Redskins Report Card: Game 8
QUARTERBACK – GRADE: B+. Robert Griffin III bounced back nicely from the Denver debacle — the worst game of his young NFL career — with a fine performance that was marred by a few passes knocked down at the line of scrimmage and one or two off-target throws that were hauled in by Pierre Garcon having the game of his career, so far.
OFFENSE – GRADE: A. Pierre Garcon was brilliant, averaging almost 25 yards per catch on 7 catches and racking up 60 yards after the catch. He also did a great job blocking on running plays. Leonard Hankerson caught five passes and one of the better games of his career. He still doesn’t get open often enough. Joshua Morgan is a non-factor in the passing game, but blocks well. TE Jordan Reed played well, but is too often ignored in the second half of games by Kyle Shanahan.
Alfred Morris had another terrific game and finally got the carries the offense needs him to get almost every week. Darrel Young blocked well and scored 3 TD.
The offensive line dominated the line of scrimmage, allowing no sacks and almost no hits on RG3 while clearing running lanes for Morris. In fact, I thought every offensive lineman played well, apart from C Will Montgomery, who was mediocre due to two penalties. So even Chris Chester, who has had a terrible season to date, blocked very well for the run, though he also committed a penalty. Trent Williams had a very strong day, allowing only one QB hurry and LG Kory Lichtensteiger was a road-grader in the running game, allowing Redskins runners to average almost 8 yards per carry over left guard.
DEFENSE – GRADE: C+. This grade dropped radically in the fourth quarter. For almost 3.5 quarters of the game the Redskins offense played very well, but things went south in the last 8 or 9 minutes of regulation, as Chargers QB Phillip Rivers consistently found Danny Woodhead open underneath against linebackers who could not stay with him or WR Keenan Allen open in the mid range passing game, victimizing Washington’s defensive backs. NT Barry Cofield continued to be a pass-rushing terror, notching two QB hits and two hurries.
OLB Ryan Kerrigan had yet another good game, with 5 QB hurries and he was also unusually stout against the run. Kerrigan isn’t getting sacks the way he was earlier in the season, but he gets consistent pressure to make opposing passers uncomfortable in the pocket. Fellow OLB Brian Orakpo also played unusually well against the run but for the second straight week he was AWOL on the pass rush. Orakpo has to get more pressure on the quarterback, it’s what he was drafted to do and what should make him a very rich man in a few months. Inside ‘backers London Fletcher and Perry Riley both played poorly, unable to handle the underneath passing game that is fundamental to San Diego’s 2013 offense. Fletcher also committed a penalty and missed two tackles. He remains one of the most overrated players in the NFL.
Safety Brandon Meriweather had his best game of the year, tackling well and legally and shutting down the passing game when it came to him. Reed Doughty mostly stayed close to the line of scrimmage, helping with a run defense which excelled all game. CB DeAngelo Hall had another fine game, allowing only two completions and doing some great work in coverage, particularly on the goal line stand, where Defensive Coordinator Jim Haslett wisely let Hall handle dangerous Chargers TE Antonio Gates. Rookie CB David Amerson had an up and down game, producing an interception that was a great example of him using his size and instincts to muscle away a receiver to get the ball. However, rookie wideout Keenan Allen also had a fair amount of success against Amerson and this was one of David’s weaker games, particularly recently, when he’s often been quite good. CB Josh Wilson had another poor outing, allowing Rivers to put up a passer rating of 136.9 against him. For Wilson it is just the latest poor outing in a season filled with them so far.
SPECIAL TEAMS – GRADE: C-. Punter Sav Rocca bounced back with a good game, allowing no returns on three kicks averaging 41.0 yards. He put two punts out of bounds and forced the Chargers to fair catch the third inside their own 20. Rocca consistently won field position for the Redskins. PK Kai Forbath had a major issue with getting height on his kicks and had two blocked in the first half, the first time that’s happened in decades. Not hitting the 59-yard FG was fine, but the 25-yarder should have been automatic and it nearly cost the team the game in the end. KR Joshua Morgan did nothing in the return game, though Santana Moss and Niles Paul were no better. To be fair, the Redskins don’t block well for their returners. The Redskins did a solid job covering kickoffs and Rocca made sure there were no problems with punts.
COACHING – GRADE: A-. The offense still forgets about Jordan Reed too often, but they got the message about relying more on Alfred Morris and calling almost 40 runs was a very smart move. The Chargers never handled Washington’s rushing attack and Kyle Shanahan refused to get distracted by all the pretty lights and colors in the passing game. Haslett called a very solid game on defense, making the proper adjustments and confusing the Chargers early with some innovative stunts and blitzes.
TEAM GRADE – B. The special teams is a rolling debacle, but the offense might be finally finding its feet. The defense will have to do the best it can do, but allowing only 17 points to a pretty good team was a solid effort, even if things fell apart a bit in the fourth quarter.
BEST STAT – 500 yards of offense, with 209 from the rushing attack and 291 through the air. The Redskins now have three of the five games this season in the NFL where an offense has rolled up at least 200 yards on the ground and through the air in the same game. Honorable mention: 12 of 17 on third downs. That’s fantastic.
WORST STAT – The short middle of the field against Washington’s defense was open all day, with Rivers completing 14 of 18 passes for 124 yards in that area. ILB Riley and Fletcher really hurt the defense on Sunday with their inability to handle this task.
BEST DECISION – Run the ball, run the ball, run the ball.
WORST DECISION – Ignoring TE Jordan Reed in the second half. The Skins didn’t throw to Reed again until the final drive of the game.
WHAT THE HELL? – 4 tipped passes and 2 blocked field goals? What’s with letting the Chargers linemen touch the ball so much?
HERO- RB Alfred Morris proved once again how good the offense is when he is the center of it.
ALMOST THE GOAT – PK Kai Forbath. Get your kicks up, dude, or get out.