Best fumble recovery: If there was one play that captured the roller-coaster of emotions and, at times, the futility on display in Sunday’s game, it was Redskins rookie Preston Smith’s sack and strip of Ryan Tannehill early in the second half. The ball, which was knocked out of Tannehill’s hands at the Dolphins 38-yard line, was eventually recovered by Smith after at least three Dolphins had a chance to control it at the Redskins’ 40-yard line.
Worst hands: The Dolphins weren’t the only ones who had trouble getting a grip. Chris Culliver and Keenan Robinson dropped what should’ve been interceptions, including one on the Dolphins’ game-tying drive early in the fourth quarter. Somehow, Carlos Rogers is to blame.
Best Kirk Cousins: Boring Kirk Cousins, who competed 21 of 31 passes for 195 yards and a touchdown, taking only one sack.
Worst Kirk Cousins: Daring Kirk Cousins, who — and you may not believe this — threw two interceptions. The first one was brutal, a telegraphed pass on third and 18 from his own 12-yard line early in the second quarter that would’ve been returned for a touchdown if Dolphins defensive back Brent Grimes had managed to maintain his balance. The second one came in the fourth quarter on a beautiful play by Brice McCain.
Best stop: The Redskins made a defensive stand after Cousins’ first interception, with Dashon Goldon making an ankle tackle on Damien Williams on third down and Ryan Kerrigan tackling Williams in the backfield on fourth and 1.
Best nickname: Some people scoffed when the Redskins’ defensive line announced that they had taken to calling themselves “Capital Punishment” during training camp. Terrance “Pot Roast” Knighton and Co. justified the moniker from the start on Sunday, forcing a three-and-out on Miami’s first drive with a stop on 3rd and 1. They limited Miami to 76 yards rushing on 18 attempts and had three sacks.
Worst injury: Cousins took a deep shot for DeSean Jackson on the first play of the Redskins’ second drive (good), but the ball was overthrown (bad) and Jackson immediately grabbed his left hamstring (worse) and did not return. It’s the second consecutive year that Jackson left the home opener with an injury.
Best weapon, when healthy: Tight end Jordan Reed, who finished with seven catches for 62 yards. Three of Reed’s four receptions in the first half were for first downs, including two on which he shook off would-be tacklers to gain the necessary yards. The fourth was a touchdown to cap a 17-play drive that gave Washington a 10-0 lead.
Worst depth: Jackson wasn’t the only hobbled Redskins player. Duke Ihenacho left the game in the first quarter with a wrist injury and Hall missed the end of the first half with a rib injury, which was a big blow to a Redskins secondary already playing without suspended CB Bashaud Breeland.
Best plan: After Hall headed to the locker room, Tannehill didn’t waste any time going after his replacement, David Amerson, again, and again, and again, and again, and again … and again. One play after Amerson broke up a pass in the back of the end zone, Rishard Matthews shook free of him at the goal line for a 3-yard touchdown reception. Mercifully, Hall returned in the second half.
Worst dirty player: Given his history, Dolphins defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh doesn’t get the benefit of the doubt on questionably dirty plays, but his knee to the head of Alfred Morris in the second quarter and fingers to the face of Morgan Moses later in the game looked blatant. Morris was fine, but Moses missed some time.
Best identity: General Manager Scot McCloughan and Coach Jay Gruden have said they want to be a physical, smash-mouth football team. Week 1 was a start. The Redskins ran 37 times for 161 yards, including 121 yards on 25 carries by Morris. Rookie Matt Jones played well off the bench, rushing for 28 yards on six carries.
Worst second-guessing: After initially lining up to go for it on fourth and 1 from Miami’s 29 with 32 seconds remaining in the first quarter, Gruden called a timeout. After thinking it over, he called on Kai Forbath, whose 46-yard field goal sailed right of the goal post. A confident, smash-mouth football team finds a way to get a first down there.
Best kick: Forbath’s first kick of the 2015 season was a 45-yard field goal to cap the Redskins’ opening drive, a decidedly better way to begin a season than last year, when he missed an extra point at Houston.
Worst penalties: The Redskins committed 11 penalties for 88 yards. They’re not good enough to win like that.
Best news: Way’s first punt of the game didn’t come until the second half. And it wasn’t blocked. The Redskins converted on six of their first nine third downs, but none of their last five.
Worst domination: The Redskins had the ball for 23 minutes 39 seconds of the 30 minutes in the first half, yet their lead was only 10-7.
Best buds: Get used to the shot of Cousins and Robert Griffin III on the sideline this season. CBS sideline reporter Evan Washburn said Griffin was the first person to offer words of encouragement for Cousins after his first interception.
Best takedown: Robinson has a future in WWE when his football career ends. Robinson picked up Landry and threw him to the turf early in the second quarter, a tackle that was reminiscent of his slightly more gruesome takedown against the Ravens in the preseason.
Worst home-field advantage: There were “Let’s go Redskins!’ chants, but there was also a lot of teal in Landover.
Worst home field: The grass at FedEx Field looked fine, as it usually does to start the season, but the ‘3’ at one of the 30-yard-lines was painted upside down. Hey, at least the lines were straight!
Best planning: This enterprising Redskins fan is ready for anything … and anyone at QB.