The Coming Out, The Torching, The Trial By Fire, pick your aphorism
Takeaway Drill: A pretty weak performance; down two scores before the first pee break; overwhelmed by an overwhelmed rookie; taking out their best player is supposed to slow them down; we've seen this bit before.
Quick jump to
Monday Walkthrough: The Redskins play timid, look like a team afraid to win, make lots of individual mistakes and fail to capitalize when the Rams' best player is off the field, lose 30-16 in Saint Louis, Washington drops to 1-2. Sam Bradford certainly looks like a quarterback capable of throwing to open receivers. A frustrating and predictable letdown game.
The Rams elect to receive to start the first quarter, Saint Louis' first possession starts at their 40 yard line when Graham Gano's kick goes out of bounds, riding tailback Steven Jackson and including the Rams going for it on fourth and one, Kareem Moore whiffs on Steven on a run off right tackle, Steven darts 42 yards through open field to score, extra point good and the Rams take an early 7-0 lead. The Redskins get the ball for the first time, first two plays are passes, a crackback penalty on Santana Moss leads to a first and 25, on the next play Santana fumbles, the ball is recovered and returned almost to the goal line. Saint Louis gets the ball for the second time, inside the Redskins five yard line, on second down Sam Bradford rolls right and finds tight end Daniel Fells in the back of the end zone for a score, extra point is good and the Rams push their early lead to 14-0. Washington gets the ball for the second time, a run for nowhere on first down, a false start on Stephon Heyer on second down, false start on Artis Hicks on third down, Graham Gano's punt is blocked and the Rams take over near the Redskins 25 yard line. Graham Gano punting, wait what? The Rams' third possession is one play as Kareem Moore tips and then intercepts Sam Bradford's pass intended for Daniel Fells, there was a penalty on that play though it was against the Rams and the Redskins get a do over. The Redskins third possession starts at their own fifteen, Clinton Portis finally gets two good runs, 34 yards on two plays, two incompletes on solid defense and the Redskins drive is killed and they are punting. Saint Louis gets the ball for the fourth time, a three and out with good Redskins defense. Washington's fourth possession starts with another good Clinton Portis run, Donovan McNabb is forced to use a timeout to prevent a delay of game, back from the timeout cornerback Bradley Fletcher badly interferes with tight end Fred Davis way downfield and the Redskins have the ball at the Rams fourteen, two more plays and that is where the quarter ends with the Rams leading 14-0.
The Redskins continue their fourth possession into the second quarter, Oshiomogho Atogwe nearly intercepts Donovan's pass, a holding penalty on Jammal Brown stalls this drive, Graham Gano sets up for a 29 yard field goal, it is good and the Redskins cut the Rams lead to 14-3. The Rams' fifth possession never happens, on the kickoff following the field goal Reed Doughty hits rookie receiver Mardy Gilyard, fumble and Lorenzo Alexander collects the ball, Redskins have it back. Washington's fifth possession is a one play drive as Donovan McNabb finds Santana Moss 21 yards into the end zone, rolling right and throwing across his body off his back foot, extra point is good and the Redskins cut the Rams lead to to 14-10. The Rams get another chance at a fifth possession, Saint Louis struggles to get any momentum going, Kedric Golston and Brian Orakpo team up on consecutive downs to end this possession, punt. The Redskins get the ball for the sixth time, tailback Ryan Torain busts a run for 36 yards on first down, then three yards on the next play… then minus one on the next, Donovan McNabb breaks the pocket and scrambles for 26 yards, Ryan Torain has another good run, the offense then commits a delay of game to push back to third and nine from the Rams thirteen, Chris Cooley cannot get the first down, Graham Gano sets up for a 24 yard field goal and it is good, the Redskins have now pulled to within one point, 14-13 Rams. Saint Louis gets the ball for the sixth time, a questionable pass interference penalty on Carlos Rogers gets things going for the Rams, this is a long drive that features a number of small but steady gains, a Redskins fumble recovery is overturned on review, the Rams use fifteen plays and more than seven minutes of the clock to get to the Redskins one yard line, four attempts inside the Washington five yard line and Saint Louis gets nothing, they set up for a 21 yard field goal, barely an extra point, on the snap in comes Phillip Daniels through the line and BLOCKS the kick, the Rams get nothing. Washington gets the ball back at their twenty, the Redskins seventh possession is a one play kneel down by Donovan McNabb, and the half ends to boos from the home crowd as the Rams lead 14-13.
