- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Final observations from the Redskins’ 9-7 victory against St. Louis on Sunday:

• One of Jason Campbell’s best decisions let coach Jim Zorn go for it on fourth down during the Redskins’ second-to-last drive. Facing third-and-5 from the St. Louis 24, Antwaan Randle El lined up in the left slot. Sensing a blitz, Campbell made an adjustment. The Rams rushed seven, including the slot corner, and Campbell threw quickly to Randle El for 4 yards. It set up fourth-and-1 and made Zorn’s decision easier. An incomplete pass would have forced Zorn to choose between a punt and a 48-yard field goal.

• A 12-yard run by Clinton Portis illustrated how much the Redskins will miss right guard Randy Thomas. On first-and-10 from the Washington 43, Portis ran right. Thomas first chipped defensive tackle Gary Gibson, who also was blocked by center Casey Rabach. Thomas then went to the second level to seal off middle linebacker James Laurinaitis, allowing Portis to roll through the gap untouched.

• Two plays probably contributed to defensive coordinator Greg Blache’s disappointment after the game. Play No. 1: On third-and-4 from the St. Louis 36, running back Steven Jackson lined up wide right. Cornerback Carlos Rogers gave him 7 yards of cushion, and Jackson simply ran past the first-down marker for a 5-yard catch. Play No. 2: On Jackson’s 58-yard run, safety Chris Horton filled the hole but missed the tackle, which was costly because safety LaRon Landry took the wrong angle and found himself out of position.

• Even though Marc Bulger is a veteran quarterback, he can be fooled. Defensive linemen dropped into coverage three times: Andre Carter, Kedric Golston and Cornelius Griffin each took one step forward before backpedaling, and Griffin dropped an easy interception. Overall, the Redskins rushed five or more players on 10 Bulger drop-backs.

• The Redskins are sixth in punt coverage (4.3 yards an attempt), and Hunter Smith’s impact already has been felt. Durant Brooks’ 4.27-second average hang time in last year’s first two games is better than Smith’s 4.23-second average, but the veteran’s ability to directional punt is a bonus. The Redskins were 27th in punt coverage last year.

- Ryan O’Halloran

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