Redskins vs. Raiders: Final Grades and Analysis for Washington

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Redskins vs. Raiders: Final Grades and Analysis for Washington
Rob Carr/Getty Images

The Redskins avoided an 0-4 start to the season by battling back against the Raiders in the second half and leaving Oakland with a victory. 

Final

Redskins: 24
Raiders: 14

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

vs. Raiders / Week 4

Final Analysis

Pass Offense: Cue the broken record. I thought Robert Griffin III improved again this week.

Compared to his first three games this season, Griffin looked mostly comfortable today when it came to scrambling and improvising. His stats may not imply a whole lot (18-of-31 for 227 yards and a touchdown), but it was his best game of the year when it came to physically performing at the position. He faced pressure, took a few shots, showed good footwork and delivered a handful of nice passes.

On the other end of that, Griffin made some questionable decisions throughout the game and I'm still waiting until after the bye week to start heavy critiquing. His accuracy should improve and he should get better with his progressions. 

The Redskins receivers seemed to drop a handful of gimme passes. And while that may not have cost them today, it will in future games. Polishing up during the bye week will be important for this team’s passing game.

Run Offense: Alfred Morris left the game in the second half with an apparent rib contusion. Roy Helu Jr. stepped in and ran hard, earning himself a score late in the fourth quarter.

The Redskins came into this game with the goal of balancing their offense. They wanted to run the ball enough to open the other things in the playbook, and it seemed to work.

Morris finished with 71 yards on 16 carries, while Helu added 41 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries. 

The Raiders did a good job of attacking the line of scrimmage—and watching the game may have led you to believe the Redskins weren’t very effective on the ground. But give the Redskins credit for sticking to the ground game against a tough Oakland defense.

Run Defense: The Raiders lost Darren McFadden and Marcel Reece today, making things easier for the Redskins rush defense.

Even so—and aside from the missed tackles—the Redskins were strong against Oakland’s ground attack, and they made Matt Flynn throw the football. That seemed a part of the plan.

Today was the Redskins’ best game of the year on defense by a landslide.  

Pass Defense: The Redskins pass rush came alive in the second half, especially from Brian Orakpo. Matt Flynn didn’t help himself by holding onto the ball too long, but the Redskins capitalized on what they were given.

Ryan Kerrigan, Orakpo and Barry Cofield all finished the game with two sacks apiece.

Helping the guys up front was better coverage in the deep half. Sure, Flynn’s inaccuracy helped, but the Redskins corners did a good job of containing receivers and deterring the big play in the second half.

Special Teams: Despite Chris Thompson being a rookie and not having returned kicks or punts since high school, the Redskins may need to shake up the returner position.

Who steps up? No idea. But the Redskins' current situation at returner is scary when the ball is in the air and flat-out terrifying when it’s received. 

Coaching: As mentioned at halftime, the Redskins offense is a thing of beauty when operating on the fly and without a huddle. Unfortunately, we didn’t see it again after the end of the first quarter.

Although I thought it seemed a bit forced at first, credit to the coaches for keeping a balanced offensive game plan. Running the football obviously opens the Redskins playbook, and good things (like wins) tend to come from that as a result.

First-Half Analysis

Pass Offense: Not to sound repetitive each week, but Robert Griffin III has looked his best so far this season through one half in Oakland. He looks confident despite heavy pressure, he’s making solid throws in terms of accuracy and velocity and he’s demonstrating good footwork in the pocket.

Speaking of pressure, the Raiders have been effective at getting into the Redskins offensive line and hurrying Griffin. Facing a big fourth down just before the two-minute warning, Griffin was sacked by Charles Woodson on a safety blitz.

The Redskins offense worked best on their fourth drive of the game when they went into a hurry-up style. It kept the Raiders on their toes and gassed defenders. 

Run Offense: After a lopsided balance (some would argue) on offense last week, the Redskins have given Alfred Morris his fair share of touches in the first half. Although the Raiders are getting good push up front, Morris is running hard on his way to 43 yards on 12 carries.

Again noting the Redskins’ choice to run no-huddle offense on their fourth drive of the game, it increased the run game’s effectiveness, just as it did the pass.

Run Defense: Although improved, the Redskins struggle to tackle, especially in space. A guy like Raiders running back Darren McFadden can cause fits for a defense like Washington’s, thus his average of nearly six yards per carry in the first half.

Given the opposing quarterback (Matt Flynn), the Redskins outside linebackers have their ears pinned back, and naturally so. But they’re often leading themselves out of the run play by committing themselves up field. 

Pass Defense: The Redskins pass defense improved in the second quarter, but I don’t think it was coincidence that Matt Flynn’s accuracy seemed to slip a bit too.

The Redskins also deserve credit for better pressure on the quarterback in the second quarter. With a guy like Flynn, the more hands you get around him, the more susceptible he is to errant throws.

Heading into the second half, this defense needs to contain the underneath stuff. The Raiders are going to want the ball shot out by Flynn and in search of YAC.

Special Teams: Considering half of the Raiders' points came off a blocked punt and return for a touchdown, it’s hard to have anything nice to say about the Redskins special teams through one half.

Chris Thompson continues to look flat in the return game, and only experience will teach him how to judge a kick and adjust accordingly.

Coaching: I loved the coaches’ decision to run the no-huddle offense on the Redskins’ fourth drive of the game. But where did it go?

The Redskins offense runs efficiently with speed and tempo, proven by their ability to move the football when not taking time to huddle up.

If coaches want to drastically increase their chances in this game, an up-tempo offense without huddling is key.

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