicking game is an old problem for the special teams.
- Lorenzo Alexander had a bad 15-yard penalty for a horse collar tackle on punt coverage.
- WR Aldrick Robinson was open deep in the third quarter and RG3 put the ball right in his hands. Robinson dropped an easy long completion.
- The defense gave up 452 yards of offense and allowed Rams QB Sam Bradford to have a passer rating well over 100.
- The defense allowed the Rams running backs to average 5.9 yards per carry behind a mediocre and battered offensive line.
- RS Brandon Banks was no help today, losing 3 yards on his one punt return and averaging only 17 yards per kick return. His blocking wasn't very good either.
- Defensive Coordinator Jim Haslett was not prepared for the Rams' short passing game in the first half.
- The replacement refs are terrible. They screwed both teams yesterday, the reviews take forever, and the refs just don't know some of the rules.
AND IT ALL MEANS...
This looks a lot more like the Redskins we would see this year. The secondary is a mess, with receivers running wide open in the defensive backfield all day. Defensive Coordinator Jim Haslett opted to go with a soft zone throughout the first half, allowing Rams QB Sam Bradford to casually pick it apart with one short pass after another to WR Danny Amendola, who finished with 15 receptions. What I didn't see coming was the defensive line being pushed around by an injury-riddled Rams offensive line, allowing St. Louis to control the clock for much of the game and rack up 151 rushing yards. Washington's defense was dominated most of the game and Haslett & Co. should feel very humbled after that performance. I'm not sure what the Redskins can do about their secondary -- there just isn't enough talent there. What they can do is commit more resources to the pass rush because if the defense can't pressure opposing quarterbacks into mistakes, it is in a lot of trouble.
Offensively, RG3 is an amazing talent and he did everything he could to get a win for the Redskins today, but he just didn't get enough help from his defense, special teams and receivers. The Redskins rushed for 176 yards, committed only one turnover and continue to look great in the red zone, thanks to RG3 and his running ability. Washington scored 28 points on the road today and that should be enough to win, but thanks to the special teams and defense, it was not. The loss of composure by Josh Morgan and the continuing penalty parade are causes for real concern. This team is too sloppy and isn't looking after the little things. Coach Mike Shanahan and his crew need to crack the whip tomorrow and going forward.