Best and worst moments from Washington’s 27-6 loss to the 49ers at FedEx Field Monday night.
Worst Look of Despair: Dan Snyder. Seen above. And this was before things really got out of hand.
Best Slump-busters: In his last four games, Colin Kaepernick threw a combined three touchdown passes, and failed to go over 200 yards even once. Against the Redskins? Three touchdown passes, and 235 passing yards.
Worst Note: The television screen was filled with horrible, soul-sucking notes. It didn’t get much worse than the one that popped up in the final two minutes: Washington hadn’t played a home game with no touchdowns and under 200 yards of offense since 2003, a home shutout against the Cowboys, with a team led by Steve Spurrier and Tim Hasselbeck. The thought was that Mike Shanahan and Robert Griffin III had at least brought back respectability to the franchise. Monday night did some damage to that thought.
Worst Special Teams Play: Either the one where the Redskins were penalized for willfully going out of bounds on a punt, or the one where the Redskins had a 42-yard punt and the 49ers countered with a 40-yard return. It’s not getting better. Here were Washington’s kick returns: 12, 20, 19, 18, 17, 16. That unit has as much life as a bowl of stuffing.
Worst Unit: And yet, as bad as the defense was, and as bad as the special teams was, the offense was probably worse. The Redskins offense racked up 30 yards in the second half. Things that didn’t work: the running game, the passing game, the pass protection, the playcalling and the execution.
Worst Quarter: It was 10-6 at halftime, and things actually seemed a bit promising. Then, in the third quarter, San Francisco out-gained Washington 120-7, and out-scored Washington 14-0, and Robert Griffin III got hit about 400 times, and fans booed, and all the questions started again.
Worst Montage: The one that showed Griffin getting pounded about five times. And that was before he got pounded about five more times. “He’s taken an unbelievable amount of hits,” ESPN’s Jon Gruden said. “I don’t know how he can survive this, I really don’t.”
Worst Coverage: There were too many options, honestly. Just any of those plays where there were 49ers guys running around in the secondary and there weren’t Redskins guys near them. Usually this involved some combination of Vernon Davis, Anquan Boldin and Josh Wilson.
Worst Look of Despair, Runner-Up: This one from London Fletcher. This came after the 49ers went up by 18 points. And no, he wasn’t blinking.
Worst Clock Management: Ok, the Redskins got out of the first half with a last-second Kai Forbath field goal. But they managed to do so in frantic conditions, with Forbath and his unit rushing onto the field and lining up hastily. Why? Well, it didn’t help that the Redskins took a timeout on that drive with the clock stopped after Pierre Garcon made it out-of-bounds. Those are moments when you don’t need to stop the clock. Because it’s already stopped, see.
Worst Clock Management Part II: The second-half challenge of a Joshua Morgan incompletion was silly, because as soon as we all watched Morgan failing to secure the ball as he went to the ground, we all knew the call on the field was correct, which meant the challenge was just taking one of your timeouts in what was then a close game and dousing it with something very flammable and then turning on a blowtorch, and then burying its remains 20 feet below the ground, and then exploding the ground with a bomb, and then throwing the exploded mess into the ocean, and then draining the ocean.
Worst Tweet: I mean, I guess it could have wound up prophetic. It didn’t, though.
— Washington Redskins (@Redskins) November 26, 2013
Worst Other Tweet:
Skins have 12 yards in the second half, at home, on MNF, in a must-win game. I’m sorry, I covered the Zorn-Skins and this is way, way worse
— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) November 26, 2013
Best Return: Joshua Morgan got out of the doghouse and back in the lineup on Monday night, and he responded, catching 5 balls for 45 yards, several in key moments. To the extent this game had key moments.
Worst Return: Fred Davis got out of the doghouse and back on the field Monday night, and he did a bunch of nothing, finishing with, well, nothing.
Worst Missed Opportunity: The Redskins’ defense has done an amazing job of scoring points this season, but that unit has also left points on the field. Against the Vikings, Ryan Kerrigan had his hands on a likely pick-six, but he couldn’t bring in the ball. Monday night, Perry Riley jumped a route and had open field in front of him, but he couldn’t hang on.
Best Forced Turnover: That said, the defense was responsible for a massive forced fumble on San Francisco’s first drive of the second half. Vernon Davis caught the ball short of the marker on a third-and-long, but then dragged defenders for a demoralizing first down, until Barry Cofield and DeAngelo Hall knocked the ball out from behind. Of course, Washington failed to capitalize, turning the ball over on downs.
