Six observations from the Redskins’ 27-20 loss to the Lions:
1. Robert Griffin III started to look like the RG3 of 2012 early on. At the 10:16 mark of the first quarter he pulled the ball out of Alfred Morris’ belly and scampered around right end for seven yards before going out of bounds. But then the 2013 issues returned and two incompletions later the Redskins were punting. The sequence set the tone for the day with the Redskins making some nice plays but failing to take advantage of them.
2. The Redskins had only six penalties for 41 yards but it seemed like more than that. That’s because of penalties like the defensive holding flag against London Fletcher on the Lions’ second drive. It was called while Matthew Stafford was throwing an incomplete pass on third and six at the Washington 29. Instead of having David Akers trying a 45-yard field goal—he missed two from that range last week—the Lions got a fresh set of downs. Three plays later Joique Bell scored on a 12-yard run.
3. You have to wonder about the Redskins’ play selection. The didn’t face a two-score deficit until less than four minutes remained in the game but Alfred Morris had just 15 carries and Griffin threw the ball 50 times. It seemed like the Lions were not going to let Morris beat them and they were willing to give Griffin a few relatively short runs if he pulled the ball out and took off.
4. Giving up seven receptions for 115 yards and one touchdown is not a horrible performance. Letting Nate Burleson light you up for 116 yards on six catches is embarrassing. Burleson’s last 100-yard receiving game came in November of 2010. The big play was the 41-yard catch and run late in the first half that set up a Detroit field goal. David Amerson tried to make a play on the ball but he really had no chance and should have just tried to tackle Burleson.
5. Perhaps the next time Griffin has a defender pulling him down from behind he’ll just take the sack or throw the ball into the stands, especially on a first-down play in the red zone. But even after throwing that second-quarter interception I’m not 100 percent sure that he will. “Another play where if you make the play, it’s a great play, but if you don't, it’s a bad play,” he said. “And it was a bad play.” Well, not really. If you make the play it’s a miracle and if you don’t it’s a disaster.
6. The Redskins sacked Stafford on the first play from scrimmage and did not get to him again on the subsequent 65 snaps. They did harass him in the pocket from time to time but not when they needed to. On the clinching touchdown pass to Johnson the Redskins elected to rush three and drop eight back in coverage. Stafford was able to set, survey the field and find Johnson near the goal line. There were four defenders within a couple of yards of the receiver but it still wasn’t enough.