The Redskins 19-34 loss today to the Jets does not tell the full story of the game. For example, it does not adequately convey the phenomenon that seems to have occurred within this game where each team miraculously possessed the ability to turn their skills on and off like a light switch. First quarter Redskins were a completely different team than the one that took the field in the fourth quarter.
The game started off strong for the Redskins with 8 plays for 82 yards and a touchdown. Roy Helu looked to have another huge game as he rushed for 32 yards, including a 2 yard run for the touchdown. Fred Davis’s 42-yard catch was not only impressive, but also his longest since Week 10 of the 2010 season. Grossman seemed to be clicking with his targets as he threw for 50 yards, moving the team almost seamlessly down the field.
The Jets then responded with a 17-play drive for 69 yards which ended with the 1-yard touchdown run by Shonn Greene.
The Redskins next drive was fairly productive as well. While it yielded only 3 points, it showed an offense that was playing smart football and seemed to have learned from previous mistakes. In past weeks Grossman had struggled to get rid of the ball, which has resulted in a good amount of sacks and Intentional Grounding penalties. He has taken the concept of throwing the ball away quite literally, throwing it to the other team instead of out of bounds. It was incredibly refreshing to see him respond well under pressure and throw the ball away without consequence.
Grossman then threw to Santana Moss for 21 yards and a first down, ending the 1st quarter on the Jets 43. Helu had a few more carries, including one for 22 yards, before Gano’s 33-yard field goal.
The defense forced the Jets to go 3-and-out on their next possession.
Despite the Offensive Holding call which cost the Redskins 10 yards, they got the ball with excellent field position on their own 39-yard line. Then things got kind of messy.
Davis caught the ball for a 27-yard gain, despite being well covered by Smith. Rex Ryan challenged the play, arguing that Davis was out of bounds and therefore it was an incomplete pass. He won that challenge, bringing up 2nd and 10.
Two plays later Pool intercepted a pass intended for Davis, running for 21 yards before being pushed out of bounds. However a penalty called against Strickland for Illegal Contact nullified the interception, giving Washington 5-yards and a fresh set of downs. Instead of capitalizing on this “do-over” Grossman threw 3 incomplete passes, resulting in Rocca coming on-field to punt.
When McIntyre ran into Rocca it looked to be a clear-cut instance of Roughing The Kicker, but instead was ruled merely Running Into The Kicker.
Sanchez shined on this drive, connecting with Holmes, Burress and Greene for 57 yards in 10 plays. Luckily they were held to a FG.
On their next possession Grossman was again able to connect with Davis for a 30 yard catch and run before being pushed out of bounds mid-field by Smith. Two plays later Grossman’s bad habits kicked back in as he was called for Intentional Grounding.
Rocca punts for 43-yards to the Jets 18, where Kerley touches the ball before fumbling it. It is then recovered by Riley. The next several plays were hit and miss (and one very close call where Grossmans throw was almost picked off in the end zone), but the skins managed to get 3 more points on the board before heading into the locker room at the half.
The Jets start the third quarter by going 3-and-out. The Redskins do the same, then the Jets again, then the Redskins. The first 4 possessions in the second half only amounted to 11 yards between the two teams. The Jets finally converted, setting up a 51-yard FG to tie the game.
The Redskins got the ball back for exactly 14 seconds before it was fumbled by Helu. Smith recovered it for no gain, and the Jets missed a 40-yard FG on the drive, allowing Helu to breathe a sigh of relief as no major damage resulted from his fumble. The Redskins then proceeded to go 3-and-out on their next possession.
Despite getting almost to mid-field, the a Chop Block penalty called against Keller cost them 15 yards, and they ended the drive on their own 28 yard line, with Hall nearly getting an interception.
The fourth quarter began with a promising drive for the Redskins. Grossman seemed to have re-connected with Davis and Helu, and David Anderson picked up an impressive 21 yards. However they were still unable to move the ball downfield, and their longest drive of the second half (4:50) ended with a punt as Grossman, under pressure, barely managed to get rid of the ball bringing up fourth down.
It was then the Jets turn to go 3-and-out, punting the ball to Banks for a 20-yard return. The skins had excellent field position, yet were only able to manage a FG.
The Redskins relinquished the lead on the Jets next drive which ended in a 30-yard touchdown pass to Holmes. Banks kick return for 17 yards was the only positive play on the skins next possession. After throwing 2 incomplete passes, Grossman was sacked for -9 yards before fumbling the ball. The Jets recovered, giving them the ball at the skins 9 yard line. Greene then scored a touchdown, making it 27-16 Jets.
Banks returned the ball for 41 yards, giving the Redskins good field position. Despite a number of incompletions, they were able to convert on third down twice during this drive before Gano kicked a 43-yard FG.
A failed onside kick and an Illegal Formation penalty gave the Jets the ball at the Washington 25-yard line. 12 seconds later Greene managed another touchdown, to make the score 34-19 Jets with less than 2 minutes left.
Helu made 2 consecutive plays for a total of 38 yards. Then Grossman throws his first interception of the game as his other one in the second quarter didn’t count due to the Illegal Contact penalty. Wilson carries it back for 3 yards. Sanchez then takes a knee, ending the game.
The good: The Redskins seemed to play smarter football, and gave the impression that they had learned from previous mistakes. The ground game seems to be improving, and Grossman has no shortage of targets. The defense brought good pressure, and the entire team played a cleaner game of football.
The bad: On several occasions they were unable to capitalize on opportunities created by penalties or big plays. This nearly characterized the 2010 season; they would make a big play, then go 3-and-out. Consistency, across the board, remains a big problem. The potential is there but the technique needs a lot of refining.
The ugly: Redskins drop to 4-8.