Hi folks! I'm back again for this week's "Unfinished Business". I will go over the Redskins game and talk briefly about the bye. Don't worry, I plan to keep an eye on the Chargers and Chiefs during the bye week.
Sunday's game was some games within a game. Lots of highs, lows and redemption. What matters is the scoreboard: 45-21 and 7-1 to start the first half of the season.
Offense: This phase was such a mixed bag. The opening drive was a thing of beauty to get the game to 7-0. It felt like this could be a huge display of firepower. Then it didn't happen. I saw lots of physical play from the 'Skins DB on the Denver WR. Something that has been concerning to me is the lack of physicality from Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker. As big as these guys are, they should be beating everyone else out for the ball every time. The toughness of these guys will lead a long way to attaining the goals that this team and fan base desire. Time to "man up" guys. Stop the lobbying for flags and fight through it. Wes Welker was his solid self and get some great production. The outside guys need to step it up on this final stretch of games.
As for the OL, this was a mix of good and bad. Manny Ramirez was caught holding (which he always does lately), but had some great blocks down field. I loved the screen passes that led to TDs in the second half. They were set-up perfectly and the blocks were outstanding. I loved the push from the OL on the short runs up the middle and on the 4th down conversion to keep the momentum. Overall a decent outing, but still have to tighten up more. Orlando Franklin returning was a big key for this game. Hopefully he gets healed up more over the bye. His feet were a little too slow on Manning's fumble.
Now to the stable of RBs. It feels great to see a no-fumble game from the backs. Knowshon Moreno has been an absolute beast this year and the Redskin game was no different. He is running tough and getting some great catches. His catch and run on the screen play was a thing of beauty. I love seeing this out of him. Isn't it amazing how he went from the outhouse to the penthouse in one year? Montee Ball was running strong and hopefully getting to understand how to play in the NFL. His pass catching skills and field vision however still need work. C.J. Anderson looked solid as well with some strong runs in the second half. Don't be surprised if Ronnie Hillman has some more time on the deactive list in the next few weeks.
Peyton Manning had four touchdowns and four turnovers. His 3rd quarter fumble was from pressure from Ryan Kerrigan pushing Franklin into Manning's arm. Peyton did what he could with holding Brian Orakpo, but couldn't recover the fumble. He also had a pick-6 and two more interceptions. The two picks made by DeAngelo Hall were as much Hall's physical play as much as some of DT's softness on the picks. Manning's last pick that was targeted to Welker was just ill-advised with three defenders surrounding him. As much as he is a great QB, another target would have been advisable on that play. Fortunately the damage from the turnovers was not as costly as the Colts game last week.
The TEs had a solid day with blocking and Joel Dreessen catching a crucial 4th down TD catch in the 4th quarter. For me the play was a thing of beauty. Denver was on the Washington 1 yard line, down 21-14, the Broncos lined up in a 3 TE heavy formation with Mitch Unrein in at FB. As they lined up, Manning called a shift which moved Unrein to TB, Moreno motioned left and the TEs lined up in a "Trips" on the right. Dreessen went to the corner wide open for the TD. The call and execution was a sight to behold.
Special Teams: Not a whole lot to report here other than Britton Colquitt had a great day punting the ball and pinning the Redskins deep a few times. Matt Prater was perfect on the FG and XPs as well as kicking touchbacks. Trindon Holliday only had one punt return and one kickoff return. The 'Skins kept kicking away from him so much because of his potential for a big play that the punter shanked one for 15 yards. That punt was followed by the screen pass to Moreno for the TD. The coverage units were decent, but had some bad penalties in the return game. One big knock on ST was the disorganization against Washington's FG unit before halftime. When you have that kind of disorganization with a timeout to spare, take the TO! The mistake led to a first down and ultimately a TD to tie the game at half.
Defense: The defense started out solid, slacked some in the second quarter and then turned it on in the second half. In the second quarter, Denver's defense committed too many penalties which led to a 95-yard TD drive to tie the game and finish the first half. The second half was a different story. They came up with five takeaways in the 4th. Robert Griffin III was beaten up repeatedly by all of the defenders, especially by "Pot Roast" Terrance Knighton and Von Miller. It got so bad for RG3 that Shanny pulled him to keep him from taking more body blows. The Redskins were running the ball solid with Alfred Morris, but went away from that once the game started to get out of hand. Kyle Shanahan seemed to call some desperation passes which led to Griffin getting hammered. DRC came up with a 75 yard interception for a TD and taunting for the last 40 yards. Don't be surprised if Goodell slaps a fine on him for that. Kevin Vickerson channeled his inner Oakland Raider by hitting RG3 late for another penalty. This is getting to be too much of a pattern for this guy. I don't know if Fox needs to bench him or what, but something isn't clicking with Vick's head right now. I do think despite the antics of a few, the defense played so much better with Wesley Woodyard and Von Miller on the field at the same time. The pressure and man coverage was much better in the second half instead of the zone play of the first half. Woodyard will probably have to deal with a fine since he hit Kirk Cousins under the chin while blitzing. 266 total yards, seven punts and 21 points given up by the defense is the best so far this season and I hope to see those numbers (except for the punts) go lower the rest of the season. Next step? Force more field goal attempts instead of allowing touchdowns if there is a scoring threat.
Coaching: Can someone please keep the red challenge flag away from John Fox? His decision making on challenges are getting to an absurd level. His challenge in the first half was an absolute joke on a pass with a common stretch play that gave the 'Skins a first down. I hope this week off will get him focused and get his or his assistant's eyesight checked. One more of these could prove costly later on in the season. His lack of responsiveness on the Washington FG attempt by not getting a time out called before the snap was another mental error. The second half was much better with going for it on two fourth downs which netted the first down on the first attempt and a TD on the second.
Well, there is nothing to discuss for the upcoming week since the Jared Allen trade fell through other than hoping that the bye week will be used for some major healing and rest (man does this team need it!). The good thing is the time change comes this Sunday so they get even an extra hour of rest. Enjoy your weekend off, folks. That's all I have and GO BRONCOS next week and "Go Bills" this week.