Eagles vs. Redskins: Final Report Card, Player Grades for Washington

Shae CroninCorrespondent IDecember 23, 2012

Eagles vs. Redskins: Final Report Card, Player Grades for Washington

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    Final

    Redskins 27

    Eagles 20

    Not without last-second drama, the Washington Redskins were able to escape Philadelphia with a 27-20 victory over the Eagles in Week 16, further bettering their chances of a playoff appearance. 

    * * * 

    After losing nine of their last 10, the Eagles will attempt to play spoiler when they host the red-hot Washington Redskins in Philadelphia today. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. ET.

    Despite this game involving two teams with lopsided records and completely different goals at this point in the season, the division rivalry is still present. The Eagles and their current free fall isn't something that most of us are used to, but the Redskins can't sleep on it.

    Just like every game has been since their bye week, today is a must-win in Philadelphia for the Redskins. The NFC East division is up for grabs and the Redskins ultimately control their own destiny. With a hopefully healthy Robert Griffin III back in action, the Redskins need to jump on the Eagles early and keep the pedal to the floor.

    We're bringing you live game grades and analysis throughout the afternoon. Be sure to refresh after every quarter and swing by after the game for the Redskins final report card.

Quarterback

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    Robert Griffin III B+

    On some passes, Robert Griffin III looked great. On others, he looked sloppy by way of poor footwork. Not to speculate, but Griffin’s knee isn’t painless. Sprained LCLs just don’t seem comfortable.

    Griffin’s interception (just his fifth on the year) came by way of said footwork, as he didn’t drive through his pass and it sailed. That turnover would eventually lead to seven points for the Eagles in the fourth quarter.

    Overall he was effective on the day. Again, he demonstrated great touch on a majority of his passes, he led his team and he got a little slide room simply because not every quarterback could play just two weeks after a knee sprain.

    Griffin finished with 198 yards on 16-of-24 passing, two touchdowns and the pick.

     

    Pregame Analysis

    Although Kirk Cousins' performance of 329 yards and two touchdowns was much needed on the road last week in Cleveland, Redskins fans would be lying if they said they didn't miss the apple of their eye, Robert Griffin III.

    After suffering a knee sprain near the end of the Baltimore game, Griffin returns to action today to help lead his team one step closer to the playoffs with a win against the Eagles.

    With Griffin back in the lineup, expect the Redskins offense to get back into their normal groove with the zone-read. Even during Cousins' stellar performance last week, the offense wasn't nearly as dynamic in the run game. And while the Browns defense is no slouch, the Redskins inability to get it going early seemed to be a result of the slight change in scheme.

    The Philadelphia Eagles are third-worst in the league with 26 passing touchdowns allowed this year. And if you think back to the first matchup between these two teams, Griffin found success through the air...four times.

Backfield

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    Alfred Morris B+

    After starting the game unexpectedly slow, Alfred Morris caught fire in the second half and ended the game with 91 yards on 22 carries and a touchdown.

    Although he ran hard all game, the holes weren’t opening up as anticipated early on. The Eagles came into the game focused on limiting the Redskins’ league-leading rushing attack and it was effective.

    Not to be discouraged, Kyle Shanahan remained committed to the run and Morris answered by racking up 73 yards in the final two quarters. 

Receivers

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    Pierre Garcon B

    As the lead receiver, Pierre Garcon presented the threat today that keeps defenses off balance. Since the bye week, Redskins fans are used to Garcon getting touchdowns, but not today. He finished with seven catches on nine targets for 89 yards.

    Garcon looked especially good on his route-running today and he was close to breaking one in the first quarter. He really adds a wrinkle of his own to this Redskins offense.

    Joshua Morgan A

    Demonstrating his tough running and effort after the catch, Joshua Morgan hauled in two catches on five targets for 21 yards and a touchdown.

    Santana Moss B

    Despite just two catches on three targets for 26 yards, Santana Moss will be easily remembered in this game, as his 22-yard touchdown grab was a thing of beauty. Perhaps more of a pretty pass than catch, it was Moss’ footwork in tight space in the end zone that is so impressive.

    It just doesn’t get much better than a toe-drag for a touchdown.

    Leonard Hankerson B

    Not much action for Leonard Hankerson today with just one catch on two targets for 10 yards, but Hank continues to be a reliable blocker along the edge. He helped spring Santana Moss for 12 yards on a reverse to the right today. 

