Welcome to the second week of our in-game Redskins blog where today we’ll be discussing all things Redskins-Rams, including if Robert Griffin III will continue his stellar play from the season opener and if Washington can begin 2-0 for a second consecutive season. Join the fun starting with today’s kickoff scheduled for 4:05 at the Edward Jones Dome. Boxscore
The Redskins lost to the St. Louis Rams, 31-28, and dropped to 1-1 amid a flurry of penalties and other miscues, including an unsportsmanlike conduct call against first-year wide receiver Josh Morgan that left them facing fourth down and 16 with less than 90 seconds to play. Billy Cundiff missed a 62-yard field goal try as Washington finished with 11 penalties for 96 yards and allowed the Rams to convert 7 of 12 third downs (58 percent). Join us next week for our live blog to see if the Redskins can rebound in their home opener against the Cincinnati Bengals, who are coming off a 34-27 victory over the Cleveland Browns.
Robert Griffin III, now 1-1 after a loss in St. Louis that turned out to be an extremely physical game, even by NFL standards:
“You’ve just got to be prepared for it. They dared us to run it and we ran it. We moved the ball on them and we scored points. We just didn’t score enough points. … If teams want to get physical with us or, per se, me, you know — bring it on.”
As for losing:
“I don’t take losing very well. No one should. The day you start taking losses well is the day you should stop playing. You’ve just got to continue to stay on the grind, stay positive, don’t like it didn’t happen, but don’t let it hold you down for the next week.”
The loss to the Rams was physical and chippy and led Mike Shanahan to say: “I’ve never been in a game like this.”
Adam Carriker suffered a right knee injury that Shanahan said, “didn’t look good.” He’ll have an MRI to determine whether he needs surgery but Shanahan said, “we’ll find out if it needs to be operated on, but it didn’t look good.”
Josh Wilson has a mild concussion and Shanahan admitted that the game went to a “different level” of physical play.
“Everybody is going to be physical. This is the National Football League. Everybody is going to try to get after the quarterback and try to make plays, but I thought the physicalness went do a different level today,” Shanahan said. “That was not your typical NFL game, not something you’re very proud of.”
From Mike Shahanan’s postgame presser, via Comcast:
On Josh Morgan: “You can’t lose your poise. You lose your poise, obviously good things don’t happen. We talked about it before the game. You can’t lose your poise in those situations. Obviously, there was a lot of chirping in the first half, a lot in the second half, but you cannot lose your poise. You lose your poise like that and to often it will cost you games.”
On the officiating (remember that coaches and front-office personnel have been warned not to criticize replacement referees): “I don’t think anything really needs to be said. I think if you watched the game you could see what happened.”
More on the refs: “Obviously everybody wants the officials back. Hopefully that can happen in the near future.”
On how you cope with a loss like this: “The thing you do is you’re tough on yourself tomorrow. You come back and you look at the film and there’s so many situations that occurred in the game; any one of those situations had happened differently [it] dictates whether you won or lost the game. We’ll be tough on ourselves. I did see some good things obviously in the game, but when you lose like that it’s always tough to take.”
Josh Morgan caught a pass for seven yards to the Rams 29-yard line but may have cost the Redskins the game when he threw the ball at cornerback Cortland Finnegan, drawing a foul for unsportsmanlike conduct. Finnegan shoved Morgan first, but officials only spotted the response from the Redskins’ first-year wide receiver, and that left Washington facing fourth down and 16. Billy Cundiff missed a 62-yard field goal attempt, and the Rams ran out the clock for their first win in a home opener since 2006, 31-28.
Linebacker London Fletcher stripped the ball loose from rookie running back Daryl Richardson, and DeAngelo Hall recovered with 2:50 to play for a critical turnover as the Rams were trying to run out the clock. After the recovery, players from both teams exchanged angry words in a game that has been physical since the opening kickoff.
Fox’s Mike Pereira used to be in charge of the NFL’s game officials. Now he has a cushy network gig. But he is dead-on in his assessment of the lockout of NFL referees: It’s time for it to end.
