Monday, September 08, 2014

Fumblin and Bumblin: Skins 6 - Texans 17

When one is in an old fashioned gun fight against a Texan and one pulls a gun out of the waist of one's pants, one shouldn't pull on the gun by the trigger. Yet, that's exactly what the Redskins did yesterday shooting themselves in places where it hurts before the Texan could get off a shot.

If the Redskins had held onto the ball all three times that they found themselves inside their opponent's ten-yard line (turning it over twice), they would have won the game. Had they merely blocked those rushing the PAT attempt and the punt, they probably would have won the game. These are simple things. Things that can be corrected pretty quickly.

The good news:
  • Griffin played well. Going against a very good defense, Griffin finished with a passer rating close to 97, which is good enough for tenth in the league so far, and he looked a lot like the pocket passer that Gruden wants him to become. He ran only three times and mostly moved around in the pocket buying time for receivers to open up. I'd say he has learned the new system pretty quickly, not that it's a surprise (per my Season Preview). And, more importantly, Griffin's decisions were outstanding--just like in his rookie season. He consistently took what the defense gave him and didn't try to force anything. The Texans were not going to let him burn them deep, so Griffin took the five to fifteen yard plays every time at a high success rate;
  • Alfred Morris is a beast. He average 6.5 yards a carry yesterday and should have gotten more than 14 opportunities;
  • Jordan Reed's early injury was a reminder how much they miss him when he is hurt, especially on third down. The injury is supposed to be minor;
  • The defense is as good as I suspected it would be. They made few big plays, but they forced a lot of three and outs. They only let up one big play and only let up 10 points when they were on the field. There is a lot of talent there even if it turns out that Cofield will be out for a while with the ankle injury he sustained;
  • Their new punter looked very good. The block was not his fault;
  • Roberts was exceptional on returns and may have broken one had his own teammate not knocked him out of bounds. Damn these unforced errors. He also had another big return called back on holding away from the play;

The bad news:
  • Right Tackle Tyler Polumbus has looked bad every time he has played. I'm not sure what it will take to give the rookie tackle Moses a chance, but surely Moses could not have been much worse than Polumbus yesterday. In the preseason, Moses substituted for Trent Williams against Cleveland's first-team defense and did extraordinarily well. Let's hope the Redskins give Moses a start at RT soon;
  • All of the unforced errors;
  • Injuries to Reed and Cofield
It would be very damaging for a lot of reasons for the Redskins to fall to 0 - 2 after playing the Texans, who were on a 14-game losing streak before yesterday, and the Jaguars next Sunday. So, as ridiculous as it sounds, this week is almost a "must-win" game. The good news is that it is very winnable. The bad news: so was yesterday's game. The Redskins have to stop shooting themselves.

A win against Jacksonville should give them confidence in the system and Gruden and Griffin and the defense, especially if they fire on all cylinders. That would put them in position to do some early damage in the NFC East with the Eagles and Giants coming up after that. If it turns out that the Redskins are 3-1 after the Thursday Night game against the Giants, they will be sitting alone in first place with the tie breakers. After that Giants game, they play four games in which they should win three, for a potential 6 - 2 record at the halfway point and a lot to look forward to in the second half.

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