By Ryan O’Halloran
The first edition of Redskins Monday Up/Downs, this after a 28-14 season-opening win over the New York Giants:
The pass rush. The Redskins sacked Eli Manning four times. Compare that to the previous six meetings (all Giants wins) and a total of seven sacks. The key was getting a lead. New York couldn’t drain the clock with its power running game and that allowed defensive coordinator Jim Haslett to dial up some pressure.
The running game. Sure, the Giants are physical up front, but the Redskins need to be better – and they know it – with the rushing game. The offense totaled 74 yards on 26 carries (2.8-yard average). Take out Tim Hightower’s 22-yard game and the average drops to 2.08 yards per attempt.
Quarterback Rex Grossman. He overcame an 0-for-4 start to post 305 yards on 21-of-34 passing. The most impressive thing was the big plays (20-plus yards). Grossman completed seven passes of 22 or more yards.
Big plays allowed. The Redskins gave up only three plays of 20-plus yards (the offense had eight), but the Giants hit on completions of 68 and 41 yards. Especially against Larry Fitzgerald and Dez Bryant the next two games, that has to be addressed.
Third down defense. The Giants were a woeful 1-for-10 on third down. Compare that to the Redskins’ 5-for-15 total.
Pass protection. New York was without pass rushers Osi Umenyiora and Justin Tuck and still sacked Grossman four times.
Tight end Fred Davis. Starter Chris Cooley returned but had his work load limited since he’s just coming back from a knee injury. Davis capitalized on the looks from Grossman to catch five passes for a career-best 105 yards.
Rookies Ryan Kerrigan and Chris Neild. Kerrigan (first round) had an interception for a touchdown in the third quarter that gave the Redskins the lead for good and Neild (seventh round) had two sacks when subbing for Barry Cofield at nose tackle.
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