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Redskins-Texans recap: Refusing to play the blame game

By Evan Bliss

I can’t fault Reed Doughty for not breaking up Andre Johnson’s fourth down fourth quarter touchdown catch. I can’t fault second-year kicker Graham Gano for not making a 52-yard overtime field goal twice in a row. I can’t fault the refs for not overturning the Jacoby Jones' non-catch in overtime, or for not stopping the clock when it clearly looked like Keiland Williams was out of bounds. I can’t fault Stephon Heyer’s holding penalty that nullified a late and long 3rd down conversion. I won’t even fault the Redskins for blowing a 17-point lead at home.

A Week 2 loss against a non-conference non-rival won’t hinder any playoff aspirations, and the Redskins fortunately still remain tied at the top of the NFC East due to the disarray in Dallas, the fallibility of Philly, and the Giant's mess in New York. But the Skins have tons of work to do on both sides of the ball if sneaking in as a Wild Card, or better yet winning the NFC East outright, are a possibility this season.

McNabb threw for 426 yards last night, 1 touchdown, 0 picks, and completed 28 of 38 passes for a 73.7 percentage in a game where Washington lead through three quarters. Numbers alone won’t tell the tale, but it looks like McNabb is getting comfortable in burgundy and gold. He spread the ball out to 8 different receivers, improving on “The Moss and Cooley Show” from week 1, and had long passes of 62, 62, 35, and 34 yards. He is who we thought he was, but Donovan can’t do it by himself. The running game, despite Portis’ two goal-line scores -- which is also a marked improvement -- looked horrific. Portis’ 33 yards and 2.5 average a carry is not what I remember from Mike Shanahan’s running backs.

Larry Johnson and Keiland Williams won’t be 1000 yard running backs under Shanahan. Portis definitely could, but something needs to click. When the Skins go up against a stout secondary, they’re going to need to depend on their ground attack, or pray the defense finds what they’re looking for.

On defense we’re looking at a completely different sack of potatoes. At times they look ferocious, at times they look feeble. 'Dre Johnson caught 12 balls for 158 yards and a score. Kevin Walter, Houston’s No. 2 guy, caught 11 balls for 144 and a score. A week earlier, Miles Austin caught 10 balls for 146 and a score. Perhaps a healthy Kareem Moore improves our secondary, but a secondary that’s allowed 745 passing yards through two games needs more than a player fix. I’m not on the field, but it looked like Haslett called a solid game. Players need to execute, know their assignments, and communicate better, all things that take time.

Mike Shanahan’s call to kick a 52 yarder in overtime, Kyle Shanahan’s aggressive third-down play calling, and Haslett’s varied attacks all show the players their coaches believe they can get the job done. The players have responded by playing 60 minutes of inspired football, something new to these parts. Now it’s just a matter of everything coming together sooner rather than later, starting Week 3 against the more than crushable Rams.

By Box Seats blogger  | September 20, 2010; 2:00 PM ET
Categories:  Evan Bliss, Redskins  | Tags:  Redskins-Texans  
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Next: Do Sideline Timeouts Improve the Game?


Nice post, enjoyed it!!

The two places I could see fault are Fred Taylor's lousy chip that led to the blocked field-goal, and Joey Galloway not running down and catching McNabb's 70-yard bomb (I thought he had plenty of time to run under it and position himself for the catch, but it seemed like he had a hard time judging the throw's angle and distance).

Oh, I wouldn't be surprised if Keiland Williams is a 1,000 yard back under Shanahan in 1 or 2 years. Not that that matters much now. I'm pining for good old reliable Ladell Betts ... sigh.

Posted by: SkinsFaninCanada | September 20, 2010 8:16 PM | Report abuse

I can't fault anybody either. I actually thought the team drew up a great game plan that would have won us the game.

As for the secondary: watching these first couple of games,I think the corners are just having trouble trusting each other and keeping their assignments. Granted they have played two passing offenses with a lot of firepower. But Haslett is really committing to rushing the QB, which is a good plan, but the secondary needs to play tight coverage, because even when you sack a QB like Matt Schaub 5 times, he can still beat you with all the weapons he has.

And I actually think Kareem Moore will help this group more than we think. I don't think they trust Reed Doughty in coverage at all.

Posted by: ScribbledNotes | September 22, 2010 8:37 AM | Report abuse

I agree completely. Kareem Moore, when fully healthy and back in game-shape, will help a TON. The defense was so disappointed to lose him. They think Landry and Moore together will be dominant.

Doughty is a really good back-up. Smart, gets himself in the right place more often than most, but won't win those one-on-one battles with number 1 wide receivers.

Posted by: SkinsFaninCanada | September 23, 2010 5:19 AM | Report abuse

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