Sunday, September 26, 2010
Wrap-up: Rams 30, Redskins 16
By Dan Graziano
What it means: The Redskins fall into a three-way tie for second place in the NFC East with the Giants and Cowboys. This was a road win Washington had to have against a team that will be fortunate to win three or four games this season. Even after Rams running back Steven Jackson had to leave the game with a hamstring injury, the Redskins' defense couldn't get off the field when the game hung in the balance.
What I didn't like: The Skins had success in the running game in the first half but that dried up in the second half. It's pretty apparent that Ryan Torain is more explosive than Clinton Portis and that's an indictment on how coach Mike Shanahan approached this season. Quarterback Donovan McNabb is used to performing without the help of a consistent running game but at least he had the threat of Brian Westbrook when he was in Philly. On Sunday, he had to rely on Santana Moss and Chris Cooley, and that made the Skins one-dimensional for much of the game. Of course, the fumble by Moss early in the game put the Skins in a hole. You can't allow a bad team to hang around and that's what the Skins did. I've watched Jackson's 42-yard touchdown run several times and it looked like safety Kareem Moore had a clean shot at him. It also looks like everyone on the field overpursued the ball, allowing him to make a nice cut and race for the end zone.
Goat: I think you have to go with the entire defense. This unit was supposed to be a strength but the Redskins allowed rookie quarterback Sam Bradford to find a rhythm and didn't consistently knock him down. Brian Orakpo had the one sack but they didn't seem to intimidate Bradford at all. He and McNabb basically had the same numbers and that spelled trouble for the Skins. On offense, the Redskins definitely missed Trent Williams, but you have to be able to overcome that type of adversity.
"Special" teams issues: Losing punter Josh Bidwell in pregame warmups was an absolute killer. Kicker Graham Gano did his best, but Keiland Williams didn't help him out by whiffing on a block. The blocked punt gave the Rams a huge momentum play and inspired a crowd that has forgotten what it's like to see its team win at home.
What's next: McNabb will return to Philadelphia with the Eagles riding high. We'll write a ridiculous amount about McNabb's homecoming, but the main storyline is that Washington's season is already on the line. Even in this watered-down division, a 1-3 record would be disastrous. And there's nothing that occurred in St. Louis that pointed toward the Skins pulling off an upset against the Eagles. This looked a lot like the team that lost on the road to the Lions last season. And this should not have been a trap game for the Redskins. The Rams had stayed close in their first two games and Spagnulo's an excellent coach.