While Mike Shanahan intends to “evaluate” the Redskins’ players in the coming weeks, it’s time for us to take our weekly look back at Friday’s preview and evaluate how those storylines played out Sunday at FedEx Field.
1-RG3 vs. defensive end Charles Johnson and the rest Panthers’ front four. As we mentioned, one of the keys to the game figured to be whether the Redskins’ rookie would receive ample time in the pocket and enough space outside of it to make plays.
Well, he received neither. Griffin was hit nine times while passing (second highest total this season) and sacked four times. Three of those sacks came as Griffin attempted to rally the Redskins in the fourth quarter. One was by Johnson, another belonged to Greg Hardy and Johnson and Hardy shared the third as Tyler Polumbus, Trent Williams and Will Montgomery took turns getting beat.
For the most part this season, the Redskins offensive line had been adequate. On Sunday, the unit was far from it.
2-RG3 vs. Cam. Although Griffin did a nice job of avoiding mistakes, Cam Newton did a better job of making plays and finishing drives. Of course, there are always extenuating circumstances – and to be fair, Griffin faced significantly more pressure than his counterpart – but even Griffin would probably admit he was edged by Newton in their first head-to-head battle.
Griffin finished 23 of 39 for 215 yards passing and a 74.2 rating. Newton was 13 of 23 for 201 yards, a touchdown and a 100.1 rating. On the ground, Griffin averaged 4.8 yards on 11 carries, while Newton averaged 4.6 on eight attempts.
For the second week in a row, Griffin saw his rating sink into low 70’s and his completion percentage drop below 60 percent. If this continues, it won’t be long before questions will be raised about the Redskins’ scheme and whether opposing defenses have caught on.
3-Aldrick Robinson got his second start of his career in place of the injured Pierre Garçon – and a second shot at earning the coaching staff’s trust.
Now, he’s in need of a third chance.
On the Redskins’ first play from scrimmage, Griffin fired a midrange bullet over the middle. Robinson needed to dive to get his hands on the ball, which went right between his hands. Tough catch? Sure. One that had to be made? Absolutely.
A week after receivers dropped 10 of Griffin’s passes in Pittsburgh, Sunday did not get off to a good start. Robinson was targeted once the rest of the afternoon.
4-Special teams struggles. A week after a missed extra point and shanked punt, the Redskins’ special teams were on point.
Kicker Kai Forbath remained perfect, booting field goals of 47 and 25 yards to improve to 8 for 8. Punter Sav Rocca, meantime, had a 43 yard net and did an excellent job corralling a high snap by Justin Snow on Forbath’s first field goal.
Special teams have been a problem often this season. On Sunday, however, the unit was the least of the Redskins’ concerns.