Bengals vs. Redskins: Final Report Card, Grades and Analysis for Washington
The Redskins worked to battle back in the second half, but their defense remained soft. AJ Green was nearly unstoppable and Cincinnati's speed worked Washington's defensive backs all day.
We will be providing live game grades and updated analysis throughout the day. Keep this live report card open and refreshed to follow along during the game.
Robert Griffin III -- A
Acting as nearly the entire offense for the Redskins today, it's hard not to give him a solid grade for the game. Robert Griffin III threw when he could, he ran like he can and he limited mistakes.
Griffin finished the game with 221 yards on 21-of-34 passing and a touchdown. But he made more of a mark on the ground with a team-leading 85 yards and a rushing touchdown.
Redskins fans remain concerned about the beating their franchise quarterback takes every week. Today, the Bengals sacked Griffin six times and hit him as hard as they could, whenever they could.
As effective as the read-option is in the Redskins new and improved offense, it comes at the expense of Griffin. Yes, he's perfect for the scheme. Yes, he's a weapon whether he runs or throws. But defenses are going to begin to take their chances with a running back carrying the football and make sure they lay big hits on Griffin.
Not implying that the Redskins should move away from an offense that is so consistent with putting up points, but we all have reason to worry about Griffin's health/durability moving forward.
That said, Griffin didn't get any protection today. As if the six sacks aren't telling enough, pressure on Griffin restricted his ability to get the ball down the field.
The Redskins struggled to convert on third downs in the first half, which also contributed to Griffin's inability to break open the offense.
Running Backs -- A
Alfred Morris -- A
Continuing to impress, rookie Alfred Morris gets better and better every week. He finished today with 78 yards on 17 carries and a score.
Easily noticeable is Morris' toughness and strength throughout an entire run. He runs extremely hard and explodes at contact. Second-effort yards are becoming a normalcy within Morris' game.
Since telling the media that he needed to improve his vision following the Redskins' Week 1 victory over the Saints, Morris has done just that. He finds the hole quick and rarely takes a bad angle. Quick feet in traffic also helps him to get north-and-south a lot sooner than defenses anticipate.
Brandon Banks -- A
The speedy specialist finished the game with only 29 yards on three carries, but his 21-yard run was a perfect example of what Brandon Banks can bring to your offense--pure speed and homerun potential.
Offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan seems to be flirting with more involvement of Banks in the offense. It will be interesting to see where things go.
Wide Receivers -- B
Leonard Hankerson -- A
Perhaps the sad part of the offense, Hankerson led all wide receivers with just four catches for 56 yards. However, he was effective when targeted. With Pierre Garcon continuing to nurse a foot injury, Hankerson's role is increasing.
Also, Hankerson has improved as a blocker. In the option offense, a lot is asked of receivers that are generally matched with much tougher corners and safeties. Hankerson, so far, has been very good at maintaining his blocks and he's becoming a key contributor in the run game.
Josh Morgan -- B-
Very limited after being the talk of the town last week, Josh Morgan finished the game with two catches for 22 yards.
Morgan looked good when he was on the field, but the Redskins offense as a whole was stagnant. Constant pressure on Griffin really bottled up the receiver's potential production.
Santana Moss -- B-
With the lone touchdown amongst the wide receiver group, veteran Santana Moss deserves the grade even if it was his only catch of the day. And for three yards.
Like Morgan, Moss was limited with the rest of the offense.
Tight Ends -- A
Fred Davis -- A
Leading all Redskins pass-catchers with seven catches for 90 yards, Fred Davis was the classic safety outlet for RG3 today.
Davis, who has been mostly quiet this year, found himself as the closest receiver to the line of scrimmage--an area the Redskins appeared attached to all game with every Griffin dropback
Although not the playmaker of last season, Davis' role in the offense has changed this year. It was good to see him receive so many targets today, even it did come by way of Griffin's duress.
