Right off the bat, we must remember: the Washington Redskins are not a good football team. This seems to be a fact that constantly eludes the clutches of countless fans in this area. Many see a 17-10 final and conclude the problem rests with the very existence of Jay Gruden, or that every transgression is due to Robert Griffin’s “undeserved” descent to the furthest reaches of the depth chart. These are valid arguments to a slight extent, but they are built on the idea that any one move could turn the Redskins from cellar dweller to Super Bowl contender.
This is ludicrous. Washington has a Swiss cheese roster. So before you go gallivanting about, espousing the merits of Colt McCoy and proselytizing your Redskins gospel, take a step back. Breathe.
The Redskins are not a good football team, and your ultimate solution will not put them in the playoffs in 2015. Accept this, and you will enjoy the season far more than you are allowing yourself.
With that said, the Redskins actually didn’t play that poorly this week—amazing! Let’s recap.
5 Big Things
1 – FedEx Field was awash in teal. And Twitter was going ballistic.
Look, it’s undoubtedly embarrassing to see your favorite team’s home stadium overtaken by fans of another team, especially when the opposition is not a division rival. But this is nothing new for the Redskins. Fans show up for winning teams. Fans show up for organizations that respect them. Fans show up because they can get to the stadium.Washington fails spectacularly in all three aspects, and those failures didn’t start yesterday.I love this team but I made a promise to myself five years ago that I wouldn’t set foot in that mockery of a stadium until the team gave me a reason to, or until it moved. As it stands, FedEx Field provides the worst fan environment I have ever had the displeasure of experiencing. I firmly believe the infestation of opposing fans is not a representation of the Redskins fan base, but more an indication of how disillusioned the fans have become with the stadium in Landover.
Washington, D.C. is a transient area which moderately exacerbates fan attendance issues, but the obvious and inarguable solution is simply to win more and show the fans that you give half a salami sandwich about their well being within the stadium confines.
2 – Kirk Cousins did not lose the game, no matter what the hell you say. To start, the Redskins should have won this game. They should have won it six times over. That they didn’t is less of a criticism of Cousins and more a product of poor execution across the roster. Captain Kirk did throw two interceptions, one of which was horrid and elicited flashbacks to last year’s Giants game. The second was the result of a play we all immediately knew would end up on SportCenter’s Top 10 the following day.
This does not mean Kirk played well; he didn’t, he was serviceable at best and looked lost often. His throwing lanes were opened because of the success of the running game and without it, he very well could have thrown a third or fourth interception. There were definite positives though: the Redskins had more long drives than I can remember, including a 17-play masterpiece that put the cap on a dominant first half. Additionally, Cousins’ response following his first (and again, terrible) interception was admirable and a welcome sight for fans convinced he would revert to the human personification of a turnover.
3 – The offensive line looked…good? It is with cautious optimism that I bestow praise upon the offensive line, particularly Brandon Scherff and Morgan Moses. Entering the contest, I was of the opinion that the Dolphins, complete with Ndamukong Suh, Cameron Wake, and all manner of talent on the defensive line, would dominate the trenches.
While neither side staked a claim as clearly better than the other, it was a far more evenly matched fight than I could have ever intended. In the first half, the Redskins absolutely controlled the Dolphins defensive line and ran roughshod around some of the biggest and most talented run stoppers in the NFL. Things came down to earth a bit in the second half but it was still quite an impressive showing. The pass protection was a big suspect, but there were a lot of good things to build on.
4 – David Amerson is a terrible, terrible football player. I was high on David Amerson when the Redskins picked him. This was mostly because he seemed to be a good value pick for where the took him. Boy, was I wrong. He’s struggled mightily and Sunday was no different. The worst part was the Dolphins were obviously aware of Amerson’s inability to cover…well, anybody. The third-year cornerback played eight snaps and was targeted on six passes, allowing 28 yards, two first downs, and a touchdown. In eight plays! I’m rooting for Amerson but this experiment may well be over. Coming into this season, he had already been relegated to the fourth cornerback spot. Last year, he allowed quarterbacks to post a 140.2 rating (!!!) when targeting him. Holy cow.
5 – Special teams and defense looked better overall. Yes, the special teams gave up the backbreaking touchdown – that was certainly not good. But overall, the unit looked improved in both coverage and the return game. And praise the football gods, the Andre Robert kick-returning experiment seems to be caput! Redskins fans don’t care who’s back there as long as Roberts is not.The defense looked spectacular at times. I’m not sure if the Dolphins weren’t running the ball because of their gameplan, or if Washington simply made it impossible for them to hand it off, but Miami became decidedly one-dimensional until it came time to run out the clock. Save for a few great catches, there were no big plays and Miami never really got into a rhythm. This was due in part to the Redskins offense controlling the ball for so long, but there was undoubtedly some swagger on the other end.
The Turning Point
Every week, I will endeavor to deem one play or set of the plays the “turning point” of the game. The play or plays identified are those that could have swung the game in a certain direction.
This week, the major turning point was the fumblerooski play that got Twitter in a frenzy and elicited roars of laughter from my household. It was a funky play, it was fun to watch, and it as critical as all get out. The Dolphins had just ended the first half with a big scoring drive and had received the ball to start the second half; forcing a turnover and getting great field position was the best thing that could have possibly happened to the Redskins. They were gifted fortune.
They did nothing with it, and that’s where the game was lost.
Some will point to
Carlos Rogers’ Chris Culliver’s dropped pick-six as the moment that could have won the game and they’d be right. In fact, you can point to several different reasons the Redskins should have won. But following that fumble, the Redskins ran three questionable plays for negative-two yards in Miami territory and were forced to punt. Good teams turn those turnovers into points. They don’t go three-and-out. Once again, the Redskins are not a good team.
The Redskins remain at home to face the Rams, a team that is remarkably similar to the Dolphins. The Rams beat the Seahawks this week, which shows how good they could potentially be. With DeSean Jackson out, it could be another low-scoring day. The Rams are currently favorited by three points.