Worst Missed Call: On that play, Josh Wilson had all kinds of Davis facemask in his hands. Redskins fans feel like they’ve been hurt by several poor rulings on personal fouls this season; that was a blatantly missed call in an important situation. To the extent this game had important situations.
Best Question: The subsequent drive included a dropped pass, a botched challenge and a fourth-down run by Roy Helu, which was stopped short of the marker. Leading to this question from Boz.
On 4th & 1, why would you give the ball to a back with ~2,600 yards in his first 27 NFL games when you can give it to Roy Helu & get stoned?
— Thomas Boswell (@ThomasBoswellWP) November 26, 2013
Worst Place to Get Hit: Throughout the night Robert Griffin III was slammed to the turf, and hit in the head, and otherwise battered in a fairly typical manner. But because we’re adults using football to act like children for several hours a week, we all laughed and grabbed various body parts when Griffin took a harmless-but-painful shot to a hilarious body part early in the second half. Plus, there were jokes about whether this lessened the odds of there being a Robert Griffin IV.
Worst Analysis: “You can see the excitement in Kaepernick’s eyes,” Jon Gruden said, after the 49ers scored their first touchdown to go up, 7-0. First of all, I couldn’t see the excitement in his eyes. Second of all, are many quarterbacks sad after throwing touchdown passes to take 7-0 first-quarter leads?
Worst Interception: On the ensuing drive, Robert Griffin III threw a beautiful pass to Donte Whitner, a play spoiled only by Whitner playing for the other team. Washington wanted pass interference or a late hit or something, but the officials did not agree. You could see the sadness in Griffin’s eyes, probably.
Worst Start: Win the toss, take the kick, have your kick returner slip and fall just past the 20, then go incomplete, short scramble, incomplete and punt. That about sums it up. Could have been worse, honestly.
Best Slip: New sod, old sod, new sod down the middle, old sod outside the numbers, re-sodding, de-sodding, do-re-me-sodding, sod sod sod sod sod. Anyhow, Colin Kaepernick slipped on some sort of sod on San Francisco’s first drive, a play that lost four yards and went down as a sack for Brian Orakpo. The 49ers were soon forced to punt.
Worst Look: Maybe the sod was actually great. Or maybe it wasn’t, but the grass just looks bad in every East Coast outdoor venue at this time of year. But gosh this didn’t look great.
Worst Decision: On a quarterback scramble that was going to end up short of the first-down marker, Kaepernick decided not to go out of bounds, and instead to take on Brandon Meriweather in the open field. That is not the right person to take on in the open field, for a variety of reasons. The 49ers were stopped short of the first down, but no one was hurt at least.
Worst Graphic: This happened when Washington was down early.
Worst Other Graphic: This one was later. Actually, readers, there were probably 12 horrible graphics. They were coming too fast for me to keep up.
Worst Stat: Jeez.
To illustrate how slow the Redskins’ offense has been to start games, consider in their 11 opening drives they have zero TDs and 3 FGs.
— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) November 26, 2013
Worst Other Stat: Yards gained on Washington’s first nine plays on Monday night: 0, 4, 0, 2, 5, 2, 0, 0, 0.
Worst Other Stat: Via ESPN, Robert Griffin III’s first half fumble gave him 23 since he entered the NFL. That leads the league, despite his having missed parts of several games.
Worst Other Stat: Via ESPN, again, that was the first game Griffin has played in college or the pros in which his team’s offense was kept out of the end zone.
Worst Communication: Logan Paulsen did a nice job breaking up a pass play early in the game. Problem was, the intended receiver appeared to be his teammate, Pierre Garcon.
Worst Consecutive Plays in Coverage: Josh Wilson was matched up with Anquan Boldin during at least two plays on San Francisco’s first drive. That led to completions of 24 and 19 yards, the latter for a touchdown.
Worst Follow-Up: On the first play of San Francisco’s next drive, Vernon Davis caught a 40-yard pass, with coverage from Wilson. That’s Terp-on-Terp crime, too.
Worst Summary: Worst, best, whatever. This is Chick Hernandez, the host of Comcast SportsNet’s post-game show: “What they put on that field is not an NFL product.”