Sunday, October 30, 2011

Game Recap: Redskins @ Bills: Saved By Zero?

(The London Fletcher INT is the only thing worth celebrating this week  GIF via.)
Well, not much worth saying on this edition of the game recap. The Redskins generally looked putrid against a good Bills team. The Redskins fall in Toronto 23-0. Funny thing is that the Bills are supposed to be really bad this season and yet have emerged to be a serious threat in the AFC. That has to give hope to some Redskin fans who are hoping that at some point this franchise can turn itself around instead of crumple into the fetal position at the first signs of struggling or injuries.

The defense gave up a large quantity of yards (390) to the high powered Bills offense, which was somewhat expected. What wasn't expected was the complete lack of offense against one of the lowest ranked defenses in the league. The Redskins surrendered 9 sacks to the Bills. Worth noting is that the Bills only had 4 sacks on the season prior to today's game. The Redskins quickly went away from the run which was ineffective in 9 attempts (9 carries for 16 yards; 12 for 26 if you include John Beck's 3 scrambles) and tried to air the ball under heavy pressure from the Bills. The sacks were a combination of John Beck holding onto the ball too long and very poor pass blocking. This had to be the worst pass blocking performance I've seen from the Redskins possibly ever and that says a lot. I still remember games against the Steelers where Jason Campbell would get hit as soon as the ball is snapped.

The most surprising thing I could tell you that might make you feel better is that this game could be worse than it was. If not for a London Fletcher INT of Ryan Fitzpatrick in the end zone, a fumble and a missed FG the Bills could have put up much more on the scoreboard than 23. Also, the lone silver lining may be twofold. First, the notion of the Redskins being a playoff contender should be out of your minds by now. It's a rebuilding year, possibly the first of many over the next couple of seasons. So, take a deep breath and try to find some good in what's not so good. At least we can admit to ourselves that we're rebuilding might help dealing with the week to week struggles. Hopefully the Redskins will get this as well and continue to build the talent and depth of this roster. Second, while I'm not convinced that the 'Skins are bad enough to qualify for "Suck for Luck" it helps their draft status. No, I'm not saying I want the 'Skins to lose. But when there is not a lot of things to be happy about, I'm trying to make lemonade from a lemon of a game.

Good, Bad and Ugly time....

The Good

Sav Rocca (6 punts, Net avg. 42.8 yards, LNG 57, 2 inside the 20) - Rocca kept the Redskins in the game by trying to change the field position. It forced the Bills to make long drives in order to score.

London Fletcher (20 tackles, 12 solo; 0.5 sacks, 1 INT)- Fletcher did struggle at times in coverage against speedier TEs, but he was all over the field making plays and trying to win this game by himself.

Ryan Kerrigan (5 tackles)- Kerrigan made some nice tackles and had at least two for losses.

The Bad

Offense- only 178 total yards. 2 INTs. 9 sacks given up. It was a pretty horrible day. There was clearly a lack of execution by the line. John Beck looked confused and not sure where to go with the ball. I'm also assuming that there wasn't a great deal of separation between the Redskin receivers and the Bills DBs. Some suggest that Grossman should be back at QB and I'm not convinced that's the case. The Redskins have regressed week by week. Maybe it started in the Eagles game when both Kory Lichtensteiger and Trent Williams were injured, but it is arguable that this started as early as the game against the Cowboys. Rex Grossman wouldn't have fared that much better if he was getting hit as much as Beck did today. Granted, Beck is to blame for some of those hits/sacks but he didn't have much help.

Danny Smith- Can we have a game where Graham Gano can attempt a FG without it being blocked? This is now the third FG this season that has been blocked. That has to go on the coach. If the players aren't executing, then you have to find players who can execute. If there is a weakness to your blocking scheme, then you have to fix that weakness. Same with Brandon Banks poor decisions to come out of the end zone on kickoffs or the blocking. A FG wouldn't have changed the outcome of this week, but it would have stopped a shutout.

Offensive Playcalling- I don't understand the playcalling in this game. The runs not working and you're down by 10-13 points, so I understand why you may leave the run. What I don't understand is why did every pass have to be 15-20 yards down field. You have Niles Paul and Leonard Hankerson, can't John Beck throw a slant now and then? How about a curl route? It seemed that the only 2nd half adjustment was to throw deep to Anthony Armstrong. It didn't work because he was always covered or Beck couldn't get to him.

Run defense- 138 yards on the ground just is unacceptable. Got to stop the run and try to make a team one dimensional.

Rocky McIntosh- This is another week he's missed tackles and it's cost the Redskins big yards both on the ground and in the air. Maybe it was the injury to the ankle. That said, the coaches should have kept Fox in there. He was playing better in my opinion.

The Ugly

- I believe that this is the first career shut out for Mike Shanahan as a coach in the NFL. At least as a head coach.

- Leonard Hankerson caught his first career NFL pass. Hopefully it will be the first of many and that Hankerson won't be the next Devin Thomas or Malcolm Kelly.

- Speaking of former Redskins, did you notice one of the starting offensive guards for the Bills? Yep, that was former 3rd rounder Chad Rinehart. Amazing that the Skins never tend to get much out of players and then they shine with another team. Drives me nuts, maybe that's just my perception.

- The real problem with the Skins is lack of depth. There isn't much at the guard position which has forced the Skins to make Erik Cook the center and move Will Montgomery to LG. Montgomery is a better center and Cook hasn't shown much. Maurice Hurt isn't ready to start because he's a rookie. We have the same problem at WR, LT, and RB. Either the talent there is limited or too young and need to be developed. Welcome to a rebuilding team.

- Redskins 3rd down efficiency 4/14 (28%); Bills 7/14 (50%). Notice that good teams, winning teams tend to be well above 35% in a game. Usually they're in the 40-50% range. This is still a problem that has carried over from 2010.

- Fred Davis has stood out in 2011. Of course he's a free agent at the end of this year and there will be a debate about bringing him back. I think the Redskin want him back, but Davis will probably not only want a pay raise but an affirmation that he's the #1 TE on this team. At this point, I would have no problem with that.

- Did the Redskins even target Logan Paulsen this week? Just wondering.

- So far in 2011 Skins are: 3-4, 2-1 (Home), 1-3 (Road), 1-2 (vs. NFCE), 3-3 (vs. NFC), 0-1 (vs. AFC)

Next week isn't going to be much better as the 'Skins host the 6-1 49ers. Maybe jet lag and underestimating the 'Skins can help. Who knows?

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