Washington Redskins: Winners and Losers of Sunday's Loss

Tom NataliCorrespondent IOctober 7, 2012

Washington Redskins: Winners and Losers of Sunday's Loss

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    It can’t be a Redskins game without it going down to the last minute. In retrospect, the Falcons are contending for a championship, whereas the Redskins are obviously not.

    That’s expected when you have a healthy and experienced team, a quarterback playing at an MVP level, the best tight end in NFL history and two wideouts who will give defensive coaches migraines.

    Considering all of that, this game could have been won by the Burgundy and Gold; that may be a bit of a stretch, but who knows what would have happened if Robert Griffin remained in the game?

    I’ve had nightmares that were better—in fact, every single nightmare I can recall has been better than watching Griffin lying injured on the ground.

    Here are today’s winners and losers from the Redskins' loss at home.

Winner: Ryan Kerrigan

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    A part of me wants to be critical of him for putting zero pressure on Matt Ryan all day, but on the other hand, Kerrigan made a momentum-swinging play.

    For the second consecutive year, Kerrigan was able to read a pass into the flats, get his hands on it and return it for a touchdown. I’m referring to his pick-six against the Giants last year.

    That is an incredible play for a defensive player to make, and to have the concentration to haul it in is extremely impressive.

Winner: Alfred Morris

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    It’s not his fault Kyle Shanahan didn’t run it enough. Just about every single rushing attempt resulted in a positive play for the Redskins.

    At the end of the year, I want to see how many yards Morris gains after first contact. He’s been dominant through five games and the Cinderella story of the team.

    For those that don’t remember, Morris was a sixth-round draft pick. What’s even more enlightening is that was the pick the Redskins received from Minnesota in exchange for Donovan McNabb. As much as McNabb irritates the organization, at least they got something substantial out of it.

Winner: DeAngelo Hall

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    Throughout the game, DeAngelo Hall was matched up against Roddy White, who happens to be one of the best wide receivers in the NFL.

    For the most part, White was an afterthought of today’s game after torching the Panthers last week.

    I must say it’s a bit odd not being demeaning of Hall, but I give him his credit. He had a good game and exceeded my expectations today.

    I’ve stated this before, but Hall’s presence in run defense has been incredibly effective. He’s one of the most sure-tackling cornerbacks in the NFL.

Winner: Rush Defense

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    It didn’t have its best game this year, but opposing offenses have still remained one-dimensional against this defense.

    Michael Turner may not be the same running back that he once was, but he wasn’t able to get through the front seven—excluding his touchdown run.

    The defense receives a lot of criticism, but it’s strictly the pass defense that is failing. The rush defense has been a force all season and has also created turnovers.

Winner: Madieu Williams

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    I know Madieu Williams isn’t the answer at free safety. He’s approaching the end of his career and would probably be a reserve for most teams in the league.

    With that said, Williams has impressed me with his positioning and aggressiveness over the past two games.

    He’s batted down passes and has eliminated late hits and giving up the big play.

Loser: Josh Wilson

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    I am a big Josh Wilson fan, but he’s certainly had his struggles thus far. Taller receivers have used their heights against Wilson, and he remains a liability as a tackler.

    There was a huge third-down play in the fourth quarter in which backup running back Jacquizz Rodgers broke a Wilson tackle to gain the first down and keep the Redskins offense off the field.

    In addition to Wilson’s tackling inefficiencies, he’s been susceptible to the big play, as he allowed another while covering Julio Jones in the back of the end zone. In hindsight, it was just a really good play by Jones. Either way, Wilson was the culprit.

Loser: Pierre Garcon

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    Garcon had a couple of dropped passes on Sunday. He hasn’t shown the same burst he had in the preseason and in Week 1, and his quarterback really hasn’t looked his way since.

    It’s inconsistent play like this that made me question Garcon’s lucrative signing in the first place. He has played one good half of football, got injured and hasn’t done much since.

    I’m not too concerned at the moment—it’s still early in the season—but the Redskins are going to need his help.

Loser: Robert Griffin III

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    Before the concussion, you could tell that the weather was affecting Griffin’s accuracy. Against Cincinnati and now Atlanta, Griffin has shown a hesitance against opposing defenses.

    I give the Falcons credit. They kept Griffin between the hash marks all game, which substantially plagued the rookie.

    What’s even worse about that is that now NFL defenses have an effective way to keep Griffin from taking over the game. Atlanta’s game plan worked, and they obviously out-schemed the Shanahans today.

    Griffin getting knocked out of the game put him on this list. As all Redskins fans know, this was bound to happen, and it couldn’t have occurred at a worse time.

    I can only hope and pray Griffin’s concussion isn’t serious. Otherwise, we are looking at a long season.

Loser: 3rd-Down Offense

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    The Redskins were one for nine on third downs today. I repeat: one for nine. How in the world are you expected to win a game when only converting one third down?

    The play-calling was suspect, and the execution was even worse. This was the biggest factor in today’s game. That can’t happen again.

Loser: Billy Cundiff

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    Ever seen the movie BASEketball? If you have, he reminds me of the character “Squeak.” If you haven’t seen it, do me a favor: Watch it and see if you don’t agree with me.

    I would be shocked if the Redskins don’t work out free-agent kickers this week. Suisham...sorry, I meant Gano...sorry, I meant Cundiff can’t miss a 31-yard field goal. It’s inexcusable and changed the game.

    At the time, the Redskins had all of the momentum, and having a two-possession lead could have easily changed the outcome of today’s game.

    Mike Shanahan has been extra patient with his kickers throughout his tenure, but this is getting bad.