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Washington Vs. Pittsburgh - Studs and Duds

NFL: Washington Football Team at Pittsburgh Steelers Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Wow - WHAT A MONDAY NIGHT!

The Washington Football Team pulled off the unthinkable at Heinz Field Monday evening, upsetting the undefeated Steelers 23-17, and pulling even with the Giants(although they lose the head-to-head matchup) for the lead in the NFC East with four games left to play.

This feels like the game where the players who have drawn the most harsh criticism from me as of late(with the exception of three), really balled out.

...By the way, I like my Crow medium rare!

Below are my Studs and Duds of the game, followed by some notes.


Studs:

Logan Thomas - Thomas easily had his best day as a professional football player, catching nine passes(some one-handed) for 98 yards and a touchdown(he almost had a second one). But it wasn’t just that, that lands him as a stud for Monday’s game. He also recovered a fumble and made some really nice blocks. He’s quietly having his best season as a tight end, and is making me eat some crow - which I am actually enjoying the taste of.

Cam Sims - Unlike the “other” Sims, Cam showed up to play - and play he did! The former Alabama wideout hauled in five passes for 92 yards - and many of those catches came at big times in the game. With McLaurin being bracketed by the vicious Steelers defense, Sims stepped up to the plate and delivered big-time! His YAC was outstanding!

J.D. McKissic - McKissic came up really big in the second half in the passing game, catching 10 balls for 70 yards. His pass protection was very good too.

Daron Payne - Payne was a big PAIN in the a$$ to the Steelers offense all game. He racked up five tackles, two for a loss and had a batted pass at the line of scrimmage.

Cole Holcomb - Holcomb has really started to come on as of late - really more in the consistency department. He’s looking more comfortable in his reads, and his zone coverage has greatly improved. He had nine tackles, 1.5 for a loss, and played well in coverage; especially against the Steelers short passing game.

Jon Bostic - Here is another player who I have been very tough on this season, however Bostic rose to the occasion Monday night. He led the team in tackles with 10, and had a key interception off Montez Sweat’s batted pass that sealed the victory late in the fourth quarter.

Montez Sweat - Sweat was a major factor again, racking up four tackles with one being for a loss, but it was his three batted down passes, one that ended up being intercepted by linebacker Jon Bostic to seal the victory, that were his biggest plays of the game.

Chase Young - Don’t just count the sacks with this man...look at what else he does to effect a football game. The double and triple teams, the non-stop motor, the quarterback pressures...these are just some of the small things that make him special. What was REALLY amazing was his fourth down stop on the goal line where he flew down the line to tackle Benny Snell in the backfield short of the end zone.

Dustin Hopkins - Hopkins was PERFECT on the night, hitting from 49, 45 and 45 - I can’t believe I’m actually writing this!


Duds:

Steven Sims Jr. - Sims Jr. has been a big disappointment since returning from an early injury this season. Many fans thought he could be a difference maker in the slot for this football team, but the production is just not there - and now we have to deal with his drops.

Jeremy Sprinkle - It’s bad enough that we had to watch him drop passes the last three seasons. Now, we had to watch him muff and easy fumble recovery that could have gave Washington great field position earlier in the game.

Kendall Fuller - This wasn’t Fuller’s best game in a Washington uniform. His coverage was not great, he allowed scores, he missed tackles and he committed penalties.


Notes:

- Alex Smith is doing a really nice job running this offense with limited playmakers on the outside. He was efficient, didn’t turn the ball over, took what the defense gave him, and made some big plays when we needed them most. He also did this with a very limited running game. He’s not the long-term answer, but he’s turning into a nice bridge.

- A SOLID honorable mention goes out to the offensive line for their efforts against the best overall defense in the league. They weren’t perfect, but they did a very admirable job on the evening. Moses struggled a bit against Watt - but what right tackle wouldn’t? What I loved was his effort and the fact he never gave up. The interior was solid; not spectacular, but played with an edge - even when they made mistakes. Oh - and THANK GOODNESS Brandon Scherff came back after his in-game injury. The collective Washington Football Nation was literally holding their breath when Wes Martin had to come in!

- Despite not having his BEST game, Kam Curl is a baller and will be one for quite a long time in this league. The kid just has that “it” factor about him. Just imagine how he will be with a year under his belt in this defense!

- Make ZERO mistake - Everett is a much better safety than Apke, but he did have a few coverage gaffs and missed two tackles - one that both he and Fuller whiffed on that led to Washington’s catch-and-run touchdown.

- Inman’s lack of a block on that fourth down attempt really put us in a bad situation. I didn’t really care for the trickery on the play call against a very good, disciplined defense, but man, you have to execute!

- Jimmy Moreland had an up and down evening, but the guy showed he’s a baller none-the-less. He makes a mistake, then comes back with a big play. That’s what you have to do as a corner.

- I’ve been pleasantly surprised with Danny Johnson’s kick returns.

- Yes, Tress Way was yet again booming the ball into the cold Pittsburgh night. I guess I should make a new category for season Studs and insert him there. He also may have a career in acting once his playing days are done.