Through most of the first half, the Redskins dictated the game. Let’s take a look at what went right on a few big plays and what went awry for Washington.
Highlight: Alfred Morris plunges into the end zone from one yard out to score the Redskins’ first opening drive touchdown of the season.
What went right: In football parlance, this is called putting a hat on a hat. Washington lines up in a power running formation with an extra tackle, a tight end, an H-back and a fullback. Right guard Chris Chester pulls to his left, and the left side of the line blocks down right to compensate. Trent Williams moves Cullen Jenkins out of position. Logan Paulsen occupies Mathias Kiwanuka, and Chester comes across the line to chip in. Tom Compton gets to the next level, taking out linebacker Jon Beason. Morris cuts into the gap created by Williams, Chester and Paulsen and dives across the goal line.
Highlight: Robert Griffin III completes a 19-yard touchdown pass to tight end Logan Paulsen.
What went right: The play call. The Redskins trot out a spread look with an empty backfield and three wide receivers. Roy Helu Jr. and Paulsen are split out wide as well. Paulsen lines up in the slot and runs a seam route up the middle of the field, splitting two defenders who are eyeing Joshua Morgan underneath. Pierre Garcon’s deep out route holds safety Antrel Rolle just long enough to open a window for Paulsen, and Griffin III delivers a perfect ball high enough to travel over the linebackers but low enough to reach Paulsen before the safety arrives. The tight end makes the catch, turns around and absorbs a hit from Rolle at the 1-yard line.
Highlight: With the game tied, 14-14, Brandon Meriweather intercepts a tipped pass at midfield and returns it to the 12-yard line. The Giants show blitz, but drop back into a cover-two look.
What went right: First of all, the Redskins generate pressure with a four-man rush. Brian Orakpo takes a speed rush and uses a rip move to get around the edge while Barry Cofield pushes his man into Eli Manning’s face. Manning rushes the throw. After the game, he said he did not step into it well. Brandon Meriweather is playing a deep zone, covering centerfield and reading the quarterback. David Amerson shadows Reuben Randle in the slot, tipping the ball up. Meriweather doesn’t get overzealous. He lets the ball come to him and wastes no time returning it. Josh Wilson, Bacarri Rambo and Barry Cofield set up blocks for a 32-yard return.
Low point: Justin Tuck put on the pressure, recording four sacks in the second half to more than double his season total.
What went awry: Matchups and Miscommunication. Tuck is a hybrid defensive linemen, a defensive end big and powerful enough to play inside but quick enough to play on the edge. Tuck won a one-on-one matchup against a guard for his first sack and chased down Robert Griffin III from behind for his second sack, one I’ll chalk up to the Giants coverage forcing the quarterback to hold onto the ball longer than he would like. Inside pressure prohibited Griffin III from stepping up in the pocket, so he ran outside. Tuck had been washed out by Tyler Polumbus, but made the effort play with a good angle on Griffin III. The quarterback does a nice job of hugging the football tight to defend it from a tackler he can’t see.
On Tuck’s third sack, Griffin III has more of a pocket to work with. But about four seconds after the snap, he still hasn’t found a receiver. Mathias Kiwanuka’s outside pressure forces the quarterback to run forward. Tuck plays with good extension, meaning he leverages long arms on his 6-5 frame to maintain separation from blockers. With active hands, good technique and patience, he’s able to shed the blocker when Griffin III is close.
Tuck’s fourth sack was a result of miscommunication on the offensive line or another issue with the blocking scheme. Tuck lines up in a five technique on the outside earhole of the tackle. Tyler Polumbus kick slides back and to the right, while Tuck shoots the gap across his face and rushes inside unblocked. Polumbus is looking to block a blitzer on the outside. Guard Chris Chester pulls on the play-action fake. The way Polumbus sticks out his left arm to help makes me believe he expects Chester to stay put. The prevailing rule in blocking the blitz is pick up the inside man first so the free man has the longest path to the quarterback.
Lowpoint: Andre Brown runs for a 23-yard touchdown.
What went awry: The Giants offensive line makes all the blocks. New York sets up in a running formation with two receivers, a tight end and a fullback. Right guard David Diehl pulls outside of the tackle, giving Brown two lead blockers along with fullback John Conner. Safety Reed Doughty blows up the fullback, which should muck up the play, but Diehl has already reached a linebacker and Brown is far enough behind to avoid the pile up. Center Dallas Reynolds gets off the double team to cut the backside linebacker. Victor Cruz puts enough of a block on DeAngelo Hall to keep the corner from making the play. Brown sprints into the end zone.
Tags: Alfred Morris, Brandon Meriweather, giants, logan paulsen, redskins, what went awry, What went right
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