Well, guys, it wasn't so pretty. But I personally think there were a lot of positives out of the Redskins' latest of their impressive six wins.
Great teams revolve around the consistent performance of a few trascendent players. Today, it was the play of the same players that have carried us all season that put us over the top.
First, London Fletcher. His overall consistency is arguably the most important part of this defense. He is the savviest player on the defense, and that hit in the open field on Calvin Johnson, a much bigger and faster player than he is, was the play that ended the game. Amazing.
Second, our two offensive leaders from the U -- Santana (or as Brian Billick affectionately called him, Santonio... more on that later) and CP absolutely thrased the Lions today. It seemed a little too logical that the Redskins would get tight when they went down early against the Lions. But Portis and Moss saved their best plays for the end of the game -- Moss's 50-yard burner and then his amazing punt return, and Portis's huge run to the left that put us in fatal field goal range.That put him at 126 yards, his fifth straight game with 120+ yards. He is thrashing and carrying his way to the NFL MVP front-runner position, with 944 yards on the ground in the first 8 weeks of the season. He'll get 1000 next week, WEEK 9!!! And, we haven't had our bye week to refresh his hip flexor injury... There is a good chance he runs even harder coming out of the gates in the second half.
And last, the play of our most improved player -- Jason Campbell. He basically had two real incompletions I can remember -- Moss caught two out-of-bounds that were right on target, one of which would have been a clutch completion had they not changed the push-out rule for this season. Campbell's line -- 23/28, 328 yards, touchdown. What a game. He worried us with the fumbles, but you have to think that some of the problems there came as a result of Chris Samuels sitting this one out.
An honorable mention to Carlos Rogers, who has become an absolute beast in coverage. Not to harp on this, but if we had Shawn Springs healthy (and Sean Taylor), just imagine that secondary. Landry is playing good ball, but Rogers is the player in the secondary to watch right now. He's held Calvin Johnson and Braylon Edwards in check, and he did very well against Torry Holt as well. He is definitely taking his game to another level.
Another great performance, by the way, from Shaun Suisham, who is playing well enough for us to be a winning team. He is one of the most underrated components to each and every one of our six wins.
For the bad spots --
Our offensive line had a bunch of really bad penalties, although some of them were total make-up jobs (specifically the first-half facemask on Jansen). I think that Heyer was not well-adjusted to the LT spot, but assuming Samuels' injury isn't serious, I'm not worried about his level of play. Without Samuels in, you can really tell just how good he is. Our offensive line did not look nearly as good without him.
Randle El may need to be supplanted as PR. He did not get it done, and as soon as we changed pace with Moss, the results were obviously awesome.
Our pass rush remains dreadful. Only one sack against that offensive line and QB? Andre Carter didn't seem to be a factor today. I think without Griffin, we really struggle to get pressure. Our coverage is good, but against a team like Dallas or New York, we need to get pressure on the QB in order to force some off-balance or ill-advised passes.
But this was, quietly, a strong Redskins performance on the road. Look, we've played eight games in a row and definitely had to deal with some mental lapses considering we went from playing Dallas and Philadelphia and Arizona, etc, to playing three bottom-feeders. We only punted twice (and they were good punts, too), we won without some of our best players (Horton, Griffin, Springs, Samuels), got some good reserve play (Alexander, and how about Mike Green, who had 6 tackles in his first game on the field?!)
I think we're in a good position, and I think Coach Z did a good job resting up some of our hurt guys in order to have us at relatively full-strength against the Steelers, in what should be a huge game for both teams. Imagine 7-2 at the bye week... man.
One last note -- Brian Billick did a TERRIBLE job today, don't you think? He could not get Santana's first name right, and he seemed to misidentify players and even teams (he called the Lions the Giants!) fairly consistently. He also could not stop salivating over Calvin Johnson, who is an impressive player, but wasn't even the Lions' leading receiver. And I thought Troy Aikman was bad...
If we do push it for one more win next week, it will be because of the same reasons we won today. Tough defense, clutch and steady efforts from our stars, but most of all, the continued damage done by Clinton Portis, the league's first-half MVP.