Were there any good things to come out of Redskins’ loss to Bengals?

September 24, 2012

Mondays after a loss are no good.

Coaches love to say things like “you learn more from losses,” but as fans, it seems like all we learn is how to throw the remote without hitting the TV. Me, I’ve mellowed over the years, partially because I’ve resigned myself to accept that NFL teams lose. Nobody goes 19-0. Some of them you have to shrug off as natural occurrences. Tony Romo’s going to blow a game a year for the Cowboys.The Eagles will get drilled on the road by some random team from the AFC or NFC West. The Giants are going to go cold when you think they should be hot, and get hot when you think they should go cold. It happens.

So maybe the Redskins losing to the Rams and Bengals isn’t all that surprising. Maybe they are who they’ve always been: The team that flaunts some star power, but lacks the depth to overcome key injuries. The team whose drafting, or lack of it, always leaves a little more talent to be desired in the secondary or along the offensive line.

Doesn’t mean it’s any easier to swallow. Especially the way it happens. Those times when your team plays hard against a good team that maybe they shouldn’t beat, you can accept. The ones where you can’t stand the way they’re playing from the opening snap, where you get that bad feeling in the first quarter but you watch the whole thing clinging to a strand of hope that maybe your gut is leading you astray … those losses are the worst.

The Redskins’ loss Sunday was bad from the outset, and bad at the end, though it had its moments when Washington rallied to tie at 24. So there’s plenty there for a Monday dose of traction/overreaction, where you chime in in the comments on what seemed real, and what seemed like a one-time mirage.

Overreaction: All of us, after the win against the Saints.
Outscoring Drew Brees’s team 40-32 seemed like a sign of big things to come, and nobody much worried about the defense in that game, because it was mighty New Orleans. But after surrendering 31 to the Rams and 38 to Cincinnati, the Redskins’ defense is becoming the team you wish your fantasy starters were playing against. The fire Jim Haslett crowd has more ammo, but he doesn’t have the horses in the secondary to compete.

Traction: The Redskins are going to be okay without Brian Orakpo.
Looks like it. Rob Jackson can play, and it wasn’t just the gift touchdown from Andy Dalton where he stood out. He was in on another early sack, and was one of the first guys to blow up a run play later in the game. Chris Wilson had a half-sack, and Ryan Kerrigan was effective on the other side, despite the idea that extra blockers would be coming his way.


(Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post)

Traction: The creativity in the offense is sustainable
The Redskins looked great in the third quarter motioning Brandon Banks into the backfield and using him to hold the ends while RGIII and Alfred Morris ran several variations of the option. While the same stuff won’t work every week, Kyle Shanahan is showing an ability to come up with new wrinkles each week, and to make effective adjustments at the half.

Overreaction: RGIII is getting hit too often
Nobody wants their quarterback getting pummeled, but RGIII bounces right back up, and offers some postgame bluster, warning future defenders that hits are never going to bother him. As long as the offense has to carry the defense and special teams, the Redskins are willing to risk it to pull out all the stops.

Overreaction: Without Adam Carriker, the run defense will suffer
Looked fine Sunday, when the Bengals gained 3.3 yards per carry, rushed for 93 yards total and no run went longer than 11 yards.

Overreaction: They’re not utilizing Fred Davis.
The talented tight end had seven catches for 90 yards, putting to rest any worries.

Tell us what you saw that seemed real or not. Add your own observations in the comments.

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Mark Maske · September 23, 2012