Offensive Line -- C-
Trent Williams -- A
Despite leaving the game early with a right leg injury, Trent Williams made a big difference when he was in the game today. In fact, losing him justifies this grade just as much as his play does.
Following the game, Williams stated that he'll undergo an MRI on Monday. The good news is, Williams tried to return to the game and actually played a few snaps. Although he was quickly substituted due to lack of explosiveness, that would at least rule out a significant ligament injury.
Jordan Black -- C
Given the circumstances, Jordan Black played better than expected at left tackle following Williams' injury.
What people need to remember is that Shanahan called this guy and brought him off the street after nearly a year of no football. Black still appears undersized, but his movement was impressive in his first action of the year.
I won't use the word 'comfortable', but Jordan Black may be a decent insurance policy for those mid-game emergencies.
Kory Lichtensteiger -- A
The left side remains the Redskins' strong side and Kory Lichtensteiger is a big part of that.
Like I said last week, it's great to see 'Steiger making a full recovery this season after an ugly ACL tear last year. He's a cog on the Redskins offensive line.
Will Montgomery -- B
Admittedly so, I was critical of him to start the year. But Will Montgomery is forcing me to eat those words after a third straight week of solid play at the center position.
I do believe that Griffin's mobility makes life easier for a lot linemen and, in turn, makes them look better during live action. But Monty seems legitimately improved.
Chris Chester -- B-
Unfortunately, Chris Chester's side is blown-up from the outside on a regular basis. Not necessarily his fault, but I think his play suffers from it at times.
Tyler Polumbus -- D
Unless it's Rex Grossman, I don't like to constantly bash a certain player. At the end of the day, I'm the couch quarterback and they're the pros.
However, when it comes to Tyler Polumbus playing right tackle, I have no choice. He has been the least ineffective of any offensive linemen for the Redskins this season and Griffin feels constant pressure from the right side.
The only saving grace for Polumbus is the fact that Griffin always has an eye on his right side and he has wheels for feet. If he weren't mobile, Griffin would be fish food by way of the right side.
Defensive Line -- B-
Jarvis Jenkins -- C+
Filling in for the injured Adam Carriker, there's nothing to hate on Jarvis Jenkins for. Although he still appears to be re-gaining his explosiveness from last preseason, he continues to be an instinctive and powerful force on the defensive line.
My guess isn't very original, but I believe it. Jenkins will get better with every game.
Barry Cofield -- B-
The pressure from the nose is key in a 3-4 scheme and Barry Cofield is a beast at the position. Today, even with an impressive Andy Dalton stat line, Cofield's pressure was noticed. Linebackers found themselves in the backfield most often, but it was Cofield and the defensive line that opened the lanes.
Stephen Bowen -- B-
Like Cofield (and the defensive line, in general), Stephen Bowen was quiet, yet effective. He's strong at the point of attack and he forces the pocket to shift. He was also stout, as were Jenkins and Cofield, against the run.
The Bengals finished the game with just 93 rushing yards on 28 carries.
Linebackers -- B
Rob Jackson -- A
In place of the injured Brian Orakpo, Rob Jackson made his presence felt early with a diving interception and score with the Bengals backed up in the shadow of their own goal post.
Jackson was active as a pass-rusher all day and he looked good against the run. I believed Jackson to be the best man up in Orakpo's absence, so watching him play so well on Sunday was reassuring.
Chris Wilson -- B
As the other platoon man at the vacant outside linebacker position, Chris Wilson showed well today with a sack and three tackles.
While I don't place him ahead of Rob Jackson, I do think Wilson is effective when he's in the game. He's also a relentless pass-rusher that doesn't stop working until the whistle blows..
London Fletcher -- B
Finishing the game with seven tackles and a pass breakup, London Fletcher looked like his normal, ageless self. He fills lanes, he rushes the quarterback, he drops into coverage, and he's a tackling machine. London Fletcher does it all.
