The Washington Redskins ended the Arizona Cardinals one-game win streak with a runaway 22-21 win that was not as close as the score.
Nothing like hyperbole to make a blogger feel better.
The Redskins, as they did last year, kept their fans on the edge of their seats in a thriller that might as easily have gone the other way. But there is no such thing as an ugly win. Every victory is a beautiful woman on a late night. A one-point margin is as good as 10.
The Redskins head to Dallas atop the NFC Beast for a game that has an impact on the division race.
Washington dominated time-of-possession (38:30), rushing yards (172), total plays (79) and visits to the end zone (7).
To-do list for this week: how to get TOUCHDOWNS from the red zone. In seven trips, Washington mustered two. They made three field goals on other visits and suffered an interception and a blocked field goal on the remaining two. That performance won't cut it against the Redskins next two opponents, the Dallas Cowboys and the St. Louis Rams.
The Rams have played the Redskins too close lately. And the Cowboys, well, it's Cowboys Week. Enough said.
Washington weathered the storm, overcame adversity, showed character and all. It's just as true that the Redskins escaped from the red birds.
It's a quarterback-driven league, but Washington will find success this season the old school way—by running the ball and with defense. This formula works for a developing team in need of a few more pieces.
Coach Mike Shanahan said that he went with rusher Roy Helu in the second half to spell Tim Hightower. He did not use the term "cardiovascular conditioning." I get the part about keeping players fresh. Helu did nothing to disappoint. However, this must frustrate fantasy football owners who can never be sure how many scoring opportunities Redskins running backs will miss because of Shanny's rotation.
This is not a fantasy site, so I am not complaining. Just noting that either Helu or Hightower could have rushed for over 100 yards today if the coach settled on one back as starter and a next-guy-up approach to the ground game.
Injuries last season forced Shanahan to use a lot of guys off the street at running back. Ryan Torain made the most of his opportunity to the point that some suggested he was afitting replacement for Clinton Portis. Torain has yet to see action because play by Hightower and Helu works so well. There is room to grow in the ground game, with or without Torain.
If an offense averages better than 4.5 yards per rushing attempt, it means that the offensive line is blocking at the second level of the defense. The 'Skins averaged 4.9 yards per attempt today and 4.0 for the season. Something to watch.
Rex Grossman always said the Shanahan system was perfect for him. If Mike Shanahan spoke as plainly, he would have saved himself and us a lot of stress.
No one has yet to refute Grossman's claim that the Redskins could win the division. I won't make much of it until after the Eagles game, October 16. Just sayin'.
Sexy Rexy is not so good that he can lift the offense on his own. Ne needs help. He got a better performance from Jabar Gaffney today. Gaffney was five for eight of the passes thrown his way for 62 yards. Need more from Anthony Armstrong (2/4) and Donte' Stallworth (2/5). If a receiver catch 60 percent of passes targeted at him, he's allowed to make excuses for the rest.
Receivers tend to blossom two or three seasons after their rookie year. TE Fred Davis is only slightly behind schedule, but man, what a start to 2011 (11/13, 191 Yds, 17.4 YPC, 1 TD). Terrance Austin should do well for the Redskins in 2012 and Leonard Hankerson in 2013. That's why you are going to like this year's 'Skins better than the 2010 bunch. This team has a future and you can see it from here.
Speaking of tight ends, what happened to Todd Heap? We know what he can do after watching him for years in Baltimore, but he was invisible in 'Zona's offense yesterday.
I feel a great sympathy for WR Julio Jones in Atlanta. Poor kid can not live up in 2011 to what the Falcons gave up to get him. (8 targets, 2 catches)
I want to be the first to use Ryan Kerrigan and Rookie of the Year in the same sentence. Kerrigan was in deep coverage along with LB Rocky McIntosh when London Fletcher picked a Kevin Kolb pass for an interception. By mid-season, we will cease to use "Redskins linebackers" and "coverage risks" in the same sentence.
It's hard to tell without a coach's camera, but I sense that Rocky McIntosh is improving in coverage. Maybe it was just against the Cardinals Sunday, but I'm pulling for Rocky to get that new Redskins contract he deserves. He is on a one-year deal now. McIntosh is a tackling machine.
Is Danny Smith dialing back Sav Rocket's (Rocca's) punts. Last week, Rocca boomed punts (ave. 49 yards, net 38 yards). Yesterday against the Cardinals, they were ten fewer yards (ave. 39 yards, net 29 yards). Don't panic. The Cardinals did not force a Redskins punt until the second half and when they did, the Redskins were mid-field or better (Arizona 44, Washington 47, Arizona 41). Arizona fielded them at the 10, 21 and 2 yard line. A penalty on Rocca's second punt pushed the Cardinals to the 13.
Enjoy those thunder boomers from Sav Rocket.