Despite the Redskins best efforts to blow an easy game, they took home a very hard-fought 25-17 victory from the jaws of defeat. While I'm not at all thrilled with our inability to dominate a team that we should have, I am extremely happy to be 6-2 headed into the Monday Nighter against Pittsburgh. Some costly mistakes and some unfortunate injuries kept this game close into the 4th quarter, but I'm not ready to sound the alarm that we're an overrated team. I think we all learned how invaluable Chris Samuels, Chris Horton, and Cornelius Griffin really are to this team. While Cedric Golston had a strong outing, Griffin's presence in the middle was sorely missed and would have spelled big trouble if we hadn't dominated time of possessions so well. Secondly, you didn't have the extra man in Horton flying to the ball after every play. His ball hawking skills have really made a huge difference in his rookie campaign.
Stephon Heyer is easily the biggest cause for concern in terms of injuries. Heyer was dominated on the line of scrimmage, and looked lost and slow on the left side. If Samuels goes down for any prolonged amount of time, this offense could be in serious trouble against the tremendous pass rushers of the NFC East. The other big concerns have to be Jon Jansen's untimely penalties, and a continued concerted effort to keep Rock Cartwright at the bottom of the depth chart. Shaun Alexander does not run hard, and fails to show why he is any more serviceable than Rock. Once Betts is 100%, I'll feel much better. Seeing Portis go down at the end of that 31-yard run was scary.
On the lighter side, Santana Moss showed up in a big way. Campbell not only found him nine times for 140 yards, but also managed to get the ball to Cooley (6 catches) and Randle El (3 catches). Campbell was extremely accurate from deep balls to check downs, and we should all be encouraged by the second half effort. Based on today's performance, teams will not be able to key off on Portis as much, knowing that Moss remains a viable threat downfield. Helmet stickers on defense go to London Fletcher (sick hit on Johnson to seal the game), Carlos Rogers (holding Johnson to 4 catches), and Rocky McIntosh (for several nice open field tackles and nice pass coverage).
Looking forward, this win is huge, but next week will be a huge boost if we can pull off a win. Hopefully that extra rest for our starters will have us ready for the brutally physical game we'll have to play next week in order to beat the Steelers. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.