It's hard to overlook exactly what transpired at the end of the Redskins-Rams game when wide receiver Josh Morgan decided to launch the football at St. Louis cornerback Cortland Finnegan with the game in the balance. Instead of facing a 4th-and-1 and, at worse, a chance for a 47-yard game-tying field goal, Morgan incurred a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty and kicker Billy Cundiff was forced to attempt a 62-yarder.
Putting aside how things played out down the stretch, the Redskins have more pressing matters as they prepare for the Bengals next Sunday. Chief among them: Replacing defensive end Adam Carriker and linebacker Brian Orakpo, who were both lost during the first half of the St. Louis game.
Coach Mike Shanahan said after the game that "It doesn't look good" in regards to Carriker's right knee. In fact, Carriker's expected to have surgery following an Monday MRI to determine the extent of the damage. Also not expected to be back on the field anytime soon: Orakpo, who suffered a pectoral injury (the same one that required offseason surgery).
“It just ripped on me, man. Same injury as before. It’s just frustrating, man," said Orakpo, who was on his way to be examined by Dr. James Andrews.
The loss of Carriker and Orakpo means more playing time for Jarvis Jenkins and Rob Jackson. It also means more pressure on the offense to score points.
Rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III didn't put up the jaw-dropping numbers we saw against the Saints in Week 1 but he played well enough for the Redskins to win. He finished with 206 passing yards (20 of 29, 1 TD, 1 INT) and another 82 yards on the ground. But this is the NFL and there are no cream puffs on the schedule. RGIII appears to fully understand this.
“I don’t take losing very well. No one should,” he said. “The day you start taking losses well is the day you should stop playing. You’ve just got to continue to stay on the grind, stay positive, don’t [be] like it didn’t happen, but don’t let it hold you down for the next week.”
The Rams said that their game plan was to try to keep RGIII in the pocket but if he decided to take off they were going to make him pay.
“If he’s going to tuck it and run it, and certainly Bob Griffin can do that . . . you want to make it a cumulative toll,” Rams defensive end Chris Long said via the Washington Post. “If he’s going to tuck it and run it, we’re going to hit him."
Former Redskins linebacker Rocky McIntosh added that Washington “kind of tailored their offense to what he did in college, and they burned up New Orleans with that … but after a while the whole league catches on. . . . We made him do what most NFL quarterbacks do in this league — drop back and pass, do some of the things he doesn’t normally do.”
McIntosh may be right. But this is also Griffin's second NFL game. He's going to get better -- a lot better -- and despite the Rams' game plan the reality is this: Washington had a chance to win right up until the moment Morgan lost his cool.