U-G-L-Y, we don’t have no alibi, we ugly. Even uglier than the Fisher mustaches that were handed out at the game today. Apparently we really did need to fear the ‘stache. The game was a wild one from the start with the jawing starting early, staying hot and heavy, and culminating with a tossed ball and 15 yard penalty that helped clench the win for the Rams. There are some positives to take away from the 31 – 28 loss, but, overall, it was a disappointing second outing.
After a massive outing in New Orleans last week, our defense seems to have lost a step. The cohesion we saw last week was nowhere to be found. They looked sloppy and missed too many easy tackles. We lost Adam Carriker to a knee injury early in the game and our run defense suffered mightily because of it. Orakpo aggravated his pectoral injury and return for a few downs only to go back to the sideline a short while later where he would remain for the duration. His frustration was visible on his first exit and his presence was sorely missed on the field. Josh Wilson had a great fumble recovery for a TD and then teamed with Madieu Williams for a stop on an endzone-bound Richardson. Unfortunately, Wilson left the game with a mild concussion and the secondary struggled in his absence. The injuries were only one part of a bad showing by the entire unit, though I do think, despite some obvious mistakes, that Gomes, Griffin and Hall all deserve some credit for their performances. Gomes is fast. Griffin had a crucial misread that resulted in Rams TD in Q3, but I still think he is a valuable asset who makes good, forceful hits. I give Hall a lot of grief, but he has been a stand out thus far this season. Clearly bringing him in closer to the line was an inspired move. He definitely left one INT on the field tonight, but I’ll award him some well-earned smack talk time because this time he has actually earned it, especially after the fumble recovery that briefly salvaged hope. It goes without saying that London Fletcher is a rockstar. The former Ram had his 226th consecutive career start today and celebrated with an excellent INT in the end zone. I’m forever proud to have him in the burgundy and gold. And I’m also pretty sure he can fly.
While Griffin may not yet be an official team captain, he certainly is our captain on the field and, despite throwing his first INT and nearly throwing a few more, he had another incredible, record-setting outing today. Griffin was a beacon of hope in an otherwise rather dire game, even without his number one receiver, Pierre Garcon, who was sidelined with a nagging foot injury. He did a lot of running today – 82 yards worth of it – including for two touchdowns. Griffin again showed his skills at quickly reading the defense and finding the open lanes. Like much of Redskins Nation, I cringe a little every time he takes off, fearing the worst should he not evade the tackles, and I worry a little that we are relying too much on his legs. In the end, though, I suppose we should use all assets at our disposal. Griffin made some mistakes, but there is far more to love about him than to criticize. He tried to carry the entire team this week, which is a lot to ask of any one player, rookie or not.
Running Between the Lines
That is exactly what the Rams did today – between, over, around – you name it, they ran there. Both our offensive and defensive lines struggled today. Griffin took far too many hits and Sam Bradford didn’t take nearly enough. No one is terribly surprised to hear about O-line struggles, but we really must do a better job of protecting the QB. Period.
Highs & Lows
Alfred Morris’s star continues to rise. I was pleased to see Helu and Royster taking on a bigger workload, if only because it allows Morris to rest a bit. We don’t want to wear the rookie out by midseason. What an emergence by Hankerson today, hauling in an 68 yard pass from Griffin and recording his first career touchdown. We’ve all been waiting to see more from him and today he delivered, showing off his impressive speed and big play potential. I remain worried about Fred Davis, though I do have to thank him for the monster hit he and Helu delivered to Finnegan on the Griffin INT. Oy Josh Morgan! Until the now-infamous ball-throwing incident in Q4, he’d actually had quite a nice day, jumping over would-be tacklers and gaining yards after the catch. Sadly, all we’ll think about when we see him next is the abismal Unsportsmanlike Conduct penalty he drew that pushed us out of reasonable field goal range and beyond any hope of a win or even overtime. I don’t blame Morgan for the loss, but that was a pretty terrible time to lose his cool. On the brighter side, this week’s stand out offensive player for me was Niles Paul. He earned the title fairly quietly, with only three receptions for thirteen yards. The important part of that, though, is he actually caught all the balls thrown his way. Paul has struggled with the dropsies and, if he is now showing that he’s passed that phase, he just became another great weapon in Griffin’s arsenal. Only time will tell – as last week’s offensive stand out Aldrick Robinson demonstrated today, it is consistency that matters.
Dear NFL Owners, please put the squeeze on Roger Goodell before someone is seriously injured. The officiating in the game today was just embarrassing and truly an affront to the integrity of the game.
Another blocked punt?!
Naturally, Danny Smith was crucified on Twitter. But really, two weeks in a row is a bit ridiculous.
I was never very optimistic about a win in St. Louis. That doesn’t mean I wouldn’t have liked a win though! Sadly, we just couldn’t hold it together today. At least we have the energy and excitement of the first home game of the season, and Griffin’s regular season debut at FedEx, to look forward to next Sunday. Oh, and the Cowboys lost. Badly.
Did anyone bring me back a Fisher ‘stache?