Lions 37, Redskins 25
I'm not sure we could've seen something worse than this happening on the way into the bye week. Really, really terrible. And I don't just mean the loss.
As in, vulgar. Donovan McNabb really did have a terrible game. His two big pass completions to Anthony Armstrong seemed like mistakes, where Armstrong had to adjust his route to the errant pass by McNabb (kudos to Armstrong on that, by the way). The biggest problem was an inability to string together positive plays to extend drives. The Redskins punted nine times on Sunday, way too much. You need more of those drives to end in scores.
The offensive line seemed overwhelmed a lot of the time, though, so you can't put it all on McNabb. You can't give up six sacks just from the QB taking too long to get rid of the ball; some of those are on line play. We knew coming into this season that the Redskins' offensive line was going to be a point of concern, and we're reaping what we sow. First round pick Trent Williams still has some work to do to become the blind side tackle that Mike Shanahan foresaw when he drafted him.
Speaking of, I also have to put a little of the blame here on the shoulders of Shanahan. He had only two running backs on the active roster, so when Ryan Torain suffered a hamstring injury, the Redskins had Keiland Williams. Period. I don't like the idea of Larry Johnson or Willy Parker in the backfield, but it would've been nice to have somebody. My friend was right when she said, "We're going to miss Rock Cartwright," but who knew it would be as a running back?
The lack of a running game and the constant sacks put the Redskins into a lot of bad 3rd down situations, which is probably why they went just two of fourteen on third down conversions. This problem hasn't gone away, and I hope the coaching staff does some research into how to resolve it, because it's killing the team's chances at victory.
I don't blame the defense for this week's loss. Could they have played better? Sure. But when your offense goes three-and-out on seven different drives, you're not being put in a position to win. The Redskins' longest drives were two that went three minutes, twenty-eight seconds. When you're constantly being sent back onto the field in no better shape than where you left, you get tired, and you get disheartened.
Furthermore, something that may have been lost in the heartbreak is that the Redskins actually held the Lions to just 4.3 yards per play, less than even our own pitiful offense. Add to that a big interception deep in Redskins territory by DeAngelo Hall, and you can't really fault the defense for the way this game played out.
I really wish Shanahan hadn't benched McNabb at the very end of the game. Is it possible that Grossman gave the Redskins a better chance to win the game at that point? Sure, it's possible. I don't know the extent of McNabb's hamstring injuries, and I don't honestly know very much about Grossman's skill set or comfort level with this offense.
But by pulling McNabb, you've ensured that the next two weeks will be marred with quarterback talk, which is like poison to a town's football fans. Now we hear that the Redskins have brought in JaMarcus Russell for a workout, and in our minds, we're wondering if he might be a starter for Washington sometime this season. One of the things that McNabb's presence was supposed to provide was stability, the knowledge that, no matter what, if he's healthy, he's the quarterback. Now? Who knows.
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