Different playcaller, same lousy result for Redskins

After their loss to the winless Kansas City Chiefs last week, the Washington Redskins stripped head coach Jim Zorn of his playcalling duties and handed them over to Sherman Lewis, who hadn’t even been with the team for a month.

The move was made in hopes to spark the Redskins’ dismal offense, but as their 27-17 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles tonight can attest to, Lewis isn’t going to change Washington’s misfortune over night.

The Redskins’ loss to the Eagles actually had very little to do with Lewis’ playcalling and more to do with Washington’s lack of execution. In the first half, quarterback Jason Campbell had a ball batted into the air by a defensive lineman and intercepted by linebacker Will Witherspoon, who returned it for a touchdown. Later in the half, Campbell escaped the pocket but didn’t get the ball out of his hands in time and was stripped from behind. The Eagles recovered and turned the gift into three points to take a 17-0 second quarter lead.

Campbell finished the night 29 of 43 passing for 284 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. For all intents and purposes, his final numbers weren’t bad (he had a QB rating of 91.6), but he often settled for check downs or underneath routes and both of his touchdown passes came around the goal line. He still struggled with hanging onto the ball too long and missing open receivers.

That said, his pass protection wasn’t that great and his receivers dropped a few passes. He also didn’t have Chris Cooley, who left the game early in the first half due to an ankle injury and never returned. All in all, it was a complete team effort by a Redskins squad that somehow generated 17 points from a brutal showing. Lewis wasn’t the problem tonight – lack of execution by the players was.

Read the rest of this entry »

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom.

Six-Pack of Observations: Broncos 34, Chargers 23

1. Royal is making his presence felt in other facets of the game
After hauling in 91 receptions for 980 yards and five touchdowns as a rookie last year, Eddie Royal has largely been a bust in his second year. But he proved Monday night that he could contribute in other areas, especially on special teams. He returned a 93-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in the first quarter and a 71-yard punt return in the second quarter. As Denver’s offense sputtered in the first half, Royal provided a major spark.

2. The Broncos’ offensive line has been fantastic
Kyle Orton has turned out to be a great fit for Josh McDaniels’ offense, but he owes a lot of his success to his O-line. They’ve protected him like Fort Knox all season and did so again Monday night. Orton had all day to throw and was accurate when his receivers broke free from defenders. The Broncos’ front five continues to be one of the better units in the league.

3. The Chargers’ defense is a mess
One would have thought Ron Rivera would have fixed some of San Diego’s defensive issues during the team’s bye week. But the same problems that the Bolts had heading into the bye were evident again tonight: They couldn’t generate any pressure, they didn’t tackle well and they couldn’t come up with the big stop when they needed it. The Broncos did whatever they wanted offensively in the second half.

Read the rest of this entry »

Henne, Wildcat help Dolphins beat Jets in thriller

It’s usually wise to expect the unexpected in the NFL. That’s why I’m not going to act the least bit surprised that Rex Ryan’s defense looked befuddled on Monday night while trying to defend second year quarterback Chad Henne and the Dolphins’ Wildcat formation.

Thanks to Henne’s surprising accuracy (he completed 20 of his 26 pass attempts for 241 yards and 2 touchdowns) and the combination of Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams running the Wildcat, the Dolphins topped the Jets 31-27 in one of the more entertaining games of the year.

All right I admit – I’m a little surprised that Ryan’s defense was little match for the Wildcat. After all, if there were one defensive mind in the NFL that could shut down that formation, it would be Ryan right? Then why whenever the Dolphins needed a big play in the fourth quarter to keep the chains moving did they successfully use the Wildcat? Why can no defensive guru figure this formation out?

The short answer is that Miami runs the Wildcat so well that even the stingiest of defensive coordinators can’t slow them down. Brown has been the perfect fit for the formation and even though he’s on the wrong side of 30, Williams still displays good burst when he runs. Simply put, the Dolphins have mastered the formation and will still give teams (any team, including Ryan’s Jets) fits while using it.

The Wildcat also helped open things up for Henne in the passing game. He wasn’t asked to do too much, but he came up with a couple of huge completions when Miami needed them, specifically on a 53-yard touchdown pass to Ted Ginn Jr. early in the fourth. It’s still early, but the Dolphins may have found their franchise quarterback.

