Last night, we were reminded that Ben Roethlisberger is really good at playing the quarterback position in tackle football. Additionally, we not only saw first hand why Antonio Brown is one of, if not the best receiver’s in the game. We now know he could care less about the sanctity of your favorite team’s end zone.
In a 38-16 loss to the Steelers last night at FedEx, we saw a botched gimme fumble recovery. A rusty franchise tagged quarterback in Kirk Cousins, off target and out of sorts most of the night. An inability to seize early momentum, failing to finish two promising drives (settling for FGs on two occasions). And the realization of every single fear Redskins fans had prior to the start of the season.
Welcome to Week 1.
A team that finished the season ranked 26th vs the run in 2015 gave up 147 yards on the ground (143yds and 2 scores by DeAngelo Williams).
A solid but not spectacular pass rush, yielded no sacks and very little pressure against a quarterback that already has to be hit by a wrecking ball to put down– let alone rattle.
And a Redskins rushing attack that struggled last season, only ran the ball twelve times total for 55 yards. To which Matt Jones and Chris Thompson combined for 47 yards on 11 carries (4.3ypc). More on that later.
If you watch professional football, you know Antonio Brown is a monster of a cover. And Big Ben came out last night in mid-season form with the number of dimes he dropped. To which, you can do nothing but commend them both. However the average fan knew that about the Steelers going into MNF. Which leaves us with a myriad of questions.
The one everyone is asking this morning.
If you’re going to pay Josh Norman $75M, why isn’t he shadowing the opponent’s best receiver?
VERY valid question. Apparently Joe Barry, is content to schematically play his outside corners on the left and right side this season. Holding steadfastly to his base zone principles. Cool, so we’re paying $75M to a talented corner to not be a shutdown defender?
Fine, then why not roll safety help over the top to Breeland’s side occasionally? Short of the first deep ball to AB on fourth and one, Pittsburgh wasn’t doing anything exotic with underneath routes on his side. Why not break tendencies and show a veteran quarterback something different, since we couldn’t generate any pressure?
Breeland, one of the better young corners in the league, will have plenty opportunities to show his worth as the season wears on playing opposite Norman. And his coverage on AB last night was actually decent. Replay showed the first touchdown should have been a pick (would have been his second of the night), a PBU at worst. A top flight pitch-n-catch combo merely took advantage of a young corner and what the defense gave them.
Responding to a non-stop barrage of mentions on social media, he tweeted…
U be a dam fool to think Ima give up pump ya breaks it's corner u win some u lose some hats off to @AntonioBrown84 until we meet again
— Bashaud Breeland (@Salute_me17) September 13, 2016
The quick turn around versus Dallas will definitely be welcomed.
Last year the team could not run. You can pick a reason why. Last night However, how do you explain your number one back only having seven carries in a game that was fairly close throughout? When the Steelers started playing soft coverage, why not sub in Chris Thompson and use him in the draw and screen game versus living in empty sets or using him as a blocker versus linebackers 40+ pounds bigger?
Contrary to popular belief, the Redskins don’t only have to find a run game. They have to want to.
In Gruden’s post-game presser, he gave credit to Pittsburgh for a great performance and admitted that the team was outplayed and out coached last night. Which leads one to wonder, how can you expect your team to be ready, if it’s coaches weren’t necessarily?
A delay of game on a PAT? A refusal to run the ball, while the game was still close? An inability to adjust offensively and defensively to what you’re facing on the field? False start penalties by your stud left tackle and your center? Your center?
The team at all levels (front office, coaches, players), just did not look ready to play.
Thankfully, there’s another game on Sunday.
* Update – since original posting, the team has released Austin Reiter to make room for the addition of defensive lineman Cullen Jenkins (per Mike Jones, Washington Post)