STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
Inside Slant | Notes, Quotes | Strategy and Personnel |
OLB Trent Murphy broke his right hand during the first quarter of Saturday's victory over Philadelphia and is doubtful to play in Sunday's season finale against Dallas.
T Trent Williams aggravated his right shoulder injury during the fourth quarter that had sidelined him during the previous week's loss to the New York Giants but he returned to the game.
DE Kedric Golston sprained his left shoulder during the second quarter but he returned to the game.
C Kory Lichtensteiger suffered a stinger during the third quarter but he returned to the game.
S Ryan Clark aggravated an ankle injury against the Eagles but he returned to the game.
ILB Keenan Robinson was inactive for a third straight game after spraining an MCL in Week 13 at Indianapolis.
DE Jason Hatcher was inactive for a second straight game with a sprained right knee.
RB Roy Helu was inactive for a second straight game after spraining his left big toe against the Rams in Week 14.
OLB Gabe Miller was inactive against the Eagles after spraining his left ankle against the Giants.
REPORT CARD VS. EAGLES
PASSING OFFENSE: C Robert Griffin III has had much more electrifying games, but the quarterback did display fine touch on the completions of 51 and 55 yards to receiver DeSean Jackson that set up touchdowns and he made a smart choice on his short pass to Pierre Garcon that the receiver turned into a 23-yard gain to jump-start Washington's game-winning drive. Griffin completed 13 of his other 20 attempts but for just 91 yards as he continues to take baby steps in becoming a passer not an athlete. Third receiver Andre Roberts couldn't hold a nicely thrown deep ball from Griffin on third-and-19 but he did snag a 14-yard catch that put the Redskins in the red zone before Kai Forbath's field goal that opened the scoring. The blockers, who had been like a sieve in recent weeks, allowed two sacks in 25 dropbacks. One came against left tackle Trent Williams, who was basically playing one-armed since he came in with a badly strained right shoulder, an injury that worsened during the game. Jordan Reed's two catches for just five yards gave the usually more productive tight end eight receptions for only 43 yards the last three weeks.
RUSHING OFFENSE: C Alfred Morris gained seven yards on his first carry but just two more on his next four attempts before he motored down the Washington sideline for the 28-yard touchdown just before the end of the first quarter. Morris also carried four times for 12 yards after Garcon's big catch to put Forbath in position for the game-winning 26-yard kick. Fullback Darrel Young scored on a pair of 1-yard touchdown runs. Griffin gained just 11 yards on five scrambles. The blocking was OK, especially considering that at times, right tackle Tom Compton was at left tackle and right guard Chris Chester was at center because Williams and Kory Lichtensteiger (stinger) were hurt, forcing Tyler Polumbus and rookie Spencer Long into the action.
PASS DEFENSE: D Mark Sanchez isn't going to be enshrined in Canton, but he completed 37 of 48 attempts for 374 yards and two touchdowns against Washington's beleaguered pass defense before rookie cornerback Bashaud Breeland beat Eagles receiver Jeremy Maclin to the quarterback's last non-Hail Mary throw for the interception that set up Forbath's game-winner. The Redskins had no answers for Eagles tight end Zach Ertz, who set a Philadelphia record with 15 catches (for 115 yards). Cornerbacks David Amerson and E.J. Biggers were each beaten for touchdowns by Riley Cooper whose fellow receivers Maclin and Jordan Matthews each had grabs of at least 22 yards. Running backs LeSean McCoy and Darren Sproles left Washington defenders grasping at air on 18-yard catch-and-runs. Ryan Kerrigan raised his career-high sacks total to 13.5 while fellow linebackers Jackson Jeffcoat and Trevardo Williams, pressed into service because of injuries to Keenan Robinson, Gabe Miller and, against the Eagles, Trent Murphy, each recorded his first.
RUSH DEFENSE: C McCoy and Sproles dipsy-doodled their way to 112 yards and a touchdown (by the former) on 26 carries and the usually slow Sanchez ran five times for 22 yards. However, safety Ryan Clark rose up at 35 with 15 tackles, the same number credited to Will Compton, filling in for the ailing Robinson. Clark and Compton each left the game briefly when shaken up as did reserve end Kedric Golston and Breeland. Inside linebacker Perry Riley was credited with a dozen tackles. Phillip Thomas, starting for injured safety Brandon Meriweather, was effective against the run. Right end Stephen Bowen stopped McCoy cold on third-and-1, forcing a field-goal try that missed.
A- Forbath hit field-goal tries of 25 and 26 yards, the latter the game-winner that improved him to 23-of-26 this year. Only three of his five deep kickoffs were touchbacks, but Washington's coverage team fared well on kickoffs and punts, the latter against the dangerous Sproles. However, Forbath's squib attempt with five seconds left was corralled by Philadelphia at midfield allowing the Eagles a Hail Mary to win that failed. Punter Tress Way had another excellent day, averaging 44.3 gross and 41.0 net whole placing all three of his punts inside the 20. Roberts didn't return either of the two balls punted his way, but he did have a 42-yard kickoff return after three poor ones.
A- The Redskins had clinched last place in the NFC East with the previous week's loss at the Giants, their seventh straight. Seemingly half the crowd at FedEx Field was wearing Eagles green. Philadelphia needed the game to stay in the playoff race. Washington had lost three more defensive starters end Jason Hatcher, inside linebacker Keenan Robinson and safety Brandon Meriweather to possible season-ending injuries. And yet, first-year coach Jay Gruden and his staff kept things together even when the Eagles twice grabbed leads and when they tied the game after trailing 24-14 early in the fourth quarter as the Redskins pulled off the 27-24 upset, Play-caller Gruden stuck with the run for a change, Ben Kotwica's special teams units got the job done and coordinator Jim Haslett's struggling defense forced the critical turnover with 91 seconds remaining.