On the other side, Mark Sanchez turned in his second poor outing in consecutive weeks. He certainly wasn’t as bad as he was last week in New Orleans, but he was shaky to say the least. He finished with only 172 yards on 12 of 24 passing, although he did throw a touchdown pass to the newly acquired Braylon Edwards, who looked like a player with a new lease on life while hauling in five receptions for 64 yards.

Sanchez was far from the reason the Jets lost, but it has been clear the past two weeks that defensive coordinators are starting to figure out how to game plan for him. This is when it’s important for a young quarterback to learn from what he’s seeing on the field and not lose confidence in his abilities. He didn’t turn the ball over tonight, which was big considering he threw three interceptions and lost a fumble against New Orleans last week. But Sanchez needs to continue to learn from his mistakes and move forward in his development.

Monday night to serve as test for youngster Sanchez


For all intents and purposes, last week was an utter disaster for Jets rookie quarterback Mark Sanchez. He threw for only 138 yards, was intercepted three times and had a fumble recovered for a touchdown in the Jets’ 24-10 loss to the Saints in New Orleans.

Simply put, the kid looked like a rookie.

One of Sanchez’s many issues last week was that he tried to do too much when plays broke down. Instead of chucking the ball out of bounds when he was in trouble, he forced passes into coverage and paid for it. Credit the Saints for generating a consistent pass rush throughout the game, but Sanchez needs to learn how to get rid of the ball and live to fight for another play.

But the growing pains he suffered last week weren’t anything that Peyton Manning, Tom Brady or Ben Roethlisberger didn’t go through early on in their development. In fact, Manning threw so many picks his rookie year that fans used to hold up signs mocking him to remember that his team wore blue jerseys and white helmets.

It’s what Sanchez does tonight against the Dolphins that I’m most interested in, because he was bound to suffer a let down eventually. He wasn’t going to walk through an entire season playing as well as he did the first couple games and not be exposed for the inexperienced player he is. In fact, it’s better that he got his first ass-kicking of his career early in the year rather than later on at a crucial moment in the season. He can learn from the beating he took last week in New Orleans.

Pundits like to marvel at how calm and cool Sanchez has looked so far leading the Jets’ offense. Well, let’s see how he reacts after suffering his first loss. Let’s see if he can learn from what happened last weekend and turn it into a positive for he and his team. He was eventually going to be exposed and he was, but now let’s see how he responds.

I think he’ll respond favorably. He has a great defense at his disposal, a solid running game, an excellent offensive line and now a No. 1 receiver in Braylon Edwards (when he’s not dropping passes that is). Sanchez doesn’t need to do too much; he needs to let the game come to him and rebound from his first defeat as a pro. That said, it’ll be interesting to see how he does playing in his first prime time game of his career.

How many sacks for Jared Allen tonight?

I’m setting the over/under on the number of sacks Vikings’ defensive end Jared Allen will have on Aaron Rodgers tonight at 2.5.

Any takers?

Allen is due for a monster night as Green Bay left tackle Chad Clifton is expected to miss his second game tonight following an ankle injury he suffered in a Week 2 loss to the Bengals.

The Packers’ offensive line has resembled a revolving door this season, allowing 12 sacks in the first three games. In their loss to Cincinnati, Green Bay made defensive end Antwan Odom look like a cross between Reggie White and Kevin Greene as he brought down Rodgers five times.

Rodgers is a fine quarterback, but his offensive line is going to get him killed if they don’t start protecting him. Considering Ryan Grant won’t find much running room against the Williams Wall tonight, it would be in Green Bay’s best interest to max-protect Rodgers the entire night. The Giants use a similar method on a weekly basis with Eli Manning and he seems to do just fine.

The Packers need to help Daryn Colledge out, because he’ll see the brunt of the work against Allen. Lining up a tight end to Allen’s side would make sense, although Green Bay might also need to set up a military-based obstacle course in between him and Rodgers just to be safe.

I’m taking the over tonight. I think Allen will eventually take this game over, especially if the Packers can’t get Grant going early. It could be a very long night for Rodgers.

Related Posts