This week’s edition of Redskins Up Downs from their 34-27 loss to the New England Patriots:
The offensive production
The Redskins posted a season high in yardage (463) and the 27 points was their second-best total of the year. Granted, New England’s defense was worse than anticipated, but the Redskins had the running game (170) and passing game (301) going from the second drive on.
Key offensive penalties
First quarter, third-and-goal from the 1-yard line. Logan Paulsen commits a false start and the Redskins settle for a 24-yard field goal. … Fourth quarter, first-and-10 from the Redskins 20. Grossman throws 26 yards to Santana Moss, but left guard Maurice Hurt is called for holding. … Fourth quarter, second-and-goal from the 5. Moss is called for offensive pass interference (10 yards). The Patriots seal the win two plays later.
Josh Wilson’s INT
The Redskins’ cornerback showed good instincts on his fourth-quarter interception of Tom Brady in the end zone. It helped make a potential comeback possible.
Red zone offense
Mike Shanahan stressed all week to forget the Patriots’ yards-allowed totals and focus on points and red zone performance. That turned out to be a difference Sunday. New England was 1-for-4 but made big plays; the Redskins were 2-for-5. That won’t work against Tom and Co.
Brandon Banks’ TD pass
Banks had yet to play an offensive snap until he came on the field to start the second quarter. On a run-pass option, he lobbed a pass that Moss collected for a 49-yard touchdown. Hey, at this point of the year, as the underdog, why not try some new things?
DeAngelo Hall’s effort and penalty
On Rob Gronkowski’s 49-yard catch and run in the first quarter, Redskins safeties DeJon Gomes and Reed Doughty basically cancelled each other on a tackle attempt. Meanwhile, Hall was just watching. Later, he was penalized 20 yards on the same play – defensive holding and unsportsmanlike conduct (throwing the official’s flag).
Jabar Gaffney and Donte’ Stallworth
When they popped in the Patriots’ tape last week, the two veteran receivers must have figured on big days. And they delivered. Gaffney had six catches for 92 yards and a touchdown and Stallworth four catches for 96 yards.
Coverage of Rob Gronkowski
Granted, The Gronk may be impossible to cover, but he made his big plays count. The 49-yard catch set up his 11-yard touchdown (great grab) and his 37-yard TD came when Ryan Kerrigan was called for holding in his attempt to slow him down. An elite player.
His day started with a fumble and ended with an interception, but in between, he did some good things behind a patchwork offensive line. He was 19-of-32 for 252 yards and a 92.2 passer rating.
The Patriots’ defensive touchdown
When they decided to put rookie Willie Smith in at left tackle, the Redskins had to figure there would be plays that wouldn’t go well. Three minutes into the game, Andre Carter caught Smith off balance, sacked and forced Grossman to fumble. Vince Wilfork recovered for a 7-0 Patriots lead.