Week 13 Game Recap: Washington Redskins 24, St. Louis Rams 9
What you need to know
RB Clinton Portis posted a strong game with 136 yards on 27 carries and a pair of trips to the end zone. He had little difficulty navigating around inexperienced and banged-up Ramsí defenders, even in the first half when Mark Brunell and the Redskinsí passing attack was at itís most listless. Portisí 47 yard touchdown rush in the first quarter was his longest run from scrimmage this season.
With RB Ladell Betts in street clothes due to injury, RB Rock Cartwright came up big as the Redskinsí change of pace back. His first three carries from scrimmage went for 52, 28 and 25 yards respectively, though the latter was called back by a holding penalty. Cartwright gained the balance of his yardage running out the clock, finishing with 118 yards on only nine carries.
The absence of a viable number two wide receiver in Washington continued to hamper the productivity of both WR Santana Moss and QB Mark Brunell. Though Moss was targeted nine times, he was limited to only three catches for 58 yards and was held out of the end zone for the fifth time in the Redskinsí last six games. TE Chris Cooley matched Mossí yardage total and scored a fourth quarter touchdown.
Mark Brunell may have earned a reputation as a second half quarterback in this game. He had a very difficult first half of play, completing only six of 13 passes for 56 yards. Though he didnít finish the game with a big stat line, he was a model of efficiency in the second half
After last weekís huge comeback victory against the Texans, rookie quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick was welcomed back to planet Earth by the Redskins. He was sacked three times in the first half by a blitzing Washington defense and was repeatedly hurried into off target throws. Fitzpatrick was forced to find his wheels and, consequently, was the Ramsí first half rushing leader with 20 yards, including a seven yard touchdown scramble. He finished the game with 21 of 36 passes completed for 163 yards and one interception.
RB Steven Jackson never found a rhythm in this game and finished with 11 carries for only 24 yards, Jacksonís second poor performance in the last three weeks. He was stopped for a loss on four occasions and his longest carry from scrimmage was only nine yards. The Ramsí inability to establish a running game allowed the Redskins to focus their efforts on rattling rookie signal caller Ryan Fitzpatrick and was a major factor in the Rams recording their sixth loss of the season.
The Ramsí wide receivers suffered with Marc Bulger out of the line-up. Though Torry Holt reeled in a solid six passes for 75 yards, it took 13 targets to get these numbers and the majority of his misses were well off the mark. Holt also had a 43 yard reception negated by penalty. The Ramsí offense is predicated on their ability to utilize a variety of weapons in the passing game and QB Ryan Fitzpatrick just didnít have the experience at this point in his young career to survey the field for his second or third receivers in the amount of time allowed him by his sub-par offensive line.
What you ought to know
|QB Mark Brunell, Pass: 14 - 21 - 156 - 1 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 3 - 0 - 0|
The conservative game plan of Joe Gibbs and his coaching staff is really cutting into Mark Brunellís fantasy numbers. Brunell attempted only 21 passes in the game and his longest completion went for only 30 yards, though his team didnít enjoy a two-possession lead until late in the fourth quarter. At least he was efficient in the second half, completing all eight of his pass attempts for 100 yards and a touchdown to tight end Chris Cooley. He finished with 14 of 21 for 156 yards and no interceptions.
|RB Clinton Portis, Pass: 0 - 1 - 0 - 0 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 27 - 136 - 2, Rec: 1 - 1 - 0 (1 targets)|
Portis had a fine game highlighted by his 47 yard touchdown run in the first quarter. His blocks fell right into place and he made it to the end zone untouched. He was shaken up and left the game after a third down play in the first half, but returned on the next series. Portis continued to take advantage of the Ramsí makeshift defensive line, finishing the game with 136 yards on 27 carries and a pair of touchdowns.
Cartwright saw more action because fellow tailback Ladell Betts was inactive due to injury. Cartwrightís first three rushes went for 52, 28 and 25 yards, though the latter was called back because of a holding penalty. He took over for Clinton Portis in the fourth quarter, running out the clock and finishing with 118 yards on only nine carries.
The rookie saw his third carry of the season.
Santana Mossí productivity is down, due in part to the Redskinsí lack of a viable second wide receiver and the conservatively coached game plan. After starting the season on a high note, Moss hasnít had a 100 yard game in the last six weeks and has scored only one touchdown over that same stretch of time. He managed only three catches for 58 yards in this game and was the recipient of a personal foul penalty when he let his frustration get the best of him.