     

    Pregame Analysis

    Any time your team can hang 38 points on the road behind a rookie backup quarterback, it's hard to knock the offense. But I expect it to get going earlier than we saw last week in Cleveland.

    Because of RG3's absence last week, the offense struggled to establish a run game early on. The offensive line wasn't in the best situation without the zone-read in the scheme, Kirk Cousins was unsettled to start and there were no lanes for Alfred Morris.

    Luckily for Redskins fans, offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan adjusted and out-coached his opposition.

    This week, while still implementing a strategic game plan from Kyle, the Redskins should get their offense going a lot quicker against a defense that they're familiar with. Despite some bumps and bruises along the offensive line to Trent Williams, Will Montgomery and Tyler Polumbus, one can expect the Redskins line to play better against a seemingly weaker front seven.

    Also in this game, look for the Redskins to take shots downfield. The last game between these two resulted in four passing scores for Griffin. Aldrick Robinson and Pierre Garcon are going to get behind the defense at least a couple times today.

Offensive Line

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    Trent Williams A

    No complaints about Trent Williams. His athleticism is so fitting for this offense and he’s a big reason why this offense is movin’ and groovin’.

    Kory Lichtensteiger B+

    A much better game for Kory Lichtensteiger today, as I don’t recall any penalties on him.

    Steiger has struggled this year, so it was good to see him playing disciplined football.

    Will Montgomery A

    Continuing his best season as a pro, Will Montgomery had a few blocks at the second level today that helped spring Alfred Morris on some of his runs.

    Monty may not look like an athlete, but the big man can move.

    Chris Chester B+

    Good in pass protection, solid in the run game, Chris Chester had a good game and got upfield quickly with Will Montgomery.

    Chester played without the team’s starting right tackle today, so it was good to see him hold his own.

    Maurice Hurt C

    Given the situation, I thought Maurice Hurt played a decent game. There were a few rushes that got to the outside of Hurt, but he recovered quickly and he has a strong punch in his blocks.

Defensive Line

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    Stephen Bowen B+

    As he showed once again in today’s game, Stephen Bowen is automatic in sealing the edge on stretch plays. Despite a torn bicep, Bowen played one heck of a game.

    Barry Cofield A+

    Disrupting all day, Barry Cofield applied consistent pressure up the middle and deflected two passes at the line—one of which led to the easy interception for London Fletcher and the eventual Redskins touchdown in the second quarter.

    Jarvis Jenkins B-

    Jenkins was quiet for most of the game until the third quarter, when he went nearly untouched up the middle to wrap up LeSean McCoy and bring him down for a decent loss of yards. 

Linebackers

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    Perry Riley B

    Finishing the game with seven tackles, Perry Riley had a decent showing in terms of tackling. Game tape later in the week should reveal more about him in coverage.

    London Fletcher B+

    As usual, London Fletcher was all over the field today. He did, however, seem to rack up 11 tackles pretty quietly. His interception was nice, but that credit should go to Barry Cofield for making it possible.

    Rob Jackson A

    An unassisted tackle for loss, followed by a pass breakup on third down, was enough to get the announcers talking about Rob Jackson. He’s extremely underrated and can flat-out cover for a 3-4 linebacker.

    Ryan Kerrigan A

    Good individual pass rush from him all day. His relentless track of Nick Foles in the second quarter led to a strip sack that eventually turned into points for the Redskins.

    I still believe (very strongly) that if Kerrigan would develop an underneath move to counter his outside bull rush, he’d be virtually unstoppable.  

     

    Pregame Analysis

    It's been fun to watch the defense since the bye week. The same can't be said for the first nine weeks of the season.

    At any rate, the coaches are throwing out everything they can and the players are playing with passion and attitude. The once forgotten secondary is now seeing stout play from DeAngelo Hall and they'll need to keep playing that way against an Eagles team that has some speed.

    Additionally, the Eagles expect LeSean McCoy to play today. As one of the best backs in the league, the Redskins must treat him as the threat he really is. He's fast, he's shifty, and he can win in the run or pass game.

    I'd love to see continued strong play from linebacker Rob Jackson. Watching him come off the edge is fun and he improves with coverage from week to week.

    Also, to note, Stephen Bowen is expected to play with a partially torn bicep. Can anyone say Centaur manimal?