Perry Riley -- B
No blown assignments for Perry Riley today, as he finished with three tackles and a sack. Riley seemed to be around the ball a lot today and it's good to see the early signs of a Shanahan draft gem-in-the-making.
Ryan Kerrigan -- A
The loss of Brian Orakpo is a huge blow to the Redskins defense, but the team still has their best linebacker in Ryan Kerrigan.
Every play, Kerrigan is the Redskins' best option for quarterback pressure and he works until he gets an edge on the right tackle.
In a few plays today, we saw Kerrigan on the opposite side. Don't be surprised to see Jim Haslett mix it up in terms of where he attacks with his best rusher.
Secondary -- C
DeAngelo Hall -- C+
Despite leading the team with nine tackles, DeAngelo Hall wasn't impressive today.
As difficult a cover as the Bengals receivers are, you'd think Hall would work to break them down rather than run his mouth after every play. But, as we all know Hall to do, he chose the latter.
Josh Wilson -- C
Josh Wilson played tentatively today. As the team's best cover-corner, he didn't seem comfortable with his assignments. Perhaps it was him not playing as loose following concussion scares from last week's game?
Wilson also took a horrible angle on Armon Binns that led to a score. It was a simple out-route that should have been a first-down at most. But the defensive play-call was questionable, as all cornerbacks were left on an island with zero safety help.
Richard Crawford -- D
I'm high on the rookie, but he didn't look good today.
Richard Crawford was torched in the fourth quarter by Bengals slot receiver Andrew Hawkins. Although Hawkins is proving to be a tough cover, Crawford was taken off-guard and looked out-manned.
Madieu Williams -- C
Another disappointing game from the veteran on Sunday.
Madieu Williams received a lot of praise during the preseason and in practice, but he has yet to show fans or coaches anything since the regular season began. All we see are bad angles and questionable tackling technique.
DeJon Gomes -- C-
As much as I like DeJon Gomes and his activity around the ball, he was grilled early in today's game when AJ Green caught him flat-footed on the opening play.
Set-up in the wildcat formation, Gomes likely thought run the whole way and was entirely too late in getting his head on straight. Rookie receiver Mohamed Sanu took the snap and threw a rainbow pass to a wide-open Green.
Gomes finished the game with four tackles.
Special Teams -- A
Billy Cundiff -- A
He was given one attempt and Billy Cundiff nailed his 36-yarder. He was also effective with his kickoffs.
Any game where we don't put a lot into the kicker and his game, it's a good thing. Kind of.
Sav Rocca -- A
Sadly, for the Redskins, no news is good news.
Rocca punted the ball seven times and none of them were blocked, which is a step in the right direction for this team.
The most obvious and ugliest number is the seven. Typically, teams don't punt seven times and win ball games.
Brandon Banks -- A
Returning three kicks for 100 yards today, Brandon Banks reminded fans and coaches why he's on this roster. He's the momentum guy--the hopeful shift in the game's flow.
Banks looked best on his 55-yard kick return.
Coaching -- B
Mike Shanahan -- B-
Heading into the final minutes of the game with no timeouts is enough to question the head coach's decisions from earlier in the game. Mike Shanahan appeared to second-guess himself a few times against the Bengals.
Kyle Shanahan -- A
Good mix of run and pass today. However, Kyle Shanahan may find himself cleaning up his play-calling after watching his quarterback take big hits so often today.
One aspect Kyle shouldn't abandon? Pounding the ball with Alfred Morris.
Jim Haslett -- C+
After last week's loss to the Rams, defensive coordinator Jim Haslett found himself on a sudden hot seat. And today's performance by the Redskins defense didn't do anything to cool that seat down.
One particular play that should be fun to watch was the Bengals' touchdown from Armon Binns. The defense looked like a failed gamble (which Haslett is known for) and bad angles throughout.
For good reason, Haslett will remain on that hot seat. Then again, his defense is one of the worst in the league.
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