Here is my report card on some players, coaches, and various other aspects of the Redskins’ 26-20 win over the Vikings. If you think I’m off or if I didn’t issue a grade where you think one is needed, hit the comments.
The Redskins have been waiting all season for Preston Smith to have a game like this one. He became the first Redskin with multiple sacks and at least one interception in a game since Marcus Washington did it in 2005. If he continues to make big plays the defense will improve by leaps and bounds.
For a couple of games it looked like Dustin Hopkins was trending towards being a bit wobbly, with misses of makeable field goals against both the Lions and the Bengals, the latter being a critical error. But he was back in form yesterday, drill four of four tries including one from 50 yards out.
I think that Rob Kelley got about 50 more yards than his blocking should have given him. That’s not based on film analysis, just from watching and figuring that he averaged around two additional yards on his 22 carries. Why not an A? I’m looking for over 100 yards and/or a couple of TD’s for him to earn that grade.
Since I graded them with an F a couple of weeks ago, I should point out when the officials do a good job. The crew of Pete Morelli kept the game moving along. Accepted penalties were exactly equal with each team with four for 35 yards for each team. The non-PI call on the throw to Ryan Grant was borderline but not awful. And the game moved at a brisk pace, finishing up in 2:52.
I really can’t find much to fault Jay Gruden on. He’s had his team ready to play just about every game this season and yesterday was no exception. There were no questionable fourth-down calls yesterday, no replay challenges. Just a normal, nerve-racking win in a critical game.
Pierre Garçon had another workmanlike day, with six receptions for 81 yards, leading the team in both categories. There is plenty of talk of him being underutilized but he’s on pace to catch 75 passes for 850 yards, not a bad season at all. He will make some money next year at age 30 whether it’s in Washington or elsewhere.
Slot corner Kendall Fuller was on Stefon Diggs for most of the Vikings’ wide receivers’ 13 receptions for 164 yards. It was a tough assignment and Fuller did prevent Diggs from breaking a long one. But it still was a rough day for the rookie.
WR Ryan Grant played 78 percent the offensive snaps (more than any WR except Pierre Garçon) and did not catch a pass. He was only targeted three time and perhaps he should have drawn a flag on one second-quarter throw. But at times it seems like the Redskins are playing with four eligible receivers when he is on the field.
The Redskins’ red zone efficiency was, well, not efficient at all. They scored a TD on their first trip to the red zone and they had to settle for field goals on the three subsequent trips inside the Minnesota 20. They are now dead last in the NFL in red zone performance at 38.9 percent.