Redskins Vs. 49ers: The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly

By Kelso Carpenter

I think I’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who honestly thought the Redskins had a legitimate chance to beat the 49ers yesterday.  Washington’s many issues are obvious to anyone who knows anything about football, and Jim Harbaugh has his team playing the best football they’ve played in almost two decades.

And sure, a 19-11 score doesn’t seem too terrible at first glance, but if you watched the game, you know that this Redskins team is in some serious trouble.


The Good:

Well, at least we have a couple things here.  Graham Gano drilled a 59 yard field goal at the end of the first half, setting a Redskins record for longest field goal in team history.  It’s also in a tie for the tenth longest field goal in NFL history.

– Roy Helu.  I know, I know.  The fact that he caught a ton of passes (another Redskins record) is a result of the offense being boring and unproductive, and he did have a bad fumble, but you’ve got to be happy for the rookie.  He ended up with 14 catches for 104 yards and 10 carries 41 yards.  The previous record was held by Art Monk, but his stat line looked a little better:  13 catches, 230 yards.

– Ryan Kerrigan continues to have a pretty impressive rookie season.  He had a sack and six tackles (two for a loss).

– The offensive line, including rookie left guard Maurice Hurt, actually played pretty well yesterday, especially compared to last week’s ten sack performance against the Bills.

– Punter Sav Rocca is the mid-season Redskins MVP.  Seriously.  That statement tells the entire story.

The Bad:

Once again, Mike Shanahan and the Redskins seemed to be out-coached in every aspect of the game.  No adjustments were made.  Clock management was poor, and there seemed to be a lack of discipline across the board.

– Brandon Banks muffed another kick and hasn’t had a return longer than 35 yards all season.  Whatever magic he had last season appears to be gone.  It’s time to cut bait and use his roster spot to help the team.  Niles Paul or Terrence Austin could be just as effective if not more in the return game.

– Rocky McIntosh needs to be benched.  He continues to miss tackles and play his way out of position.  He also gave up the long touchdown to the freaking fullback, Bruce Miller.  Keyaron Fox was a beast on special teams all day and looks like he’s ready to contribute on defense.

– The defense, although holding the 49ers to 19 points and keeping the Redskins in the game, again got gashed in the running game (138 yards) and they had a hard time stopping Alex Smith and the offense .  Granted, John Beck and the Redskins offense couldn’t sustain a drive to save their life which kept the defense from getting fully rested, but something’s wrong.  Stephen Bowen, Barry Cofield, and Adam Carriker combined for five tackles.  And Smith, the former number-one-overall pick who was almost out of the league a couple of years ago, looked like a perennial Probowler.

– Where was Ryan Torain?  I know you’re playing a good defense and your game-plan was clearly to utilize the speed and quickness of Helu, but come on, one carry?  Mix it up a little bit, guys.

The Ugly:

It has now become painfully obvious why both the Dolphins and Ravens had no problem letting John Beck leave.  He’s not an NFL quarterback.  He’s incredibly shaky and uncomfortable in the pocket.  He doesn’t see the field, and he’s inaccurate.  It also appears that he possesses almost zero leadership skills, and worse, I don’t think his teammates respect or even like him.

Just looking at Beck’s stat line (30/47, 254 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT), you’d think “Okay, not terrible, but not great either.”   But the true ineptness of his performance goes much deeper than stats alone.  His yards per attempt was 5.4.  Smith’s was 8.3.  Beck completely ignored any pass play longer than ten yards.  Sure, he and Helu broke a record together, but it was because he was too scared to throw it anywhere else but the flat.

Even on the rare occasions when he did throw the ball further than three yards, he was inaccurate.  The ball was consistently either too far out in front or behind the receivers.

His “mobility advantage” over Grossman has been grossly overstated as well.  Sure, he could probably easily beat him in 40-yard dash, but it doesn’t translate to the game on the field.  All I see is happy feet and indecision.

The worst thing about yesterday’s game was that Beck was able to orchestrate a late-game drive against the conservative, prevent defense of the 49ers and throw a meaningless touchdown.  Again, even that late in the game, in a hurry-up offense, all the throws were short and underneath.  Even still, it was probably enough for Mike Shanahan to give him at least one more week’s worth of a leash.  Not that Rex Grossman makes a ton of difference, but his experience, leadership, and gutsy-ness give the Redskins a far, far better chance to win.

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