Grade vs. Cowboys: B+
Comment: The field goal unit was pressed into duty only one time Thursday, and the call didn’t come until late in the fourth quarter of a game that was in jeopardy of slipping away.
But first-year kicker Kai Forbath delivered with the cool and calm of a seasoned veteran. With the Redskins’ lead whittled to 35-28, the 25-year-old drilled a 48-yarder with 3:03 remaining to put the Redskins up by two scores.
“I told the guys that was probably the drive that saved our season,” Coach Mike Shanahan said after the game. Forbath added: “I went out and said, ‘We made this kick 10 times in warmups today. Why not make it now?’ And I hit it good to keep the streak going.”
Forbath is now 10 for 10 on field goals, including hitting six from 40-49 yards, to start his NFL career.
Forbath was also much better on kickoffs at Cowboys Stadium. After putting only one of his five kickoffs in the end zone against the Eagles, he took advantage of the semi-enclosed arena and put six of his seven kickoffs into the zone, including three for touchbacks. The hang time on his kicks also was much-improved, giving the coverage more time to get downfield.
“I felt more comfortable being inside,” Forbath said. “And there was good footing on the turf, so I was more confident.”
As good as the Redskins were on special teams, there were a couple of miscues worth noting. For the second straight week, the punt team was flagged for a penalty – Perry Riley for illegal formation against the Eagles and Niles Paul for a false start vs. Dallas.
Also, Brandon Banks attempted to return a 64-yard punt in the first quarter after fielding the ball in the end zone. A curious decision, indeed, Banks was pushed out of bounds at the 7-yard line.
“Brandon is a smart guy and sometimes smart guys with a lot of ability try to make plays,” Shanahan said. “It’s tough with a guy who really believes he’s going to make plays. But we’re going to take a hard look at it and make sure that he makes the decisions in the best interest of our football team.”
Overall, though, special teams were a plus for the Redskins on an afternoon that featured little margin for error.