Solid first impression for Grossman

Solid first impression for Grossman
December 19, 2010, 11:34 pm
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Sunday, December 19, 2010, 6:32 p.m.

By Ryan OHalloran
Staff writer


ARLINGTON, Texas He threw two interceptions, lost a fumble, was sacked five times and his team lost a fourth consecutive game to clinch a losing season.

But in a sign of how inconsistent the Redskins offense in general and their passing game in particular have been this year, Rex Grossman found himself being universally praised after a 33-30 loss to the Dallas Cowboys Sunday.

Trailing by 20 points early in the third quarter, Grossman sparked a comeback, completing 25 of 43 passes for 322 yards and tied a career high with four touchdown throws.

The Redskins reached 30 points for the first time this year three days after Grossman replaced Donovan McNabb.

Coach Mike Shanahan: We did some great things on offense.

Tight end Chris Cooley: Rex played an outstanding football game. I was really pleased with the way he controlled the offense and his ability to get the plays, get out of the huddle, get us to the line and keep them off balance.

Receiver Anthony Armstrong: He performed well. I think he did a great job and made good reads.

Center Casey Rabach: The guy has played and done some really good things in this league and he took advantage of the opportunity he got.

Players were very much toeing the line after the Redskins fell to 5-9, including 0-5 when they score more than 20 points.

They wanted to compliment Grossman for stepping into a precarious situation but didnt want to lay it on so thick as to appear they prefer him over McNabb.

But when receiver Santana Moss said the offense, looked light years better from what we looked two weeks ago, its clear that the Redskins have confidence in Grossman.

Do they favor him over McNabb?

I dont like to get into all of that, Moss said.

The Redskins started punt-interception-punt before Grossman appeared to knock off two years worth of rust.

We didnt get a lot of things going early, couldnt pick up a first down to get into our game plan, but once you get first downs and youre able to run all the plays in the game plan that offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, then you can make plays, Grossman said.

After Grossmans fumble (on a DeMarcus Ware sackstrip), the Redskins scored three consecutive touchdowns (drives of 71, 77 and 56 yards). Their comeback chances ended when Terence Newman intercepted Grossman and ran the remaining time off the clock.

But especially in the second half, the passing game looked functional for the first time since Week 2 against Houston. Four players had at least five catches.

The Redskins started their comeback down 27-7 when Grossman went deep middle to Armstrong for 47 yards and went short middle to Moss three plays later for a 10-yard touchdown. The next drive started with a 27-yard pass to Cooley (his first of the game), a fourth-and-2 conversion (10 yards to Armstrong) and was capped on a 5-yard score to Moss in the back of the end zone.

I had great protection for the most part and our outlet routes seemed to be there most of the second half because a lot of our first reads werent there, Grossman said. I had either a nice crossing route, or a back-check running into the flat to help stay ahead of the chains, and the line allowed me to do that.

For one game, it appears Shanahans widely criticized decision to bench McNabb paid off. Now Grossman gets two more games to prove his worth.

I wanted to give him an opportunity and I thought he took advantage, Shanahan said. He came back in the second half and demonstrated a lot of poise and played well.

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