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Redskins Overcome Injury Woes To Thrash Jags

By Mark Solway | September 16th, 2014

Things looked bleak at Fed Ex Field early, when Robert Griffin III was carted off the field early in the first quarter; but when your back-up throws a touchdown on his first pass, it helps you move on quickly. Kirk Cousins and the Redskins overcame injuries not only to RGIII, but to receiver Desean Jackson, and a host of others, by putting in one of the most solid performances up and down the line-up in some time. The Jacksonville Jaguars were lit up by Washington 41-10, and were no match for a very determined Redskins bunch.

Its easy to get caught up in individual performances on Sunday – there were many good ones – but the Redskins head coach deserved as much credit as any.

After looking (understandably) nervous last week, Coach Jay Gruden showed a lot of poise in overcoming obvious injury adversity, and calling a great offensive game. How do you argue 449 total yards, and 41 points, without your opening day quarterback, tight end and number two receiver? Washington’s offense seemed to march at will – especially in the first half. They rolled to a gawdy 32 first downs, and an incredible 80 offensive plays from scrimmage. The time of possession was as skewed as I can ever remember seeing, and it’s something that I look at all the time; Redskins 39 minutes, Jaguars 21 minutes. More than a full quarter of extra possession for Washington.

I loved that Gruden hammered the ball down Jacksonville’s throat down the stretch too. Up by a mess of points, Washington gave running back Silas Redd some valuable playing time and handed him the ball 7 times in a row, en route to a great final drive of the game, and the young man’s first NFL touchdown. Washington went for it on 4th-and-7 instead of kicking a field goal, and handed the ball to Redd thinking likely that he would be tackled and the ball would be turned over on downs. No need to run up the score. Instinct took over for Redd though, and he slashed back against the grain, to gash the Jags with yet another wound on a 14-yard touchdown scamper. I don’t enjoy football any more than when I am watching my team run the ball against a team that knows you’re going to run the ball, and is powerless to stop it. Smash-mouth football.

It was a fitting exclamation point to a formidable performance by the offense – executed by Cousins, but engineered and called by Gruden.

Great first career win for the coach – congratulations.

Cousins has been the topic of much discussion lately. Should he be the starter? Is he a better fit for the offense? I guess you should be careful what you wish for huh? What was it my mom always used to say, “many a true word spoken in jest”?

Well there’s no choice in the matter now with Griffin likely sidelined indefinitely, but that didn’t look like a problem against Jacksonville. While Cousins finished a more pedestrian 22 of 33, for 250 yards – he completed his first TWELVE passes. He was near perfect in the first half, and it wasn’t until the game was already in hand, that his numbers waned slightly. Two touchdown passes, zero turnovers, and a quarterback rating of 109.7 were more than enough to get it done for Cousins; and the most important stat from the game that he posted, was victory number one. He was solid. He looked comfortable. You couldn’t ask for anything more from him.

Other great offensive performances included a career day for Niles Paul, who hauled in eight passes for a team best 99 yards, and a touchdown. Ryan Grant caught 5 balls for 57 yards and looked dangerous in increased action because of the injury to Jackson. Andre Roberts also stepped up with 4 catches for 57 yards.

The Redskins also pounded out 191 yards on the ground – led by Alfred Morris’ 85 yards on 22 carries. You can’t run the ball for almost 200 yards, and not give your offensive line a tip of the cap. Great work in the trenches on Sunday – solid performances throughout the offensive front.

The top performances on the other side of the ball were equally as impressive.

Defensive coordinator Jim Haslett looked like a mad scientist. He threw so many looks at the Jaguars offensive line that they ultimately just didn’t know what to do. The result? Ten sacks – tied for the most by a Redskins defense ever in a game – and it was last done in 1977. It looked like a jailbreak all game long.

When you get ten, you spread it around. Ryan Kerrigan had four of them, also a Redskins record. He was unstoppable and his usual disruptive self, and consistently took advantage of double teams on Brian Orakpo, or Jason Hatcher. The Jags still couldn’t keep Hatcher and Rak off of Chad Henne anyway, as they had one and 1.5 sacks respectively. Perry Riley had 1.5 sacks, his best total as a Redskin. Frank Kearse also got in on the act with a sack in his first action in the B&G, and Ryan Clark and Keenan Robinson rounded out the totals with 0.5 sacks each. Ten sacks. Outstanding. Stunning that Chris Baker didn’t get a sack too, because he spent most of the day in Jacksonville’s backfield and was unstoppable.

Washington’s defense also limited the Jags to just 148 all-purpose yards. Henne threw for 193 yards, and Jacksonville was stymied to just 25 yards on the ground. Add those totals up and you get 218 yards, but the ten sacks by Washington resulted in SEVENTY yards of losses, and the resulting paltry 148 total.

It was a dominant performance by the Redskins on both sides of the ball. Given the injuries they overcame, they showed some real grit.

Eagles up next. Big test for that grit.


The only negative to the game for Washington was injuries, and using the word “only” seems pale, given that reports on RGIII are anything from a dislocated ankle, to a broken ankle, to both. Regardless of what the injury ends up being, it will mean significant loss of the services of RGIII this season, if not the whole season. Desean Jackson hurt his shoulder. Roy Helu hurt his knee. Darrel Young was cheap shotted in the back of the head, and couldn’t return. Shawn Lauvao hurt his right leg. It was a mess of a day on the injury front. Luckily, other than Griffin, all of the guys were okay and will be day-to-day. Good news indeed.

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