We’re taking a casual look back at last year’s 17 games, rewatching to see what we’ve since forgotten and to start a little summer conversation, not necessarily to provide deep analysis. Here are thoughts while watching the Week 3 game against the Bengals:
My memory of this game before I started rewatching was one of creative formations by the Redskins and less-than-good defense. I remember Cincinnati’s no-name receivers having big days, and I’d forgotten this matchup was so early in the season — Week 3, not midseason.
Once I started rewatching, a lot of detail came back, particularly the idea that the Redskins were a work in progress for the first half of last season. They’d look great for a stretch, then really bad for another stretch. This game embodied that.
Like in Weeks 1 and 2, the fireworks started early. This time, the Redskins gave up a touchdown on the first play, as wide receiver Mohammed Sanu threw a bomb to A.J. Green streaking through the middle of the defense. It was one of those plays where DeAngelo Hall ran himself into the picture and looked like the guy who got burned on the TV angle, but it was a safety — DeJon Gomes — who was out of place.
Washington tied the game within the first four minutes when backside pressure from Ryan Kerrigan made Andy Dalton, passing from his own end zone, rush a throw. It went to Redskins linebacker Rob Jackson, and boom, we’ve got a game.
The offense that looked so good in Weeks 1 and 2, though, doesn’t score again until a Billy Cundiff field goal just before the half. Alfred Morris has a run where he takes the toss, bounces off Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict as his helmet pops off, and keeps running. But other than that, there’s no offense to speak of. Robert Griffin III is sacked on consecutive plays in the first quarter, and is responsible for an errant pitch that leads to the Bengals touchdown that makes it 24-7.
The defense is all over the place in the first half, both good and bad. Kerrigan combines with Chris Wilson on a sack, London Fletcher makes a leaping pass breakup, Perry Riley has a red-zone sack and Madieu Williams makes the tackle on a Bengals fake field goal. Riley and Williams’s plays come back to back and keep the Bengals off the scoreboard.
But the defense also gets caught in a blitz with eight men on the line, and Josh Wilson misses a tackle that allows Armon Binns to take a short pass and turn it into a 48-yard TD.
After watching the Rams game and this first half, I’d imagine Redskins fans were frustrated with the team and wondering what happened to the one from the New Orleans game.
The third quarter is everything the first half wasn’t for Redskins fans. Aside from Geno Atkins blowing up a run play, everything Washington does works. And they’re lined up using every modern formation tweak you can think of — double tight, I-backs, trips, bunch. You see single backs and linemen pulling. Then, midway through the quarter, they start motioning Brandon Banks into the backfield.
A detailed examination of the play-calling in this quarter would be fun. Casually though, the Redskins march down the field, score, go three-and-out on D, march down the field and score again. In a game that started so poorly, it’s 24-all with 3:29 to go in the third.
The Redskins defense looks alive at this point, forcing two Bengals punts. But Cincinnati’s defense does the same, and Andy Dalton engineers an 80-yard touchdown drive early in the fourth. The key play is a 31-yard completion down the sideline to Green against Hall, who also drew a facemask penalty on the play. It set up first and goal, and Dalton finds Jermaine Gresham on a short TD pass to put Cincinnati up seven.
Washington is still using Banks and Griffin on option plays, but punts from midfield around the 9:15 mark. Dalton hits Andrew Hawkins on a quick slant, and a tackle is missed in the secondary. It becomes a 59-yard score and a two-touchdown lead with 7:08 left.
Griffin engineers a 12-play 90-yard touchdown drive that mostly utilizes Fred Davis, Roy Helu, Evan Royster and Leonard Hankerson to get the score to 38-31. Jordan Black is the right tackle during this drive. Washington nearly gets the onside kick, but touches it too early.
The D gets the ball back and Griffin leads a final drive that quickly reaches the 50, and gets to the Bengals’ 20 with 29 seconds left before it all bizarrely falls apart. There are two 10-second runoffs in the final minute, and Washington is penalized for a false start and unsportsmanlike conduct.
In the end, the Redskins again show flashes of brilliance but make enough glaring mistakes that they’re 1-2.
If you got a chance to rewatch this one, what did you notice?
Have a Redskins question? E-mail Mike Jones at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “Mailbag question” for him to answer it in The Mailbag.
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