Best and worst moments from Washington’s 33-27 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles during Monday Night Football at FedEx Field.
Worst Sound: Boos at halftime. After the most hyped and anticipated season opener in who knows how long — after fans spent Sunday night gleefully predicting that the NFC East was theirs — there were boos as the Redskins retreated to their locker room at halftime, down by 19. I’d have sooner predicted giant Papier Mâché RGIII dolls descending from the heavens at halftime than boos.
Worst Quote: “What an interesting half,” Mike Tirico said, after the halftime break. “What a vomitous cavern of ineptitude,” many Redskins fans were thinking. “This has been really entertaining to watch,” Tirico said late in the third quarter. “Yeah, if you enjoy watching cute little fuzzy rabbits get fed into automatic cheese graters,” Redskins fans were thinking.
Best Rally: No, no moral victories, especially not in division games. Yes, there was all sorts of ugly in that game. But 33-27 sure sounds a lot better than 33-7 did. And the functioning second-half offense sure looked a lot better than the decrepit first-half offense did. For several hours, it was an embarrassment. In the end, it was a loss.
Worst Miss: Kai Forbath was so automatic last season — starting his NFL career with 17 straight made field goals — that it was almost shocking when he missed a reasonable attempt in the 2012 season finale. But with the way Monday’s game was going, it figured that Forbath would get in on the act. He did, missing his only attempt, from 40 yards.
Worst Accuracy: “He’s falling away from his throws, he’s not finishing his throws,” Jon Gruden said, and every Redskins fan typed, and every frustrated dad shouted out, and every angry mom screamed, and every toddler babbled, and every household pet scratched out in the dirt during late-night walks. At least for the first half. Something about Robert Griffin III in this game did not seem like Robert Griffin III last September. At least for for the first half.
I’m going to put it out there. Robert is not 100%. I don’t know what they were seeing in camp. Dr. Andrews has lost my respect!!
— Brian Mitchell (@BmitchliveCSN) September 10, 2013
Best Accuracy: Then something seemed to change in the second half, almost as if a player who hadn’t seen any live action for nine months and who was coming off a major injury needed a bit of time to get comfortable. At halftime, he was 5-for-11 for 53 yards. In the second half, he was 25-for-38 for 276 yards and two touchdowns. Ok; better, not best.
Best Introduction: That whole introduction was a bit melodramatic — RGIII on his knees, pounding on the ground; RGIII, sprinting across the field with a team flag; RGIII, praying in the end zone as the fans chanted his name. (See above.) No matter. I kind of got the breeze going along my arms just from watching on TV, and my air conditioning wasn’t on. Whatever happens next, those are the sort of moments that make you want to go to live sporting events, because those feelings are hard to recreate elsewhere.
Worst Sight: And yet, by the end of the first half, a hard hit had RGIII back on that FedEx Field ground, looking hurt all over. He got up, of course, and he kept playing, and the offense improved. But it felt bad watching that, and it led to a surge of Redskins fans asking seriously whether this was a quarterback ready for action. The first-half RGIII didn’t look like it, anyhow.
Worst Start: The Eagles whizzed down the field on their first drive, did whatever they wanted, converted a fourth-down, took the crowd out of the game, made everyone’s heart beat super fast, and impressed Jon Gruden. All in the first, oh, 15 or 16 seconds. “It’s as quiet as I’ve ever seen early in a season opener,” Gruden said, during that first drive.
Best Recovery: Ryan Kerrigan sure does bat a lot of passes down, leading to touchdowns. He batted down seven in 2012, according to ESPN, and got his first of 2013 early in the first quarter, at the end of that aforementioned drive, with the Eagles inside the Washington 10. DeAngelo Hall picked up the ball and ran 75 yards for a touchdown. Leading to….
Best Jog: I have never seen a defensive scoring play conducted at such a deliberate tempo as Hall’s. At least in the past few days. Without any Philadelphia pursuit, Hall might as well have been a weekend jogger navigating Rock Creek Parkway before stopping for a coffee in Woodley Park. Or maybe a Gatorade, I guess. All the more time for the home fans to howl in anticipation.
Best Stat: This was the fourth consecutive home opener that the Redskins have had a defensive touchdown. That’s bizarre.
Worst Stat: The Redskins had 14 turnovers in all of 2012. They had two turnovers in the first eight minutes of 2013. That’s bizarre. (They finished with three.)
Worst Stat Part II: The Eagles gained 11 first downs before the Redskins gained one. At halftime, the tally was 21 to 3.
Worst Goal-Line Stand: The one at the end of the first half, in which Michael Vick faked a handoff and then stared at a gaping expanse of land in front of him the likes of which the first explorers of the U.S. West rarely saw. All that was missing were a few herd of buffalo.
Best Unsung Star: Of all the potential breakout stars on this defense, Perry Riley wasn’t one I thought too much about. My bad. On first glance, Riley was everywhere on Monday; he led Washington with 15 tackles, and added a sack and a fumble recovery.
Worst Consistency: I don’t know what to make of Leonard Hankerson; he drops passes you’d wish he’d maybe catch, but then he finishes with 5 catches for 80 yards and two touchdowns.
Worst Challenge: Chip Kelly’s challenge of that first-quarter incomplete pass seemed so blindingly obvious you couldn’t believe he was actually challenging it. Everything was happening too fast for everyone during that first quarter, including for the coach.
Worst Fumble: Alfred Morris’s on Washington’s first snap. Next question.
Worst Interception: Robert Griffin III threw into triple coverage on Washington’s fourth play. It didn’t work. Next question.
Worst Exchange: Robert Griffin III pitched the ball to Morris in the end zone on Washington’s sixth play. Morris dropped it, then dropped on the ball for a safety. Next question.
Worst First Quarter: Griffin finished the first quarter 1-for-3 for 9 yards and an interception. I never would have predicted that line if given 100 tries.
Worst Decision: Rookie Chris Thompson fielded his first NFL punt inside the 5-yard line. That’s probably not a great long-term strategy. Later in the first half, he fielded a punt inside the 10. After struggling on both punt and kickoff returns all night, Thompson eventually exited with an ankle injury.
Worst Open-Field Tackling: On first glance, using the television broadcast, I’m giving the award to Bacarri Rambo. There was a time Rambo faced Michael Vick in the open field. Vick got past Rambo, and remained in the open field.
Best Tweet: Really, this was the champion, and by a wide margin.
My nine month old son just threw up on my Wife (an Eagles fan) face… #proudofhim
— John Wilkes (@WilkesonWarpath) September 9, 2013
Best Second-Guessing: Best or worst, I’m not sure, but the first half of the first game seems a little early for this assessment.
Hate to say, but this mere-mortal first half by RG3 is exactly why Donovan McNabb was telling him to keep his thoughts to himself in May.
— Rich Eisen (@richeisen) September 10, 2013
Best Mob Scene: Dang, that’s a lot of people trying to get into the stadium. Not all of ’em made it in time, needless to say. Many locals spent Monday debating where this 2013 season opener ranked in terms of pre-game excitement. In the past 15 years, I think the only competitors are the 2000 opener — led by the Deion Sanders/Bruce Smith free-agent haul — and the 2004 opener, which marked Joe Gibbs’s return.
Worst Tweet: After months of anticipation and excitement and adrenaline and imagined joy, this game was a disappointment. But you can have a sandwich.
— Washington Redskins (@Redskins) September 10, 2013
Worst Injury: Ryan Kerrigan. Concussion symptoms. Not super fun.
Worst Schedule: Ok, that was a disappointment. Now you go to Green Bay to face an angry Packers team coming off a road loss.