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Grade the Redskins Loss to the Seahawks

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Let's close this book and then move on to AZ.

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Our Redskins did their best against the defending Super Bowl Champion Seahawks and came up short.  Nobody expected the 'Skins to win, few even expected them to be competitive, but there were obviously some positive takeaways from the 10-point loss.  We're all tired of the moral victories storyline by now, but looking at the realistic expectations of a 3-13 team coming into the season, we have to understand that there will be losses and try to gauge whether we're progressing towards our goal of a Super Bowl in the future or not.  I want to know what this community thinks of the loss to Seattle.  It was an improvement from the debacle against the Giants, right?  Here's my opinion and then you can leave your grade/opinion in the comments section.

Pros:

QB Play

I think Kirk Cousins played a pretty good game, especially when you consider the circumstances.  He showed good mental toughness rebounding from that five turnover performance against NYG and coming out against what many would call the best defense in the league and not giving the ball up a single time.  Additionally, he almost reached 300 passing yards and scored twice.  We didn't lose this game because of Cousins.  Obviously the team needed to score some more points, but Cousins performed admirably in the face of the stiffest competition and having no support from the run game (more on that later).  If your QB plays like this every week, we'd win more than we'd lose.

Pass Protection

This obviously ties in with the above.  Aside from that one Moses play, the pass protection from the OL was outstanding.  I believe Cousins was only sacked one time and there were plenty of times when he had a good pocket and ample time to deliver passes.  The Seahawks lost a couple of their best DL, but compared to how our OL has performed recently, this was a step in the right direction.  A special shout-out to TW for playing through injury and performing very well.  He is a true leader on this team.  Lauvao did the same.

DeSean Jackson

DeSean Jackson did was DeSean Jackson does.  He made a fool of the "Legion of Boom" and was the deep threat we need and expect.  Jackson raced deep for a 60-yard TD to jumpstart the offense and provide our only excitement from the first half and then came right out after halftime and burned them again for 50+ yards.  His ability to track the ball in the air is unmatched and really, really impressive (along with that speed).  Having him on this offense means so much because he can singlehandedly keep a team in it with one huge play and his production was outstanding.  He's a great addition to this team and has proved that through 4.5 games.

Frank Kearse

This man is nothing but hustle.  Little known and barely even making the roster, Kearse has proven himself and it showed against Seattle.  He sacked Wilson once and made an incredible hustle play racing all the way across the field for a tackle on another play.  Our DL has been banged up and against Seattle, Kearse really stepped up. 

Tress Way

It's really the same thing every week with this guy now.  He's been a team MVP throughout the season and has an absolutely massive leg.  He booms punts like Rocca did when he was a much younger man and the upgrade over the Rocca we saw last year is priceless.  Our ST's has trouble with the whole field position thing, but it's not because of Tress Way.  He gets incredible distance and hang-time every punt and has been a diamond in the rough, especially for our weak ST's.

Ryan Kerrigan

More hustle.  Kerrigan continues to prove his value and racked up his sixth sack of the season... no easy task against Russell Wilson.  Few players make as much of a positive impact on our defense like Kerrigan and he's been the main source of our pass rush this season.  Wilson did a great job scrambling and making plays this game, but the reason he even had to scramble was often because of Ryan Kerrigan.

Roy Helu

This man is dynamite in the RB-screen game and invaluable to our offense as the third down back.  Screens to Helu have been a savior to our offense on more than one occasion this season and his catching ability out of the backfield is impressive.  Using him that way was a particularly effective strategy against Seattle's defense and hopefully it will continue to work as Helu's hands and speed make him the type of weapon out of the backfield that Gruden craves.

Turnovers/Penalties

Zero turnovers against any team is really impressive, but even more so against the Seahawks.  Also, we did a much better job of not shooting ourselves in the foot with stupid penalties and this was highlighted even further by Seattle lack of discipline.  These were probably the two biggest problems in the Giants game and it's very encouraging to see them appear much improved a week later.  They're probably the two biggest contributing factors in losses, especially for this team this year.

Cons:

Run Game

The run game, or lack thereof was a real problem against Seattle.  Their run defense is as stingy as they come, but running with our OL and Alfred Morris is supposed to be our bread and butter.  It wasn't as the Seahawks proceeded to completely shutdown Morris and make him a non-factor.  Most teams make that priority #1, but few have the success that Seattle had on Monday.  The lack of run ability certainly made things harder on Cousins and the passing game, too.  Look for Al-Mo to bounce back in a big way in AZ.

TE's

None of them performed.  Simple as that.  I know we're without Jordan Reed, but Paul had been doing so well this season.  He was a non-factor in the passing game against the Hawks and was abused when he tried to stay home and block in the running game.  Logan Paulsen did nothing of note, either.  In our offense, clearly the TE's have to play a bigger part.  Jordan Reed should be back this week in AZ and that'll certainly be a big help to our offense.

Pierre Garcon

Where was he?  We need Garcon and he looked to be getting frustrated by Sherman all game.  He resorted to pulling hair and facemasks and is better than that.  Cousins clearly doesn't force the issue with him as much as RGIII does, but Garcon still should be able to take advantage of defense having to play extra help towards D-Jax.  With an improved running game and Reed coming back, things should get easier for Garcon.  His aggressiveness is an excellent trait, but he has to stay mentally stronger and not be bothered by coverage.

Brian Orakpo

He's not performing and it's been talked about non-stop around here.  It continued against Seattle.  In his defense he was held a couple of times.  Still, our defense clearly needs more.  I saw him loose contain on a couple of Wilson runs that really hurt us, as well.

Special Teams

This unit (aside from Way and Forbath) continues to underwhelm.  The field position struggle was brutal and in my opinion one of the largest contributing factors to our loss Monday night.  Our coverage units are piss poor and it has gotten to the point where we have to basically KO in a way that we give them the ball on their 40.  We're basically choosing that over trying to actually stop a return.  It's embarrassing.  It got to the point where we were afraid to punt to the return man.  He is not Devin Hester.  Further embarrassment.  I don't know what else to say about it, but it's killing this team.

Containing Russell Wilson

It was horrible.  He broke records.  The man was on fire, but we did basically nothing to put him out.  We hit him a few times, but Wilson looked like a video game running in the wide open space we consistently gave him.  Luckily we don't play him every week.

Final Grade: C

The pros are encouraging here and I think a 1-3 team losing to the Seahawks by 10 after getting blown out by 30-some the week before is encouraging.  I can't go higher than a C and I almost said a D.  A big part of the reason I went with a C though is because of the caliber of opponent we faced.  The Seahawks are for real and they've proven that for a couple years straight now.  The way we played against them is the definition of a moral victory.  I'm sick of moral victories, though.  I want real victories.  I hope our guys do, too.  I'm confident that this team can beat the Cardinals this week and get things on the right track.  The improvement from the Giants game to Seattle was visible and I hope our staff keeps them on pace.  The offense and defense both have ability and have shown that they're capable, just not consistent.  Special Teams has a lot of work to do, obviously.  I think we've improved on not beating ourselves and I think that'll lead to victories over lesser teams than the Seahawks.  The Seahawks (and Wilson specifically) beat us.  We didn't beat ourselves.  That's an important change.  We're moving in the right direction and that's what we're looking for this year.  Let's go get a win in AZ, get to 2-4, and see if we can build from there.