Rams 30, Redskins 16
This will be a tough one to write.
Donovan McNabb didn't have a terrible game, though there was more than one instance where his accuracy left something to be desired. The interception he threw was a stupid pass, and he deserves all the credit for that one. His passing touchdown to Santana Moss, though, was also mostly a McNabb feature, so at least there's that.
Maybe the most frustrating thing about Sunday's offense was that the run/pass split was so pronounced. Last week, I could understand it; the Redskins' passing offense was clicking. But this week, with the passing game kind of hit-or-miss, and the running backs (Clinton Portis and Ryan Torain) pretty much kicking ass, why did the team continue to ignore the ground game? There were 17 rushes versus 33 passes, and one of those rushes was a scramble by McNabb. So the play-calling provided more than double the number of pass plays as run plays. I worry that Mike Shanahan might establish a potentially effective gameplan during the week, but not react to game-day circumstances.
They gave up 30 points to the Rams, including 16 points in the second half, when Steven Jackson was injured. There's no excuse for that.
Special Teams: C+
Devin Thomas was again an effective kickoff returner, offering a lot of the consistency that Rock Cartwright provided in the same capacity last year and for several years. But the story of the special teams was the injury to Josh Bidwell in warmups that forced Graham Gano into punter duties. One of his punts was blocked, and he seemed to outkick his coverage on more than one occasion. I don't blame Gano for that; I blame the NFL.
I understand that there's a motivation to have a limited roster size, but 45 people on game day means that you only have room for one backup at each position, even though those backups also play on special teams. In such an injury-laden sport as football, doesn't it behoove the NFL to make sure that we're not stuck in situations where we watch ineptitude? I'm not necessarily saying that Gano was inept, but he certainly wasn't good. I think they should expand overall rosters to 65, and expand game day rosters to 55. Let each team have a 3rd string QB and a backup K/P, every day.
The Redskins seem to always find a way to sucker-punch their fans. Last year we got a couple, the worst of which was their crumble against the Saints. This year, after beating Dallas and putting up an offensive display against Houston that we haven't seen in years, they barely show up against the Rams.
It is definitely not easy to be a Washington sports fan.
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