1. I understand why the Redskins wanted to play aggressively late in the third quarter after a Dallas field goal made it 16-12, but the execution was sorely lacking on the ensuing possessions. Rex Grossman threw three incompletions in row before Washington kicked it back to Dallas. The defense forced a Dallas punt to give Grossman another chance, but that drive lasted just four plays and Dallas responded with a field goal to cut the deficit to one.
The Redskins stuck to the run, however ineffective it was against New York, and it kept the Giants honest enough to open up the field for Grossman. Maybe they should have run the ball more than once on those two drives. Instead Kyle Shanahan went for the throat right away – a high-risk decision that didn’t pan out.
2. The offense wasn’t alone when it came to living on the edge. The Redskins sent an array of blitzes at Tony Romo all night. While they only had one sack, the pressure prevented Romo from exploiting the secondary over the top.
Of course there was the third-and-21 in addition to several big runs for Felix Jones, but on the whole it was a successful game plan aside from Jim Haslett’s failure to tweak a few things in key moments.
3. Rex Grossman has taken plenty of heat for the loss and though he didn’t perform well, the team as a whole made too many mistakes late to heap all the blame on the quarterback.
Yes, he fumbled and threw a bad interception, but Tim Hightower wasn’t effective, Fred Davis was a non-factor and the defense had a meltdown on what could have been the deciding play of the game. Grossman certainly didn’t do anything to win Washington the game, but there were plenty of contributing factors as to why this one got away.
Most notable was Kyle Shanahan’s insistence on playing to Dallas’ strength by choosing to air it out 37 times. The Cowboys have the best pass rush in the league and abandoning the run late didn’t do Grossman any favors.
4. One player who did stand out defensively was cornerback Josh Wilson. Not only did he recover a first half fumble, but he also defensed four passes and had four tackles.
Playing Dallas had to have been special enough for Wilson, who grew up a Redskins fan. Then to have a game like he did? Undoubtedly a momentous night for Wilson.
5. Red zone woes are the hot topic, and why not? The Redskins are 3-10 in the red zone over their last two games, and with a shaky kicking game in tow, there’s no guarantee Washington will come away with points when they get close to the end zone.
Some people advocate the importance of acquiring and developing a bigger red zone target in the mold of Calvin Johnson, but what it really boils down to is execution. Unless the coaching staff learns to best utilize the talent the Redskins have and ensure the guys on the field are all on the same page, the red zone offense will continue to struggle.