The Redskins get the ball to start the third quarter, Washington's eighth possession, Donovan McNabb goes long to Santana Moss for 56 yards down the right sideline, tack on a fifteen yard horse collar and the Redskins have the ball inside the Rams ten, two runs later they stall and Graham Gano kicks a 21 yard field goal to put the Redskins ahead for the first time, 16-14. The Rams' seventh possession is a struggle to midfield, another long Rams drive in drips and drabs, eleven plays and 74 yards later Kenneth Darby runs through a big hole in the middle for twelve yards and the touchdown, extra point good and the Rams retake the lead 21-16. Washington's ninth possession features one good pass to Clinton Portis, the rest is pretty much weak as the Redskins five and out, punt. Saint Louis gets the ball for the eighth time, a hard fought drive that goes down to fourth and short, the Rams end up with a three and out and punt. The Redskins' tenth possession is a return to the all passing offense, three incompletes and the Redskins are punting, this drive looks like Washington is trying to get back to what worked against Houston and it did not work. The Rams get the ball for the ninth time, Sam Bradford manages to find as he has all day an open receiver, a final running play and the quarter ends with the Rams leading 21-16.
Saint Louis continues their ninth possession into the fourth quarter, Kenneth Darby continues his best Steven Jackson impression and bulls for a first down, then seven more to Darby, this guy can run consistently against Washington, finally the Rams stall at the Redskins nineteen, Josh Brown sets up for a 37 yard field goal, it is good and the Rams extend their lead to 24-16, an eight point lead with less then twelve minutes left in the game. Washington's eleventh possession starts with a first down crossing pattern to Santana Moss nullified by a holding on left tackle Stephon Heyer, Santana gets some of that back then Donovan is sacked by defensive end James Hall, Santana is short on his third down catch and the Redskins are punting. Danny Amendola puts the Rams at midfield to start Saint Louis' tenth possession, three runs to fourth and inches, the Rams go for it, get it, then DeAngelo Hall falls down on the next play to give up a 30 yard run, finally Washington's defense stiffens inside the Redskins fifteen and the Rams stall, Josh Brown sets up for a 29 yard field goal, it is good and the Rams extend their lead to 27-16. The Redskins get the ball for the twelfth time, Chris Cooley gets things started with a sixteen yard gain, a non fumble is challenged and upheld, then left guard Kory Lichtensteiger gets called for a false start, now we are at first and fifteen with under four minutes left in the game, cornerback Bradley Fletcher pulls in the next pass on an interception intended for Santana Moss on the left sideline, Rams ball. On the turnover the Rams get the ball for the eleventh and final time with under four minutes left in the game and leading by eleven, Mark Clayton moves the chains, the Rams stall there but are already in field goal range, Josh Brown sets up for a 36 yard attempt, up and good and the Rams extend their lead to fourteen points, 30-16, with less than two minutes left in the game. Washington starts their thirteenth and final drive with no timeouts and down two touchdowns, Roydell Williams and Chris Cooley catch passes and make good gains but it is too little too late time runs out and the game is over, the Rams win 30-16 to drop the Redskins to 1-2, and they looked pretty bad today.
Soapbox: Death by a thousand cuts and a bad defensive plan. The Rams capitalized on some individual mistakes, safety Kareem Moore whiffing on tailback Steven Jackson for the 42 yard touchdown run in the first quarter, a rare Santana Moss fumble that led directly to another score.
While attempting to play the base 3-4 defense, the Redskins gave up short and intermediate yardage plays when the Rams showed the only long plays they could manage were when Redskins players made mistakes. Third down continues to be a big problem for the Redskins defense.
Where is the phyiscal play? Sam Bradford may have a huge upside, for right now he proved he can hit wide open receivers ten to fifteen yards downfield; there was no jam at the line. And why the hell is Andre Carter out following anyone in pass coverage? Know your freaking personnel.
The Redskins played not to give up the big play against a team that had not previously showed it was capable of making big plays. Poor planning.
On offense, I was left with the feeling that the team abandoned the run too soon, after rolling up 115 yards on the ground in the first half the team managed one yards on five rushes in the second half. And what is up with Clinton Portis taking a dive? Since when doe any player except a quarterback fall on purpose?
Adding injury to insult, punter Josh Bidwell injured himself in warmups and was not available to punt, instead kicker Graham Gano did the job, he was ok, here we go again with the sea of punters coming through Ashburn. Could we possibly see punter Hunter the Punter Smith?
Department of Boasting: After falling down and letting backup tailback Kenneth Darby go 33 yards, cornerback DeAngelo Hall proved why I want to cover their best receiver kinds of comments are best kept in the locker room as he appeared to cover the sideline instead of the receiver, letting Mark Clayton, the Rams top pass catcher make a first down on third and twenty when a tackle at the point of the catch would have put Saint Louis five yards short. Mark is a plenty good receiver to be sure, let ye remember that Mark was cast off from the Ravens when they acquired Anquan Boldin and TJ Houshmandzadeh.
