I didn’t pay enough attention to the Skins-Ravens game to the point when I could look closely at more difficult things to evaluate, like line play, but I did see enough to at least give some initial thoughts. I’ll have more later on in the week on this game once I re-watch. For now, let’s just get to the initial thoughts:
• First, let’s look at the relevant NFC teams to the Skins and what they did today:
- Giants won (8-5). Impact on the Skins is obvious.
- Dallas won (7-6). Not as big a deal to the Skins, who control their own destiny over Dallas.
- Bears lost (8-5). The Skins are now just a game behind them. Skins currently have a 6-4 conference record. Bears are 5-4 in the NFC.
- Vikings won (7-6), keeping pace with the Skins. Skins have the head-to-head advantage there.
- Seahawks (8-5) murdered the Cardinals, staying one game ahead of the Skins.
- Green Bay (8-4) is currently underway as I type this, down 14-3.
- Buccaneers lost (6-7). They’re done.
• The hit that RG3 took was vicious. It looked like he hyper-extended his knee. If you can stomach it, watch his leg basically bend the wrong way. I thought the news was going to be very, very bad on that. Turns out it’s just a knee sprain. Major sigh of relief for the Skins and their fans.
• What a clutch punt return by Richard Crawford. Instant hero in DC. Brandon Banks can kiss his active duty goodbye.
• What the hell were the Ravens thinking when they took a knee at their own 20 with 0:29 left in regulation and a time out still in their pocket. Did you not watch the Redskins secondary on film all week? Your kicker has a cannon for a leg, and all you need is 35 or so yards to get to an area of the field where you have a realistic chance of kicking a game winner. You don’t want to try a safe 10-15 yard pass down the middle on 1st down just to see what happens? You don’t want to at least maybe run a draw play to your awesome RB that has 3 fumbles over the last 3 seasons to see if maybe he can make a play? Nothing? Just content to go to OT? Is John Harbaugh really the great head coach we’ve made him out to be?
• The Redskins had 183 yards of offense in the first quarter. That was the most of any team in the 1st quarter in the NFL this year. In that 1st quarter, Alfred Morris has 55 rushing yards with 1 TD, and RG3 has 122 passing yards with a TD.
• Here’s what I wrote about Kirk Cousins when the Redskins drafted him back in April:
Redskins select Kirk Cousins, QB, Michigan St: The Redskins are going to get absolutely slammed for this pick by a lot of people, but here’s what you have to keep in mind about Day 3 of the NFL Draft. You are not filling holes at this point, or at least you shouldn’t be. You’re drafting players with the long view in mind. Next year, Rex Grossman will be gone, and John Beck will probably be gone this year. The Redskins can now groom two rookie QB’s… simultaneously… and be set at that position for at least the next 4 years. Cousins can push RG3 (not that there’s any threat to take his job), and vice versa. Cousins is outstanding value at this stage in the draft. The big knock on Cousins is his arm strength, but I saw a live arm at the Senior Bowl. On on play that stands out in my head, Cousins launched a ball 50 yards, into the wind, to a streaking Marvin McNutt down the sideline. McNutt dropped it, but the ball was on the money. Impressive throw.
But here’s the part that, if I were a Redskins fan, would be most encouraging about this pick. Mike Shanahan is in Year 3 of the Shanaplan. So far, the Redskins are 11-21 in his tenure. It’s only natural to wonder if they would be drafting with the selfish intent of finding players that might contribute more immediately, as opposed to taking a player that makes the most sense in the long view. This pick shows that the Redskins very much have the eye on the long-term prize. I love this pick.
Not mentioned above is the importance of having a backup QB that can win games in a pinch. That’s what Kirk Cousins did today.
• Pierre Garcon is basically a running back once he gets his hands on the ball. Outstanding RAC ability. Second time in as many weeks I’ve written that, but it deserves mentioning again. Josh Morgan is another guy that refuses to go down. Tackling in the secondary has become an epidemic in the NFL, so having receivers that reuse to go down is a great thing.
• DeAngelo Hall is terrible. He was beaten for two TDs today. On one of those TDs he was looking in the backfield, and Anquan Boldin beat him over the top. Hall tried to grab a hold of him, but he couldn’t even do that, as Boldin broke free and made the easy TD catch. On another play later in the game, Boldin made a catch, and Hall was basically running down the field alongside Boldin trying to pull the ball out, while making no attempt to tackle him. Boldin simply held on tight to the ball and took the yards Hall was allowing him to take. Awful football. Hall is lucky the Skins won today, or he would be viewed as a major goat in this game. Instead, Skins fans remain euphoric, and are breathing sighs of relief that their QB is OK.
• On NFLN’s pregame show, Albert Breer reported on a conversation he had with Chris Cooley about Robert Griffin III:
Veteran TE Chris Cooley was cut in August by the team and returned in Week 8. He told me what he returned to was completely unidentifiable based on what he saw on tape from Week 6 and Week 7. Completely new offense. He said it’s staggering that a rookie QB could grow that much. He added the idea that Griffin is just a running QB is bleeping false and he believes that Griffin is going to change the mold for that position forever. Some pretty strong words from a guy that has been in the league for a decade.”
I don’t want to take anything away from RG3 at all. He’s awesome. I know that. You know that. We all know that. But holy hyperbole, Batman. Cooley, if you’ll recall, was the guy that said the McNabb trade would go down as one of the biggest bonehead trades of all time. Look, I get it. McNabb was his teammate. RG3 is his teammate. He’s going to say nice things. Cooley is a very personable guy and as Breer mentioned, he’s been in the league for a long time. Those two things alone make him a candidate to land in an analyst/booth role when his career is over. Please, God… I don’t ask you for much, but don’t let that happen. Thanks in advance.