The scoreboard reads “Redskins 21, Detroit 17” but the first string stink is still somewhere above Fed Ex Field.  Thank goodness they go to Baltimore next week because it still might not dissipate by then.  Instead of August optimism the Skins emerge what feels like a Pyrrhic victory…with more questions than answers.  One thing is certain– this team is now 15-3 in the preseason since 2011.  August Banners, BABY!

RG3ver– Let’s begin with the hot mess that was the night of Robert Griffin III.  Four possessions that garnered just one first down and seven net yards.  The Face of the Franchise completed 2 of 5 passes for 8 yards while fumbling twice and getting sacked three times.  The final fumble and sack saw Griffin suffer a concussion.  He doesn’t look good.  And his offensive line gave him limited time to get comfortable against the Lions pass rush.  He got crushed in such a manner that reporters asked coach Jay Gruden why they sent him out for a fourth possession when the first three were unmitigated disasters.  He might be ready to go for next weekends game in Baltimore, but do you want him facing the Ravens pass rush?

McCoy and Kirk Beaming Up– both backups had big nights.  Colt McCoy promptly led the offense 80 yards on 10 plays the first time he set foot on the field…resulting in a 1-yard touchdown run by Matt Jones.  He had them on the 1-yard line with under 10 seconds to go in the half before losing a fumbled snap (cue the Benny Hill theme music) on the final play of the second quarter.  Colt’s lone possession of the third quarter resulted in an 8 play, 87-yard march that ended when he found Reggie Bell on a 19-yard TD strike.  All Kirk Cousins did as the third-stringer was direct the Skins 80 yards on 14 plays to paydirt.  Cousins and McCoy combined to complete 13 of 18 passes for 171 yards and 2 touchdowns–passer rating 138.9.  Or 90 points higher than the starter.

Running Back Rotation– Alfred Morris enjoyed a light night, gaining 10 yards on 3 carries (a sweet 10-yard run in the first quarter moved the chains) before taking a seat.  Trey Williams, Matt Jones and Chris Thompson each averaged over 5 yards a carry…which should be encouraging–even if they were going against backups.  It appears as though there’s solid depth behind Morris this year;  the question being how will they mix and match the backs over the flow of the game and in specialty situations.

Third and What Did You Expect?– the Skins converted 8 of 13 third down attempts.  We ask you to guess who fared well and who didn’t…stumped?  Robert Griffin III was unable to move the chains on all 4 of his chances:  two short incompletions and a 4-yard pass to Roberts on 3rd & 21 were the highlights.  The lowlight was a 3rd & 16 where RG3 fumbled, was sacked and suffered a concussion on the same play (the only saving grace is that he didn’t lose his shoe as well).  Colt McCoy converted both of his 3rd downs, both runs– Darrel Young’s one yard dive set up a first and goal on the drive that put the Skins on the board and Trey Williams 38 yard scamper put the team ahead for the first time.  Kirk Cousins faced the most 3rd downs of the trio, converting 6 of 7 (completing 6 of 6 passes).  Yardage breakdown:  3-4 short, 2-3 medium and 3-6 long distance.

Case for the Defense– what’s good for the RG3 defenders is also good for the defensive apologists.  The Skins allowed the majority of the points given up in the first half again this week…surrendering scores on two of the first four times the Lions had the football while giving up 12 completions in 15 first half pass attempts.  The tackling was less than ideal and the secondary appeared soft on multiple occasions.  But they got off of the field on 3rd down the majority of the time (7 stops on 12 attempts) and notched four sacks.  For a unit that didn’t get pressure on the quarterback last year that’s encouraging…but what’s discouraging is that for the second straight week the supposed first-stringers allowed points to their counterparts.

Special Situation– losing Adam Hayward for the season to a torn ACL is a major blow to the kicking game, especially one week after fellow special teams stalwart Niles Paul went down for the year with a broken ankle.  The kicking game has been woeful the last few years, and losing the best two coverage guys is not the way to go about trying to get better there.

Cobra Kai– when not sporting his new red leather jacket and minibike, Mr. Forbath nailed both of his extra point attempts.  The new NFL rules are hardly fazing the Valley champ…and Ty Long appears to be the newest incarnation of Daniel LaRusso.  He won’t even look at Elisabeth Shue, let alone talk to her.  Tress Way averaged 51 yards per punt.  No mercy…

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