TE FRED DAVIS: How ironic that Davis and LT Trent Williams finish their suspension-shortened seasons on this list. Sunday’s game was a reminder of how invaluable they are to the Redskins‘ offense, and their absence over the final four games will provide more painful evidence.
The Redskins planned to target Davis because that was their best matchup. In contrast, their receivers didn’t match up very well against Jets CBs Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie. WR Jabar Gaffney, for example, did not catch a pass.
If this was Davis’ last game as a Redskin, he went out strong by contributing to the passing game and the running game. The athleticism that makes him a dynamic pass-catcher truly stood out. His best play was a 12-yard reception on third-and-6 with the game tied, 13-13, early in the fourth quarter. New York blitzed seven defenders, leaving Davis isolated on the left against S Brodney Pool. QB Rex Grossman‘s throw was high — perhaps intentionally because Davis has two inches on Pool — and Davis jumped and caught it. His arms are strong enough to catch passes away from his body even with defenders draped on him.
On Davis’ 30-yard reception in the second-quarter, he separated from CB Donald Strickland with a crisp ‘in’ cut and broke Strickland’s tackle to gain an additional 21 yards. He benefited from a blown coverage on his 42-yarder on the first series. Cromartie and S Eric Smith both ran with WR Santana Moss deep down the left seam, leaving the sideline wide open for Grossman to find Davis.
Davis was OK — and somewhat consistent, actually — on the edge in the running game. He sometimes struggles with big, powerful ends but he held his ground against the Jets‘ smaller outside linebackers. He ran into the secondary to block S Jim Leonhard on RB Roy Helu’s 15-yard run on the Redskins‘ first play from scrimmage.
LT TRENT WILLIAMS:Williams‘ speed and athleticism helped RB Roy Helu rush for 100 yards for the second straight week. He moved as well as he has in several weeks, which was to be expected as time distanced him from his left knee sprain.
Williams blocked two defenders to help clear Helu’s path to the end zone on a 2-yard touchdown on the opening drive. He helped TE Logan Paulsen push DE Muhammad Wilkerson out to the left, then quickly redirected to the second level to blow up ILB David Harris. On Helu’s 8-yard run around the left edge in the third quarter, Williams blocked DL Kenrick Ellis before sprinting out into space and blocking Harris to the ground. That’s the athleticism that made him the fourth-overall pick last year.
Williams was sound in pass protection, too. When OLB Jamaal Westerman beat him with an inside move on first-and-10 on the second play of the fourth quarter, Williams recovered to block Westerman into the ground, giving QB Rex Grossman time to check down to Helu in the left flat for 12 yards. The Redskins are going to miss him even more than Davis.
RB ROY HELU:Helu’s second-half fumble and his pass protection breakdown almost cost him a spot on this list, but those gaffes don’t negate the fact he’s a driving force on the offense right now.
The Jets‘ defense was the latest group to have trouble getting him to the ground. He rushed for 66 yards after contact on 22 rushes and had 13 yards after contact on four receptions. He maintains low pad level, he’s fast enough to elude defenders and he doesn’t hesitate to initiate the contact himself.
Helu gained 11 after running through OLB Calvin Pace’s arm tackle on a rush on the opening drive. He gained eight yards around the left edge on a third-quarter carrying after running through Pace’s arm tackle. Helu also is fast and shifty enough to make something out of nothing. He eluded several defenders to gain 8 yards on a screen on the opening drive. He spun back toward the inside behind the line of scrimmage, squared his shoulders and sharply cut upfield.
Helu’s fumble in the third quarter didn’t cost the Redskins points because New York missed a 40-yard field goal. He missed a blitz pick-up against S Donald Strickland in the second quarter, which led to an intentional grounding penalty. Strickland gave Helu a stutter step in the backfield, and Helu lunged a bit and reached, which allowed Strickland to get by to the inside.