LB Ryan Kerrigan. It’s not like Kerrigan was dominant, but he was effective and he made some plays and didn’t factor into the negative ones, save from the standpoint of not getting more of a rush. But his strength as a rusher always has been in working with others – whether the secondary or Brian Orakpo or the interior when they get a good push. Kerrigan is best at cleaning up when the QB is pressured. With no consistent pressure from the other side – or, rather, save for one play no pressure at all – Kerrigan was unable to clean up. That’s not to absolve him, but it is how he’s feasted as a linebacker. But he still made plays and he still got a sack (good coverage: 3.6 seconds). He also does a terrific job of getting off chop blocks and then making plays. This happened on a few occasions Sunday, including on a batted pass as well as on his big tackle for a seven-yard loss on a swing pass to the running back in the fourth quarter. Kerrigan was good at this last season, but it’s worth repeating: He does an excellent job pushing the blocker down while keeping his eyes on his work. It’s tough for a back to reach his legs based on how Kerrigan handles this block, so he can explode back up and make a play. It’s also worth noting (and you can see it below), but the Bucs paid extra attention to him in the fourth quarter.
CB Josh Wilson. He nearly made a game-saving interception in the fourth quarter with tight coverage on Mike Williams. A good play by Williams knocked the ball free. Wilson also made a few good tackles against the run and in the open field. And he defended the hardest pass in football in the second half, the back shoulder pass. But he gave up a few big plays. Williams caught a back shoulder pass in the first half for 19 yards, but that was a perfect throw. But Williams also drove him off on a 20-yard comeback (a push-off? Sure looked that way so it’s tough to ping him too hard on this one, though the catch might still have been made). On the 65-yard play Wilson was alone with no safety help. But he couldn’t disrupt the timing with a jam—he tried to get his hands on him, but it didn’t work. You also have to give Wilson credit for a terrific breakup on a sideline route to Jackson. I like Wilson and he didn’t make many mistakes in this game, but the one was a whopper and changed the momentum. It’s the life of a corner.
S Madieu Williams. His biggest gaffe was a missed tackle on the 65-yard pass to Williams in the third quarter; actually he let him cut inside because of the angle. It gained an extra 30 yards. It’s tough to blame Williams for the catch because on the snap he started to his right where two receivers were aligned (after lining up 15 yards off the ball at the snap; under Gregg Williams and Greg Blache, the Redskins safeties would sometimes line up 20 yards deep). But Williams’ subtle movements, or inability to break faster, contributed to other plays. The first one might be unfair because the throw was perfect and fast. If so, my bad. But Williams was lined up on the right, at the goal-line, with DeAngelo Hall on Jackson. Freeman looked right at Jackson off the snap – there were no other receivers to that side – but Williams did not react fast enough. Could he have shaded a little more at the snap or after? In fairness to Williams, a better jam by Hall to slow him at the line would have helped. Later, on the 22-yarder to Jackson inside the 5, Hall had the coverage over the top with Williams underneath. Williams, aligned on the left, slid about three steps to his left – as Freeman’s eyes looked the other way and with only a fullback running to the flat (and covered) on Williams’ side. When Freeman’s eyes came back that way, it was too late for Williams to get back inside. Williams made a couple good tackles early in the game and helped vs. the run (even when he missed, he slowed guys down and others were there). But he also was thiiis close to a hit on a defenseless receiver in the end zone – the overthrow to Mike Williams.
…This was an odd game to go back and watch. Not a lot of guys played great; not a lot of them played poorly either. The Bucs had four plays of 20 yards or longer that totaled 161 yards – their other 54 plays gained 212 yards. But even after a big game the Bucs still entered this week ranked 30th in total yards on offense.
…Corner DeAngelo Hall actually had good coverage on the 54-yard pass to Jackson. It didn’t help that Freeman had 3.6 seconds to throw the ball and then made a perfect pass to an elite receiver. On the 22-yarder, Hall’s underneath help was late. He also had an interception that led to a touchdown. I’m still not a fan of his blitzes. He eyes the quarterback the entire time he’s in the slot when he’s going to come. Freeman had to have noticed this because there was one blitz in the second half in which Hall is aligned in the left slot, staring inside. Freeman, in shotgun formation, quickly glances at him after he catches the snap. Then he slides a couple steps to his left and unloads the pass. Hall hits him after he throws, but if Freeman hadn’t known he was coming perhaps he would have recorded a sack instead.
… It’s hard to completely blame the secondary for all the problems Sunday. Very hard. Consider that Freeman attempted 39 passes and was sacked just once (and that play took 3.6 seconds before Kerrigan got home). He was legitimately hit after he threw twice and a defender made some form of contact two other times.
…Add it up and in the last two games, covering 66 pass attempts, the Redskins have three sacks and have made contact on the QB only 10 times. It’ll be difficult to survive against the pass with this sort of production. Yeah, that’s an obvious statement.
…Did they send extra rushers fewer times in the second half? Not really. The Redskins sent an extra defender (or two) on 10 of 24 pass drop-backs in the first half compared to seven of 17 in the second half.
…I’m surprised end Stephen Bowen wasn’t hurt on one fourth quarter play (a three-yard Doug Martin run). Bowen moved to his left with nose tackle Chris Baker getting moved to the right off a double team. As Baker lost balance, a lineman drove him to the ground and rolled up under Bowen’s left ankle, causing his leg to awkwardly bend.
…The Bucs did a good job chipping with their backs and tight ends, which impacted the pass rush. Here comes another unofficial number: the Bucs only had six times when they used just five blockers in protection. Yes, that makes it tougher to get home, though other teams find a way. The backs chipped an outside linebacker or an end on eight occasions. About half of them were very effective in slowing the rusher, as on a first-half incompletion in which Stephen Bowen might have had a sack, but was bumped off stride and yet still managed a pressure.
…The Bucs doubled Kerrigan five times and a back or tight end chipped him on another occasion. Four of those double teams/chips occurred in the fourth quarter.
…Punter Sav Rocca had a strong day, even having a hangtime of 4.9 seconds on one punt. He did have a 33- yarder, but overall was sound. Lorenzo Alexander had another good day in coverage, but that’s nothing new. He also played three snaps from scrimmage with Perry Riley needing an IV.
Submit questions for Redskins mailbag.
To subscribe to my free weekly email report, click here.