The New York Giants may control their own destiny as far as the playoffs go, but the Redskins certainly controlled this game. Despite early game mistakes, they quickly seized the lead and never let go, dominating their division opponents for the second time this season.
(Antrel Rolle may want to re-think his math a little bit.)
In the absence of Fred Davis, many players have stepped up and become surprisingly important targets on offense. The Redskins second and third string players, many of whom are rookies, proved yet again that they are able to handle a heavy workload with a game day attitude that far surpasses their experience. This is not to imply that they played a perfect game or have had a seamless transition into the starting role. But overall, their performance has been impressive, with this game being no exception.
The offense was able to convert on third down 8 out of 15 times. They got a first down 9 times by passing and 8 times by rushing, giving the impression of a well-balanced offense. Grossman seemed to be thinking (and staying) more on his feet, and executed plays more efficiently, in less time. Kyle Shanahan attempted, with a good deal of success, to strike a delicate balance between a conservative and aggressive offense. Moss, who needed to redeem himself after a lackluster performance last week, showed that he’s still got it. And once again Grossman had no shortage of targets.
Both offense and defense did a much better job of seizing opportunities and turning them into points. The defense, who almost undoubtedly leads the league in hypothetical turnovers (in other words, had they been able to hold onto the ball), made some spectacular interceptions, which the offense was then able to capitalize on 2 of the 3 times.
DeAngelo Hall also sought redemption after his emotions resulted in a costly penalty last week. When his temper is off however, he is on, as he reminded fans on Sunday with his impressive one-handed interception.
When the Redskins played the Giants in the season opener, Grossman had his only interception-free game of the season. Perhaps the expectation of a repeat performance was too much pressure for Sexy-Rexy, as he quickly put an end to any talks of that possibility by throwing an interception on the very first play of the game. And then another on their third possession, not even halfway through the first quarter. One he got that out of the way however, he managed to throw the ball exclusively to his own teammates.
He just had to get it out of his system; old habits die hard after all.
The offensive line continues to be an area of weakness, and greatly hinders Grossmans ability to buy enough time to find a target and execute the play. Penalties also plagued the Redskins this week, though not to the degree they have in the past.
Helu’s injury could be a major blow to the Redskins newly developed ground game. And while there was a wide array of targets for Grossman on offense, many of them remain largely inconsistent.
In the spirit of optimism, I’m going to skip this section this week. Sure, we all know that the Redskins, in typical Redskins fashion, had one of their best performances when it was too late to change the outcome of the season. But the skins played a darn good game this week, and even came away with the win against a tough division opponent.
So for now I will choose instead to join my fellow skins fans in basking in a rare moment of glory in what has been incredibly difficult season.
FINAL SCORE: 23-10