Upon Further Review: Redskins Week 9

November, 4, 2013
11/04/13
8:00
AM ET
A review of four hot issues from the Washington Redskins' 30-24 overtime win over San Diego:

Ground attack: The Redskins have excelled on the ground in the past five games -- and, not so coincidentally, they’re 3-2 in that stretch. In these five games, the Redskins have averaged 173.6 rushing yards per game, second only to San Francisco, according to ESPN Stats & Information. And their 4.93 yards per rush ranks fourth in the NFL over that time. Alfred Morris had a season-high 25 carries, allowing the Redskins to use all of their play-action game, and that consistently hurt the San Diego defense. For as talented as quarterback Robert Griffin III is, it’s Morris who powers the offense. The more success Morris has, the better opportunities Griffin will have to throw. Also, those three Darrel Young touchdowns will provide defenses something else to worry about at the goal line.

[+] EnlargePierre Garcon
Patrick McDermott/Getty ImagesPierre Garcon had seven catches for 172 yards in Sunday's win.
Getting in rhythm: Receiver Pierre Garcon was wide open on the first play of the game, but Griffin’s pass was low and behind him. But after that pass they were mostly in sync -- and if they weren’t, then Griffin put the ball close enough to Garcon for him to make a tough catch. The only other pass-catcher on the roster capable of making those grabs is tight end Jordan Reed. Griffin and Garcon need to be on the same page because otherwise the passing game just won’t threaten many teams. The other wideouts might make a big play once in a while, but none come close to scaring a defense. Garcon can do just that, especially in the intermediate area. The more Griffin throws with trust to Garcon, the more big plays he can make. And with Griffin’s accuracy off this season, it’s important to have another player with a wide catch radius.

Missing rush: Outside linebacker Brian Orakpo played the run well against San Diego, penetrating to the inside on a couple of occasions to make stops. But in the last two games, with opposing quarterbacks throwing a combined 90 passes, Orakpo has not been credited with even a quarterback pressure. Peyton Manning and Philip Rivers do a good job avoiding hits by releasing the ball quickly. And it’s not as if the Redskins are generating much pressure from elsewhere -- they have a combined three sacks and five quarterback hurries the past two games. Orakpo’s presence helps no doubt, but if the Redskins really want to make a run, he’ll have to make more noise as a pass-rusher.

Special teams mishaps: On both field goals it appears the kicks were too low. Kai Forbath needs to kick it a little low when attempting a kick from more than 50 yards, but his first one was from only 25 yards. Lawrence Guy, who blocked it, barely jumped. It’s tough to say whether the fact that the laces were facing the wrong way made a difference. Regardless, it was low. Forbath did make a 47-yarder later in the game. Meanwhile, the punt coverage has improved statistically since it allowed Devin Hester’s 81-yard return for a score in Week 7. It helps that only two of Sav Rocca’s next 12 punts were returned, gaining a combined 14 yards. Six punts have gone out of bounds.

John Keim

ESPN Washington Redskins reporter

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