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Posted at 04:54 PM ET, 09/18/2011

Redskins-Cardinals, best and worst


(Patrick Smith - GETTY IMAGES)
Wrapping up the best and worst moments from Washington’s 22-21 win over the Arizona Cardinals, which made the Redskins 2-0 for the first time since 2007.

Best Day: Byron Westbrook, and who would have thought that’d be the case? The sense of doom was descending when Arizona got the ball back inside the 2-minute warning and picked up a quick first down, but Westbrook’s big hit from behind jarred the ball loose, and the doom was gone. A remarkable play from the team’s fifth cornerback. 

Worst Day, According to Hack Sports Writers With Cursory Football Knowledge: I mean, I thought Reed Doughty struggled in Week 1, but then Jim Haslett strongly defended him, so I’m being cautious here. To my eyes, though, Graham Gano didn’t have the best day ever for an NFL kicker, despite hitting the game-winner. The blocked kick at the end of the first half meant Gano failed on two of the first three field goals he attempted this season, and all were from less than 40 yards. Those have to be an automatic three points in the National Football League, men. Much worse, though, was the out-of-bounds kickoff that started the second half, especially with the new rules making touchbacks almost automatic.  

Worst Day For Former Redskins Quarterbacks: Donovan McNabb and the Vikings led by 17 at halftime but lost, with McNabb failing to throw a touchdown. Jason Campbell and the Raiders led by 18 at halftime but lost as well. And Rex Grossman led the Redskins to two late scores and has his Redskins at 2-0.  

Best Newcomer: Helu, Roy. The rookie from Nebraska was electric in the running game, but was never more impressive than on a second-quarter screen, when he hurdled a defender and gained 33 yards, the longest catch by a rookie Redskins running back since Reggie Brooks in 1997 1993. He had 112 yards on his 13 touches, an average of 8.6 per. As many good things as Tim Hightower and Ryan Torain have done in the past year-plus, neither has the shiftiness, elusiveness or breakaway potential of Helu. By which I mean he’s fast as hell. 


(Patrick Smith - GETTY IMAGES)
Best Other Newcomer: Ryan Kerrigan can play a little bit. In his first NFL game, he had an interception return for a touchdown. In his second NFL game, he had two sacks one sack, a tipped pass that led to a London Fletcher interception, a tipped pass on one of the game’s most important third downs, and what felt like an awful lot of trips into Kevin Kolb’s personal space.

Best Quote: Fred Smoot, on the Comcast SportsNet postgame show. “When you’re over 30, you don’t have swag. You have panache.” 

Worst Underthrow: Grossman, to Fred Davis. The tight end gained 40 yards on Washington’s first possession of the second half, but he probably should have scored on a throw that hit him in stride. The Redskins wound up punting on the drive. 

Best Offensive Weapon: It would appear to be the aforementioned Davis, which is odd even to type. Deep, shallow, first down, third down, in his own territory, in the red zone, Mohawk, non-mohawk, Davis was there. In two games, he has 11 catches for 191 yards.

Worst Abandonment of the Run Game Even Though It Seemed to be Working Awesomely: Kyle Shanahan.

 Best Decision to Go For It: Mike Shanahan. Me, I would have taken the field goal late in the fourth-quarter, figuring the chances of converting a fourth-down and then a two-point conversion would be worse than making a short field goal and then driving again later. But after Grossman threw a beauty of a touchdown pass to Santana Moss, I couldn’t really complain. 

Worst Red-Zone Execution: I’ll give it to the Redskins, whose five trips inside the Bright Red Zone (the 15, duh) led to an interception, a touchdown, and three field-goal attempts, one of which was blocked. 

Best Tackle by a Punter: Man, Sav Rocca laid out that dude on the game’s final play. And he liked it. 

Best one-liner: Sonny Jurgensen, during the Redskins Radio Network pre-game show on ESPN 980: “I think myself and Donovan McNabb were the only quarterbacks that didn’t throw for 300 yards last week.” 

Best one-liner, part II: Sam Huff, during the same show, talking about Conrad Dobler: “He’d kick his mother, that guy would….He’d kick you you know where, and you’d try to stomp him back and you’d get the flag.” 

Best one-liner, part III: Fox’s Tim Ryan, after a Rex Grossman turnover, riffing off the “Good Rex Bad Rex” meme. “That,” he said, “was a Train Wrecks.”  

