Texans 30, Redskins 27: The checklist
First of all, before I do my rundown on the game I want to make it clear that I believe this team played their hearts out but just came up short of a victory. This is still a team to be excited about; no need to pull rip cords or hit panic buttons at this point.
Now that I got that out of the way, let's go through the checklist of things that the Redskins needed to do to win the game against the Texans:
1) Finish drives with touchdowns, not just field goals: Check
They proved to themselves and the league against a good team that they can generate points; that's a big positive. The offense posted four drives that resulted in touchdowns.
2) Block Mario Williams; keep him off of Donovan McNabb on passing plays: No
Mario not only recorded sacks off both sides of the line, but to add insult to injury, Trent Williams was injured while giving up a sack to Mario Williams, not good.
3) Continue to try and establish the running game with Clinton Portis and Larry Johnson: No
Portis only had 33 yards rushing on the day and Johnson went the opposite direction with a whopping minus-7 yards. Although the team still came close to winning the game with no running attack, it didn't win, and the lack of production here played a major part. If the running game had been more effective, it would have allowed the offense to chew up time and yardage. By not executing this phase of the game plan, the team was forced to do it all by air, which means incomplete passes, which means stopped clock, which means more time on the clock. Sorry, but 18 yards rushing in total won't get things done.
4) The passing game needed to improve; McNabb needed to get other receivers involved this week: Check
McNabb spread the ball around very well, getting Joey Galloway, Anthony Armstrong, Roydell Williams, Chris Cooley and Santana Moss touches in this game. They were going to need a superior effort in the passing game and they got it, racking up 426 yards.
5) McNabb needed to take some shots down field: Check
McNabb hit Galloway for a 62-yard pass completion and almost had him a second time, just missing it by inches.
1) Stop the Texans' run game that ran through the Colts a week before: Check
They held Arian Foster to 69 yards and the team as a whole under 100 yards.
2) Limit Andre Johnson and force someone else to beat them in the passing game: No
Johnson and Kevin Walter went for over 100 yards receiving and both had a touchdown, Johnson's TD catch came in the last minutes of regulation, sending the game into overtime.
3) Make Matt Schaub uncomfortable in the pocket and limit his chances to get into a rhythm: No and no
There was very little effective pressure on Matt Schaub and although the Skins recorded five sacks on the day, he made the Redskins pay in the second half. The defense and offense share the responsibility for this. No rush on defense in the second half and no rushing on offense all day gave Schaub more than enough opportunities to get into a groove, and that's exactly what Schaub did. Washington gave up 20 unanswered points in the second half and overtime -- that spells total collapse.
Special teams obviously had two key plays that cost the Redskins the game: the blocked field goal and the winning field goal attempt that was wiped out by a last-second timeout by the Texans. The punt game improved, but the kicking game failed this week.
There are three phases to the game of football: offense, defense and special teams. A team must win at least two phases to win a game. The Redskins lost every phase in this game; it's impossible to win when that happens.
They travel to St. Louis for their first road game, against the Rams. This should be the perfect game to get back on track but they must not take the Rams lightly. The Redskins must approach this game with the understanding that St. Louis is a team led by a rookie quarterback and a second-year coach who is struggling to figure out how to win. The Redskins need to make sure this isn't the week they figure it out.
| September 20, 2010; 8:04 AM ET
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