Redskins: Morris and Griffin hit a steel curtain

What can you say about a game you were never really in even though you were within two scores for most of it?

What can you say about a game you were never really in even though you were within two scores for most of it? Redskins fans have grown accustomed to losing games that we could have won if only for some kind of miracle. Technically there’s a chance you could win, right? It’s the Lotto ticket of sports fandom.

But this year hasn’t been like that. The two-headed beast of Alfred Morris and Robert Griffin III has kept the Skins in every game so far and has fans believing we can score on any play. But the stout Steelers defense, coached by the legendary Dick LeBeau, held Morris in check and got some help from 10 drops (TEN!) by Redskins receivers.

This was the first game in which neither Morris nor Griffin had the most rushing yards of any player on either team. That glory went to the snowball-rolling-downhill-right-through-our-defensive-line named Jonathan Dwyer. So did Morris and Griffin hit a rookie wall or just a steel curtain? I guess we’ll see.

And then there was Ben Whatshisname. Was he playing with a bit of a chip on his shoulder? As a rookie, he never got the respect RGIII’s getting, did he? He was only NFL Rookie of the Year and Super Bowl Champion. Whatever the case, he looked every bit the champ on Sunday.

This was also fan-favorite Chris Cooley’s triumphant return to action. OK, maybe not exactly triumphant (he caught zero passes for zero yards, but did contribute a drop), but we saw him on the field in what appeared to be 27-tight-end sets. Say what you want, but I’m happy to see Cooley back on the roster and the field. With any hope, he’ll have a chance to contribute a little more in future games.

Fortune favors the bold, so the saying goes. And Pittsburgh was bolder, sooner, going for it on 4th-and-goal on their first drive to go up 7-0. Fortune does not, however, favor the ridiculous. For instance, sending your previously concussed star quarterback out into double coverage to try to catch a long pass thrown by a wide receiver. Griffin says he never makes the same mistake twice. Let’s hope Mike and Kyle Shanahan have that same quality.

Good teams lose games every weekend, and sometimes in even more convincing fashion than the Redskins did Sunday (e.g. the Giants-Niners game this season). The question remains whether the 2012 Redskins can develop into a good team at some point. In the meantime, do yourself a favor and avoid any Steelers fans you know for at least a little while.

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Positives (aka Damning with Faint Praise)

  • Forbath was 2 for 2 on field goals
  • Griffin was only sacked once and wasn’t injured
  • Morgan had one of his best games
  • Moss was targeted 9 times; let’s hope that starts a trend


  • RGIII as a receiver…really?!
  • The Redskins only converted 25% of third downs
  • Big Ben wasn’t under any pressure, at all, at any point in the game
  • Everything else

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Up next: The 1-6 Carolina Panthers. This year’s all-passing-all-throwing rookie QB phenom faces off against last year’s. While Redskins fans want to win games this year, in the back of our minds we’re hoping beyond hope that RGIII doesn’t have anywhere near the sophomore slump Cam Newton is going through.

The Panthers have had a rough season, and the Redskins should be able to keep that going. Even with Washington’s depleted secondary, Carolina probably doesn’t have the threats to take much advantage of it. Though, you can never really count out Steve Smith.

Meanwhile, Carolina’s 20th-ranked rushing defense should make for a big day on the ground for Morris and Griffin. And, even though the Redskins’ pass defense is last in the league, Newton might not be able to take advantage (though, let’s not kid ourselves, Newton’s on pace for nearly 4,000 yards this season).


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Tony Scida

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