Wrap-up: Rams 31, Redskins 28
September, 16, 2012
By Dan Graziano | ESPN.com
A few thoughts on the Washington Redskins' disappointing Week 2, 31-28, loss to the Rams in St. Louis:
What it means: Well, Robert Griffin III isn't going to go undefeated for the season or his career. I know some wondered about this after last week's victory in New Orleans, but we kept saying there would be bumps in the road, and this was a bump. St. Louis may be better this year than it was last year, but it's still the kind of team you need to beat if you want to be a surprise contender in the NFC this year. Griffin made some breathtaking plays, and the 82 rushing yards on top of 206 passing yards must have made a lot of fantasy football players happy. But he also had some plays on which he looked like a rookie. All totally understandable, and pretty much what to expect as the year goes along. A lot of excitement and some areas that need work. It also bears mentioning that his best wide receiver, Pierre Garcon, missed the game with a foot injury.
Goat of the week: Wide receiver Josh Morgan, are you kidding me? The Redskins got a late turnover and were moving the ball, looking as though they might at least get a shot at a field goal to send the game into overtime. Morgan caught a pass at the Rams' 29-yard line, which would have set up Billy Cundiff for a 47-yard try. No gimme, but certainly within Cundiff's range. However, Morgan got mad and flipped the ball at a Rams defender and was (correctly) flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct. The result was a 15-yard penalty, and Cundiff's game-tying try from 62 yards fell well short, as you would expect. There were other things that cost the Redskins this game, but Morgan ended any chance at a miracle, final-seconds comeback. Terribly stupid play.
He's the man: Rookie Alfred Morris was once again the only Redskins running back of note, collecting 89 rushing yards on 16 carries. Griffin carried the ball 11 times, but no other Redskin got more than one carry. Roy Helu got none, and was only targeted once in the passing game. Morris is the Redskins' running back right now. Not sure how long it'll last, but he's not doing anything to prod a change.
Pressure up front: I expected the Redskins to get some pressure from the defensive line as well as the outside linebackers, and it appears from what I was able to see that Stephen Bowen had a big game. The box score credits him with a sack, a tackle-for-loss, a pass defended and two quarterback hits. Active.
Be careful: I loved watching Griffin run the ball on those designed runs and broken plays, of which there were several in a row on one early fourth-quarter possession. But man, he's taking some shots. Breathtaking runner, and you don't want to take that out of his game, but they need to find ways to protect him from the hits. They have to be cringing every time he takes one, considering what's invested in him.
Young at heart: I see you, London Fletcher.
What's next: Griffin will make his home debut Sunday at 1 p.m. ET against the Cincinnati Bengals. The Bengals are 1-1 after beating the Browns at home Sunday afternoon.
1:00 PM ET Cleveland Baltimore 1:00 PM ET Dallas Washington 1:00 PM ET Indianapolis Tennessee 1:00 PM ET Jacksonville Houston 1:00 PM ET San Diego Kansas City 1:00 PM ET New York Miami 1:00 PM ET Chicago Minnesota 1:00 PM ET Buffalo New England 1:00 PM ET Philadelphia New York 1:00 PM ET New Orleans Tampa Bay 4:25 PM ET Carolina Atlanta 4:25 PM ET Detroit Green Bay 4:25 PM ET Oakland Denver 4:25 PM ET Arizona San Francisco 4:25 PM ET St. Louis Seattle 8:30 PM ET Cincinnati Pittsburgh