Revisited, Week 2: Fast start, frustrating end to Redskins vs. Rams

July 2, 2013

St. Louis cornerback Janoris Jenkins decks tight end Fred Davis in the fourth quarter of a game that pretty much felt like this for Redskins fans. (John McDonnell/The Washington Post)

We’re taking a casual look back at last year’s 17 games, rewatching them to see what we’ve since forgotten and to start a little summer conversation, not necessarily to provide deep analysis. Here are thoughts while watching the Week 2 game against the Rams:

This edition of Revisited probably won’t be as much fun as The Week 1 Saints version, but there’s got to be more worth remembering about this game than the season-ending injuries and Finnegan-Morgan at the end. Let’s review:

First quarter
A bigger jerk than I might have noticed that DeJon Gomes slipped on the first play, Josh Wilson missed badly and Danny Amendola was headed for a big gain before Perry Riley made him fumble. Wilson picked himself up, and picked up the ball for a touchdown 11 seconds into the game.

Twenty-one seconds into the game, Adam Carriker is on the ground. He’s pretty clearly dragged down by the back of his jersey before his knee gives out, but it’s DeAngelo Hall who draws a holding penalty on the play. Carriker, as you know, was lost for the season.

Still within the game’s first minute, London Fletcher creams Amendola out of bounds for a 15-yard penalty, and if nothing else, you can tell it’s going to be an eventful Sunday. Which in hindsight, it was.

Amendola has catches on six of the Rams’ first seven plays, and finishes with 15 for 160 yards. If Sam Bradford can find Amendola that often, you think Tom Brady will find him useful as a Patriot?

Aldrick Robinson catches a pass early in the game, perhaps dispelling my memory that he played a lot against New Orleans because of the Pierre Garcon injury.

It’s kind of weird seeing Brian Orakpo and Roy Helu suited up and healthy. Fred Davis, too, to a lesser extent. It’s also weird seeing Robert Quinn blow by Trent Williams for a sack, knowing that Williams had a Pro Bowl season. Of course, not even Pro Bowlers are perfect.

Alfred Morris has a couple consecutive runs to the right side in the first quarter where he isn’t touched until he’s several yards downfield.

Griffin keeps it one time on a rollout and is pushed down awkwardly, which at the time you probably didn’t care about. But in 2013, you’re going to gasp every time you see him hit the turf, even if it’s completely run-of-the-mill.

Griffin keeps it on an option play from inside the 10 and scores virtually untouched. Did you remember that the Redskins led 14-3 at the end of the first quarter of a game they eventually lost?

Second quarter
The Rams eat up seven minutes of clock on a 15-play drive, with an easy Steven Jackson 20-yard run the highlight. The Redskins tighten up at the goal line, nearly forcing a turnover — Jackson’s fumble at the 3 is overturned by replay — and resulting in a field goal. The Rams were at the 1 and moving the ball easily on this drive, but got just three points. It’s 14-6 midway through the quarter.

Two play-action fakes allow Leonard Hankerson to streak through the defense for a long TD pass from Griffin. It’s 21-6. The Redskins have 61 points through the first 5½ quarters. But after a 56-yard Bradford-to-Amendola play starts off a seven-play scoring drive that ends with the two hooking up again for a TD, the Redskins’ defense has allowed 45.

Griffin takes a hit at the end of a scramble and throws his first NFL interception before the half. Bradford gets the Rams in range for a 42-yard field goal that cuts the Redskins’ lead to 21-16 at the break.

The six quarters so far this season could leave one thinking “this offense is better than I thought sooner than I thought, but the D not so much.” Which was a theme pretty much until the bye. Both offenses have made it look easy at some points in the first half.

Third quarter
Gomes and Cedric Griffin are in the area — sort of — when Bradford hits Brandon Gibson for a 34-yard touchdown pass. The Rams lead 23-21.

Griffin comes back with a strike over the middle to Robinson for a big gain, and then a heavy dose of Morris gets Washington close enough to score on a quarterback run. In the comments of Week 1 Revisited, someone asked me to observe Morris’s runs and whether or not he leads with his head or shoulders. What’s weird is, at least in this game, nobody really gets a clean shot on Morris above the waist.

Up 28-23, the Rams again easily drive the field, but with the Redskins dropped back into a zone in the end zone, Bradford throws a strike to London Fletcher.

On third down, Griffin nearly throws a pick-six to Rams corner Bradley Fletcher. St. Louis blocks Sav Rocca’s punt, and takes over at the 25 anyway. It’s hard to tell that Rams running back Daryl Richardson isn’t Jackson when he takes a short toss from Bradford and rumbles 18 yards down the sideline to the 1.

Fourth quarter
Bradford starts the quarter with a 1-yard TD pass, and the Rams run the conversion up the middle for a 31-28 lead. The Redskins have more than 13 minutes to tie or retake the lead. The teams trade punts, sandwiched around a personal foul on Lorenzo Alexander, who’d tossed Amendola to the ground during a punt return.

Josh Morgan catches a pass at midfield and gets a little fiesty while getting up. This is what literary academics refer to as foreshadowing. Griffin takes a deep shot for Robinson, who gets his hands on the ball but doesn’t come down with it. Griffin has a couple nice runs, but Washington punts with just more than 7 minutes left.

In need of a big punt return, Brandon Banks can only run sideways. On a short pass from Griffin to Davis, Janoris Jenkins hits him up high (see photo at the top of this blog post), picks up the loose ball and carries it in for an apparent touchdown. It’s an incomplete pass, and a bullet dodged.

Still hard to believe this was once a 21-6 game and now the Redskins are scrambling for a tying score. A Griffin pass goes off Hankerson’s hands and is nearly intercepted by the Rams with 4:40 left. Washington is called for holding anyway. On third and 20, Griffin buys time but can’t find anyone open, and the Redskins punt.

Kedric Golston and Barry Cofield blow up a run play pretty good, but on the next play the defense is offsides. The Rams feed Richardson and not Jackson, and Washington forces a fumble, taking over with less than three minutes left.

The final drive is effective but fairly nondescript until the Finnegan-Morgan play, and so is the play itself. Finnegan pushes, Morgan reacts, and it’s a classic case of the guy who retaliates getting the punishment. But it isn’t reason the Redskins lose.

That game, viewed with the benefit of hindsight, is the sort that either team could have lost, but both probably felt they should have won. The Redskins made enough mistakes to let 21-6 and 28-23 leads slide, but the Rams made their fare share of knucklehead plays that nearly cost them.

In the end, the most telling thing that came from this game might be to show how far the Redskins evolved over the course of the season. Roles were more clearly defined, the depth shined, the bonehead plays were gone and the defense was much better later. This game probably made a Redskins fan see great potential, but ultimately just frustrated him or her.

What we said then: Gamer | Box | Best and Worst | Photos | Wise on the blunder

Revisited: Week 1 vs. Saints

Have a Redskins question? E-mail Mike Jones at mike.jones@washpost.com with the subject line “Mailbag question” for him to answer it in The Mailbag.

Follow: @MikeJonesWaPo | @MarkMaske | @john_keim | @D3Keith | @Insider | @PostSports

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John Keim · July 2, 2013

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