- John Keim, ESPN Staff Writer
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1. Left tackle Trent Williams had a terrific game a week ago at Green Bay. But I have not seen the Pro Bowl performer in the Redskins’ other two games, including Sunday. He gave up too much pressure, especially for a guy who has the talent to be an elite player at his position. Williams has played a lot better. I’m not going to point out every mistake, but he did not sustain blocks at the second level. In the fourth quarter he allowed inside pressure. Williams was caught leaning outside and this mistake led to Robert Griffin III getting hit. Several plays later Williams set wide and was still beaten outside, leading to another Griffin hit. Earlier in the game he was called for holding to wipe out a 32-yard gain; he was aggressive against the end and was beat inside. Not used to seeing that sort of pressure allowed by Williams in one game.
2. Fullback Darrel Young blocked well all game; he’s improved each year as a blocker and while he hasn’t been even an occasional weapon yet, he is helping when he’s in the game. Young had a key block on Pierre Garcon's end-around on the first play of the game. He blocked the end a few plays later on a zone read. And he had a pancake block on a defensive end. The end sort of slowed when he rushed, but Young lit him up. Later, he popped rookie end Ziggy Ansah (whom I like, by the way; has a good future). There was one time in which the Redskins wanted to throw a screen to Young, but the Lions read it and Griffin couldn’t throw the ball.
3. Receiver Pierre Garcon puts in as much work as anyone at catching the ball and it continues to show in games, where his hands have been reliable. Yes, I know: He’ll now drop several passes next week. But through three games and even in the preseason his hands have been strong. Though I’m not sure Garcon and Griffin are on the same page when it comes to the quarterback’s knee, they definitely are in synch most of the time on the field. Griffin can throw with more trust in Garcon’s direction because of his ability to shield defenders and withstand big hits.
4. Their timing or reads aren’t always the best on deeper routes. It happened in the Eagles game where Garcon and Griffin read a play differently, leading to a bad miss. It happened Sunday; can’t tell if Griffin thought Garcon was going to run a deep comeback or turn out. Garcon did not have a step on the defender, though he could have gotten inside him. The pass ended up about 5 yards from Garcon.
5. The two did connect well on a back shoulder pass in the second quarter. Both have to read that right and they did, with Garcon turning out once he failed to gain leverage on the defensive back. The pass was right there. Garcon has been as productive as hoped for this season.
6. Tight end Jordan Reed threw a nice block on running back Alfred Morris' 30-yard touchdown run. The Lions’ defensive end lost contain on the outside and that enabled Morris to get wide. But Reed also did a good job moving his feet to get around. In the times where I’ve seen Reed not hold his block, it’s usually related to his footwork as much as anything. On this one, he did a good job. Reed also did a nice job on a 10-yard Morris run that was nullified by Garcon lining up wrong. Again: footwork.
7. That last play also was set up by classic Morris: on an inside toss, the linebackers flowed hard to the playside and he cut back to the left to an opening, then juked a safety and cut inside. He also showed good vision on his touchdown as a defensive back filled a gap that he was going to cut into. But Morris bounced wide and won the footrace. He’s playing at a high level the past two games.
8. Also, Detroit defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh started controlling the middle even more in the second half. Not sure I’ve seen a tackle with the motor Suh has -- the guy played 70 of the 73 snaps Sunday. That’s phenomenal. And he was dominating late. Three times over four plays (covering two series), Suh made a huge impact. First: penetration through the middle (against center Will Montgomery) to force a 13-yard loss on a sack. Next: He shed guard Chris Chester and caught Garcon on a smoke route to the left for 5 yards. Next: He got past Chester to the outside, reached out and slowed Morris, holding him to three yards when more would have been available.
10. Kory Lichtensteiger has played better than he did a year ago, perhaps helped by being one more year removed from his surgery. He made a block Sunday that I don’t think he would have made a year ago. Fairley swatted Lichtensteiger aside, knocking him a couple yards to the inside. But Lichtensteiger regained himself, peeled back inside and dove at Fairley, preventing him from hitting Griffin.