Washington Redskins: Winners and Losers on Today's Playoff Loss
This is the hardest “Winners and Losers” article that I’ve written this year.
I’m still beaten up over today’s 24-14 loss at FedEx Field. One harmless roll-out in the red zone changed everything for the Redskins today, as their explosive offense went from championship worthy to crippled when Robert Griffin III began to feel obvious pain in his knee.
The team did everything they could to hold that 14-point lead, but when it comes down to it, the Seahawks were the better team.
Below are the winners and losers of today’s playoff game.
Winner: Reed Doughty
What got into Reed Doughty today? He looked like a man possessed as he tallied two sacks, over 10 tackles and a pass breakup.
He’s one of the longest tenured Redskins on the team and this was his best game to date.
I’ve stated in the past that Reed Doughty is a very cerebral player. He’s always positioned himself correctly and he rarely makes substantial mistakes, but he’s limited athletically.
Reed Doughty is never going to light up the scoreboard or sign an expensive contract, but his role on this team proved to be more valuable than ever with his efforts on the field today.
Loser: The Coaching Staff
Pete Carroll and his coaching staff outcoached Mike Shanahan and company. The Redskins started off with an effective game plan in the first quarter and the rest of it was downhill.
Soon Russell Wilson was able to use his legs, Marshawn Lynch proved his Pro Bowl status and the Redskins offense could not muster anything after Griffin’s injury.
On the other hand, Mike Shanahan is practically a lifer in the NFL. It is safe to assume that he’s been present for a few knee injuries from time to time.
It’s one thing to keep Robert Griffin in the game, but it’s another to continue to set him up to get injured.
RGIII could not run. However, they were still dialing up designed rushes for the quarterback. They were still calling play-action passes, which could lead to bone-crunching hits from pass rushers.
Since Griffin’s injury against Baltimore, Alfred Morris has put the team on his shoulders, yet he wasn’t given the necessary carries he needed when it mattered and that’s the coaching staff’s fault.
As incredible of a job the Redskins staff did over the past seven games, their play-calling, personnel decisions and overall game plan was atrocious.
Winner: Barry Cofield
I initially questioned the signing of Barry Cofield as the team’s nose tackle. I now retract all previous sentiments about him.
It was Cofield who kept the game close until the fourth quarter by causing Marshawn Lynch to fumble at the goal line.
He remained active against the run and applied pressure to Russell Wilson. Throughout the season, Cofield has proven his worth to the Redskins defense and he should be acknowledged for that.
Loser: Will Montgomery
Since when could Will Montgomery not snap a ball? In your 17th meaningful game into the season, now all of the sudden your shotgun snaps are all over the place.
In fact, if it wasn’t for your low snap to Robert Griffin, who knows if his knee would have bent that way?
Montgomery has been a rock all season and arguably should be playing in the Pro Bowl, but this was not his best game.
Winner: Stephen Bowen
He’s the best defensive end on the team. In the first half, Bowen was able to generate consistent pressure on Wilson, even on a four-man rush.
He has become a team leader this year and his consistent play against both the run and pass were evident again today.
Loser: Robert Griffin's Knee
He just wasn’t the same. Prior to the hit he endured from Haloti Ngata, Griffin was playing at an MVP level. It wasn’t just with his legs either, his accuracy and decision making proved to be a deadly force.
After his knee injury, his accuracy diminished. He began throwing the football in a flat-footed manner. He started to lead his receivers way ahead and appeared significantly uncomfortable.
While I still consider the Redskins' season a success, it would have been interesting to see what would have happened if we had a healthy RGIII.
Winner: London Fletcher
What else can you expect from the heart and soul of the team? Fletcher played his butt off again. He neutralized Marshawn Lynch for the majority of the game, he held up in coverage effectively when called upon and has improved as a pass rusher.
If there’s anyone I feel for this game it’s Fletcher (okay, maybe Santana Moss and Chris Cooley too), but this man laid everything on the line for this team while remaining loyal and 100 percent committed throughout each and every game.
One more year London, please.
Loser: The Training Staff
Every step that Robert Griffin took, it pained me to watch. It just looked wrong.
I have no medical background and thankfully do not have a history with knee problems, but even I could see something seriously wrong.
Robert Griffin III is the Washington Redskins. They are nothing without him in the long run, he is their future.
For the training staff to allow Griffin to put his knee in jeopardy like that seems inexcusable. Then again I am not a doctor.
Winner: Alfred Morris
It’s not his fault he didn’t go over 100-yards rushing. Despite having a lead for the majority of the game, Kyle Shanahan chose to attach the Seahawks defense with the passing game as his quarterback was playing on one leg.
Morris was highly effective as usual, averaging five yards per carry on just 16 carries in today’s game. As far as he’s concerned, he did his job.
Loser: Madieu Williams
If Madieu Williams is the starting free safety next year I’m going to lose my mind. That’s not necessarily an indictment on Williams either; his ability to remain a starting-caliber free safety in this league is over.
From missed tackles, to losing ground with his lack of speed or giving up the two-point conversion, Williams had another rough game.