Five Reasons Why the Washington Redskins Beat the Baltimore Ravens
Robert Griffin III Injured, Leaves Game as Redskins win fourth straight
The Washington Redskins were riding the wave of a three game winning streak to bring their record to 6-6. They looked to turn their newfound momentum into a four game winning streak against one of the better teams in the NFL, the Baltimore Ravens.
On a rainy day at Fed Ex Field in suburban Washington, D.C. the Redskins put forth a valiant effort against the Ravens. Washington showed resiliency against the perennial AFC powerhouse Baltimore Ravens. Washington's superstar quarterback Robert Griffin III injured his right knee on a scramble in the fourth quarter. He did not return to the game.
The Redskins won in thrilling fashion, 31-28 in overtime. Now riding the momentum of an improbable four game winning streak, Washington must carry that momentum into their next game on the road against the Cleveland Browns. At the time of this writing, the status of Redskins’ quarterback Griffin III is unknown. If Washington wants to feel they have a chance at the playoffs, their superstar rookie quarterback must return to action.
As for the Ravens, the loss prevented them from clinching an AFC playoff spot. However, they are still in a good position for a playoff spot. Baltimore’s main competition in the AFC North, the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cincinnati Bengals, lost at home to the San Diego Chargers and Dallas Cowboys, respectively. These results guarantee an interesting finish to close out the 2012 NFL season.
But I digress. Washington kept their playoff hopes alive with a resilient win over their beltway neighbors to the north. So, without further ado, here are five reasons why the Washington Redskins beat the Baltimore Ravens:
Washington sustains their offensive momentum.
The Ravens were playing without two of their best defensive players in linebackers Ray Lewis and Terrell Suggs. The Redskins have lost three defensive starters to season ending injuries in linebacker Brian Orakpo, defensive end Adam Carriker, and strong safety Brandon Meriweather. Therefore, Baltimore shouldn’t expect any sympathy from their southern beltway neighbors.
Griffin III and running back Alfred Morris (above) were efficient while moving the offense, although Morris lost a fumble for the second consecutive week. They put Washington in position to score, a situation that was impossible to imagine before Griffin III and Morris joined the Redskins. Nevertheless, their efforts are one of the reasons the Redskins emerged victorious.
The Redskins’ Jekyll and Hyde defense.
Baltimore quarterback Joe Flacco has not been spectacular of late. However, he was facing a Washington defense that ranked 31st against the pass coming into this game. In addition, he had talented running back Ray Rice, as well as big play receivers Anquan Boldin and Torrey Smith to support the Ravens' offense. Flacco threw three touchdown passes in the first half to stake Baltimore to an early lead.
Washington’s defense gave up a couple of big plays to Rice and Boldin. However, the defense kept the game close, thanks to an interception and fumble recovery recorded by Redskins’ linebackers London Fletcher and Rob Jackson. Causing turnovers stop opponents’ offensive drives, and this is another reason why Washington earned the win.
Richard Crawford excels in punt return duties.
Washington head coach Mike Shanahan decided to deactivate punt returner Brandon Banks for the Ravens’ game. As many astute Redskins’ fans may remember, Shanahan wasn’t too thrilled with having Banks on the roster as mostly a kick returner. Banks’ hip injury gave Shanahan a convenient reason to deactivate the diminutive kick returner.
Shanahan decided to assign punt return duties to rookie cornerback Richard Crawford, who didn’t disappoint. Although it was his first NFL game returning punts, Crawford emerged as one of the heroes for the Redskins. He averaged 33 yards per return, and his 64 yard punt return in overtime provided the opportunity for Washington to score the winning points in overtime.
Kai Forbath continues to provide clarity as the Redskins’ placekicker.
The Redskins’ early placekicking issues have been long forgotten. It appears they’ve found their man in first year kicker Kai Forbath. While his 34 yard kick in overtime gave Washington the victory, Forbath proved his mettle earlier in the contest.
Baltimore had a little momentum with a seven point lead. While Washington was able to move the ball, there were times when their offense stalled. Forbath was called upon twice to attempt field goals of over 40 yards. He connected on both attempts, keeping the game close for Washington.
All any team can ask for is a chance to win games. Forbath provided that chance with his clutch kicking, which is another reason the Washington Redskins beat the Baltimore Ravens.
The Washington Redskins’ personnel decisions.
More than a few eyebrows were raised when Washington general manager Bruce Allen selected quarterback Kirk Cousins (above) in the second round of the 2012 NFL draft. Redskins’ fans had to wonder why Washington would select another quarterback when Griffin III was going to be the guy leading the team for the next decade.
As it turns out, Griffin III’s playing style leaves him open to injury. Therefore, a functional backup had to be found as insurance. In the two games he has appeared in, Cousins threw two touchdown passes. There was none bigger than Cousins connecting with wide receiver Pierre Garcon late in the game. Cousins added the two point conversion with a run from scrimmage, sending the game into overtime.
While absolutely no one thinks Cousins will supplant Griffin III as Washington’s starting quarterback (barring injury, of course), he provided efficiency at the position when called upon. Cousins’ play in relief of Griffin III is the fifth reason why the Washington Redskins defeated the Baltimore Ravens.