Sunday’s game against Atlanta was an emotional roller coaster; as is usually the case for most games from this team. However, this one ended in a W; which is unlike most games from this team.
The Washington team is unlike the one most expected to see coming into the season, and so far, those glaring holes have yet to be patched, but somehow, some way, despite all the mistakes, we managed to pull off a come-from-behind victory on the road.
Below are my Studs and Duds of the game, followed by some notes.
Terry McLaurin - The Captain came up HUGE in this game, catching two touchdowns, one which bailed his quarterback out in the back on the end zone after Heinicke chucked up a prayer. He had six receptions for 123 yards and the two TD’s.
DeAndre Carter - Carter recorded his first ever touchdown on a 101 yard kick return to keep Washington hanging around. He also chipped in a key reception later in the game for a big 24 yard gain in the middle of the field.
J.D. McKissic - It was McKissic’s all-out effort play on the throwback in the flat that allowed Washington to walk out of Atlanta with the win. After rounding the corner and turning on the jets, J.D. launched himself towards the pylon - and the refs, after reviewing the play, said the ball broke the plane. He totaled five receptions for 44 yard and the TD, while adding 15 rushing yards.
Cole Holcomb - Our linebacking unit has been a much criticized group so far this season, but Cole Holcomb, who did leave for a short time with an injury, was a rock all game.
Jon Allen - Because he defends passes better than our defensive backs!
Scott Turner - For sticking with the game plan (including the run), and not panicking when things weren’t looking so good.
Chase Young - This one is LONG overdue! With all the offseason hype Young and his running mates received, the captain has NOT even come close to living up to it! He again went without a sack, and his roughing the passer call against Ryan, on a play where all he had to do was lower his target and WRAP UP, was very costly!
I know Chase will bounce back - but for now, it’s not been a good start to the season.
Jon Bostic - It was more of the same for the veteran linebacker, as he’s often out of place in both the run and passing game. He had Davis lined up on a swing pass to the left that would have stopped the back for no gain - however he missed the tackle, and Davis broke a few more to go on and score. Bostic is not the only problem on this defense, but he’s far from being a solution.
Bobby McCain - Although not as bad as Bostic, the missed tackles by McCain stood out like a sore thumb - as they often do with safeties. His coverage was not that good ( blame him for the blown coverage on the 42 yard TD to Patterson), and he looked a step slow when he did arrive. A forgettable game for the veteran.
Dustin Hopkins - This experiment has to end! Yet again, Hopkins got a case of the yips, this time pushing two extra point attempts wide right.
Jack Del Rio - Yet again, Del Rio’s defense underwhelmed. The unit recorded just one sack, had zero turnovers, and allowed Matt Ryan to throw for 283 yards and four touchdowns - his best game of the season. To top that off, the penalties continue to haunt this unit - and they come at bad times throughout the game (see Chase Young’s personal foul). Also, why in the HELL are you dropping our best pass rushers into coverage!
Myself - For not starting Cordarrelle Patterson in my fantasy league against this bad defense!
- There are people who will get angry about me not have Taylor Heinicke on the Studs list, but ANYONE who watched yesterday's game knows Taylor did not play that well. His passes floated all afternoon, he missed wide open guys, he looked very tentative, and took too long releasing many of his throws. To top that off, he was nearly getting his pass-catchers killed out there. I had him with four turnover-worthy plays (two of which the common afternoon flag football defender could have come down with). The throw in the end zone, that the Falcons defender flat out dropped, was as bad as they get. His desperation heave to the back of the end zone was all effort by McLaurin. I also noticed that Taylor looked hesitant to take off when lanes opened up, and three times slid too early - with one time resulting in the team not converting a big fourth down on the next play.
However, I give Taylor a TON of credit for not letting some bad plays effect his play down the stretch. This is what all quarterbacks have to do - have a short memory, and not come unraveled; and Taylor did just that. He made some GREAT throws on the final drive to get us into scoring position. The time he was able to buy with his feet, then throw back to McKissic in the right flat, was beautiful. His stat line may look a lot better than the actual performance he turned in, but he helped us get the win on the road...AND I’LL TAKE IT! Props to him down the stretch! Love the guts and grit!
- Davis continues to flash at linebacker. And, I don’t mean this to sound too harsh (as I never like to see anyone get injured), but it was not a coincidence that the defense played better when Bostic exited the game.
- I thought the offensive line, as a whole, preformed very well. There were a few missed blocks, that if made, could have sprung big gains - but the unit limited the penalties, gave Heinicke time in the pocket, opened up some nice running lanes, and limited the penalties. I thought Cosmi and Leno Jr., especially in pass protection, played pretty well!
- Kendall Fuller did play a bit better yesterday. He was still beaten in coverage (once by Patterson on a nice grab for a TD), but overall, he looked a bit more confident and disciplined. He has a few nice passed defended in the secondary. Not perfect, but an improvement non-the-less.
- We saw a glimpse, albeit a small one, of how Turner plans on using Curtis Samuel in this offense - and I liked it! We REALLY could use another receiver to step up opposite McLaurin, and hopefully Curtis can do this as he gets healthier.