I’m officially over it. The regular refs need to get back on the field. Enough is enough.
— Mike Pereira (@MikePereira) September 16, 2012
Veteran wide receiver Santana Moss has one catch for three yards today against the Rams and hasn’t been able to get separation from cornerback Cortland Finnegan. Moss came into training camp much lighter and poised for a comeback season, but so far he’s been all but missing in the offense.
Rams quarterback Sam Bradford had the first game of his career with three touchdown passes and looked like the No. 1 overall pick from 2010, at least for one afternoon. Early in the fourth quarter, Bradford has 289 yards and three touchdowns with one interception as the Rams hold a 31-28 edge. Bradford’s touchdowns went to Danny Amendola, Brandon Gibson and Matthew Mulligan.
Redskins special-teams coach Danny Smith is under fire — just read the comments in this live blog — for yet another game in which a punt has been blocked (and, yes, the season is not two full games old yet).
One former Redskins player stood up for him, though, on Twitter. That’s Matt Bowen, known to Steve Spurrier as “Number 41.”
Responses from #Redskins fans are negative on Danny Smith. That’s surprising. He was one of the top Special Teams coaches I played for.
— Matt Bowen (@MattBowen41) September 16, 2012
After blocking a punt to set up the Rams deep in Redskins territory, backup tight end Matthew Mulligan was the recipient of a one-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Sam Bradford with 14:55 to play in regulation. The Rams added a two-yard conversion run by Daryl Richardson to go ahead, 31-28.
For a second straight week, Redskins punter Sav Rocca has a punt blocked. This time it was blocking tight end Matthew Mulligan who came through the line of scrimmage, and the Rams recovered at the Washington 24-yard line. Last week the Saints blocked Rocca’s punt, resulting in a touchdown.
Rams running back Daryl Richardson broke loose for a 35-yard run and looked like he was headed for the end zone after turning up the right sideline, but cornerback Josh Wilson pushed the rookie out of bounds at the 6-yard line. One play later, linebacker London Fletcher intercepted Sam Bradfor in the end end zone to foil a potential touchdown drive with 3:31 to play.
Robert Griffin III scored on a seven-yard touchdown run with 5:27 left in the third quarter to reclaim the lead for the Redskins, 28-23. Griffin took the snap in shotgun formation and ran inside behind a seal block by center Will Montgomery before reaching the end zone for his second rushing touchdown. Through two and half quarters, Griffin has 37 rushing yards on six carries.
Good move by Coach Mike Shanahan and OC Kyle Shanahan to give Alfred Morris a lot of work early in the second half. The Redskins never got the running game established in the first half after Morris last week carried 28 times for 96 yards and two touchdowns in a victory over the New Orleans Saints.
Sam Bradford is playing like a quarterback who might have read those comments about how the Rams should have, perhaps, drafted Robert Griffin III. Bradford has completed 19 of 26 passes for 240 yards and two touchdowns. Favorite target Danny Amendola has caught 12 passes for 133 yards.
Bradford is 19 of 26 for 240 and 2 TDs. Sam is a competitor. He has a lot more fire than people assume.
— Bernie Miklasz (@miklasz) September 16, 2012
Quarterback Sam Bradford completed a 34-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Brandon Gibson with 10:23 to play in the third quarter to put the Rams ahead for the first time, 23-21. Gibson came wide open after running by cornerback Cedric Griffin, and Bradford had his second touchdown pass of the game.
Redskins linebacker Brian Orakpo is back in the game for the first defensive series of the second half. Orakpo sacked Sam Bradford in the first quarter and forced a fumble but got up holding his arm. He threw his helmet as he came to the sideline but apparently found it in time to get back into the game in the second half.
Brian Orakpo back on the field for the Redskins on their first defensive series of the second half.
