Tale Of The Tape: Washington Redskins At Indianapolis Colts
- QuarterbackRedskins head coach Jay Gruden has laid down the gauntlet and let Robert Griffin III know that his performance has not been acceptable. RGIII has struggled with his accuracy and decision making throughout the season, and it’s time for him to do his job a lot better than he has been. If RGIII doesn’t pick it up soon, he could find himself on the bench very shortly.The Colts struggled throughout the first half in their 23-3 win over the lowly Jaguars, but Andrew Luck directed a much sharper attack in the final 30 minutes and got the Colts back on track again. Luck had not been getting much protection and was under siege, but that turned around in the third and fourth quarters. If he gets time against the Redskins, he should be able to find open receivers.
- OffenseThe Redskins want to get their running game going, but RGIII has been so ineffective that opponents are daring him to throw and they have made stopping Alfred Morris their top priority. It seems unlikely the Redskins will get their ground game going until the passing game picks up. DeSean Jackson remains a big-play threat, while Pierre Garcon can catch anything he gets his hands on.The Colts have turned to Dan “Boom” Herron to provide a spark in the running game as a result of Ahmad Bradshaw’s season-ending knee injury. Herron is a willing runner who gained 65 yards on 12 carries against Jacksonville. T.Y. Hilton is an outstanding big-play threat who can break any game open, while tight end Coby Fleener can make tough third down catches.
- DefenseThe Redskins have been quite dependable on the defensive side of the ball and they make opponents earn their yardage. Inside linebacker Keenan Robinson is an unheralded player, but he leads the Redskins in tackles and can go sideline-to-sideline to make plays. Outside linebacker Ryan Kerrigan leads the team with 8.5 sacks and he has the speed and power to defeat blocking schemes.The Colts shook off poor games against Pittsburgh and New England and dominated the Jacksonville offense. That should give them a lot more confidence as they prepare for a tough stretch run. Inside linebacker D’Qwell Jackson is coming off a 13-tackle game, and he leads the Colts with 91 stops. Vontae Davis is a solid cover corner who picked off his third pass of the season against the Jags.
- Special TeamsEven if the Redskins overcome their other problems and play a solid road game in Indianapolis, they are likely to get undone by their inadequate special teams play. In addition to poor coverage and ineffective return specialists, Kai Forbath is an ordinary placekicker who does not inspire confidence in the clutch.The Colts are excellent in coverage as they are quite disciplined and take their cues from special teams coordinator Tom McMahon. Adam Vinatieri simply never misses. He has connected on 31 consecutive FG attempts dating back to the 2013 season.
The Colts should win this game in a breeze unless RGIII can suddenly find his game and remain consistent. A couple of years ago, this looked like a game between two quarterbacks of the future, but it appears that Luck is the only one on that track now. -Steve Silverman, CBS Local Sports