Redskins-Ravens preseason best and worst


Robert Griffin III finishes with a dismal 27.1 quarterback rating against the Ravens.  (Larry French/Getty Images)

Best and worst moments from Washington’s 23-17 preseason loss to the Ravens in Baltimore.

Worst moment: Robert Griffin III came out for the first drive of the third quarter. He threw an interception on the first play, which was nearly returned for a touchdown. Then he was done for the night. That drive perfectly encapsulated his moldy cheese of a night. Also, check this out.

Worst addendum: The Ravens were without their top three cornerbacks all night. And Griffin threw for 20 yards.

Best drive: After Griffin was finished, Kirk Cousins came in, and went 5-for-7 on his first drive, for 52 yards and a touchdown. That one drive, needless to say, trumped everything Griffin had done in six chances. Also, Kevin Harlan and Joe Theismann repeatedly gushed about Cousins, including while team owner Daniel Snyder was in the broadcast booth, which seemed awkward. Cousins ended the game 14-of-20 for 122 yards and two touchdowns.

Best summary: The first half was ugly for the offense. The highlights came on Baltimore penalties. The lowlights included botched snaps, sacks, a wasted timeout, rampant miscommunication, and jokes about RGIII’s likely social media response.

Worst first-team offensive efficiency: Here’s how five consecutive drives from Washington’s first-team offense ended: A fumble in Cleveland territory last week. An interception in Cleveland territory last week. A fourth-down stop in Cleveland territory last week. A field goal deep in Baltimore territory this week. A punt after a three-and-out in Baltimore territory this week. That’s five straight drives into the opponent’s territory, resulting in three points. Of course, it doesn’t really matter, because it’s the preseason.

Best first-team defensive efficiency: The Patriots scored zero points in the first half. The Browns scored three points in the first half. The Ravens got stacked up on a pair of 4th-and-one running plays, and scored 10 points in the first half. The Ravens also had negative-eight rushing yards after the first quarter.

Best showings: A bunch of young defensive contributors looked extremely promising, from rookies Trent Murphy and Bashaud Breeland to youngsters David Amerson and Keenan Robinson. (Although Breeland was beaten for a touchdown in the second half.) The “how do you replace London Fletcher?” question, in particular, seems to have found its answer in Robinson. And if you’re making a list of potential young stalwarts, you can also add tight end Jordan Reed.

Worst snaps: Not sure who was to blame, but there were two less-than ideal snaps between Kory Lichtensteiger and Griffin in the first half. Snaps, timeouts, challenges, delay-of-games and false starts: these are the ghosts of indigestion future.

Best job going out of bounds on a scramble and not getting smushed in the open field: Robert Griffin III. Progress? Probably. Still seems like it’d be better to just throw it away and not lose yardage running for the sideline, but what do I know?

Worst job not hitting people in the head: Brandon Meriweather. Feel like I’ve maybe typed that before.

Best middle linebackers on fourth down: Keenan Robinson stopped Bernard Pierce on a 4th-and-1. And Perry Riley Jr. helped Jarvis Jenkins stop Lorenzo Taliaferro on a 4th-and-1.

 


(Larry French/Getty Images)

 

Best debut: A lot of people have speculated that Jason Hatcher won’t come close to reaching his career high of 11 sacks, recorded last year for Dallas. In the first seven minutes of the first quarter of his first preseason game, Hatcher got to the quarterback, pulling down Joe Flacco. Of course, it didn’t count, because it was the preseason. This blog item doesn’t count, either.

Worst debut: New punter Tress Way nearly had his first punt blocked; it went for 27 yards. This punting battle isn’t going to go down as one of history’s great battles.

Worst personalized jersey: Black Jesus? Really? Was this a reference to the long-ago Fred Davis quote?

Worst night: Chris Thompson. And he didn’t even play. The second-year running back’s problem has been staying healthy, and missing two straight preseason games can’t help his cause. Even before the game began, Chris Cooley speculated on ESPN 980 that Thompson is likely on the outside of the roster looking in. Though none of his presumed competitors did anything noteworthy, either.

Best homage: Was Ryan Clark’s finger tape meant to pay tribute to Sean Taylor? Not sure. But it looked cool.

Worst playcalling: I mean, this is a mild worst. But all the Redskins fans and media members I heard from this week wanted to see Robert Griffin III unleashed in the passing game against Baltimore’s first-string defense. The running game was already solid. The passing game was what needed work. Instead, Washington came out and ran the ball on its first three plays. (There was also one pass that was intercepted but negated by penalty.) At the half, Griffin had seven pass attempts; Joe Flacco had 23. Griffin had thrown for 20 yards, and Flacco for 180.

Best quote: Theismann, obviously. “As a slot receiver, Nick Williams, he’s Wes Welker, Danny Amendola,” Theismann said in the fourth quarter of a preseason game, which is when Nick Williams plays. “He’s that kind of a guy inside. Julian Edelman. You know, the great inside slot receivers, he has those kind of moves and those kind of hands.”

Worst injuries: Brian Orakpo left with an ankle injury, and rookie Morgan Moses left with a knee issue. Both injuries were later dubbed minor. But after a mostly smooth preseason, these were worrisome, at least momentarily.

Best winning streak: And so, Washington’s eight-game preseason win streak comes to an end. That was the longest Redskins preseason winning streak since 1961. It was fun while it lasted. Well, funnish. Actually, it wasn’t really much fun or not fun. It was just a thing that happened that no one will ever remember.

Dan Steinberg writes about all things D.C. sports at the D.C. Sports Bog.
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Dan Steinberg · August 22