By Kevin Ross II
For the first time this season, Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III did not reach 300-yards passing. This proved to be a good thing for Washington as Kyle Shanahan called his most balanced attack of the season with 31-passes and 32-rushes.
Offense: Grade: C+
The Redskins offense found their best rhythm of the season on a drive where they switched to the hurry up offense after the Raiders took a 14-0 lead late in the first quarter. The Redskins appeared unstoppable during that drive, but Griffin was flagged for intentional grounding on the 4-yard line, which derailed everything. Washington had to settle for a field goal, but that 11-play, 73-yard drive was the first time that this unit resembled last season’s dynamic offense. Look for Washington to employ more of the hurry-up attack as many teams in the NFL seem to be moving in that direction.
However, the offense receives a grade of a C+ as they only scored 17-points and had another crucial turnover, but most importantly they could not deliver the big play. The one thing that set last season’s offense apart was the fact that they delivered big play after big play. Until this team can produce the big play and strike fast, they’ll continue to be just an average unit.
Defense: Grade: A-
All week, the Redskins defense talked about building off of the success that they had garnered against Detroit. On Sunday, they decided to do what they talked about and delivered their most dominant performance of the season. It all started upfront with the defensive line as they sacked Matt Flynn seven times and had three different players (Brian Orakpo, Ryan Kerrigan, Barry Cofield) record two sacks each. The two sacks that Kerrigan provided catapult him to the top of the rankings as he now leads the NFC with 5.0 sacks.
The Redskins defense kept their early early season tradition of scoring a touchdown alive in the form of rookie CB David Amerson, who intercepted a pass and took it 45-yards to the house in the second quarter. That represented the first interception and touchdown of Amerson’s career, and it marked the third touchdown in only four games for the Redskins defense.
The defense allowed seven points in the first quarter, but then they shut the Raiders out for the remainder of the game. As always, the tacking was suspect, but really, what more can you ask of a defense?
Special Teams: Grade: D
The play of the special teams has been a massive disappointment this season. They have been below average in covering punts and kickoffs, and abysmal in the return game. Rookie Chris Thompson has not worked out returning punts, and Josh Morgan has no business returning kicks.
Up until now, the play of the special teams had not severely hurt Washington’s chances of winning, but that changed on Sunday as the Raiders blocked a punt and scored a touchdown. They say in order to be successful in the National Football League, a team must win 2-out-of-3 phases of the game. The Redskins will need to improve on special teams if they want to turn this season around.
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Kevin Ross is a freelance writer covering all things Washington Redskins. His work can be found on Examiner.com.