But it’s never easy to beat anybody with Rex Grossman at quarterback.
On a day when the Cowboys and Eagles blew 24- and 20-point leads at home, the sun should shine in Washington for two weeks, right through the Redskins’ bye next Sunday. They are in first place in the NFC East and their defense, next-to-last in the NFL last year, was fierce all afternoon, sacking Bradford seven times and yielding a paltry 172 yards by the Rams. That is, by miles, the Redskins’ biggest, most lasting area of improvement.
But when Grossman throws two more interceptions, both in the fourth quarter giving the Rams the ball at the Redskins 31 and 19-yard lines, the gray clouds aren’t going to go away entirely. One wasn’t his fault — a tipped ball off Santana Moss’s hands. But the other was a dreadful misread.
“All I saw was a wide open Santana Moss. That [linebacker] must have anticipated,” Grossman said. “. . .I’ve got to [read] that.”
If the Rams were a normal NFL team playing at home, this game would probably be in overtime now. That’s 14 turnovers in his seven starts since taking over as Redskins quarterback last December. An average NFL quarterback makes about one turnover a game, including lost fumbles. No team can succeed, or ever has in recent times, with a quarterback spitting up the ball anywhere near that twice-a-game rate.
This makes two straight games where Grossman has had bad fourth quarters, including his final-minute fumble in an 18-16 loss to Dallas last Monday. The fault isn’t entirely Grossman’s; he’s playing a great deal like he always has. The issue is whether the Shanahans, Coach Mike and offensive coordinator Kyle, have overestimated their ability to raise his game as Mike once did after acquiring Jake Plummer in Denver.
You can’t evaluate this game honestly without conceding how awful the Rams are. The Rams can’t line up right. (Or left.) It’s like herding sheep.
They jump offsides and hold, but wait until they are in the red zone to do it (three times). They have a punt return man, still conscious at last reports, who appeared not to know he was allowed to make a fair catch. After being smote three times, and fumbling twice, he got an ovation for throwing up his arm. “Jeez, tell you dude to fair-catch it,” one Redskins player told a Ram.
Once, the Rams faked a handoff to no one. “Oh, we saw that,” Lorenzo Alexander said.
Twice, they missed wide-open touchdown passes in the end zone.
They have a tight end named Michael Hoomanawanui who, with all those letters, is still two consonants (and 10 fingers) shy of having any “hands.”