Redskins vs. Rams checklist: More misses than hits
In the aftermath of Sunday's loss to the Rams, let's revisit the Redskins' keys to the game and see where they succeeded and where they failed. We'll start with the offense.
Establish a ground attack: No. The Redskins started off the game running with success. Clinton Portis got his touches and ran for 44 yards, but that would be it for him. Ryan Torain came in and ran for 46 yards; both backs had seven carries apiece. Net rushing on 17 attempts was 116 yards. Coaches seemed to be trying new things with new people in this game.
Strong game from the offensive line: No. They did a better job run blocking but still did not show the ability to be consistent. They made too many mistakes and were penalized on several key plays, giving up valuable yardage in a close game.
Find secondary receivers: No. Donovan McNabb did use other receivers outside of Santana Moss, but did not use them as frequently as he should have. Tight end Chris Cooley should have received more touches earlier in this game.
Don't allow the Rams' defense to gain confidence: No. The Rams knew they had to keep the Redskins offense in front of them. In other words: Do not let a big play occur; do not let the pass plays get behind them. The Rams were able to limit the Redskins' big-play ability, which played right into the hands of the Rams. The longer the Rams were able to execute the game plan successfully, the more confidence they gained.
Now let's look at the defense:
Stop Steven Jackson: Yes. Jackson left the game early because of a groin pull. Keep in mind he had rushed for more than 50 yards and a touchdown when he left the game, so give credit to the injury bug for lending a hand. What's sad is a pair of reserve backs were able to come in and make some clutch runs for the Rams when they needed it.
Force Sam Bradford to beat you with his arm: No. The pressures were not effective enough to rattle the rookie quarterback. The game plan was clear for the Rams: Throw short passes in the seams or right smack in front of Bradford's face. He was able to execute his assignments well enough to put up 30 points.
Generate multiple turnovers: No. It looked as though the defense would generate more than one turnover in this game. But after an early Interception by Kareem Moore, there would be no more.
Finally, let's look at special teams.
Play consistent: Yes. Graham Gano filled in as the punter after starter Josh Bidwell was injured in warm-ups. Gano did his best filling in as the punter averaging 24 yards on the day. He was also consistent in the kicking game, making all three field goal attempts.
Coverage teams: Yes. They played a solid game all day long and even got a fumble recovery.
Return game: yes and no. Yes for Devin Thomas, who gave the offense solid starting field position all day long. Phillip Buchanon did not and fumbled a return that could have been a costly turnover.
To summarize this game, the performances by the coaching staff and players were poor. They let a struggling team find confidence in their game plan and allowed them to execute it well enough to pull off an upset. It can't come as a surprise when the same penalties are committed, the same mistakes are made, and the continued indecision by Coach Mike Shanahan and company continue.
Time to regroup and re-evaluate how this team is preparing. These next 3 games are against really good teams. The Redskins can't win if they continue to coach and play this way.
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