Redskins Browns MNF Preseason Post-Game ThoughtsPosted on August 19, 2014 by Sameer Malla
It was inevitable, like your Donkey Kong kart about to be hit by a blue shell as you were comfortably in first place on the third lap of Mario Circuit in Mario Kart; the Redskins offense against the Cleveland Browns on Monday Night Football was all over the place after a near-perfect performance two weeks ago against the New England Patriots. Sure, there was the RGIII 49-yard deep ball to Andre Roberts and the nice moves made by DeSean Jackson after his one and only catch; the accurate second-half throws by backup Kirk Cousins; and another solid outing by the rookies. But there was also the bad. Before I divulge any further, let me take a step back and look at the Good, the Bad and the Ugly after the Redskins-Browns MNF game:
I should rephrase this to The Great, because that is what the Redskins defense showed today. It all started with the first snap of the game, when linebacker Ryan Kerrigan roared around the Right Tackle to sack quarterback Brian Hoyer. The first-team defense forced several three-and-outs, and the Browns two QBs, Johnny Manziel and Hoyer, never found any rhythm. Speaking of Johnny Football, Kerrigan did sack the guy midway through the first quarter. If there was an MVP for this game, Kerrigan deserved it after his performance.
The first-team defense held the Browns to only a field goal; the FG only occurred because of a Cousins interception that left the ball at the Redskins 15-yard line after a 43-yard run-back by Tashun Gibson. The Redskins defense, from start-to-finish, was hounding the quarterback into errant throws and tackled when necessary. There never was a moment where a Browns player actually broke a tackle; a good sign for the Redskins defense, one that ranked dead-last in most missed tackles last season.
Second-year player Baccari (Not Bacardi) Rambo even forced a fumble late in the second quarter, another good sign for the safety who had a rough rookie year a season ago.
Offensively, the rookies (Silas Redd, Lache Seastrunk and Ryan Grant) did well for a second-straight preseason game. Both running backs had nice runs in the second half, and Grant hauled in a 14-yard touchdown in the third quarter from Kirk Cousins after blowing by a Browns defensive back.
No news is good news is the cliche, and such is true for the Redskins Special Teams. Outside of one 49-yard kickoff return by ex-Redskins wide receiver Anthony Armstrong, ST was solid all night. Tackles were made, and the sole field goal attempted by Kai Forbath (a chip-shot 26-yard FG) was good. Most kicks reached the end zone: rookie kicker Zach Hocker opened the game with a booming kick out of the end zone and had one reach the end zone on the Armstrong return; Forbath had a touchback after the Redskins first touchdown right before the half and one after his made field goal. The other battle is at punter; not much can be analyzed, though, as there were only two punts; one 42-yard one by veteran Robert Malone and a 34-yard one by rookie Blake Clingan.
In addition, after two preseason games, there have been NO major injuries, a good sign for any NFL team at this point of the preseason.
Clearly, it is the sliding and running ability of RGIII after he runs with the football once a play breaks down. Time and again, we all winced when he took hit-after-hit-after-hit in the first quarter, none as bad as the one where he bounced off three defenders like a pinball hitting the bumpers on his way to the ground. His slides were not pretty, either. As one Twitter user put it:
Three years in and RG3 still slides like a newborn deer falling as they're unable to walk.— Luke Thomas (@SBNLukeThomas) August 19, 2014
It was an overall rough day for Robert Griffin III in terms of his scrambling ability.
RG3 is going to take the Ice Bucket Challenge after the game just to recover from all these hits he's taking.— Faux John Madden (@FauxJohnMadden) August 19, 2014
More on the overall rough outing for the Redskins offense below.
Like I said in the introduction, the Redskins offense was inconsistent from the start; we saw a 23-yard pass to Jackson, on a play where he was the third read for RGIII. But, just a play later, running back Alfred Morris fumbles the toss sweep play from RGIII, and the Browns recovered. That was just an omen for the offense that had a glimpse, a shimmer, and a glance of decent plays but many not-so-great ones. After the Redskins forced a second three-and-out on defense, the offense methodically drove to the Browns 27-yard line. On an overload blitz on the right side of the offensive line by the Browns, RGIII rushed his throw to Jackson, and it was picked-off by All-Pro Joe Haden, as he stepped in front of Jackson and ran for 37 yards. The third and final possession was the epitome for the Redskins first-team offense. Aided by three Browns penalties on the drive, the Redskins had first-and-goal at the Browns one-yard line. They ran four straight AlMo runs, and each one of them was stuffed by the Browns (a Goal-Line Stand). The end result? This tweet by Washington Post Redskins beat reporter Mike Jones sums it all nicely:
So, in 27 plays, #Redskins offense has no points to show for.— Mike Jones (@MikeJonesWaPo) August 19, 2014
Despite two second-half touchdowns by the backup quarterbacks and the decent outings by the rookies, there were turnovers as well. The RGIII interception and AlMo fumble were not the only two turnovers on the day; Cousins overthrew Aldrick Robinson midway through the second quarter, and Colt McCoy threw another interception, this time a pick-six by former Baltimore Raven and New York Jet Jim Leonhard.
By the way, this is how the game ended:
tl;dr (Too Long; Did not read): After a flawless first week for the Redskins offense, they looked shaky throughout, with five turnovers on the day. However, the defense shined after their performance against the Browns, with two Kerrigan sacks and a Rambo forced fumble. The rookies Redd, Grant, Seastrunk and cornerback Bashaud Breeland performed well for a second-straight week.
What to Expect
It is a short week for the Redskins, as they have to face their I-95 counterpart in the Baltimore Ravens on Saturday night (7:30 PM EST kickoff). As this is the third preseason game for both teams, this is where the first teams play the entire first half. We will get a better picture of RGIII and Co (and hopefully better sliding and elusiveness by the young QB) before their first regular season game on September 7th against the Texans (the starters do not play in the fourth preseason game). Remember, after this Ravens game and before that 4th preseason game (against the Bucs), the roster will be trimmed down to 75 players (from the 90+ that each NFL roster is currently at right now). August 30th is the final day of cuts, when each roster is cut-down to the final 53-man squad for the regular season.
I just realized I typed a whole Redskins-Browns Monday Night Football postgame blog post and only ONCE mentioned Johnny Manziel. Take that, sports media (and ESPN)!
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