Monday, September 20, 2010

2010 Redskins Report Card - Week 2 vs. Houston Texans

Texans 30, Redskins 27

At halftime, with the Redskins up 20-7, I was on cloud nine. Neil Rackers hit a field goal to bring the Texans within 10, then Donovan McNabb answered right back with a great passing touchdown to Chris Cooley. I was giddy. Then I watched in horror as the Redskins gave the game back to the Texans. Could I take some positive things away from the game? Sure, and I'm sure the team will. But...damn it.

Offense: B+

The passing offense was tremendous. McNabb looked extremely comfortable, the offensive line did a good job of holding a pocket for him, and the receivers generally did well to get open and make plays. Four different players had at least 60 receiving yards, and six players had receptions of at least 20 yards.

However, there's still room for improvement, specifically with the run game. Four different players had rushing attempts, and Mike Sellers, who had zero yards on one rush, was the second best runner on the day. Clinton Portis averaged just 2.5 yards on his 13 carries, though he did manage to get into the end zone twice. With just three rushing first downs, the Redskins were unable to pound the ball forward late in the game, when they needed to kill clock. That opened the door for the disappointment that was to follow.

Defense: C

In terms of big plays, this Redskins defense was better than any we've seen in a decade. Five sacks, one interception, and several more big tackles, and it seemed like everyone on the defense made at least one important play, from Adam Carriker to Brian Orakpo to Carlos Rogers. LaRon Landry in particular was flying around the field, causing problems for the Houston offense. The problem was that Houston found ways to get passes completed to make up for all those sacks.

They did a pretty good job stifling Arian Foster, the AFC Offensive Player of the Week last week, and they did generate a lot of big plays. If they can combine their bend-don't-break performance from week 1 with their sack-happy performance in week 2, they'll be a force.

Special Teams: C

I'm not going to blame Graham Gano for his two misses. The first one was blocked on an outstanding play by a Texans defender, the second one was a 52-yarder that he actually hit the first time, but was negated because of a Texans timeout. I don't know how I feel about the rule that allows for these last-second timeouts on field goals, but I know that I was frustrated when I saw it happen, even before I saw the ball go through the uprights on the first attempt.

The return game was fine, not exceptional, but fine. Coverage was very good on kickoffs (particularly on kickoffs that Steve Slaton elected to take out of bounds at his own 1 yard line), so-so on punts.

Overall: B

While I'm obviously disappointed that the Texans came back to win, this game offered Redskins fans a lot of things to feel encouraged about. McNabb looked fantastic, and Jim Haslett might have finally figured out what to do with Landry. Next week's game in St. Louis becomes very important, because the Redskins have to show they can beat the teams they're supposed to beat...since a lot of their games this season are going to be against teams they're not supposed to beat.

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