The Redskins always seem open to these types of games, maybe it is from overlooking a team, maybe these things just happen, let us go ahead and add today's game to the following list of right game wrong execution games:
2006 game six (link one / two): The Tennessee Titans were 0-5, could not stop anyone on the ground and their running game did not have enough power to pull a greased string through a rat's ass. Verdict? Travis Henry has 178 yards rushing, Clinton Portis less than 60, Titans win in 25-22 in Washington.
(We forgive about everything in 2007, including the game eleven double timeout debacle against the Bills)
In 2008 there were two of these games, game six against the Rams, it was head coach and current Redskins defensive coordinator Jim Haslett's first game as interim head coach, coming in 0-4 to Washington the Rams beat the 4-1 Redskins 19-17 as Washington turned the ball over for the first, second and third times of the season and left guard Pete Kendall picked up a fumble and thought he was a fucking tailback. Later in the season my road trip to Cincinnati was ruined when the Redskins, still clinging to slim playoff hopes, lost to the 1-11-1 Bengals in a game fourteen marked by Clinton Portis insulting head coach Jim Zorn in the week leading up to the game, a complete inability to execute any kind of offense and a goal line fumble by fullback Mike Sellers, the Bengals were already up 17-0 in that game before Washington even managed a first down.
Last season in 2009, in game three same this week's game, Washington gave the gift of hope to a Lions team that had not won a game since the 2007 season, a span of nineteen games, when Matthew Stafford, another rookie quarterback exploited a Redskins team that seemed unprepared for even the worst team in the league, like this game the opponent's top rusher, Kevin Smith, was knocked from the game, a series of game management errors, poor planning and individual errors, led the Lions to a 19-14 victory in Detroit.
But I'm not bitter about any of this.
Chattering Class: Tracee Hamilton at the Washington Post writes about the Redskins sad humiliation by team they should have beaten easily and wonders why the offense is still a work in progress after all this genius time since January. One converted third down and oh for three in the red zone will not cut it in Washington.
Tom Boswell, also at the Post, notes that all the bad teams seem to have a good day against the Redskins, no matter the year and wonders if the all the years of unearned media attention have made this team structurally soft.
Rounding out the Post coverage, Sally Jenkins just thinks the Redskins are soft, that whatever the team has to work with this season that nothing will fix getting pushed around in the short term, notable is the trend that the Redskins lose fight in second halves.
Omnibus: Broadcasters: Dick Stockton, Charles Davis and Jim Mora the Younger, Charles and Jim are practically amateur, how did this game get such lousy broadcasters? It was really amateur hour up in here when the booth lost Jim Mora's mic and could not get it back until 8:48 left first quarter.
Uniform watch: A one game return to a more traditional look, the white jersey paired with the burgundy pants, my favorite home combination since I was in high school.
Almost was: Rams head coach Steve Spagnuolo nearly became the Redskins head coach in 2008, unless you believe coach Spagnuolo was simply gaming the Giants for a bigger contract, it was coach Spagnuolo that first set shadow general manager Vinny Cerrato and owner Dan Snyder down the path to promoting Jim Zorn to head coach. Thanks a lot Spags.
Pregame stats: Redskins have lost ten of last eleven road games; Rams have lost 27 of their past 28 games period.
Albert Haynesworth did not start, Maake Kemoeatu did; safety Kareem Moore is back in the lineup with his first start of the season. Albert was in by the fifth play of the game.
Plus Internets list: LaRon Landry with a big hit for a loss in the Rams first possession; Reed Doughty atoning for his give up of a touchdown to Andre Johnson last week by causing a special teams fumble, Washington recovered and scored on the next play; Kedric Golston for pressuring Sam Bradford on second down in the Rams fifth possession, then to Brian Orakpo on the next play, chasing down Bradford from the back side for a sack to end that possession; Ryan Torain and Mike Sellers for teaming up on the Redskins sixth possession, Mike for a lane opening block and Ryan for taking it 36 yards; Kareem Moore in the Rams seventh possession, Sam Bradford's pass to Brandon Gibson is broken up by a flying Kareem who lays the hit and knocks out the ball.
Gaffes list: Kareem Moore, whiffing on Steven Jackson in the Rams first possession, Steven was free and clear for a TD on that play; Santana Moss in the Redskins first possession, a crackback block that put the Redskins at first and 25 in their own territory, Santana then fumbled on the next play and gave the Rams the ball inside the Redskins five; Phillip Buchanon on the punt return to start the Redskins tenth possession, a weak muff that is only saved by the proximity of the sideline; Stephon Heyer in the Redskins eleventh possession, fourth quarter, for committing a holding penalty to put Washington in first and twenty when the penalty nullified a fourteen yard Santana Moss gain; DeAngelo Hall falling on his ass in front of Mark Clayton in the Rams tenth possession, fourth quarter, that gave up a 30 yard run to the Redskins eleven.
