Reporting Grant Paulsen
ASHBURN, Va. (CBSDC) — Here are three quick takeaways from the Washington Redskins 24-17 loss to the Atlanta Falcons.
Robert Griffin will learn when to get out of bounds:
Griffin sustained a concussion when he elected to stay in bounds for extra yardage along the sideline on a 3rd-and-3 inside Atlanta’s 10 yard-line. It was obvious that the rookie quarterback wanted to pick up the first down, maybe even his fifth rushing touchdown of the season, rather than cutting his losses by hopping out of bounds to set up a 4th-and-goal. The result was a devastating blow to the upper body by a 244-pound linebacker who had been salivating about the chance to hit Griffin since the game had started.
Part of what makes Griffin great is his ability to run, and the Redskins shouldn’t take that away from him. His hunger to gain the extra yard and to make a play that most scrambling passers can’t make is as much a part of why he’s special as his speed or strong arm. But that doesn’t mean Griffin doesn’t still have to make smart decisions when on the move. The Redskins’ coaching staff has talked several times about how competitive Griffin is after tucking the football to run. And even though he’s come a long way with his decision making, Griffin has to learn to prioritize his safety over a first down, and sometimes even over points.
“It’s a physical game,” backup quarterback Rex Grossman said. “I think he might learn from that one.”
Alfred Morris continues to impress:
Morris rushed for a career-high 115 yards on 18 attempts, averaging 6.4 a pop against an unbeaten Falcons team on a day when the Redskins’ passing game never really took flight. Three of Morris’ first four rushes went for at least 11 yards as the rookie tailback racked up a second straight 100-yard game. Through five contests, Morris has now compiled 491 yards and four touchdowns. The Florida-Atlantic product now ranks third in the NFL in rushing yards and fifth in carries.
With a third of the season nearly complete, Morris is averaging 98 yards per game on the ground. If you extrapolate that average out over Washington’s 16 games, Morris is on pace to put together a 1,568 yard season. The Redskins’ all-time record for rushing yards in a season belongs to Clinton Portis, who ran for 1,516 yards in 2005. If Morris, who is averaging 20 rushes a game, remains healthy, he could threaten Portis’ seven year-old record.
More Pass Rush Needed:
The Redskins spent the majority of Sunday afternoon dropping defenders into coverage, electing to prevent Atlanta from making big plays down the field instead of sending extra pass-rushers on blitzes. The problem with that was that Washington rarely generated any pressure when only rushing three defensive linemen, and didn’t have that much more success when rushing four.
The Redskins managed to sack Matt Ryan just one time on 52 pass attempts. According to the NFL’s post game stats, Ryan was hurried on just three other occasions — once by Stephen Bowen, once by Barry Cofield and one time by cornerback David Jones on a blitz. Forcing Ryan to get rid of the football before he wanted to just four times on 52 attempts, or 7.7% of the time, isn’t enough.