Redskins vs. Broncos: Live Grades and Analysis for Washington

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Redskins vs. Broncos: Live Grades and Analysis for Washington
(Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

The Redskins and Broncos kept things close through halftime. But in the final two quarters, Peyton Manning and the Broncos proved too much for Washington to handle on the road. 

 

Final

Redskins: 21
Broncos: 44

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

vs. Broncos / Week 8

Final Analysis for Washington 

Pass Offense: It wasn’t a good game for Robert Griffin III. He was inaccurate as a passer, he was indecisive in the pocket and he took a beating behind a line that isn’t built to protect in a traditional pocket. If this offense doesn’t begin to utilize their Turbo offense, they’ll continue to struggle.

Griffin left the game late in the fourth quarter after taking his 18th hit of the day and having a lineman fall on his left knee, bending it awkwardly. Kirk Cousins finished the game in his place.

Griffin’s final stat line: 15-of-30 for 132 yards, one touchdown and two picks.

Run Offense: The Redskins totaled 17 rushes for 93 yards and a score for Alfred Morris today. But the talk on Monday morning will be about how Morris didn’t get enough carries, and how the Redskins abandoned the run.

To me, it’s not about the 10 extra carries you thought Morris should have gotten on Sunday. It’s about why Griffin didn’t have at least 10 himself.

Run Defense: Serving as the silver lining for the Redskins today, the run defense was effective. They didn’t allow any big runs, they kept Knowshon Moreno contained and the defense did a good job of swarming the ball.

But when the opposing quarterback throws the ball 44 times for more than 350 yards and four touchdowns, sometimes defending the run can become somewhat easier.

Pass Defense: Disappointing? Sure. But to be honest, anyone who didn’t expect Peyton Manning to pick apart this Redskins defense was sadly mistaken.

That being said, DeAngelo Hall played another brilliant game, picking off two Manning passes, one of which went for a score. Backup safety Jordan Pugh also recorded an interception.

The Redskins also lacked a consistent pass rush today—one of the many prices you pay when facing a top-tier quarterback.

Special Teams: The special teams unit played well today until the Redskins really needed a good punt. That’s when Sav Rocca shanked a punt and set up the Broncos with a go-ahead score in the fourth quarter.

Yet again, the special teams contributed to a Redskins loss.

Coaching: Most will blast Kyle Shanahan for not running the ball more. I would not argue that, but he can certainly be criticized for not coming up with any running plays for Robert Griffin III. The quarterback needs to be accounted for and his passing—at least through half the season—does not pose enough of a threat for the opposing defense to treat it as one. 

On defense, I’m not sure what else the Redskins needed in preparation for the crossing wide receivers and Denver’s offense. The Broncos’ trips formation was apparently too much for the Redskins to handle and Denver’s second-half adjustments clearly outwitted Jim Haslett.  

 

First-Half Analysis for Washington 

Pass Offense: Robert Griffin III has been off in every facet of his game through two quarters. His passes are inaccurate, his decision-making has been slow, his vision has been blurred and his footwork isn’t what fans are used to.

The offensive line did a nice job in pass protection to start the game, and gradually took on different looks from the Broncos defense throughout the rest of the half.

Although some may get on the line for somewhat porous play, I would argue that Griffin’s slow reads and indecisiveness don't help an offensive line’s effectiveness.

The Redskins put together a 95-yard drive to close the half, capping it with a seven-yard game-tying touchdown from Griffin to Hankerson. 

Run Offense: Alfred Morris has been solid in finding his lanes and turning it on once he hits the hole. The guys up front have been productive in getting their hands on a defender and the Redskins receivers deserve credit for putting forth a good effort.

Kyle Shanahan seems to really want the bubble screen in this game, but that’s no reason to abandon the running game. With Washington relying on play action by way of contribution on the ground, they need to keep Denver honest.

Run Defense: Where they lack in coverage, the Redskins linebackers have been effective at plugging running lanes through the first half. Guys are getting around the football and putting their helmet on someone.

Although Peyton Manning isn’t a quarterback that relies on balance or an efficient run game, limiting a phase of his offense will help the Redskins stay in this game.

Pass Defense: There are a lot of things to dread when going against one of the league’s best quarterbacks, one of which is that your defense is forced to play a pair of deep safeties and said quarterback is smart enough to realize the middle of the field is open.

That’s what Peyton Manning has done through one half of football, and that’s what he’ll continue to do if the Redskins can’t adjust accordingly.

The coverage hasn’t been awful, rookie safety Bacarri Rambo looks to have improved his tackling and angles and the guys are doing a good job at swarming to the football.

Special Teams: It was a surprisingly good half for the special teams unit. Sav Rocca has done a good job of keeping his punts away from Trindon Holiday, coverage has been solid and Joshua Morgan escaped to rip off a decent punt return.

Coaching: When Robert Griffin III is struggling as a passer, to me that’s a great time for the Redskins to use their Turbo offense in order to get the quarterback into a rhythm. Apparently Mike Shanahan and his staff don’t agree.

But no worries. With luck on their side, the coaches called a great drive to close the half and tie the football game. 

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