Up/downs from the Redskins’ 17-10 win Sunday over St. Louis:
The pass rush
The Redskins’ defense made life miserable for Rams quarterback Sam Bradford all game long. Just how rare is the seven-sack total? According to Pro Football Reference, the Redskins have seven or more sacks just five times since the 1990 season. Leading the way were Brian Orakpo (2.5 sacks), Stephen Bowen (1.5) and Ryan Kerrigan (one sack/forced fumble). The Redskins have 15 sacks through four games; they had 29 all of last year.
This will be a common theme until the Redskins’ offense in particular shows they can bleed a clock while playing with a lead. Last week against Dallas – OK, that was a lead, but only 16-9. This was 17-0 over a winless team. The offense’s last six possessions: Punt, interception, punt, interception, punt, end of game. Total statistics during those six drives: Four first downs, 32 plays and 86 yards
One minute he’s a guy who hasn’t played an offensive snap all season, the next he’s looking like the swift bulldozer who is running 20 yards for a touchdown to make it 14-0. He ended up with 19 carries for 135 yards, his fourth career 100-yard game. Mike Shanahan cited Tim Hightower’s “banged up” status as the reason why Torain got a shot. The next few games will determine which back will get a shot come November.
Rex Grossman’s second interception
It looked familiar to his pick against Dallas last week when middle linebacker Sean Lee floated back into the coverage and got the interception. Rams middle backer James Laurinaitis did the same thing in the fourth quarter Sunday, giving St. Louis a chance to tie the game late (the Rams were unable to capitalize).
Third down offense
The fourth-quarter struggles notwithstanding, the Redskins in general and Grossman in particular did some fine work on third down after going a combined 14 of 44 entering Sunday. The Redskins were 9 of 18 against St. Louis. Grossman had six third-down completions and one scramble to move the chains.
I’ll withhold some judgment on whether the calls were correct until watching the tape and talking to the particular parties, but 10 penalties for 96 yards by the Redskins is too much. Especially considering they entered with 10 penalties for 75 yards through three games, it’s a slight cause for alarm. The big ones were personal foul/unnecessary roughness flags on DeAngelo Hall, Niles Paul, Perry Riley and Rob Jackson. The Redskins deserve clarification from the league on especially the Riley penalty that came when he drilled punt returner Austin Pettis.
The Redskins’ best punter in several years averaged a solid 45.7-yard net (be interested to see the last time that happened in Washington) and even though he benefitted from two long rolls, his hang time is a reason why the coverage team is getting downfield so quickly. Now it’s about those cover guys to know when to go for the Bury The Return Man shot.
The Little Man has yet to get going this season. Against St. Louis, he was bottled up – 3 yards on four punt returns and 35 yards on two kickoff returns. Be it hang time or kick placement or missed blocks/penalties, the Redskins haven’t gotten the expected results from Banks just yet.