- The Washington Times - Sunday, October 2, 2011

First quarter

If the Redskins had visions of matching the Ravens’ first quarter onslaught of a week earlier against the Rams, those hopes quickly were dashed. Seven days after former Terp Torrey Smith accounted for three touchdown receptions totaling 133 yards in the opening quarter, the Redskins made do with one score Sunday. Rex Grossman’s 6-yard TD pass to Santana Moss capped a 5 minute drive that began at the Washington 31, the only real momentum established by either team in the opening quarter. Another potential scoring drive fizzled out when the Redskins, lined up to go for it on fourth-and-4 from the Rams’ 39, had to punt after a Jammal Brown false start penalty. While Rams quarterback Sam Bradford’s talent was obvious with some early throws, the inadequacy of his supporting cast was equally apparent. The second-year player simply doesn’t have much help on either side of the ball.

Second quarter

The Redskins didn’t do a whole lot on the ground in the opening quarter, with Tim Hightower carrying four times for 11 yards and Roy Helu three times for 15, but they broke out some big runs in the second. The surprise was the man doing the running, Ryan Torain, who made his first two carries of the season on consecutive plays  running over a defender on the first and busting out 20 yards for a touchdown on the second. That score was set up by more Rams incompetence, as a third down offensive facemask penalty on Jason Smith took St. Louis out of field goal range and preceded a Ryan Kerrigan sack of Bradford that forced a fumble, giving Washington the ball inside Rams territory. Later, the Rams managed two consecutive false starts on third down to stall a drive that had taken them near midfield late in the quarter. Add in a series of drops by Rams receivers and there was little suspense.

Third quarter

If it ain’t broke why stop giving the ball to Torain? The Redskins rode their new weapon from the very first play after halftime, pounding away with the one-time starting running back and mixing it up here and there with Helu. While the opening drive in the quarter featured a 39-yard burst from Torain and took the Redskins inside the Rams’ 30, Washington had to settle for a Graham Gano field goal. Not officially a red-zone stall like those that have plagued the Redskins so far this season, but it was close enough. A botched snap on third down at the St. Louis 39 kept the Redskins from putting more points on the board late in the quarter, but the Rams’ ineptitude kept Washington out of trouble. St. Louis even managed to commit a false start on a punt late in the quarter. Hightower returned to the backfield to open the Redskins’ final drive of the quarter but soon made way for Torain again.

Fourth quarter

It was evident from the very beginning that the Rams had no business winning this game, but the Redskins’ inability to put them away early and some untimely turnovers suddenly made things a lot tighter in the fourth. A methodical drive that began in the third quarter ended when a Grossman pass glanced off Moss’ hands for an interception. The Rams drove inside the 5 but had to settle for a field goal after — what else — a penalty. But momentum had shifted, as the Redskins went three-and-out and Bradford drove the Rams to their first touchdown of the afternoon, suddenly making it a ballgame with 5:45 to play. When Grossman followed that with another interception, the Redskins were somehow in danger of losing the game, but their defense came through big on consecutive possessions to seal a game that was much tighter at the end than necessary. 

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