This was an ugly win...but I’ll take it!
Much like two middle-age wives fighting over who had the uglier sweater at a Christmas party, this game was filled with drama, tons of penalties, and not a lot of substance. However, when the game was on the line, the newest member of the football team, kicker Brian Johnson, came through big, sending Washington to their fourth consecutive win, a .500 record on the season, and squarely in the playoff hunt.
Like I have said before, meaningful football in December is all we can ask for - and Ron Rivera and company have given us just that!
Below are my Studs and Duds of the game, followed by some notes.
Antonio Gibson - Gibby was one again the workhorse the team leaned on - and he responded in a big way. Pounding the ball between the tackles and taking some carries around the edge (including a big gain that got called back for holding), Antonio carried 23 times for 88 yards despite a Raiders defense that stacked the box most of the second quarter and beyond just daring us to throw deep. He also caught five passes for 23 yards and the team’s second and final touchdown of the afternoon. I also have to point out that for the second game, he did not put the ball on the ground.
Logan Thomas - Before taking a nasty looking shot to the knee on a cross-buck block, Thomas was an absolutely beast! He caught Washington’s first touchdown of the game on a high throw where he needed every bit of his 6’6” frame to go up and snag the ball one-handed. But that wasn’t the only high pass he brought in on the afternoon. He snagged yet another on a high ball over the middle in traffic and caught the longest pass of the afternoon - a 35 yard corner route. Before leaving with injury, Thomas had caught three passes for 48 yards and a touchdown
Jonathan Allen/Daron Payne/Matt Ioannidis - Allen, Payne and Ioannidis were a disruptive trio Sunday afternoon, totaling seven tackles, two for a loss, five stuffs, one and a half sacks, and making life in the pocket uncomfortable for Derek Carr all afternoon with multiple pressures.
MY GAWD!!! Watch what Jonathan Allen does to this poor Raiders left guard pic.twitter.com/PHZgTPOumA— Mark Tyler(Hogs Haven) (@Tiller56) December 5, 2021
Brian Johnson - Clutch is key, and Brian Johnson, in his first game action with Washington, was every bit of clutch, hitting from 48 yards with just over 30 seconds remaining to give The Football Team the win. He was also perfect on extra points, hitting both of his attempts.
Cornelius Lucas - For the second game in a row, Lucas showed poorly in pass protection. He allowed multiple pressures, one resulting in a sack, and another which allowed his defender to get a piece of Heinicke’s arm, resulting in a ball that fluttered and was intercepted. It’s been a tough two game stretch for the veteran tackle.
Lucas gets beat back inside on the spin move, but Scherff coming to help may have actually aided in the sack. pic.twitter.com/t36ShrCCcf— Mark Tyler(Hogs Haven) (@Tiller56) December 5, 2021
Lucas again… but would have liked to TH quick-shrug and step up - but bad by Lucas pic.twitter.com/fjaawP4uUI— Mark Tyler(Hogs Haven) (@Tiller56) December 5, 2021
Scott Turner - Despite winning this game by a narrow margin, Turner’s offense attempted just two passes over 20 air yards...this against a defense that had allowed a staggering 924 passing yards over its last three games. I don’t know if all the check-downs were by design, or if that was more on Heinicke simply taking what the defense gave him, but if I saw one more screen pass, I was going to pull my hair out.
- Cole Holcomb struggled in coverage on the afternoon (as he usually does), including a pass interference in the end zone (and then missed a tackle on Jacobs’ touchdown), but made a HUGE play at the goal line to defended a pass that saved a would-be touchdown later in the game and knocking the ball away from Moreau on a seam. He led the team in tackles with 10 total.
- If it wasn’t for a few big plays the rookie made, Jamin Davis would have ended up the the Duds list for his four missed tackles and lack of hustle on a Carr scramble.
Lack of hustle here by Jamin Davis. This is SUPPOSED to be a sub 4.4 guy. Bet Micah Parsons wouldn’t do this… pic.twitter.com/DTCjrA4T4p— Mark Tyler(Hogs Haven) (@Tiller56) December 5, 2021
- Taylor Heinicke was far from perfect, but he yet again energized the team and made enough plays to keep the chains moving when we needed him to. He was a bit high and late on some passes, and nearly threw the game away to the Raiders on a floater late in the fourth quarter, but credit him for keeping his composure and having a short memory. He did a nice job taking what the defense allowed and getting the ball to his playmakers underneath. It may have been part of the game plan that Scott Turner put together, however he attempted just two passes of at least 20 air yards all game. He was, however, credited with three turnover-worthy plays...so there is much room for improvement; but you can’t even begin to measure his heart and desire!
- John Bates had a pretty nice game. He did drop an easy catch on a screen, but he caught some key passes (three for 42 yards), and blocked well. He’s not running away from anyone in the open field, but he’s becoming a reliable ancillary target and security blanket for this offense.
- Despite a few minor gaffs, McCain played a decent game in the secondary. He did take a poor angle on the ball Carr overshot Jones on in the endzone - but no harm, no foul. Although some (probably Raiders fans), will argue he could have been called for pass interference on the deep ball late in the game, I felt it was a good no-call, as both men were hand fighting, and the tug on the jersey was not egregious, as the receiver also had a slight push-off as well. He had a key stop on a third and five to prevent a first down via a big hit early in the second quarter.
- Kendall Fuller could have landed on my Studs list if it wasn’t for two misses tackles and a long completion he gave up on a second and a mile that helped the Raiders get into field goal range (which they converted) right before the half.
- William Jackson III either had excellent coverage, or Carr really didn’t look his way all game - maybe the first had a direct correlation on the second. He did knock the Hail Mary attempt away to end the game.
- Both Toohill and Smith-Williams played fundamentally sound, and showed good hustle, despite not stuffing the stat sheet. They are far from Young and Sweat, but they are getting the job done with the help of our interior defenders.
- Missing Landon Collins hurt... I bet you all didn’t think this was possible, right?