What a perfect day for football! What a perfect day to break a home field losing streak! And what a way to give a slightly depressed city a much-needed boost after the National’s devastating loss on Friday night. The Redskins triumphed over the Vikings 38-26 in what was a fantastic effort on both sides of the ball. The offense and defense both struggled at times, but they spent far more time giving the fans reasons to cheer. There is something very special about this team and each week they reveal a little more about what makes them special. Maybe Griffin is helping bring out the best in everyone, maybe they are just finally starting to gel, but, from the rookies to vets, they are finally starting shine as both individual playmakers and cohesive units. Whatever it is that is happening here in Washington, let us hope it continues, because I’m really starting to like it.
Alexander the Great
To whomever made the decision to start Lorenzo Alexander at linebacker this week, I commend you. While most of his time has been spent on Special Teams, Alexander has always proven to be a versatile player and is well-respected among teammates, fans and media for his amiable ways, accessibility and sportsmanship. Sunday he broke out. Alexander recorded 1.5 sacks, recovered a fumble (also note in the video how Kerrigan is tying up two linemen), leveled some massive hits and created a lot of pressure. Forget Jackson and Wilson, I want all Zo, all the time. For the rest of this season, I want Kerrixander (sorry Rak).
Second Chance Secondary
After inconsistencies and down right embarrassing performances in prior weeks, the secondary finally made a big impact. I don’t know what kind of fire Coach Morris lit under then, but let’s keep it burning. Old Man Williams and DHall both pulled in INTs, the former for a 24-yard TD return and the latter in a play that essentially killed any hopes of a Vikings comeback. Doughty and Pugh, with a newly expanded role, are proving to be better options than Gomes who saw much of the action earlier in the year. While we are still hoping to see Merriweather back in a few weeks, I like the shuffling we are doing out there right now to fill the void.
Go Vets, Young Man
When it comes to passing the ball, Griffin has no shortage of targets. Most of our receivers, however, are fairly new to Washington. With Garçon, Griffin’s clear go-to guy, still on the mend and a receiving corps still learning the playbook, it is crucial to rely on those players that know the system well. This week, that is exactly what we did. Moss and Davis led the team in yards and targets, both totaling 46 yards on the day and averaging over 10 yards per reception. The total yards number isn’t that impressive, but those yards came on crucial downs and gave us the first downs we needed. Another vet, though new to DC, who continues to evolve is Josh Morgan. This week Morgan gained 42 yards with an average of 14 yards per reception. In addition to his emerging playmaker status, he laid down a huge block that opened up an outside lane for Griffin’s 76-yard TD run. As a whole, I think we have good talent at receiver, I just think they are still settling into their roles and their rhythms with a new QB who is also still settling in. Griffin sometimes misses the spotting open receiver and he is still struggling a little with deep ball accuracy, but he will get there. And while things level out, keep going to the vets.
Special Teams Highs and Lows
Ladies and Gentlemen, Kai Forbath. For his first kick in his NFL debut, Forbath nailed a 50-yard FG to put Washington’s first points of the day on the board. He then went 5-5 on extra point attempts to finish out the day with a perfect game and a lot of new fans. Let’s hope he keeps it up. The second place star of the week on Special Teams goes to Niles Paul. He may be struggling in his transition to TE, where Logan Paulsen is getting far more reps at the moment, but he is excelling on punt coverage, downing balls at the goal line and doling out major hits on return attempts. Can we get him back to returning punts too, because Banks isn’t cutting it right now. My one big gripe with Special Teams is field position – they are giving us the worst.
The play remains a little uneven at times – just see the Offense’s lackluster Q1 and the Defense’s Q4 TDs allowed. The good news is, we’re scoring points and lots of them. We’re finally getting pressure on our opponents. We’re progressing. Week by week, we are evolving into something special. We’re not there yet, but it sure is fun to watch. Our schedule only gets tougher from here on out, with all of our divisional match-ups yet to be played. We face the Giants this coming weekend in New York in a game that will be a litmus test for just how real this progress is – and I cannot wait.
Also, in case you didn’t see it, the guys over at Hogs Haven recapped the game in Full House GIFs and it is hilarious.