Monday, October 12, 2009

Reflecting on the Redskins' loss to the Panthers

After the Panthers scored the last 18 points to sneak past the Redskins 20-17 yesterday, I have to be honest: I was mad, but I wasn't surprised at all. When the Skins went up 17-2, it was more of a mirage than anything. DeAngelo Williams's fumble (recovered by Albert Haynesworth) on Carolina's first offensive play set the Redskins up with excellent field position at the 13 yard line, as did DeAngelo Hall's interception in the third quarter that he returned 44 yards to the Carolina 1. So by forcing two turnovers in Carolina territory, the offense only had to go a combined 14 yards for two touchdowns -- that's 14 points. The Redskins scored only three more points, which is completely unacceptable. But is it shocking? No.

And that's the level the Redskins are at right now. The offense is so terrible that basically being spotted 14 points wasn't enough to pull out a win. Besides not scoring enough points, the offense had only 198 yards of total offense. Nice work, guys.

Other notes:
  • Let's start with the good. The defense forced two turnovers and held the Panthers to 248 total yards. Carolina's running game was more than held in check by the Washington defense: On 32 carries, the Panthers averaged only 2.7 yards per carry. Carolina's longest drive of the game was also only 57 yards, and when Carolina scored three times in the second half, their drives were relatively short: 40 yards (TD), 38 yards (FG), and 12 yards (TD).

  • Andre Carter had 2.5 sacks, and Brian Orakpo had half a sack. The Redskins forced a decent amount of pressure on Jake Delhomme, who looked average at best. So the defense didn't give up much yardage, forced two turnovers to set up the offense, and rushed the passer effectively -- which is basically what everyone has wanted from the defense. And it still wasn't enough to get a win.

  • Jason Campbell finished the game 17-23 for 145 yards and a touchdown. For the amount of pressure he was under -- the Panthers had five sacks -- he was pretty efficient. But besides the touchdown pass to Clinton Portis, there weren't many, if any, explosive plays in the passing game.

  • The rushing attack was ineffective. Portis ran 19 times for only 57 yards -- a three-yard average. He did run for a touchdown though, so that's something.

  • No receiver had more than 44 receiving yards. Those 44 yards came from Santana Moss, who had four catches. The rest of the receiving corps combined for 13 catches and 101 yards. Shockingly, Chris Cooley failed to catch a pass, and I don't remember Campbell throwing his way even one time, but I could be wrong.

  • As mentioned before, the Panthers had five sacks, and the offensive line looked really bad. Losing Chris Samuels so early in the game was a significant loss. The line failed to open up many holes for Portis, and by pushing the Skins' line back inside the five, the Panthers forced a safety. The Redskins have to have the worst offensive line depth in the NFL.

  • Shaun Suisham made his only field goal attempt, and Glenn Pakulak filled in for Hunter Smith with an average game. The biggest play of the game, though, came when a player was pushed into Byron Westbrook on a punt return. The ball bounced off Westbrook and was recovered by Carolina deep in Redskins' territory. It's hard to believe that an opposing player can just shove a blocker into a returner, but these are the kinds of plays that happen to the Redskins on a routine basis. Losing teams put themselves in situations like that.

  • The Redskins' clock management and Jim Zorn's carelessness with timeouts was terrible. When the Redskins needed to stop the clock late in the fourth quarter, all of their timeouts were gone.

  • DeAngelo Hall's inability to tackle Jake Delhomme in the open field with the game on the line was hard to believe. Even Deion Sanders was (probably) shaking his head after that tackling attempt.
Now 2-3, the Redskins face the Chiefs, another team seeking its first win, at home on Sunday. If Kansas City wins, the Redskins will have allowed three teams to gain their first victory against them (not counting the Giants in the season opener).

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