|Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III gets help off the field after being injured in the third quarter. (US Presswire)|
The Redskins (2-3) lost their most valuable player in Robert Griffin III to a concussion in yet another home loss, this time to the Falcons 24-17. Every time the Redskins seem to be on the cusp of making a move, they lose and then appear headed in the other direction.
The Redskins' run blocking -- and you must include the receivers in this, not just the line -- was good enough to produce a 115-yard day out of rookie running back Alfred Morris. He helped himself with good plant-and-cuts, causing defenders to overpursue at times. However, the Redskins converted just one of nine on third down, and 77 of their 202 passing yards came on a busted coverage for a touchdown. Losing RG3 to a concussion hurt the offense, especially late, as backup Kirk Cousins -- who had the 77-yarder -- threw two interceptions. They managed to score just 10 points.
Last game's grade: A-
The Redskins' offense didn't control the ball, which didn't help. But the third-down defense was bad, too (Atlanta convered 9 of 17 third downs). The Redskins had some breakdowns, which happens every game with them, and generated little pass rush, another common theme. But their coverage was sound most of the game, forcing the Falcons to be patient. They forced two turnovers, with linebacker Ryan Kerrigan returning an interception 28 yards for a touchdown. But they still allowed 345 yards passing.
Last game's grade: C
Special teams: B-
Billy Cundiff continues to be an issue, missing a 31-yard field goal. He's now made just three of his last eight field goals. Cundiff hints at timing issues that are still being fixed, but enough's enough. Make the kick. Brandon Banks had a 35-yard kickoff return among his four runbacks, but he managed just 22 yards on three punt returns. Sav Rocca had a strong day with a 42.0 net average, though he managed a 33-yarder from deep in Redskins territory late in the game. The coverage was sound; Niles Paul downed a punt at the 2.
Last game's grade: B-
The defensive game plan was excellent as Ryan struggled to find receivers downfield, until he had too much time and the secondary did not react fast enough. It's tough to overcome having backup safeties pressed into starting roles. But they still couldn't muster a pass rush. Offensively, Griffin didn't run the ball until midway through the third quarter and it came off a bootleg. They didn't run as much zone read, which did hurt Atlanta when they did. The tough part with Griffin is limiting his runs, while still forcing the defense to honor his legs. Bottom line in this category is that Washington has now dropped eight straight at home and that's on the coaches.
Last game's grade: B