If you are a fan of great offensive football, Friday nights Washington/Cincinnati game was probably not your cup of tea. Although Washington did move the football, the lack of being able to put it into the endzone was alarming.
The defense however, feasted on a Joe Burrow-less offense, and some drops by rookie receiver Ja’Marr Chase, holding the Bengals to 13 points.
There is still a lot of work to be done, and thankfully, Washington has 21 days before they open the season - so there is time!
Below are my Studs and Duds of the game, followed by some notes/observations.
Jaret Patterson - The undrafted rookie is making a massive climb up the depth chart, and as far as I’m concerned (and most fans too), has cemented himself a spot on the 53-man roster. What a great story this young man is becoming!
Patterson had 71 rushing yards and a touchdown on 16 carries, caught three passes for 25 yards, and returned a kickoff for 37 yards. That’s 133 all-purpose yards on the evening!
Antonio Gandy Golden - Granted his performance was against the Bengals back-ups...but I don’t care. The second year pro desperately needed to have an impactful game, and he did just that. In what roughly equated to two quarters of play, Gandy-Golden led the team in receiving, catching three passes for 38 yards, and atoned for his drop in the end zone on the two-point conversion last week against New England, by snatching a nice grab for two against the Bengals. I had him on the outside looking in before Friday nights game, but I think he just made the race for WR6 interesting.
Landon Collins - Collins got run as both a strong safety, and a single high against Cincinnati early in Friday’s contest. The veteran did not disappoint, and he looks to be back to his old self again after tearing his Achilles last fall.
He was in position all half, looked to keep the secondary (which had two young starters at corner), in the correct coverages, and had a beautiful open-field tackle midway through the second quarter where he blew up a short play to the left flat.
Landon Collins is that guy, pal— NFL on ESPN (@ESPNNFL) August 21, 2021
Torry McTyer - McTyer drew the start at corner opposite rookie Benjamin St.-Juste, and although he was going against an offense minus Joe Burrow, he looked OUTSTANDING in the first half in coverage.
Much like Patterson, McTyer is one who has impressed so far this camp, and it may be tough to keep him off the 53-man roster.
Dustin Hopkins - Despite none of his field goals being beyond 40 yards (which is where his inconsistencies creep in), Hopkins was perfect on the night connecting on all three of his attempts.
...baby-steps folks; baby-steps.
The Starting Offensive Line - Sorry, but they just didn’t look in sync at all in the first quarter. There were blown calls, way too many pressures, and the Heavy sets we were running with frequency didn’t result in much at all.
The good thing here is some of this was just communication - and if that’s the case, I’d rather they work through this now rather than in September.
Steven Sims Jr. - Another dropped pass by Sims Jr. may have sealed his fate. I get he was in for a big collision if he had caught hit, but he was going to get hit either way - so it’s best to secure the catch; especially when you are on the roster bubble to begin with. He also had a kickoff return where he probably should have just stayed in the endzone.
Sims Jr. here with more of the dropsies.— Mark Tyler(Hogs Haven) (@Tiller56) August 21, 2021
This is how you end up on the outside of the roster bubble looking in… pic.twitter.com/qh1EdcIKTb
Darrick Forrest - Some may call his inclusion on this list unfair - mainly due to the helmet-to-helmet hit that turned around a forced fumble and recovery inside the one yard line, but to date, after two preseason games, the rookie has looked lost, and continues to miss tackles.
Early in the third quarter while playing up in the box as the strong safety, he bit so hard on a play action fake, that he literally followed the running back for four seconds - and he may have actually tackled him!
- Ryan Fitzpatrick looked a little hyped up early in the game, and missed a few throws he normally would have made. He did make some nice plays to go along with some poor ones.
- Speaking of quarterback play, I thought Taylor Heinicke did a nice job creating with his legs when he got outside the pocket. He also showed some smarts, running out of bounds and sliding to avoid contact. However, he needs to be more careful with the football when he’s in the pocket.
- Dyami Brown flashed again with the first team, making a beautiful catch on a back-shoulder throw by Fitz late in the first quarter. He had two catches for 33 yards on the evening, and had another one (thrown behind him), just slip through his hands.
- John Bates’ blocking took a significant drop-off from last week. There was a play in the second quarter on a WHAM block, where he left his feet - and he didn’t need to do that. I remember screaming at the TV (and Tweeting) - stay on your feet Bates!
Stay on your feet Bates!— Mark Tyler(Hogs Haven) (@Tiller56) August 21, 2021
- Saahdiq Charles looked more comfortable last week on the left side, than he did at right tackle this week.
- Benjamin St-Juste got the start and looked the part on the evening. However, like I said in my blurb on McTyer, he was playing against an offense without Joe Burrow.
- Despite giving up a few catches and getting called for pass interference, I thought Troy Apke looked decent at corner. He showed tight coverage and had a nice form tackle later in the game.
- William Bradley-King had a nice strip-sack late in the game that was recovered by Daniel Wise.
- Speaking of Daniel Wise, the big-man was active in the second half, generating pressures and making plays (including his fumble recovery mentioned above).