With the Washington Redskins down by 10 in the fourth quarter, it looked like Mike Shanahan was going into unchartered territory with a seventh straight defeat. Tarvaris Jackson had just thrown a strike of a touchdown, and made it 17 unanswered points to further rub in the woes of a Washington team that had been unable to turndominance into points.
But then something happened. Working off a slightly shorter field because of a Golden Tate penalty after his touchdown grab, the as ever inconsistent Rex Grossman marched his team down the field with four consecutive completions, before a gutsy call to run the ball on third down resulted in a highlight reel touchdown run by Roy Helu that swung the momentum in the Redskins favor. They would never surrender it.
Seattle never recovered from that drive, and once Anthony Armstrong had pulled in a Grossman deep bomb, they never looked like moving the ball on a Redskins defense that could smell the vulnerability. A deserved victory for Washington, and a defeat for Seattle that goes only to show how limited they are with an injured Jackson at quarterback, and how much work they have to do if they want to get back to the top of the NFC West. Let’s look at some of the most notable performances.
Washington – Three Performances of Note
As the 4th overall pick of the 2010 NFL draft, it’s safe to say a lot is expected out of Trent Williams (+5.3). At the same time it’s safe to say he hasn’t exactly lived up to those lofty goals just yet. In recent weeks we’ve seen plenty of average performances from Williams mixed in with the occasion sloppy game, but his performance against Seattle earned him the highest grade he’s received in his career. Coming into the game you figured Chris Clemons may have some joy against him, but Williams responded with his second perfect game in pass protection, and followed it up with some dominant blocking in the run game. Can he keep this up? We’ll see, but the lack of mistakes bode very well for the future.
When you watch Rex Grossman (-0.9) you never know exactly what you’re going to get, but you know it’s going to be an interesting journey. Sometimes he looks incredibly poised in the face of oncoming pressure, and other times he looks like a guy that believes in his arm a little too much, forcing throws he has no right to. That was, along with four penalties, the biggest problem for Grossman in this game as he earned his interceptions by forcing the ball into areas he really shouldn’t have, with the result a couple of INTs and some pass deflections that were not a million miles from adding to those figures. It takes away from a lot of the good he did, especially when he was given time where he went 20-of-24 for 242 yards. There’s no denying he can make plays, it’s just a shame they aren’t all good ones.
When you’ve got two former first round picks going head to head, something often has to give, and so it proved when Brian Orakpo (+4.2) met Russell Okung. Truth be told this was an even encounter for much of the game, with Orakpo picking up just two pressures in the first three quarters. Then came the 4th quarter and what was once even, became a demolition job. The Redskin ROLB picked up another three pressures to go with his fourth down sack as he constantly beat the 6th overall selection in the 2010 NFL draft off the edge, before the play that defined his performance (Q4 2:13) saw him bull rush Okung before sacking Jackson. I’ve given up on Orakpo ever being a complete player (too often he is blocked out of plays in the run game), but it’s something you can live with when he rushes the passes like this.
Seattle – Three Performances of Note
An unheralded duo
It certainly wasn’t a perfect day in coverage for Richard Sherman (+1.6) and Brandon Browner (+0.1), but after a year with Marcus Trufant and Kelly Jennings, it was another day for Seahawks fans to be thankful for what they may have stumbled into. Between them they gave up seven receptions for 102 yards and a touchdown, with both men picking off a Grossman pass. Browner broke up two passes, but the two penalties given up hurt his grade although he continues to impress after a wretched started to the season. His break on the ball with 8:13 to go in Q3 to break up a pass intended for Donte Stallworth is the type of play we’re seeing more and more from the former CFL star.
The good news is things couldn’t get much worse at the right tackle spot given how badly James Carptenter was playing. The bad news is Breno Giacomini (-4.5) isn’t going to turn away from that challenge just yet. In fairness to the former Packer, he did a better than expected job in pass protection as he gave up just the one sack and one pressure on 37 pass blocking attempts, and he wasn’t terrible with his run blocking. His biggest issue came from giving up three penalties with two being for 15 yards. His performance was in stark contrast to an excellent display from Paul McQuistan (+4.0) with the right guard perfect in pass protection, and having a lot of joy against Adam Carriker.
Ever since we endorsed Kam Chancellor (-2.6) as an All Pro candidate, things haven’t exactly gone to plan for the Seahawks safety. With a style that sees him walking the line between popping a player and picking up a fine, he’s the kind of safety that makes himself noticeable. Unfortunately he made himself noticeable for all the wrong reasons in this one as he may be hearing from the league office again for a headshot to a defenseless receiver, that wasn’t called, and for some poor tackling. His attempt on the Helu touchdown was particularly embarrassing and was pivotal in the Redskins getting back into a game they seemed destined to lose. Throw in one more missed tackle and a touchdown given up, with very little positive, and you have the third negative grade in four weeks for the sophomore safety.
– DeAngelo Hall (+2.6) was thrown at eight times and allowed just two receptions for 23 yards and a touchdown, with a game icing interception and two pass deflections.
– How’s that pectoral injury affecting Jackson? He was just 3-for-10 on passes over 10 yards in the air.
– The Seahawks managed to knock Grossman down (hits or sacks) on 11 different occasions.
It’s going to a Redskin and it’s going to a former first round pick? The question is whether to go the left tackle, or edge rusher? In the end I’ve plumped for Trent Williams because subduing Chris Clemons is no mean feat, and by doing so he prevented us seeing more of the ‘Bad Rex’.