- Unleash the crossbows: Gov. Scott Walker creates new hunting season
- Bubonic plague kills 20 in Madagascar
- G-20 diplomats fell for hacker attack promising nude photos of former French first lady Carla Bruni
- Minnesota guardsman charged with stealing private soldier data for fake IDs
- Florida appeals court rules universities can’t regulate guns
- Vladimir Putin defends Russian conservative values
- Tea Party Patriots call key GOP firing a declaration of war
- 68,000 more file for unemployment — in one week
- Michigan bans in-state insurers from covering abortion
- Nancy Pelosi tells Democrats to pass budget: ‘Embrace the suck’
DALY: Redskins can’t grip semblance of consistency
Question of the Day
PITTSBURGH — We knew there would be days like this for Robert Griffin III and the Washington Redskins. Gray days. Rainy days. Days when the opposition ran around in throwback uniforms that made them look like bumblebees. Even days when they were victimized by a running back named Rainey.
OK, maybe not the last two. But definitely the others.
Anyway, Sunday’s game, a 27-12 stomping at the hands of the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field, was the first of those days — and it won’t be the last. It’s just the nature of the beast. There are so many working parts on a football team, so many parts that, on a given afternoon, might malfunction.
On this given afternoon, pretty much the entire Redskins defense seemed to be on the fritz. So did the hands of the Redskins‘ receivers. In the damp conditions, even Griffin’s usual laserlike accuracy was a bit off. And so Mike Shanahan’s club finishes the first half of the season with a 3-5 record — a season that, looking at the schedule, only figures to get harder.
By late October, certain patterns tend to emerge for a team. For the Redskins, the patterns are these: One, their defense can’t stop anybody — not for very long, at least. And two, when they compound this felony by letting the opponent control the ball, it can get real ugly real fast. RG3 and his multiple dimensions, after all, are their biggest strength right now.
At Heinz Field, this whole worst-case scenario was played out. The Washington ‘D’ gave up drives of 76 yards for a touchdown and 42 for a field goal before Griffin had so much as attempted a pass. After that, Kyle Shanahan kept opening his box of tricks, trying to reverse the flow of the game, but couldn’t get the Big Bang he was looking for. A long throwback to Logan Paulsen, alone down the sideline, just missed connections. An end-around pass from Joshua Morgan to Griffin fell incomplete. A flea flicker — RG3 to Evan Royster to RG3 to Paulsen — produced only a 6-yard gain.
“Almost nothing worked,” Griffin said.
All the drops, 10 by Mike Shanahan’s unsparing count, didn’t help, either. Sure it was cold and drizzly and the ball was wet, but too often, his receivers seemed more preoccupied with running — that is, with yards after catch — than with making the grab in the first place.
“You can’t have that many drops,” Shanny said. “You’ve gotta make those plays, especially against this type of defense. It’s been a long time since I’ve had a game like this.”
To which Chris Cooley, re-signed just a few days earlier, said, “You can’t let [drops] compound like that. You have to refocus. It’s a matter of guys looking at one another and saying, ‘One play at a time.’ You have to get over it quick.”
But the Redskins never did get over it. Leonard Hankerson dropped a touchdown pass in the first quarter (one that, fortunately for him, didn’t keep his club from scoring), and Aldrick Robinson dropped one in the fourth quarter (one that, unfortunately for him, forced his club to settle for three points instead of seven).
Still, you had the feeling that, even if the Redskins‘ receivers had a better grip on things, Ben Roethlisberger and Co. could have scored more if they’d needed to. Frustration ran so high on the Washington side that DeAngelo Hall was ejected in the final minutes for mouthing off to an official after getting hit with a 15-yard penalty for overzealousness.
As Lorenzo Alexander put it, “Obviously, we have the talent to compete against anybody [as they showed the week before against the New York Giants, the defending Super Bowl champs]. So to come out and get your butt flat-out whipped it’s embarrassing.”
Let’s face it, the last thing you want to do against an established team like the Steelers, especially on the road, is dig a 20-6 hole for yourself in the first half. This is particularly true on a day when the elements are a factor — increasingly so as the afternoon wears on. It just makes it that much harder to come back.
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Dan Daly has been writing about sports for the Washington Times since 1982. He has won numerous national and local awards, appears regularly in NFL Films’ historical features and is the co-author of “The Pro Football Chronicle,” a decade-by-decade history of the game. Follow Dan on Twitter at @dandalyonsports –- or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- DALY: Rookies RG3, Alfred Morris hold their own against two Browns greats
- DALY: Players soon may equate Redskins with winning
- DALY: Quarterbacks waste no time making impact
- DALY: Just the tip of the iceberg for these Redskins
- DALY: Striking a balance integral to Redskins’ success
Latest Blog Entries
By Matt Kibbe
The short-term deal will assure long-term overspending
- Obama's Afghanistan experts stumped on U.S. death toll, war costs during hearing
- NAPOLITANO: A conspiracy so vast
- All-out war breaks out in GOP over budget pact
- Biden guarantees victory on immigration reform
- MALCOLM/REIMER: Over-criminalization undermines respect for legal system
- Obama takes 'selfie' at Mandela's funeral service
- Selfie at heart of Obama fiasco to stay secret
- U.S. pilot scares off Iranians with 'Top Gun'-worthy stunt: 'You really ought to go home'
- KIBBE: Another Republican budget surrender
- Teen thugs in D.C. run wild -- even while wearing GPS ankle bracelets
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
An objective, analysis-based perspective of D.C. sports as seen through the eyes of lifelong D.C. sports enthusiast, John Heibel.
The Career Doctor Cassi Fields prescribes valuable advice for anyone looking to find a career, nail an interview or earn a promotion.
The Constitution: Every issue, every time. No exceptions, no excuses. And how to get from here to there.
Film Reviews and Articles by Kevin Williams
Extraordinary day at Redskins Park
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow