Lions vs. Redskins: Final Grades and Analysis for Washington

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Lions vs. Redskins: Final Grades and Analysis for Washington
Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Thanks to huge games from Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson, the Detroit Lions broke their 21-game losing streak in Washington, defeating the Redskins 27-20. 

Final:

Redskins - 20
Lions - 27

Washington Redskins Grades
Position Unit 1st Half Grade Final Grade
Pass Offense B C+
Run Offense B+ B
Run Defense B B+
Pass Defense B- C
Special Teams B C+
Coaching B+ B+

vs. Lions / Week 3

Final Analysis for Washington

Pass Offense: Although it wasn’t his best stat line or fantasy score, Robert Griffin III had his best day of the season throwing the football. He showed poise in the pocket, he delivered consistently accurate throws and his zip had returned. For the first time all season, Griffin looked comfortable against an astute defense.

Griffin’s turnovers, however, cost the Redskins today. His interception in the second quarter was easily avoidable with a dump out of bounds, and his fumble after electing to slide head first led to three points for Detroit.

It was a good day for Redskins receivers today, with nice games out of Pierre Garcon and Santana Moss. Rookie Jordan Reed continues to impress.

Run Offense: The offense relied on the quick pitch instead of the belly handoff today and it seemed to help with the speed of the run, as well as the offensive line and how long they were required to sustain blocks.

The offensive line got decent push up front, especially considering the large inside push from Lions tackles Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley. Alfred Morris finished with 73 yards on 15 carries and a touchdown.

Run Defense: Joique Bell put together some tough runs today, but the Redskins limited him to just 65 yards on the ground. Stephen Bowen and Barry Cofield helped to control the line and inside linebackers London Fletcher and Perry Riley had good tackling games.

Pass Defense: Despite DeAngelo Hall’s interception for a touchdown and overall good game, the Redskins passing defense is still susceptible. Improvement? Sure. But two Detroit receivers (Calvin Johnson and Nate Burleson) went over 115 yards.

The defense applied pressure on Matt Stafford, but it was never enough. The Redskins only came up with one sack (early in the first quarter) and Stafford finished with 385 yards and two scores on the day.

While it was understandable for the defense to protect themselves from big plays over the top, the Lions receivers are smart enough to find the soft spots, and Stafford is accurate enough to pick ‘em apart.

Special Teams: Punter Sav Rocca had a great game, pinning three of his five punts inside the 20. His game today is a good sign after a couple of average outings.

The Redskins turned kick return duties over to Joshua Morgan late in the game, but he didn’t provide any added spark to what very little we’ve see from rookie Chris Thompson so far this season.

In his second straight game filling in for the injured Kai Forbath, kicker John Potter nailed a 43-yard field goal, but failed to execute a decent onside kick attempt late in the game. No finger pointing, of course. And we should all expect Forbath back soon.

Coaching: The offense opened up a bit more in this game as compared to previous weeks. Griffin kept the ball on a handful of plays, the run game seemed to come alive a bit and offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan spread it out nicely.

On defense, coordinator Jim Haslett put together a decent gameplan to keep Johnson and the Lions in front of his guys, but Stafford is the type of quarterback that can make you pay for the underneath stuff. And tackling (which Haslett doesn’t do) continues to be an issue.  

 

1st Half Analysis for Washington 

Pass Offense: Another quarter, another step forward for Robert Griffin III. The quarterback looks as comfortable throwing the ball as he has all season, getting the pass out quick, moving his feet well, planting and showing improved accuracy.

The offensive line is doing a decent job up front, although Griffin’s first quarter option run did a lot to put the idea of its threat in the Lions’ heads. Plays like that help to keep the defense honest, in turn making the job easier for the offensive line.

Run Offense: The offense seems to have fully adopted the quick pitch technique in the running game, rather than having Griffin take the extra step and a half to put the ball in Alfred Morris’ belly. It speeds things up, it sets up big play fakes and the offensive line doesn’t have to sustain blocks as long against guys like Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley.

Morris has carried the ball seven times for 56 yards and a score. His 30-yard scoring run late in the second quarter serves as the Redskins’ first first-half touchdown of the season.

Run Defense: Although Joique Bell (starting in place of the injured Reggie Bush) has 39 yards on eight carries, the third-year back has been able to piece together some decent runs, picking up good yards after contact.

After a rough game at Lambeau last week, both Perry Riley and London Fletcher have been good against the run through one half.

Pass Defense: Better than last week. But then again, anything would be an improvement from last week.

Rookie safety Bacarri Rambo left the game early with an injury, now replaced by cornerback Josh Wilson, alongside Brandon Meriweather.

DeAngelo Hall has had a very nice half, including a pass breakup in the endzone just before halftime, and an early pick-6 in the first quarter. He’s amped and excited for the matchup, and it shows.

The Lions are finding soft spots in the zone, but the Redskins aren’t allowing big plays over the top. It’ll be interesting to see Washington’s halftime adjustments.

Special Teams: Punter Sav Rocca has placed both of his punts inside the 20, which will need to continue in order to keep Calvin Johnson from sniffing the endzone.

Chris Thompson continues his duty as punt and kick returner, but nothing of note. He’s still learning the position in just his third professional game, but it’s around this time you start to look for strides made.

Coaching: Defensive coordinator Jim Haslett has come out with a nice gameplan and his players are executing better. Good coverage schemes (considering the wide receiver at hand), some risky blitz packages and pressure on Stafford in the pocket to force some off throws.

 

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