Monday, September 24, 2012

Bengals Fly Past Redskins 38-31

Robert Griffin III, above, had 224 yards passing, 85 yards rushing, and 2 total touchdowns. (Photo:
For the third straight week, the Redskins offense put up 28 points or more. For the third straight week, the Redskins defense gave up 30 or more points. And for the second straight week, the Redskins lost.

It's defense, really. You can complain about the officiating all you want. But, it doesn't matter that Kyle Shanahan was called for a 20 yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty (which should have only been 15 yards) for keeping the game straight at the end while the Bengals as a team celebrated prematurely.

Simply put, the Redskins lost this game.

The offense came out flat to start the game and the defense got tricked on the first play from scrimmage. Receiver Mohamed Sanu lined up at quarterback and quarterback Andy Dalton lined up at receiver. Sanu than took the snap and receiver AJ Green scorched the Redskins secondary for a 73 yard touchdown reception from Sanu. Before thirty seconds could run off the clock, the Redskins were already down 7-0.

Not to worry, right? Surely Robert Griffin III and the rest of the offense would be able to comeback on the next drive. Wrong. The Redskins would be forced to punt after a short offense performance. On the bright side, Sav Rocca's punt was downed inside the Bengals own 5-yard line.

A few plays later, Rob Jackson, filling in for Brian Orakpo, intercepted a pass in the endzone for a pick-6 and the Redskins had tied the game.

But, for the second straight week, the Redskins secondary got torn apart by a young quarterback. Last week against the Rams it was the duo of Bradford-Amendola. This week, it was the combination of Dalton-Green that proved to be the Redskins demise.

I've always thought that Andy Dalton had the capabilities to have a big time game. I didn't think that he would surgically pick apart a defense like he did today.

Granted, though, the Redskins simply don't have the athletes in the secondary that can cover a receiver as good as Green or is counterpart Andrew Hawkins. Both had huge games today for the Bengals.

Andy Dalton had a field day against this secondary. He became the third quarterback this season to throw for over 300 yards and have 3 touchdown passes against the Redskins defense. Dalton was 19/27 with 328 yards and three touchdowns. His one blemish was the pick-six thrown to Rob Jackson early in the first quarter.

AJ Green and Andrew Hawkins both had big games against this weak secondary. Green had a career performance with nine receptions for 183 yards and one touchdown. Hawkins had 2 receptions for 66 yards and one touchdown. Not exactly a career day, but, he torched the secondary for a 59 yard touchdown reception in the fourth quarter.

Not everything about the Redskins defense was bad against the Bengals. They held the "Law Firm", running back Benjarvus Green-Ellis, to just 38 yards and held the Bengals as a team below 93 yards on the ground. Still, the secondary gave up 401 yards through the air.

Robert Griffin III and the Redskins offense gave it a good old college try in the second half. No seriously. We saw glimpses of the old Navy/Georgia Tech triple offense in a 14 point third quarter that tied the game at 24. Alfred Morris scored the half's opening touchdown and finished with 17 carries for 78 yards.

In the fourth quarter, the Redskins were once again driving and inside Bengal territory ready to score again. They decided to punt on a fourth and short when they had all the momentum built up in their favor. The Bengals then took that and scored on a 6-yard pass from Dalton to Jermain Gresham to go up 31-24 early in the fourth quarter.

Dalton then hooked up with Hawkins for a 59-yard touchdown dagger that all but sealed the game. The Redskins were able to score on a 2-yard touchdown run by Griffin. Griffin was the games leading rusher with 12 carries for 85 yards.

The Redskins final push for a tie ended in controversy when the Bengals team ran on the field and celebrated prematurely. Redskins offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan was then penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct after yelling at the officials. The game ended after the Redskins failed to convert a third and fifty (50) with seven seconds left.

All-in-all, it was the Redskins secondary that let them down today (again). Giving up 400 yards through the air will never win you a football game. The defensive front seven can dial up as much pressure as they want, but if the secondary can't keep up, it will all be in vain.

One positive thing that came out of today was again the Redskins ability to utilize the strengths of Robert Griffin III. They had him moving around the pocket, running the option, and running quarterback draws. Also, tight end Fred Davis finally had a big game. Davis had seven receptions for 90 yards. Santana Moss caught the Redskins only touchdown pass.

The Redskins have a lot of work to do in order to be ready for this weekends game against the Buccaneers. The offense will be fine (you should be able to score around 30 points each game and win). But, the defensive secondary will need to figure out a way to stop this weeks challenge: Vincent Jackson and Josh Freeman.

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