Monday night marked the end of a very upside down Week 2 in the NFL. Just ask Vegas. Who would have bet that the Seattle Seahawks, the Philadelphia Eagles and the New York Giants would be 0-2 while the New York Jets and the Atlanta Falcons would be 2-0? Shockingly — and not in unremarkable fashion — the Washington Redskins did not make that list.
The Redskins may have lost 17-10 to the Dolphins in week one. But only the most cynical observer would ignore the noticeable improvement on both sides of the ball and the glimmer of potential in the stats. [Maybe list the time of possession, running yards, minimal sacks, etc.] Outside of one (super painful!) punt return TD, it looked like Coach Gruden’s boys had put in some serious work.
Sunday’s game against the St. Louis Rams showed that the Redskins’ hard work and determination is starting to pay off.
This does not look like the same offensive line that guarded Robert Griffin III so poorly against the Detroit Lions in the preseason. What a difference a quarterback can make! Kirk Cousins – who went 23 for 27 for 203 yards with 1 touchdown and 0 interceptions – had a solid performance in Washington’s 24-10 victory over the St. Louis Rams. Matt Jones’ contribution to this offense cannot be overlooked. The rookie was just the guy to slink his way through the Rams defense. Having Jones as a supporting cast to Alfred Morris’ usual leading role, adds double the intimidation to the Redskins’ rushing game. While the deep threat no longer exists without DeSean Jackson, Ryan Grant and Pierre Garcon are keeping the pass game alive, and because they could spread the Rams’ defense thin, Jordan Reed was able to pull in 6 receptions for 82 yards.
From Cousins’ time management to the nearly impenetrable offensive line, things seem to be clicking in Washington’s offense. It’s not that all of the problems are solved (the old Redskins seem to keep showing up and doing nothing in the 3rd quarter, for example), but for now, there is hope to be had in Bill Callahan’s offense.
Another concrete performance for the self-proclaimed group called Capital Punishment. The group named affectionately by new addition, Terrance Knighton (aka Pot Roast), who showed up to FedEx Stadium in custom Nationals jerseys, have only allowed 20 points in the last 2 games. The combination of camaraderie and success appears to be a good recipe for this defense. Even the secondary, which stalled throughout the preseason due to injuries, seems to be putting pressure on the backfield. The Redskins are not done shaking things up. The team cut CB David Amerson on Monday.
When the team announced that they were to release kicker, Kai Forbath, after a mediocre performance, were you really that surprised? Kickers are the most interchangeable position in the NFL. What was unexpected was the decision to bring in kicker Dustin Hopkins, newly released by the New Orleans Saints. A kicker drafted in 2013 but who had yet to kick one ball in the NFL regular season was a curious decision. My doubts were not only appeased, they were silenced after his first kick return ended up in the stands.
Not to mention, special teams did not end up give up a touchdown on a punt return. So that was good, too. *whew*
Wouldn’t it be nice to enjoy this win for more than, say, three days? But no such luck. The Redskins now face a pivotal game – the first division game of the season – on Thursday night. Against the New York Giants. In the Meadowlands. The Giants are coming off of two difficult losses and have something to prove. If the burgundy and gold offense can sustain momentum early on in the game without the 3rd quarter hiccup we saw the last two Sundays, if the defense can stop the ball on the ground, if the secondary can shut down Odell Beckham Jr. – if all of these “ifs” happen to be executed, the Redskins should have no problem walking away with a 2-1 record for Week 3.
Erin Eley volunteered to cover the Alexandria Sportsman’s Club for Old Town Post to support a great organization and give back to our community. Erin is passionate about the Redskins and all things sports. She is a freelance writer that covers professional sports. The opinions expressed in this post are that of Erin Eley and not Old Town Post. For more of Erin’s sports musings you can follow her at @DblE on Twitter.