As Jim Haslett reviewed the film of Sunday’s 31-28 loss in St. Louis, two deficiencies on defense jumped off the screen: tackling (or lack thereof) and the inability to prevent big plays.
“Obviously we didn’t play very well,” Haslett said Thursday. “We gave up too many big plays. In the running game, we gave up a couple big runs, which we haven’t done this whole season.”
After keeping the Saints’ ground attack in check in Week 1, the Redskins surrendered a 53-yard run by Rams rookie Daryl Richardson in the third quarter and a 20-yarder by Stephen Jackson’s in the second.
The Redskins defensive back got similarly scorched by Bradford and Danny Amendola, who grabbed 15 passes. What bothered Haslett most, however, was a touchdown pass from Bradford to Brandon Gibson in the third quarter.
Bradford froze cornerback Cedric Griffin with a pump fake, then Gibson used a double move to blow right past Griffin and safety DeJon Gomes. The result was a 34-yard go-ahead touchdown.
“More than anything, we have to work on our technique on the back end,” Haslett said. “The double moves …stuff like that shouldn’t happen. It happened the week before against New Orleans [too].”
Earlier in the game, Bradford hooked up with Amendola for a 56-yard gain.
“We gave up the big 50-yard pass and then got beat on the double-move 30-yard pass,” Haslett said. “The big plays [are] what did us in.”
Sunday's opponent, Cincinnati, also boasts big play ability. Last week, Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton completed five passes of 20 yards or more in a victory over Cleveland.
Big plays, though, isn't all that rankled Haslett. In the loss to the Rams, he was also concerned by his team inability to make tackles.
A prime example came on Richardson’s 53-yard run. At least three Redskins had a chance to thwart the rookie before he got into the secondary. Once he did, linebacker Ryan Kerrigan also missed an opportunity.
“We had no missed tackles against the Saints,” Haslett said. “We were outstanding, did a great job. But we just had too many last week for whatever reason.”