Does a win count if it’s against the Jacksonville Jaguars?  You know, the team with the two-tone helmets?  The one owned by a man who has the coolest mustache ever but one of the worst teams in recent memory?  A squad that had their reverse lights on for most of the game-gaining 1 yard on their first 12 plays from scrimmage, not posting their first 1st down until their fifth possession and not taking a snap on the Redskins side of the field until the fourth quarter?  While the Jags looked awful, the Redskins responded with a solid effort and put the game away early in a 41-10 rout of the future Los Angeles Lasers.

 

RG3ver– OUCH.  One can’t get on with the game without addressing the early departure of Griffin…dislocating his left ankle while scrambling for a first quarter throw.  There’s no fracture– meaning he could miss the next 6-8 weeks.  They’ll re-evaluate his status after it’s in a cast for a few weeks–but once again, the face and future of the franchise will miss time on the field.  He made 15 starts as a rookie, 13 last year and now he’ll be limited to 8 starts at most in year three.  

Cousins Comes Through– the understudy shines with a 22-33 for 250 yard passing performance while firing a pair of TD tosses.  Now the focus is can he sustain solid play over multiple weeks?  After throwing for 381 yards and 3 touchdowns last year against an Atlanta team that went 4-12, Cousins was not as good against non-playoff teams Dallas and the NY Giants–completing 47% of his passes for 366 yards (4.3 per attempt) for 1 touchdown and 3 interceptions (passer rating= 48.6).  He’ll be facing an Eagles team that’ll be ready for him from the start while potentially lacking WR DeSean Jackson, RB Roy Helu, FB Darrel Young and TE Jordan Reed.  The clipboard and ballcap never looked so good…

Alfred the Security Blanket–  Mr. Morris rumbled for 85 yards and 2 touchdowns– helping the Skins carve out a 34-7 lead before stepping aside for Silas Redd.  There was more of a commitment to the run this time (42-36 ratio)…and you’d think they’ll lean heavily on the ground game against Philadelphia in week three.

Wideout Woes–  DeSean Jackson is a question mark for his return against his former team after spraining an AC joint in his left shoulder after making one catch for 19 yards (at least he averaged more than 10 yards a reception this time).  With Santana Moss inactive for the second straight week and Pierre Garcon limited to 1 catch for 12 yards on 4 targets, rookie Ryan Grant (5 catches for 57 yards) and veteran Andre Roberts (4-57) filled the void to help the passing game.  Will Santana be a factor against Philly?

The Understudy you aren’t talking about– tight end Niles Paul grabbed 8 passes for 99 yards and a TD…a huge boost with Jordan Reed still on the sidelines battling hamstring issues and Logan Paulsen not being targeted at all in the win over the Jaguars.  Is this the start of something special like we saw with Reed’s emergence last year?  Or merely a one-game mirage?

Third and Quality instead of Quantity– the Burgundy and Gold converted 6 of 14 third downs…but more importantly 5 of 8 in Jaguars’ territory (with the team scoring on the play after one of the failed attempts on 4th down).  The run-pass breakdown was 11 passing plays to 3 runs.  Kirk Cousins completed 7 of 7 passes while getting sacked twice and scrambling for a 3 yard gain on 3rd & 4( RG3 was sacked on the other attempt).  Yardage breakdown:  2-3 on short-yardage (less than 4 yards needed) , 3-4 on intermediate and 1-7 on 3rd and 7+.  When half of your third downs are long-distance, you’re going to have a lot more passes...and a lot more punts.

D earns an A– where to begin?  I’ll start with holding the Jaguars to 1 net yard on their first four possessions.  Keeping the Jags from running a play in Redskin territory for the first three quarters was huge as well.  The TEN SACKS that ties a team record set in 1977 when they posted the same number against Tampa Bay (more on those bad, bad Bucs in a bit).   Credit a pass rush that allowed Ryan Kerrigan to tie a team record with 4 sacks…and while Jason Hatcher (1.5) helped draw double-teams and create space for others, Chris Baker playing well after moving from starting defensive end to nose tackle was pivotal.  Trenton Robinson tallied an interception...and despite Bacarri Rambo being unable to tackle the secondary did a nice job shutting down the Jaguars’ passing game.

One moment to look back at the Bad, Bad Bucs– as bad as this year’s Jaguars edition is…the ’77 Buccaneers were hall-of-fame bad offensively:  103 points scored (53 in the first 12 games) while getting shut out six times, a quarterback trio of Gary Huff, Randy Hedberg and Jeb Blount that completed 41% of their passes for 3 touchdowns and 30 interceptions en route to a passer rating of 22.5….22.5!  They extended the Bucs losing streak to a league record 26 games…before helping get two Hall of Fame coaches get fired:  Hank Stram was canned following Tampa Bay’s first ever win (in New Orleans) and Don Coryell was done after the Bucs beat St. Louis.  Somehow that Tampa Bay franchise hosted the NFC Championship Game two years later.  In 1977, the creamsicle uniforms were a necessary distraction.

Flying Flags– 11 penalties for 98 yards would hurt you against a real team.  Five came on kicking-return teams (still not using the S word, sorry)– with two going against Adam Hayward (offsides on a kickoff and illegal formation on a punt).  Four were on offense– with two going against Trent Williams (false start and an unsportsmanlike conduct).  Two were on defense (illegal use of hands and personal foul).  Were they costly flags?  Kory Lichtensteiger’s hold wiped out what would have been a first down by penalty (offsetting calls)…Aldrick Robinson’s hold while moving the offense back from the Jax 11 to the 21 didn’t prevent them from reaching the endzone.  Williams’ false start turned a 1st & 10 from the Jaguars 28 into a 1st & 15 from the 33…preventing a last-minute first half drive from generating a field goal.  Williams’ unsportsmanlike conduct foul moved a 1st and goal from the Jax 1 to the 16…and they wound up settling for a field goal.  This won’t hurt you against the Jaguars…but against a real team it might.

Cobra Kai Finding a Way– a groin injury prevented Mr. Forbath from kicking off… allowing him to concentrate and focus power:  hitting 36 and 42 yard field goals while connecting on all 5 extra point attempts.  The sensei would be proud– as the prize pupil hasn’t missed a field goal since last November 3rd (San Diego).  Punter Tress Way was pressed into kickoff duties and was solid… while hammering punts at an average of 49.8 yards.  It’s as if Bobby had been more of a positive influence on Johnny Lawrence (let the record show he tried) in KK1 and instead of focusing on terrorizing a hapless Daniel LaRusso, Lawrence became a better guy and won Elisabeth Shue back on his own merits.  Sweep the leg?  He would’ve swept Ali off her feet!

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