Worst Tipping: Did it feel like Grossman had 13 or 14 balls tipped at the line of scrimmage, including a heart-stopping one on Washington’s final scoring drive? I mean, he’s not abnormally short for a quarterback. I don’t recall this being an issue against the Giants. Was he just mis-calibrated on Sunday? Are the Cardinals defensive linemen extra tall?

Best Response to Tipping: At least twice, Grossman volleyball-spiked a tipped ball to the ground, preventing an interception. 

Best Coverage: The idea of letting DeAngelo Hall shadow Larry Fitzgerald by himself for much of the afternoon seemed fraught with danger, but Hall kept Fitzgerald in check in the first half, to the tune of two catches for 19 yards.

Worst Coverage: Not sure what happened on that 73-yard touchdown catch, though.

Best Reason Not to Go to the Kitchen, Ever: Brandon Banks, doe. Who was the last Redskin that made you think he was going to score a touchdown every single time he touched the ball? Early-vintage Brian Mitchell? It’s been awhile. The Redskins kept him solely to return kicks, and not one fan would complain. 

Best Stat: Through two games, the Redskins have six penalties for 40 yards, and one of them was an intentional delay-of-game in the final seconds Sunday. They also have zero swinging-gate attempts.

Best Stat, Part II: At halftime, the Redskins had a 114-6 advantage in rushing yards, hadn’t yet punted and had way more than double the Cardinals’ time of possession (21:31-8:29), yet only led by three. Those are not 10-7 numbers. 

Best Stat, Part III: Via Barry Svrluga, the Redskins’ first scoring drive (the FG) took 8 minutes, 29 seconds -- longer than any scoring drive last year in time. 

Best Stat, Part IV: Via Joseph White, the Redskins made it inside the Cardinals’ 40 on their first five possessions, and got only 10 points out of it.  

Best Stat, Part V: Via David Elfin, Fred Davis already has six catches of at least 20 yards. Last season, he had four. 

Worst Interception: I suppose we might be conditioned to dramatically throw up our arms at Rex Grossman mistakes, but his first-quarter pick from inside the 10 seemed ghastly to me. Some fans said, in Grossman’s defense, that Santana Moss was prevented from completing his route, but either way, he wasn’t scoring on that pattern. Maybe just throw it out of the end zone there.

Best Interception: The next one definitely wasn’t Grossman’s fault, though. The ball was tipped by Anthony Armstrong, and frankly, it should have been pass interference. Still, you can’t call an interception “best.” That’s under “worst categorization” for me.

Worst Number: Maybe 22 is part of some cursed numerology for Redskins cornerbacks. Kevin Barnes didn’t exactly pull a Carlos Rogers in the first quarter, but there was a flying football in his vicinity that some DBs might have intercepted, and it wound up on the ground. Felt familiar. 

Best Eye Black: Mike Sellers seemed to have either giant “Xs” or giant crosses under his eyes. Not sure that they did much from an eye-black perspective, but it looked kinda cool.

Worst Fumble Recovery: After Brian Orakpo smashed into Kevin Kolb’s back in the second quarter, the football popped into the air, and Adam Carriker tried to jump up and grab the floating football. Instead, a Cardinals offensive lineman (Lyle Sendlein, I believe), wrested the ball away from Carriker.

Worst Camera Work: From showing a punt return from behind the kicking team — an angle about as revealing as an Amish bathing suit — to coming back from commercial break after play had already resumed to repeatedly using bad shots, it was not a brilliant day from Fox. 

Best Pressure: Arizona’s first drive was a four-play, 88-second disaster, during which London Fletcher appeared to be Trojan Horsing himself in the Redskins’ backfield. That’s how much of the day went.

 Best Sellout Streak: The Redskins announced their 362nd straight sellout, with 76,330 in attendance at their 85,000-seat stadium. Just FYI.

Best Week Three Matchup: The Redskins are 2-0 for the first time since 2007, when they went to the playoffs. Since 1990, NFL teams that start 2-0 have made the playoffs approximately 64 percent of the time. And Washington gets to follow this up with Dallas, on Monday night. That might cause some excitement.

By  |  04:54 PM ET, 09/18/2011

Categories:  Redskins

 
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