Best and worst moments from Washington’s 27-12 loss to the Steelers in Pittsburgh.
Worst Record: Halfway through their schedule, the Redskins are now 3-5. It’s the fifth time in the last 10 seasons — and the second straight year — that the Redskins have hit the midway point at 3-5. Yes, this was a transitional campaign. Still, 3-5 is kind of drab. Each of the previous four 3-5 starts ended with either a 5-11 or a 6-10 record.
Worst QB Rating: There are a lot of pieces that went into this number — many out of his control — but Robert Griffin III’s QB rating on Sunday was 72.8. That is easily the worst figure of his NFL career.
Worst Meltdown: DeAngelo Hall put a cap on a generally miserable afternoon late in the fourth quarter by removing his helmet, screaming at a ref, dropping multiple profanities, earning 30 yards worth of penalties and getting ejected. Other than that, it was a nice sequence for the cornerback.
Worst First Half: Much of this also is mentioned below, but in the first 30 minutes on Sunday, the Redskins missed an extra point, had a 12-yard punt, dropped at least five passes, gave up scoring drives on four straight possessions, and generally looked worse than they have since the John Beck Era.
Worst Drop, Part I: Leonard Hankerson dropped an absolutely perfect RGIII pass that landed right between his two hands and should have been an easy touchdown. Watch it here.
Worst Drop, Part II: Dez Briscoe dropped an absolutely perfect RGIII pass that landed right between his two hands and should have been a touchdown. There was a defender getting his hands on the ball, but Briscoe still should have had it.
Worst Drop, Part III: Santana Moss dropped an absolutely perfect RGIII pass that landed right between his two hands and should have been a first down. Instead, the Redskins went three-and-out on their penultimate drive of the first half, recording three incompletions and zero yards.
Worst Drops, Honorable Mention: Evan Royster. Darrel Young. Joshua Morgan. Moss again. Fox said the Redskins had at least 10 drops, the most of any NFL team in any game this season.
Best Wackiness: You know, I was actually kind of undecided on those Steelers stripey bumblebee numbers, but the online criticism was so intense that I decided to like ’em. Why not? At least it kept things interesting on a game when Washington’s vaunted entertainment factor finally ended. And the striped socks were definitely nifty. I prefer the Redskins’ throwbacks — which are expected to make an appearance very soon — but I didn’t hate Pittsburgh’s weirdness. And yes, after a game like that, the more uniform talk the better.
Worst Urgency, Part I: Probably wouldn’t have mattered much, but Washington’s first drive of the fourth quarter showed a remarkable lack of urgency. Down three possessions, the Redskins not only didn’t no-huddle; they consistently ran the playclock down near zero. That drive covered 15 yards over nine plays, and lasted more than four minutes.
Worst Urgency, Part II: Probably wouldn’t have mattered much, but Washington’s second drive of the fourth quarter also showed a remarkable lack of urgency. Down two possessions, the Redskins continued to churn down the clock. That drive covered 60 yards, but lasted five-and-a-half minutes and resulted in no points.
Worst Extra Point: Two weeks in a row, I saluted Kai Forbath for being perfect on his kicks. This week, he had an extra-point attempt block, one of the most painful things that can happen to a fanbase that has already tacked on the point in its collective brain. He also failed to reach the end zone on his first two kickoffs, giving Pittsburgh starting field position at the 24 and 26. On the other hand, Forbath connected on field goals from 48 and 45 yards, and has yet to miss a field goal try as a pro.
Worst Overthrow: Assuming there wasn’t a miscommunication with Logan Paulsen, RGIII had his tight end open for a huge gainer in the first half. The ball was well beyond Paulsen’s reach
Worst Mistaken Identities: First Fox play-by-play man Sam Rosen said the Redskins were facing the Penguins. Then Fox put up a graphic on Washington injuries, which listed Ryan Kerrigan instead of Adam Carriker on the wounded list. Then Rosen said the Steelers had scored on every possession, which wasn’t true. (Note: In the next item I referred to Chris Rainey as Curtis, so I guess I can’t talk.
Worst Sight: London Fletcher trying to wrap up Jonathan Dwyer high, and Dwyer stiff-arming the linebacker and easily running for a first down. Something appears to be amiss with the ageless defensive leader. Fletcher did smash
Curtis Chris Rainey for a five-yard loss later in the game.
Worst Punt: Sav Rocca shanked one punt for just 12 yards. Two plays later, the Steelers were in field-goal range. The Redskins entered the week ranked 28th in the NFL in net punting average. That’s not gonna help.
Best Fourth-Down Offense: Washington converted a fourth-and-goal in the second quarter on an RGIII bullet to Santana Moss, the team’s first score of the day. Later, they converted another fourth down on another bullet to Moss. That made the Redskins 8-for-8 on fourth-down attempts this year, the best performing unit in the NFL. They finally failed on a 4th-and-17 in the fourth quarter. (Three other teams entered the weekend perfect on fourth downs, but none with more than four attempts.)
Best Fred Davis Replacements: Chris Cooley got some headlines over the past week, but Washington’s best downfield weapons were his fellow tight ends. New No. 1 tight end Logan Paulsen had a career-long 31-yard catch in the first half. And forgotten man Niles Paul opened the second half with a career-long 37-yard catch. Paulsen, though, also had two costly penalties, and seemed to lack Davis’s explosiveness.
Best Pass Defender: Everyone else already made this joke, but I don’t care. Pittsburgh scored on its first four possessions on Sunday. The Steelers’ first failure came when a third-down pass clanked off the head of official Darrell Jenkins. Watch it here.
Worst Play Call: As always, the Shanahans know way more about running an NFL offense than I do. But when it’s third-and-short, and you have one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL, it seems logical to keep the ball in his hands, rather than have a wide receiver (Josh Morgan) get the ball in the backfield and then fling it up for grabs to that same quarterback, who will then take a terrible blow from a hard-hitting safety with a running start. The fact that RGIII was also called for offensive pass interference on that weird trick play was just another booby prize. Watch it here.
Best Punt Return: I’m not shy about pointing out Brandon Banks’s deficiencies, so credit to him for an excellent 27-yard punt return near the end of the third quarter. It was his longest punt return of the season, and it gave Washington starting field position at the Pittsburgh 42-yard line.
Worst Losing Streak: The Steelers have now beaten the Redskins six straight times. Washington hasn’t beaten Pittsburgh since 1991. If you were alive to see that game, you are almost certainly now of legal drinking age.
Worst Point Prevention: The Redskins have now yielded at least 22 points in 10 straight games, dating to last season. They’ve averaged 29.4 points against over those 10 games. Not making it easy on themselves with that one.