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Monday six pack: Redskins’ Amerson comes through with big plays

Nov 4, 2013, 11:48 AM EDT

Amerson-vs-SD

Here are some of my observations from the Washington Redskins’ 30-24 overtime win over the Chargers:

1. Pierre Garçon was good and very valuable last year but we didn’t see the acrobatic, jaw-dropping catches he made in Indianapolis. Now, we have. Last week in Denver he made a lunging, one-handed grab of a Robert Griffin III pass. Against the Chargers he turned in some SportsCenter highlight material and the catches came in critical situations. In the third quarter he batted the ball to himself with his right hand while fighting off cornerback Derek Cox set up the Redskins’ game-tying TD and he reached back to grab an off-target Griffin pass late in the fourth quarter that forced the Chargers to burn a timeout. All seven of Garçon’s receptions were good for 13 yards are more and four of them covered over 25 yards. Six of the seven resulted in first downs (counting the overtime reception for 17 yards on first and 20 that had a personal foul penalty tacked on, getting an automatic first down).

2. The “pound the rock” fans certainly got their wishes fulfilled yesterday with Alfred Morris finally getting his quota of carries with 25 and with Darrel Young scoring three touchdowns. Overall, the play selection was 39 runs and 32 passes. They showed excellent balance in their two third-quarter drives that turned a seven-point halftime deficit into one-touchdown lead early in the fourth. The first one had six runs and three passes with Morris getting four carries for 26 yards. Santana Moss picked up 18 on an option pitch and Young scored the TD from a yard out. They got the ball back with 7:02 left in the third and embarked on an 11-play drive that featured six runs and five passes. Again, Young scored from a yard out.

3. It’s hard to say that the Redskins’ defense had a great day when they gave up a 10-point lead in the last seven minutes of the game but there is no shame in holding the Chargers to 17 points (seven came on the batted end zone interception) and holding Philip Rivers to 63 percent completions (he was near 74 percent on the year coming in). And the goal line stand made up for a lot. It started with David Amerson’s hit on Danny Woodhead, which, as replays showed, knocked the runner out of bounds about half a yard short of the goal line. On first down, London Fletcher and Brandon Meriweather got credit for the stop of Woodhead on the dive play but it was Barry Cofield at the bottom of the pile who clogged things up. DeAngelo Hall was matched one on one with Antonio Gates on second down and Hall’s jam at the line kept Gates from getting out on a fade pattern. When Rivers rolled right on third down, Josh Wilson stuck by Eddie Royal and Amerson locked on to Keenan Allen and Rivers had nowhere to go.

4. It’s always something with the Redskins’ special teams. They were solid in kickoff and punt coverage and did nothing to hurt either themselves or the other team returning. But two blocked field goals loomed large as the Chargers rallied in the fourth quarter. The one on a 59-yard attempt is somewhat understandable as kicks from that distance generally come low off of the kicker’s foot. But a blocked 25-yarder is inexcusable. Shanahan indicated that it might be due to a blocking issue in the middle of the line but he should have more details in his 5:30 press conference after reviewing the film.

5. Griffin was far from perfect yesterday but he was very good in an area he has struggled—third downs. One of the issues in his spectacular rookie season was his inability to convert on the money down. That was not the case yesterday. Griffin passed on nine third down plays. He completed eight of those passes for 100 yards and six first downs. Included were two conversions with eight to go, one with 11 yards to go and one with 12 to go.

6. The goal line tackle of Woodhead wasn’t the only big play that Amerson made in the late going. Earlier in the fourth quarter he got around Allen on a dig route and snared Rivers’ pass to give the Redskins the ball near midfield. It was one of those “I can’t believe he just did that” plays. It set up a field goal that gave the Redskins a 10-point lead. It wasn’t all good for the rookie. Allen, who happens to be a lifelong friend of Amerson, beat the cornerback on a double move a few minutes later to pull the Chargers with three and set up the last-minute dramatics. He’ll learn how to handle double moves but you can’t teach the ball hawking instincts that led to that interception.

  1. John Karahasan - Nov 4, 2013 at 5:24 PM

    Amersonseems to be coming around. Obviously being a rookie, there will be some “growing pains”, but I do believe Amerson will develop into a very strong Corner. Hopefully, Rambo will be able to do the same

  2. rahwayhomey - Nov 4, 2013 at 7:15 PM

    Amerson has been a true find late in 2nd round & has come as advertised. Jumps routes, hands like WR & physical enough to make 1 on 1 tackles in space. I would protect him w/ safety as he succeptible to the out & up everytime. But we need game-changing players, one’s who on their own can create a 7 or 14 point turnaround. It is the difference between winning & losing. Would like to see Haslet blitz more as we haven’t been getting any QB pressure causing these games to be nail-biters. These sacks are every bit as important as TO’s & Haslets schemes haven’t been working this year. Haslet’s been lucky players like D Hall & Amerson make plays on their own, causing the D to look a little better than it has. It truly has been awful & thank God we’ve had A Morris, RGIII & P Garcon there to carry this team to victory. Haslet’s 3-4 has been a failure, & when I see B Orakpo & R Kerrigan 10 yds deep on pass coverage, it makes me think Haslet’s brain needs to re-examined for any iota of common sense or football knowledge.

    • alomd11 - Nov 5, 2013 at 9:20 AM

      Sorry, but your comments are difficult to accept. For the last 3.5 years, we’ve been screaming to dial down the blitzes, like those that Dallas exploited to go on to win from behind. The whole intent of the 3-4 is to mask coverages and 3-4 OLBs have to be able to cover. Remember last year when Rob Jackson intercepted Romo to end the game? Haslett’s schemes have been better and more cautious as of late and that has added to the improved defense overall. And while Orakpo hasn’t been a sack machine, his run defense has improved over the last couple of weeks. Stopping the run makes the offense one dimensional, then Rak and Kerrigan can pin their ears back and go after the QB. A more current example would be the game against the Packers. The 1st quarter, the front seven was getting pressure, so Rodgers and McCarthy adjusted and went with short quick passes and ran the ball down our throats.

      • rahwayhomey - Nov 5, 2013 at 7:16 PM

        It’s about results. Our D has given up yardage at record pace. We lag behind in sacks compared to other NFL Defenses & our 2 “star” passrushers, both #1 draft picks, are not impacting the game with sacks. This is a direct reflection of Haslet’s poor defensive strategy. No one can ever say Brian Orakpo is better 10 yards back on our D playing pass coverage than goin balls to walls chasin down a QB. Hell if we do that, let’s put RGIII back at safety. Certainly he’s a better athlete than Reed Doughty. Point is, this weak D is forcing our Offense to come up huge, over taxing RGIII & company & aging all of us fans at unwarranted pace. He better get creative & get to QB, or it’s going to put us right out of playoffs. Please Haslet, create pressure to get to the QB!

        • alomd11 - Nov 6, 2013 at 11:29 AM

          While I wouldn’t put Griffin at Safety, I do wish they would look at Niles Paul at Safety. I know what you are saying, but at the same time, covering the recievers and dropping into space makes the QB hold the ball longer. I just think dialing back the blitzes like Haslett has, makes the defense less vulnerable at this point.

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