Advertising notes: Great new tagline for Budweiser, Grab Some Buds, drug humor lol.
Stephon Heyer came out at left tackle, Trent Williams could not make the start with his knee and toe, hoping to learn more about this. Kory Lichtensteiger came in at left guard in the Redskins second possession.
8:48 left first quarter and the Redskins are already down 14-0. Awesome. That Redskins second possession is an epic disaster with two false starts and a blocked punt, this was also where we learned punter Josh Bidwell was injured in pregame warmups so kicker Graham Gano, a college punter, was in on emergency duty.
The football gods obviously were angered by the Rams pummeling of the Redskins in that second possession for on the first play of the next Saint Louis drive Kareem Moore intercepted the pass and the ball went back to Washington, I love it when the football gods reverse fortunes on consecutive plays.
Through a quarter and a half the Redskins are winning the time of possession battle by over six minutes, 115 total rushing yards by the Redskins on eleven carries.
Steven Jackson came out of the game and was seen on a trainer's table during the Rams sixth drive, second quarter, later reported that Steven has a groin injury and his return is questionable.
This is important: The Rams had the ball over a minute inside the Redskins one yard line, six plays before the field goal try, thanks to Phillip Daniels crashing the line, Saint Louis gets NAHTHING.
Working titles for this gamewrap: Welcome Back Kareem Moore; Return of the One Play Drive; Ten Points Thirteen Seconds Apart; It WAS the Fumble; Seriously? The Rams?; Oh It's THAT Game Again.
Second half opens with Steven Jackson still in uniform but not in the game.
Nice shot in the Rams' seventh possession, third quarter, of head coach Steve Spagnuolo wiping his nose on his shirt sleeve.
The Rams score on their seventh possession, third quarter, was only Saint Louis' second third quarter touchdown in the last nineteen games. Pretty bad and the Redskins have a tendency to play their way into these milestones don't they?
At the start of the fourth quarter it seems as though the Redskins cannot stop the Rams, Washington is not giving up long plays but they cannot stop this offense, tick tock in the running game as Saint Louis seems to be getting four or five yards consistently off the run.
Nice work bringing in Mike Pereira, the former NFL head of officiating, on the Chris Cooley non fumble challenge in the Redskins twelfth possession, fourth quarter, he lends some credibility to FOX on these matters.
How depressing to see the Redskins get picked apart one play at a time, the Rams had few big plays but were able consistently to move the chains. After last week thinking the Texans pass offense was simply better than the Redskins pass defense, I need to re think all this, Washington's defense was weak overall in this game.
The Mastermind: Some yelling by head coach Mike Shanahan, now 1-2 as Redskins head coach, interesting story about multiple and or inaccurate submissions of the inactives list, leaving the team normally inactive linebacker Perry Riley active and utility offensive line substitute Will Montgomery inactive. Whose fault is that?
Number Five: Quarterback Donovan McNabb was respectable, nineteen of 32 for 236 yards, a touchdown and his first interception as a Redskin, seven Redskins players caught passes though the reliance on receiver Santana Moss and tight end Chris Cooley is going to limit this team in the long run. Dono did have a great 26 yard scramble on third and eight to preserve the drive that ultimately led to Washington getting back within a point after surrendering two touchdowns early.
Silver and Back: Rookie left tackle Trent Williams was inactive for the game, his knee and toe still not ready to get back to action, this left Stephon Heyer to start at left tackle, for all the knocks on Stephon, he anchored the left side in the Redskins best first half of rushing so far this season.
Albert the Butthurt: Defensive nose end Albert Haynesworth did not start... but he did play right? His in the list of substitutions (PDF), though his name does not appear in the play by play and was not credited with a tackle. Anyone?
Washington Post recap, photo gallery. NFL recap, box score, full play by play, Gamebook (PDF), photos, video highlights.
Next up, The Streak continues as lifetime Eagles fan, season ticket holder and Curly R reader/lurker Wilbert Montgomery and I travel to Philadelphia for our 22nd of the past 23 Redskins-Eagles games, this will be my twentieth straight rivalry game played in any venue and my eleventh trip to the City of Brotherly Love to see the Redskins play since 1999. Oh and Donovan McNabb returns to play the team he led to seven playoff appearances, five NFC Beast Division titles, five NFC Championships and a Super Bowl appearance in eleven years. Yeah this ought to be good.
Sam Bradford: Getty Images from here. Donovan McNabb in his last game against the Redskins as an Eagle: Reuters Pictures from here.