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Likes, dislikes, and more from the 26-24 win over the 49ers.

Good:

  1. Pass protection. Sure the Skins threw several screens and quick outs/hitches but Cousins dropped back a ton too.  He was sacked once.
  1. Kirk Cousins with game on the line. With the Skins reeling after blowing a 17-zip lead, Kirk led two long 4th quarter drives for scores.  The first drive lasted 16 plays, covered 72 yards and took 7:27 seconds.  He completed a 3rd and 11, 3rd and 12, and 2nd and 12 on that drive.  He also had an 18-yd run.  The next drive went 9 plays, 84 yards and took 4:54 off the clock and ended with a read-option keeper for a touchdown.  He completed a huge 3rd and 5 on that drive to Grant.  He should’ve been given a chance to end the game with a throw after the onsides kick recovery but Gruden went conservative and got bailed out by a bad offensive PI call on Garcon at the end of the game.  Overall, I thought Kirk had an up and down day (out of sync with receivers) before the final two drives. 

  1. Chris Thompson. He was the primary back today in addition to his 3rd-down responsibilities.  Other than an early fumble that was recovered by Trent Williams, Thompson was okay as a runner early but lights out as a pass receiver.  Four catches for 105 yards including a 1st and 22 49-yd catch and run on a screen where he froze Williams in his tracks.  He also had a huge 3rd and 12 catch and run with the game tied 17-17.
  1. Matt Ioannidis. He continues to impress this year as one of the teams’ most improved players.  He had 1.5 sacks and a TFL. 

  1. Perine’s 3rd and 1 run. Up 20-17, the Redskins faced a huge 3rd and 1 from their own 25 with 6:56 left.  Perine was hit short of the first down but his 2nd effort twist and lunge kept the chains moving….big play. 

  1. Screen plays. The Skins have become a very good screen team.  Thompson is very good but Perine had a good one today, also.  Their athletic linemen are perfect for screens.
  2. Quinton Dunbar.  He just seemed to be there on every throw including the balls caught.

Bad:

  1. Final offensive possession. Jay Gruden doesn’t get it right enough at the end of games.  It cost them in Kansas City when his “too quick timeout” cost them a better chance at OT.  Today, after the onsides kick was recovered by Fabian Moreau, the Skins needed to clinch the game on offense, not defense.  Why, two reasons.  First, the math.  This is a struggle apparently for this team but the math said that three runs and punt would leave somewhere around a minute left for San Fran to get in FG range for a game-winning kick.  That’s too much time especially for a team that was going against a depleted defense on fumes.  Secondly, the Skins defense was depleted and on fumes!  That context made it a no-brainer to go win the game on offense.  I think the Skins should’ve considered throwing it on 2nd and 3rd down if needed.  Again, the context was a reeling defense and Beathard gaining confidence AND…the thought of the Niners having the ball with a minute left should’ve been concerning. On top of the conservative decision-making at a time that demanded aggressiveness, the punt through the end zone was pathetic.  A serious attempt to pin the 49ers inside the 10 was an absolute must in that spot.
  1. Missed PAT. The Hopkins miss could’ve easily cost them the game.
  1. Defense against Beathard-led 49ers.  The Skins defense had all the answers for Brian Hoyer even though his receivers let him down with drops.  They had no answers for his back-up CJ Beathard.  Beathard led an offense that rolled up 24 points, 275 yards, and went 5 for 9 on 3rd downs in just over a half of football.  The touchdown pass to Aldrick Robinson was awful on someone’s part.  Not sure if it was Moreau or safety.

  1. Injuries.  For the 2nd straight game, they lost a ton of DBs during the game.  Swearinger came back but Breeland didn’t.  Nicholson got banged up and then McClure the same.
  1. Reed and Davis as blockers. They both got blown up on Mack Brown’s 3rd and 1 stop in the first half.  They also were on the field on the final drive as blockers when they desperately needed a first down.
  1. 1st half play-calling. I didn’t love the deep shots they took that ended a few drives prematurely.  It could’ve been as much about execution as anything else but the Skins seemed either in rhythm or completely out of sync depending on the drive.  It felt like their 17-7 halftime lead should’ve been larger.
  1. Run offense. They didn’t run it well at all.  Take out the Cousins runs and the Crowder fly-sweep and the Skins were 27 for 58 yds with Thompson, Perine, and Brown.
  1. Swearinger penalty cost them 4 points. The DJ Swearinger post-play personal foul at the end of the first half gave the Niners a chance to get 7 instead of 3.

More:

  1. Vernon Davis fumble. I thought there wasn’t enough video evidence to prove the state of the ball when his elbow hit the ground.

  1. Fly sweep action. The Skins showed a ton of fake fly sweep action with Crowder after he got the ball on the first play of the game.  They should’ve given it to him again.

  1. The 49ers dropped no less than 4 passes in the game.

  1. Brandon Scherff was called for a bogus post-play personal foul. That was not a penalty.

  1. Morgan Moses finally got called for a false start but it looked like he got away with another one or two.
  1. Kyle Shanahan managed the clock poorly at the end of the first half. First, he let his rookie QB take a delay of game penalty on first and goal at the Skins’ 2 yd line.  Then, he let the clock wind down to 3 seconds before his 4th and goal play.  He should’ve called the timeout earlier as insurance for a defensive penalty/automatic first down.
  1. Pierre Garcon’s catch on the sideline in the final minute of the game was spectacular.
  1. Pierre Garcon’s offensive PI was a bad call and likely cost the 49ers a chance at a game-winning FG attempt.
  2. Refs missed a Jordan Reed false start on the massive 3rd and 12 completion to Chris Thompson on the first play of the 4th quarter.
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