With David Patten and James Thrash injured, the third year veteran is being asked to produce as a #2 receiver. His one catch for minus one yard performance in this game seems to indicate that heís far away from filling this spot viably.
Cooley split time with Robert Royal and had the Redskinsí only receiving touchdown in this game. He finished the game with 58 receiving yards, tied with wide out Santana Moss for the team high.
All of Royalís four targets and like number of receptions came on the same drive in the third quarter.
Hall missed from 45 yards to open the second quarter and hit from 38 yards three minutes before halftime. He made all three of his extra point attempts.
The Redskinsí rush defense stymied Steven Jackson in this game, limiting him to 24 yards on 11 carries from scrimmage. Rookie quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick added 22 yards and a touchdown while scrambling for his young life, but thereís no doubt that the Washington defense did its job.
The Redskins blitzed Ramsí QB Ryan Fitzpatrick with regularity and caused the rookie a lot of problems. He was frequently hurried into throwing off-target passes and finished the game with only 163 yards, completing 21 of 36 passes and one interception. Players in the Redskinsí secondary were hit in the back by Fitzpatrick passes on at least three occasions and with a bit more alertness could have had some easy interceptions.
In his first NFL start, Fitzpatrick came out shaky and had some trouble dealing with the Redskins frequent blitzes. His passes were often off target and more alertness on behalf of the Redskinsí secondary could have resulted in some easy interceptions. To his credit, Fitzpatrick adapted to the pressure by getting rid of the ball earlier and scrambling for positive yardage and the Ramsí only touchdown. He tucked the ball and scored a tough rushing TD bringing an element to the QB position the Rams havenít had in a while. He looks to have loads of talent, but at this point in his career he wasnít able to make the best of the Ramsí potent stable of wide receivers.
Jackson had an abysmal first half, rushing eight times for only 18 yards (two less yards than his rookie quarterback, Ryan Fitzpatrick.) Inexplicably, things got worse after halftime and Jackson added only three more carries for another six yards. The Rams managed to keep this game within a touchdown well into the fourth quarter, so his lack of productivity canít be blamed on a lopsided score. Jackson added 18 yards on four receptions.
Given Steven Jacksonís struggles in this game, one would think that Faulk would have had a few more touches.
Holt received the first look from QB Ryan Fitzpatrick more often than not and because Fitzpatrick rarely had time to check down, 13 passes were lofted in Holtís direction. While a large percentage of those passes were uncatchable, Holt managed to reel in six balls for 75 yards. He also had a 43 yard reception negated by a holding penalty. Fitzpatrickís inexperience likely wonít affect Holtís productivity as much as that of his stable matesí since Holt is often the primary receiver.
This was Bruceís fourth game since returning from a nagging turf toe injury and he looks to be near 100%. Unfortunately, his rookie quarterback wasnít able to take full advantage of the veteran receiver, connecting on only four of ten attempted passes in his direction. None of the six incompletions between Ryan and Bruce were catchable balls.
A combination of Isaac Bruceís return from injury and QB Ryan Fitzpatrickís inexperience may spell doom for Curtisí productivity. Over the last two games with Fitzpatrick at the helm, Curtis has caught only three short screen passes. Last week he turned one of those into a long touchdown, but was not so prosperous in this game. Curtis finished with only six yards on two catches.
McDonald was targeted twice, both in the fourth quarter, and reeled in both passes for 27 yards.
The rookie from North Carolina saw his third catch of the season.
Cleeland caught Ryan Fitzpatrickís first pass of the game for a seven yard loss and was not thrown to again.
Manumaleuna caught the only pass thrown his way for a six yard gain.
Wilkins had no field goal opportunities in this game and was successful on his only extra point attempt.
The Ramsí rushing defense continued to struggle; giving up 254 yards to the one two punch of Clinton Portis and Rock Cartwright. Portis was completely untouched by any Ramsí player on his 47 yard touchdown rush in the first quarter and completely dominated in this game. Cartwright bit off yardage in huge chunks, amassing 80 of his 118 yards on two big runs.
Mark Brunell didnít do much through the air in this game, but that was likely due more to his coachís conservative game calling than the Ramsí defense. The Rams recorded neither a sack nor an interception in this game and rarely hurried Mark Brunell into action.