Secondary

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    DeAngelo Hall B+

    There was one play in which some will bash him, but DeAngelo Hall played another great game today. He covered well and he was pretty solid in tackling.

    He also had a crushing blitz on Nick Foles late in the game. Although Foles’ desperation resulted in a completion, Hall is showing that he’s still a real threat when bringing it off the edge.

    Josh Wilson B-

    Decent coverage from Josh Wilson today. He did, however, suffer a hand injury in the first half. We should see just how serious it is through practice this week.

    DJ Johnson D

    Very similar to his game last week, DJ Johnson was beat on the Eagles’ first touchdown of the game—a 27-yard strike to Jeremy Maclin. He then went on to miss at least two tackles.

    Richard Crawford A

    People may best recognize him on special teams, but Richard Crawford is making an impact on defense too.

    He came up with a nice tackle in the open field and recovered a key fumble by Nick Foles (caused by Ryan Kerrigan).

    Crawford did get lucky in the closing seconds of the game when the Eagles' tight end dropped a slant pass that may have very well been a game-tying interception. I’m not entirely sure what Crawford was sitting on it, but fortunately Foles decided to sling one to a tight end that’s been with the team for just over a week.

    Madieu Williams C

    Decent tackles here and there, but the credit for Madieu Williams’ successful blitz goes to Jim Haslett. I still hate to see Williams take those horrible angles...every game. 

Special Teams

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    Kai Forbath -- A

    Still perfect on the year, Kai Forbath knocked through another two field goals today--one from 45 yards and the other from 42. 

    Sav Rocca -- A

    We didn't see Sav Rocca until late in the third quarter, but he came through when called upon. 

    Rocca kicked from the shadows of his own goal posts on his first boot, and then pinned the Eagles within their own 20 with his second. 

    Richard Crawford -- A

    One punt return for 20 yards. The rook is solid. 

    Former return man Brandon Banks had 178 return yards through 12 games. After just three games, Richard Crawford has 138.

    Return Blocking -- C+

    Two decent returns today, both negated by penalties. 

    Maybe those returns don't go anywhere without the holds? Who knows? But no penalties are always better. 

     

    Pregame Analysis

    Since the Redskins inserted rookie Richard Crawford into the punt returner role, the special teams unit has been nearly flawless. The return game is efficient, the coverage is stellar and the placekicker is perfect.

    However, because I'm behind a keyboard, and because I'm a fan, I can nitpick on things like Kai Forbath's inability to kick a touchback.

    Like I've said numerous times before, I'll take made field goals over touchbacks any day of the week. But when Forbath is literally perfect between the uprights, that means he's only touchbacks away from being an absolute beast.

    That said, I love Kai "Bubbles" Forbath.

    An interesting note coming into this game: the Eagles are allowing just shy of 14 yards per punt return. Meanwhile, rookie Richard Crawford is throwing together 13-yard punt returns on average.

    After what we saw out of him against Baltimore, don't be surprised to see Crawford rip a good one in today's game.

Coaching

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    Kyle Shanahan B

    I thought Kyle Shanahan called another great game this week, but he didn't take the shots downfield that I thought he would. He set up a lot of reverse runs in the first half that I thought would lead to big shots later on, yet we only saw one reverse play-action after halftime. 

    All things considered, Shanahan called a safe game and remained committed to the run in the second half, which ultimately led to great things. 

    Jim Haslett

    I've bashed him this season. I'll admit that. But today was another example of just how well Jim Haslett is calling a game. I don't know if he caught up on his sleep during the bye week or what, but Haz has been money ever since. 

    Today, Haz benefited from great individual rushes from his guys up front, but he also called some good disguise blitzes and had nice audibles implemented. 

     

    Pregame Analysis

    It may not be the most popular of topics, but the head coach and coordinators of this team are a key reason why the Redskins are battling for the NFC East division title and a shot in the playoffs.

    Mike Shanahan is keeping his guys focused, yet hungrier than we've ever seen the Redskins in the past ten years. Kyle Shanahan is calling near-perfect games that help to keep defenses off balance, with his foot on the gas. And Jim Haslett is doing whatever he can to get the most out of what he has.

    I'm convinced that if it weren't for these coaches, this team wouldn't be anything better than five wins right now.

    Against the Eagles today, it's important that the Redskins remained focus and remember the task at hand.

    For the past five weeks, that hasn't been an issue.