The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly from the Redskins loss to the Texans

The Washington Redskins suffered a heartbreaking defeat by the hands of Houston Texans 23-21 on Sunday. In a hard fought game the Redskins were able to overcome an early deficit and a gruesome injury to starting quarterback Alex Smith. The Redskins now sit at 6-4 and hold a tenuous one game lead over the Dallas Cowboys who the face off against Sunday. Here is my review of the game.

The Good

Pass Defense- After being torched in back to back weeks the Redskins pass defense was much better against the Texans. The defense held Deshaun Watson 16 for 24 for 208 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. After the Texans got off to a fast start the defense was able to apply more pressure to Watson and force mistakes from the second year player. The defense gave up 16 points and were the reason the Redskins had a chance to win that game.

Offensive Line- Even though the Redskins quarterbacks were sacked five times, the offensive line played well. Facing a tough defensive front seven, the line gave the Redskins quarterbacks enough time to make plays and opened enough holes for the running backs. Starting the same line from last week, they handled stunts well. The Texans still made plays but they gave the team a chance to win.

Colt McCoy- Being a backup quarterback in the NFL seems like a pretty easy job. Your responsibility is usually running the scout team in practice and trying to stay abreast of the week’s game plan. When called into the game they never get snaps with the first team offense. The Redskins have always been high on McCoy and he did not disappoint on Sunday. McCoy came into the game at a tough point and led the team to two straight touchdowns and almost to a chance to win the game at the end. The offense will be fine going forward even more explosive with McCoy, he just needs to prove he can take care of the ball and himself.

The Bad

Slow Starts- Earlier in the season the offense had gotten off to fast starts and the was able to play with a lead. In the last month however, the offense has started slow. The offense was down 10-0 after punting twice on their first two possessions. The offense has to be more assertive to start the game to start imposing their will on the game.

Time Management- The Redskins should have had more time for their attempted game winning drive. This team continues to waste timeouts at not needed times or not use then near the end of halves is stunning. On Sunday if coach Gruden had used his timeouts differently near the end, McCoy and the offense would have gotten into field goal range for Dustin Hopkins. In close games this team must execute better.

Drops- The receivers did not help out Alex Smith on Sunday. Vernon Davis was the biggest culprit. With the defense just forcing a turnover at midfield Smith hit Davis on a wheel route down the left sideline for a huge gain and possibly a touchdown and Davis dropped it. If Davis catches that pass at worse the Redskins are in field goal range in a game they lost by two points. With McCoy going forward the receivers must make difficult catches.

100 Yard Interception Touchdown Return- The biggest play of the game by far. Smith and Reed were not on the same page on the play when Reed stopped and turned inside while Smith expected him to go outside. Either way the moment that the Redskins had built over the entire second quarter was lost on one play. If Smith throws that ball away the Redskins can tie the game with a field goal and keep the Texans off the scoreboard. A ten point swing is major in a two point game.

The Ugly

Alex Smith’s Injury- Sometimes fate is cruel and other times it is cruel and cold. Sunday it was all three for Alex Smith and the Redskins. Smith broke his tibia and fibula on a sack on the 40 yard line in the 3rd quarter, which happened to be the same yard line and the 33 year anniversary of Joe Thiesmann’s gruesome injury, which final score was 23-21 however the Redskins won that game. Smith was rushed to surgery and was given an original timeline of 6-8 months recovery. There have been questions of Smith’s ability to recover from such and injury at his age. With two more years of guaranteed money on the books, the Redskins certainly hope he can. McCoy is under contract for next season but the Redskins may have to draft a QB in the upcoming draft just in case.

Officiating- In close games one can look back at certain plays or calls that affect the final outcome. On the final offensive play Colt McCoy took a deep shot to Josh Doctson and he was essentially tackled by two defenders. No flag was thrown on the play and the Redskins were forced to attempt a 63 yard field goal which was short because time was running out. The NFL came out and said that there should have been defensive pass interference on that play which would have given the Redskins around a 40 yard field goal to win the game. Time ran out on the team because of a holding penalty on Josh Norman which allowed the Texans to waste another minute before the offense could get the ball back. Plays like those matter and officials need to step up like everything else.

Dallas Cowboys- The winners of two games straight are now just a game behind the Redskins. They have suddenly become the trendy pick to defeat the Redskins and win the NFC East. The Redskins have the ability to put the two games down plus own the tie breaker against them if they win. The point spread is +7 for the Cowboys so that should be even more motivation for the team. Hopefully they can use that as fuel for a win.