Good teams beat the teams they are supposed to beat. Hopefully for the Washington Redskins faithful, Sunday’s dominance over the Houston Texans is a sign that this is a good team. Although a 16-point win that saw a Redskin quarterback set an NFL record in efficiency will not be enough to quiet the doubter in some, it should bolster the confidence of the team as they go into this week facing a tough opponent in the Jacksonville Jaguars.
It would be a crime to grade the passing offense without starting with Mark Brunell. The coaching staff came into the game with the idea that short passes early would help Brunell’s confidence and get the offense rolling, and boy did it ever. Brunell finished with 24-for-27 passing, including and NFL single game record of 22 consecutive completions. Those consecutive completions were spread out amongst eight different receivers.
A good part of the reason that Brunell was able to break that record was the unstoppable running game and the dominance of the offensive line, but that’s a story for another article.
Clinton Portis returned to the field at what he reportedly deemed 100%. It showed on Sunday. His presence in the huddle lifted the spirits of everyone, and it showed in the dominant performances of the two guards. Derrick Dockery and Randy Thomas pulled all afternoon, and by the end of the game, the Houston Texans appeared to want no part of it. The Redskins rushing attack is at its best with these two behemoths running full tilt and blowing up defensive backs and linebackers.
The story of the game, however, was Ladell Betts, gaining 124 yards on just 16 carries; an effort that earned him the FedEx Ground player of the week. If Ladell continues to spell Portis in that manner, there are going to be a lot more games like this one the rest of this season.
The defense played well today, although a lot of it had to do with more than 16-minute advantage in time of possession the Redskins enjoyed. The team did what they do best: they hit hard and kept the Texans out of the end zone for most of the day. Andre Johnson led the league in receiving yards, however, and David Carr was only sacked once, after being sacked 8 times in the previous two games. A lot of this will go away when a healthy Shawn Springs becomes available, but the defense seems to be much less aggressive without Springs in the line-up, and the improved pressure from the defensive line has yet to manifest itself as projected. Overall, however, this was a solid effort by this unit.
For all of the Redskins fans out there, including this reporter, that called for Derrick Frost’s head on a platter, THN will be serving crow at this week’s tailgate party in the green lot off Morgan Blvd. (A75, to be exact). Frost is second in the league in punting, falling just shy of the 50-yard average mark. What a remarkable turnaround, not just since last season, but since the preseason as well. John Hall also connected from 46 yards, and dropped his kick-offs close to the goal line on every attempt. It just goes to show why the front office makes personnel moves, instead of the fans.
In Sunday’s game, the return teams played fairly well, but the kick coverage failed to capitalize on the excellent kick-offs, generally allowing the Texans to start between the 25 and 30 yards line most of the game.
The Redskins played a bad team, but there is no reason to come out of Sunday’s game without at least a bit of guarded optimism. The Redskins showed what they can do when firing on all cylinders. Hopefully, the success will carry over into next week’s game.
Edit: This blog was archived in May of 2016 from our original articles database.It was originally posted by Scott Hurrey