This game could have quite easily been dubbed, “The Battle of the Inept Offenses”. Both teams struggled to score points throughout the ball game. The Redskins’ won the game because of the play of their Special Teams unit, and of course, their stifling defense. The final score was 17-10 for Washington, and though it wasn’t pretty, it was good enough to earn the 3rd victory of the season for the Redskins.
This continues to be the weakness of this team. Brunell completed only 6 passes out of 17 attempts for a total of 58 yards, including two pass attempts total in the second half. Clinton Portis’ 15-yard pass to Laveranues Coles was the Pro Bowl wide receiver’s first touchdown catch of the season and eclipsed Mark Brunell’s second half passing yards (1-1 for 8 yards). Besides Brunell’s lackluster performance, the pass protection was inconsistent. It seemed Brunell was running on every play. His passes soared over open receivers’ heads and when they were on target, they were dropped. The Skins also had another TD pass negated by a cheap penalty. Other than that, the passing game seems to be clicking rather well. The only positive is that there were no interceptions thrown.
Clinton Portis continues to exhibit the characteristics that the team traded Champ Bailey and a second round pick for. Coach Gibbs is running his slow developing plays like the counter trey a lot less and running from spread formations a lot more. This is allowing Portis to make reads and cutbacks at the line of scrimmage and his 147 yards at 4.3 yards per carry is testament to how successful the running game has become. Portis is consistently the Redskins best offensive player. His 147 yards rushing, 15 yards passing and 11 yards receiving accounted for 75% of the Redskins offense.
The defense continues to shine. Ryan Clark, Cornelius Griffin and the entire secondary looked especially good today. To make a fair analysis, Smoot had a couple of dumb personal fouls called on him that negated otherwise good plays. Also, the entire defense over-played the run on the Lions fourth quarter touchdown pass. Other than that, this was another dominating performance by the Redskins’ defensive unit. This team can win any game because the defense keeps them in it.
This is the unit that won this game. James Thrash was the player of the game. He made two outstanding plays at the goal line, leaping into the end zone and batting the ball back onto the playing field for his teammates to down inside the 5-yard line. He also downed one him self on the two yard line. Add to that, his come from behind tackle to save a kick from being run back for a touchdown and his beautiful 43-yard punt return, which was by far the longest punt return this season for the Redskins, and you have one of the finest special teams performances this team has seen in years.
Tom Tupa also had one of his best days as a Redskin (with some help from Thrash). He averaged 47.9 yards per kick, including 5 of 9 downed inside the 20-yard line. Kimrin had a decent day, nailing a 24-yarder early in the game to give the Skins the lead and hitting the crossbar on a 51 yarder late in the game.
Last but certainly not least, the Special Teams made the play of the game in the third quarter. Taylor Jacobs blocked a Nick Harris punt, and Walt Harris picked up the loose ball and returned it 13 yards to pay dirt. No Redskins team has blocked a punt and returned it for a touchdown since 1982. The Fifth Quarter rarely hands out more than 4 quarters, but the Special Teams deserve a rare exception this week.
The Redskins pulled out a win this week, despite the pathetic passing game. If this team can ever muster even a decent passing game, there’s no telling how good they can be.
Edit: This blog was archived in May of 2016 from our original articles database.It was originally posted by Scott Hurrey