— MarkMaske (@MarkMaske) September 16, 2012
Five-alarm Fred Davis appeared to be napping when he went into motion and then stopped in front of Robert Griffin III as center Will Montgomery snapped the ball. Davis juggled the ball before securing it and running for one yard. Doubtful Davis was being used intentionally in the Wildcat. Of course he’s been missing from the offense for these first two games, so perhaps OC Kyle Shanahan was trying to get him the ball unconventionally.
The Rams got a 42-yard field goal from rookie place kicker Greg Zuerlein to trim the deficit to 21-16 with two seconds to play until intermission. At halftime, Robert Griffin III had 110 passing yards and one touchdown and ran for another score for the Redskins, who allowed 264 yards to St. Louis. Wide receiver Danny Amendola had 12 catches for 133 yards and one touchdown for the Rams.
Halftime #Redskins 21-16. What adjustments in second half? Man defense instead of zone? More running? Skins started strong,got away from it.
— Mike Jones (@MikeJonesWaPo) September 16, 2012
Robert Griffin III was trying to deliver a pass to tight end Fred Davis over the middle, but the rookie quarterback failed to spot Cortland Finnegan, who gathered the interception. It was the first interception in Griffin’s brief NFL career.
The Redskins had a screen play set up for Roy Helu, who caught Robert Griffin III’s short pass and needed one block to get into the open field. Kory Lichtensteiger tried to block linebacker Jo-Lonn Dunbar, but he wound up diving and missing completely. Dunbar then wrapped up Helu for no gain.
The Rams trimmed the lead to 21-13 with 1:58 to play until halftime following a one-yard touchdown pass from Sam Bradford to Danny Amendola, who for some reason appeared to draw linebacker London Fletcher in coverage. Fletcher excels at filling running lanes, but at 37, he shouldn’t be covering a player as quick as Amendola.
Off play action, Robert Griffin III delivered a 68-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Leonard Hankerson, who had gotten behind the secondary and was running wide open. Hankerson juggled the ball momentarily before gaining control and scoring a touchdown that provided a 21-6 lead with 6:19 to play.
Replacement refs are not exactly covering themselves in glory today…after a Week 1 in which there was precious little controversy, today has been a mess.
Fox’s Mike Pereira, asked for clarification:
“Here’s clarification: You really need to get the regular refs back on the field. Jeff cannot throw the challenge on that play on the goal line…Too many things are happening in this game that are just not good.”
Now we’ve got the replacement officials bungling repeatedly…Didn’t take all that long…they don’t know WHAT the hell is up in Skins-Rams.
— Michael Wilbon (@RealMikeWilbon) September 16, 2012
Replacement officials heard it from the Rams faithful after Steven Jackson appeared to score from the 1-yard line but instead was penalized for spiking the ball in the end zone.
This game has been a mockery, an abject disaster for unqualified replacement referees who have given locked-out genuine officials leverage.
— Mike Wise (@MikeWiseguy) September 16, 2012
Replays showed the ball had broken the plane of the goal line before he was down, but officials assessed a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty that resulted in a field goal by Greg Zuerlein to cut it to 14-6.
After keeping his challenge flag in his pocket a couple times in the first half, Rams Coach Jeff Fisher is challenging the call that RB Steven Jackson fumbled at the goal line. Redskins linebacker Ryan Kerrigan recovered, and officials placed the ball at the 4 and awarded Washington possession. But it appeared Jackson’s elbow was on the ground before the ball came out.
Why you keep hearing “Amendola” over and over and over…
With 9+ minutes remaining in the 1st half, Danny Amendola already has 9 receptions.
— Andrew Siciliano (@AndrewSiciliano) September 16, 2012
In other news: did Jeff Fisher forget about the challenge flag during his season away from the NFL and perhaps Liam Neeson should just let those guys have his ex-wife and kid?
The Washington Redskins had two defensive starters get hurt within the first six minutes. Left defensive end Adam Carriker suffered a right knee injury on the second play and had to be helped off the field by members of the Redskins’ training staff. Ten plays later, right outside linebacker Brian Orakpo sacked Rams quarterback Sam Bradford and forced a fumble. But Orakpo got up holding his left arm.
