By Kevin Ross II
The special teams is the only unit for the Redskins that has demonstrated any level of consistent play this season. The defense has had its ups-and-downs, the offense has been horrendous at points but improved at others. All while the special teams have been consistently awful without any fluctuations pointing towards success. This was evident in Sunday night’s 16-31 loss to Dallas.
Special Teams Grade : F
Unlike offense and defense, special teams is a unit that can be catastrophic without the average onlooker ever noticing. To better explain this, let’s try an analogy. Many of us walk around with cavities in our teeth. These cavities don’t cause much pain, and are largely unnoticed. However, when most with cavities visit the dentist they are shocked to learn that their mouth requires painful treatment and that the dentist requires a painful amount of cash. Although the cavities have been there all along, you don’t notice them until they cost you pain and money. And that’s the Redskins special teams unit, the gaping holes have been there all season long, but the average fan doesn’t realize it until the special teams cause them to lose a must-win game on Sunday Night football.
“When you give up a couple of big plays on special teams and it kind of costs you 14 points, it’s hard to recover from that on the road,” said Coach Shanahan. And that was the story of Sunday night football as Dallas defeated Washington by the score of 31-16.
The Cowboys and Redskins were evenly matched on offense and defense, but Dallas stole the victory on the strength of their special teams with Dwayne Harris returning a punt 86-yards for a touchdown, and his 90-yard kickoff return –which Mike Shanahan later described as a “dagger!”– pretty much ended the game for Washington.
For many years Redskins fans found it easy to blame former special teams coach Danny Smith for all of their troubles, but now Smith’s value to the team is clearly evident as this year’s unit is unlike anything that we have seen in some time. Following the game linebacker Bryan Khel put political correctness to the side, and stated the obvious.
“Special teams definitely lost the game for us,” said Kehl.
On other notes, quarterback Robert Griffin III had his best performance of the season and resembled his otherworldly self from a year ago. Griffin was agile, quick, and displayed the explosiveness that defenses heavily fear. Griffin recorded 77 rushing yards which was 5-yards more than the total yards he had gained through the team’s first four games.
Robert Griffin III : Grade : B+
This performance against Dallas will begin Griffin’s quest to silence all who proclaim that he will never be the same player as he was prior to his injury. The Redskins may have lost the game, but RG3 is back. And at the end of the day, what else matters?
The chances of the Redskins winning a Super Bowl this season are slim. In the grand scheme of things, using this season as a chance to develop Griffin as a pocket passer while his knee recovers will prove to be a significant stepping stone to Washington obtaining its fourth championship. Griffin’s performance was a silver lining on a rather dark day in Big D.
For more Redskins news and updates, visit Redskins Central.
Kevin Ross is a freelance writer covering all things Washington Redskins. His work can be found on Examiner.com.