Here is my report card on some players, coaches, and various other aspects of the Redskins’ 42-24 win over the Packers.
If you think I’m off or if I didn’t issue a grade where you think one is needed, hit the comments.
The fourth-down call alone would warrant the top grade for Jay Gruden. If the Redskins go on to make the playoffs it will go down in team lore. The call was a highly calculated gamble that took into account the score, the wind, how well Aaron Rodgers had been moving the team, and the play of the Redskins’ offensive line.
If I must explain this grade for Kirk Cousins to you, well, go take off your No. 10 jersey and actually watch the game.
For a while it was looking like Rob Kelley was going to have his first dud game as a starter as he got tackled for losses a few times. But he ended up with three TDs on his ledger and the clinching 66-yard run. As Gruden said, it’s going to be very hard to unseat him from the starting role. He does need to improve his hands when it comes to receiving but he gets a pass on that for now.
If you get over 100 yards receiving and score on a long touchdown pass like Pierre Garçon and Jamison Crowder both did, you get an A.
I had to look for a reason to downgrade Sean McVay’s play calling on offense because I’m handing out a lot of A’s. They averaged 8.3 yards per play and scored six touchdowns and a field goal on their last eight possessions (excluding the last series of kneel down plays) so it was hard. But I didn’t like the calls on either of the two-point conversion tries. It’s essentially a fourth and two play, throw the ball. It turned out to be a footnote but the misses could have been critical.
Rookie Su’a Cravens was his normal active self with a tackle for loss and a pass batted down. The facemask penalty could have been very costly had the Jordy Nelson “touchdown” been negated on replay.
As a whole, the defense played pretty well. They gave up 24 points to the Packers, about what the Packers average on the year. It’s also a point above the league average per team per game. When they really needed a takeaway, Josh Norman got it. In all they had two sacks, the fumble recovery, and an interception. In all, a good effort.
The Redskins’ strong safeties, Donte Whitner and Duke Ihenacho, both got burned on deep passes to tight ends. On both plays the tight end got behind them and the safety couldn’t catch up. Whitner did lead the team in tackles with 10 so the strong safety position didn’t get downgraded too far.
The officiating crew of John Hussey didn’t do a bad job overall but that touchdown “catch” by Jordy Nelson was just an awful call. What was worse was there were perfectly clear replay angles to provide evidence one way or the other but Hussey copped out with “the play stands”. Come on, man.
Preston Smith did not follow up on his big game against the Vikings. He was quiet, with two tackles. We will have to see if his game last week was a breakout or a blip.