Robert Griffin III ran for a five-yard touchdown on first down and goal after Rams DL Robert Quinn was called for a personal foul after an incomplete pass on third and three. Griffin lined up in the shotgun, faked a handoff and broke an arm tackle on the way to the end zone with 19 seconds left in the first quarter to cap an 80-yard drive.
Officials called the Rams for a late hit on Robert Griffin III even though the quarterback had not stepped out of bounds, drawing the ire from St. Louis first-year coach Jeff Fisher. Griffin was running toward the right boundary, held up the ball, got hit and then stepped out of bounds. That’s two blown calls from the replacement officials in this game.
The New York Giants got 510 yards and three touchdowns along with three interceptions from Eli Manning, Hakeem Nicks had 10 catches for 199 yards, and Victor Cruz added 11 receptions for 179 yards in a 41-34 victory over Tampa Bay. The New England Patriots, meantime, lost to Arizona, 20-18, and the Indianapolis Colts behind Andrew Luck dropped the Minnesota Vikings, 23-20. Somewhere in D.C., Ivan Carter is drinking heavily.
The Redskins have announced that Adam Carriker, who was hurt early in the game in St. Louis, is questionable to return.
— Redskins (@Redskins) September 16, 2012
On third down and five, Robert Griffin III delivered a strike to wide receiver Aldrick Robinson for a gain of 12 yards to the 37-yard line. Griffin’s throw was on the mark despite tight coverage over the middle, underscoring the rookie’s accuracy and arm strength required to fit the ball into tight spaces.
The Redskins appeared to catch a break when Rams Coach Jeff Fisher didn’t throw a challenge flag on an official’s call that wide receiver Brandon Gibson was out of bounds on a catch in the end zone. With Josh Wilson in coverage, Gibson got his left foot down just inside the chalk and then looked to have touched his right foot in play before falling out of bounds.
But should he have been? It appeared Danny Amendola had yet to step out of bounds along the right sideline after making the catch. Fletcher clearly was displeased with the call that wound up moving the Rams to their 41-yard line.
Perry Riley jars the ball from Danny Amendola, and Josh Wilson scoops it up to give the Redskins a 7-0 lead right off the bat. Also, this just in, the Rams are really, really bad. Jeff Fisher has his work cut out for him to turn this rag-tag bunch into a professional team. Week 2 can’t begin better for Redskins fans.
The Onion looked into the future to report:
“ST. LOUIS—During Sunday’s game against the St. Louis Rams, Washington Redskins fans across the country were reportedly having an extremely difficult time remembering how to cheer for a quarterback. ‘So wait, what I am supposed to yell when he’s on the field?’ said longtime fan David Fenners, 47, adding that he ‘completely blanks’ on how to conduct himself when Redskins rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III completes a pass, scrambles for a gain, or throws for a touchdown. ‘It’s something like “Go!” or “Throw!” right? Or maybe I’m just supposed to clap. I haven’t actually cheered for a quarterback since Mark Rypien, and that was like 20 years ago, so I honestly don’t remember what I’m supposed to do here.’ At press time, confused Redskins fans were booing Griffin until they could think of something better to do.”
Clearly, the Onion was not paying attention when the Cult of Colt raged.
Unless your other choices for QB1 this week are Drew Brees, Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Cam Newton or Matt Ryan, get Robert Griffin III in your starting lineup against a Rams pass defense that was all but helpless last week against the Detroit Lions. Alfred Morris is a solid RB2 or flex play, expect better production from TE Fred Davis, and the Redskins DST is worth starting too. As is the case most every week, RB Steven Jackson is about the only Rams player worth rolling out in fantasy.
Today’s game against the St. Louis Rams figures to reveal an awful lot about the Redskins going forward. Are they a team that can make a playoff run by dispatching opponents they should beat? Or will we see the same inconsistencies against lesser opponents that have doomed them to rebuild seemingly every year?