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3-and-out: Redskins-Colts post game quick hits

September 16, 2018 - 6:25 pm
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106.7 The Fan Redskins beat reporter Craig Hoffman was in the press box at FedExField as the Washington Redskins took on the Indianapolis Colts in Week 2 of the season. He combined his observations with post-game interviews to write his top-three takeaways from this week in football:

The Redskins organization worked hard to create hype around the home opener. There were new videos. There were new player intros. There was even a new sports bar in the west end zone. There was also a familiar feeling of a dud at home. The Redskins failed in many ways Sunday on their way to 1-1.

  1. The Redskins game plan was actually very much what we thought it would be. Washington wanted to win with big plays, thinking that the offensive line was going to hold up easily and the Colts secondary was both inexperienced and not good.

    That plan failed, thanks in large parts to a hungry Colts team that played really well. With that said, the Redskins failures were fundamental. They could not block. They could not throw. They could not catch.

    There are no good plays to overcome those things, and it led to Jay Gruden struggling as a playcaller, too. “If we had to do to all over again, we’d have been [less] ambitious with some of our deep game and more geared towards moving the ball and getting the ball out of our hands and let the playmakers do their thing,” Gruden said after the game. “As it turned out, we failed.”
     
  2. I don’t put this on Gruden, though. There were opportunities for Alex Smith to push the ball down the field and he missed those opportunities. If the game plan is going to be to push the ball down the field, the quarterback has to hit the opportunities when they come. That means both making the proper reads and making the throws when he does. Smith seemed to miss some open receivers, not necessarily for go balls, but for some solid chunks. Some of the throws were going to be in tight windows. That’s the NFL.

    I walked off the podium with Gruden and asked him to expand on the changes he wishes he would have made. Specifically, would it have included more of the slants and quick game that helped the Redskins move the ball in the second half. He said that’s exactly what he wishes they would have done. While that strategy still produced no touchdowns, more opportunities would have allowed more chances for the dam to break. The third quarter also saw Washington’s best looks in the running game. It’s fair to think that consistency with that game plan could have led to more scoring. That’s all hypothetical though. It didn’t happen. They never found the end zone.
     
  3. The defense was actually good, overall, but was poor situationally. The Colts only had 180 total yards. Andrew Luck threw two interceptions to D.J. Swearinger. Yet, they couldn’t get stops when they needed to. “They just hit us on certain things when it counted,” linebacker Mason Foster said after. “We need to play at a higher level than that and make the plays when it counts in those crucial situations. Jay stresses it all the time about situational football, so when it comes down to those plays we need to stand up and make them.”

    Foster is dead on. Their game plan was good. Their execution was good for long, long stretches. The defense did enough to give the offense a chance, though the last drive was a backbreaker. The Redskins got hit repeatedly with pick plays, including the final touchdown to T.Y. Hilton. “We have to do a lot better job at getting on different levels possibly, and not getting picked,” Gruden said. “On my part, that should have been called, but you know, that’s pro football, and if you’re going to play a lot of man-to-man, you have to expect some pick plays and we did not do a very good job at passing those off or switching them in and out.”

    Gruden is correct at some of the calls, but some were done very well by Indianapolis. Their receivers ran legitimate enough routes to be safe. They also made contact within a yard of the line of scrimmage, making some of the picks legal. The Redskins were slow and ineffective communicating and it cost them.

Stat of the day: Chris Thompson had 13 receptions in 14 targets on Sunday, with the only miss coming on the game’s final offensive play. Thompson’s 13 catches are second-most in team history behind a 14 catch performance by Roy Helu in 2011. That game was against the 49ers, quarterbacked by Alex Smith.

Quote of the day: "We had no chemistry at all today. And it’s myself as a playcaller, really, it’s my fault. I couldn’t get in a rhythm calling plays. The inside zone wasn’t working, the outside zone wasn’t working, our read options weren’t working very well. We became one dimensional. And our play passes? We got sacked on two play passes for goodness sake."

The first part of this quote is dead on. They had no chemistry. And thus, they lost.

 

Follow Redskins reporter Craig Hoffman and 106.7 The Fan