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Five Thoughts: Ravens

Is it me or are the Washington Redskins actually starting to turn into a resilient football team? I’m not saying that they can overcome all odds or anything – but they proved on Sunday that they could overcome some pretty big ones. When Robert Griffin III went out with a right knee injury in the waning moments of the game, the ‘other rookie quarterback’ came in and polished off the come from behind 31-28 overtime win. Who’d have thunk it?

Here are five thoughts on the game:

1) Kirk Cousins – Take a bow son, that was categorically poise under pressure. Not only did he hang in the pocket and pillow a beautiful pass to Pierre Garcon for the touchdown, but he looked like he was going to score on the two-point conversion, by hook or by crook. Sure he didn’t have to do a lot, but he didn’t make any mistakes and he led his team to victory – that’s about as much as you can ask for. From a rookie quarterback tossed into the final minutes of a game, it’s more than you can expect.

2) Kyle Shanahan – Calling the ‘RG3 Goalline QB Draw’ play on the two-point Kyle? Cheeky. And Brilliant. I didn’t scream at my TV much about calls at all, and our offense bossed a pretty darn good defense for much of the game, so given my willingness to throw mud when he doesn’t call a good game – I have to give credit where it’s due – Kyle called a great game. He actually does so more often than not lately – save for a couple of seemingly brain fart type moments. He has molded this offense into one that defenses are struggling to handle – what else can you ask for? Expect a contract extension soon, because he’s established that he can be deadly with his offense, and with RGIII running it.

3) Alfred Morris – Continues to be… unstoppable; unfortunately, he also put the ball on the ground again. I hate having to even put that asterisk on an otherwise fantastic performance, but it cost the Redskins 7 points – it certainly bears mentioning. Still, Morris might be the only person that can stop Morris right now, because he continues to run over would-be defenders, and smash out record rookie yardage. He hung 122 yards on a pretty good defense on his 23 carries, and posted his 7th touchdown of his inaugural campaign. It was his third 100-yard rushing game in a row, and his sixth of the season, to bring his total to 1228 yards and a bruising 4.9 yard average. It’s criminal that he’s only  the ‘second best rookie’ on this team, but I’m pretty sure that Alfred can handle the slot designation.

4) Richard Crawford – Enjoy the new digs rookie, you can keep the job! Brandon Banks was de-activated against the Ravens, and my guess is that his days in Washington are done. Crawford peeled off a 64-yard punt return to set up the game winning overtime field goal, and that, and that alone is enough to unseat Banks as it’s more than Banks has done all season. Grant Paulsen summed it up well in a tweet:

5) Offensive Line – Left to right, top to bottom, this unit continues to be the surprise of the season for me. I can’t write some of the things that I would like to write, because I believe in mojos, and I certainly don’t want to mojo the line right now. Trent Williams is hurt? Ask the guy lined up across from him if he’s playing hurt. Solid leadership. Tyler Polumbus has shaken off a couple of bad outings to put together a couple of much better efforts. Kory Lichtensteiger has come back from injury steadily and productively, and put together a solid season. Will Montgomery has picked up here he left off last season, and continues to be a steadying influence for the entire unit.

Chris Chester? Him I have a little more to say about… because nobody ever seems to say anything about him. Do you know how great it is when you NEVER hear your guard’s name in a game? Steady going forwards and going backwards, he has been great against the run and pass, and has put together what I think is a season worth mentioning, and he has been exceptionally sound of late. I checked out Stats.com because they keep excellent offensive line stats if you’re ever looking. Here is what I found:

LT: Trent Williams – 5 Penalties (3 False Start, 2 Holding) – 4 Sacks Allowed
LG: Kory Lichtensteiger – 8 Penalties (4 False Start, 3 Holding) – 2.5 Sacks Allowed
C: Will Montgomery – 2 Penalties (2 False Start, 0 Holding) – 1 Sack Allowed
RG: Chris Chester – 2 Penalties (2 False Start, 0 Holding) – 1.25 Sacks Allowed
RT: Tyler Polumbus – 2 Penalties (0 False Start, 0 Holding) – 3.75 Sacks Allowed

All of the numbers are really good actually, but for me Chester’s stand out most because of his complete lack of press and acknowledgment. Just two false starts on the season, no holding penalties and only 1.25 sacks allowed? That bears mentioning. I hope I keep not hearing Chris’ name for the remainder of the season – I will know that he’s still playing really well.

It’s hard to put into words what being over .500 feels like so late in the season for this emotional fan. It took a lot of grit and effort for this team to get to this point – you have to believe that they have even more in them. Tough test for them against the Cleveland Browns next – they’re easy to look past, but at 5-3 in their last 8 games, the Redskins better not listen to too much press about their resurgence.

They still have a mountain of work left to do.

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One Response to “Five Thoughts: Ravens”

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