Ed "Pi Double i" Henderson
In a stadium that was visibly dominated by red jersey’s, the Washington Redskins sent a massive statement to the Los Angeles Rams fan base on who RAN Los Angeles. It practically seemed as if the Redskins were the home team, as where many may have thought USC was playing at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
The Redskins made a statement with the run game, as their offense rushed for 229 yards against what was expected to be a solid Rams defense. The Redskins handed the ball to three different running backs, in which all three nearly rushed for over 70 yards.
Redskins head coach Jay Gruden made it very clear that his offense was going to establish the run game, and wasn't going to let Rams defensive coordinator Wade Phillips, dictate their offense. The Redskins offensive linemen exposed what was on this day, a weak Rams front seven of their defense.
It seemed as if they noticed a wrinkle in the defense, by overloading one side of the offensive line with outside toss plays. Once the Rams were able to find a solution to stop that part of the run game, the Redskins ran between the guards. Nothing was more embarrassing until running back Chris Thompson, burned the defense with a delayed draw play that he took the distance for a 61-yard touchdown run.
Chris Washington Rips Through Rams Defense
The touchdown couldn’t come at a worse time, as the Rams were able to get within three points just before the half ended. However, with 1:56 left in half, Thompson changed the Rams entire momentum by ripping through the defensive line and scoring on a 61-yard touchdown run. That touchdown helped increased the Redskins lead by 10 points, as the Rams needed to orchestrate a comeback in the second half.
However, the Redskins didn’t change up their game plan, as they continuously pounded the ball right at the Rams defense, gaining five yards per every carry. Able to view from the stadium seats, it was very predictable of knowing what the next play called. Over and over on first down, there was a carry for five yards; second and five, a seven-yard gain for a Redskin's first down.
Next, the play action came in effect, as over and over, even after a sack or penalty, on third and long, Kirk Cousins threw a strike to a receiver on a delayed slant or to a back out the backfield to convert those long first downs time after time. It seemed as if the Redskins were playing with 13 on the field at times because the receivers or backs were left wide open.
Despite the numerous of flags thrown for penalties enforced against the Rams, they never seemed to give up in the contest, something that was a case with the last season team. The offense continued to execute plays getting themselves closer into scoring situations. The Rams tied the game up after Todd Gurley caught a pass out the backfield from Jared Goff and hurdled Redskin's defensive back Baushaud Breeland and dove in for the touchdown.
Rams will later score on a field goal with four minutes left in the game, on a drive that was nullified by two costly penalties on receiver Robert Woods and another penalty on right tackle Rob Havenstein. The Rams executed a well planned fake punt when Johnny Hekker threw a pass to receiver Josh Reynolds to pick up 28 yards for the first down, to the Redskin’s 14-yard line. The drive stalled as Greg Zuerline nailed a field goal to tie the score.
The Redskins on their very next possession, went back to the ground attack, executing first down after first down. On a third down and long, Cousin will cap off a ten play, 70-yard drive with an 11-yard touchdown strike to Ryan Grant, who beat rookie Kevin Peterson for the go-ahead score.
Rams received the ball with 1:49 seconds left in the game and on the very first play of their possession, Goff stared down receiver Cooper Kupp, and linebacker Mason Watson intercepted his pass to seal the deal. The Redskin offense ran the ball a couple more times to run out the clock and secure the victory.
If the Rams learned anything about this game, it was the fact that the 3-4 defense is ineffective against certain teams such as the Redskins. Rams linebacker Alec Ogletree, in my opinion, seemed to be lost at times, didn't seem to play hard and not to execute entirely in the first half.
However, in the second half, he was able to turn it up a notch, by helping to slow down the run, but it was a little too late. He executed a perfectly timed blitz to the surprise of Cousin, at no avail, he had to cuddle up and take the sack.
This Thursday night, the Rams look to avenge an embarrassing loss they received from the San Francisco 49ers, on Monday Night Football, last season. The 49ers beat the Rams 28-0, as several Ram players lost their composures on the field, from a game that seemed to be a deja vu of yesterday.
Fights broke out on the field on what seemed to appear on an over aggressively tackle on the Niners quarterback Blaine Gabbert, from Alec Ogletree. Aaron Donald obtained an ejection from the game for apparently making contact with an official.
It initially seemed as if Donald was a peacemaker to help restore a happy environment. However, a replay will show that he grabbed Niners receiver Quinton Patton behind the neck, Patton responded aggressively toward Donald as pushing him in the face knocking his helmet off to the field. Blindly to Donald, an official tried to get the players separated, and Donald instincts were to brush his hand away making contact.
Aaron Donald's MNF Ejection
The Rams seemed to be humiliated by the Niners offense as they too ran the ball aggressively down their throat. The Rams didn’t have any answers to the run game and looked very confused with their defensive schemes in the first half. The Niners who had only two victories last season, ironically both were against the Rams, winning the second game in the final minute. Quarterback Colin Kaepernick engineered the fourth comeback with his arm and legs, winning the game on a two-point conversion diving into the end zone.
On a short week before the game, I’m sure the Rams defense will be like sharks in bloody water attacking the 49ers offense. In the fourth quarter after Donald's ejection, the 49er Faithful begin their "BEAT LA" chants over and over to the clock expired. Something I never will forget, sitting in the stands dazed as if it was a NIGHTMARE. Be certain that Donald and others have circled this date and have written the very word, "R-E-D-E-M-P-T-I-O-N," on their calendars for Thursday’s night edition football.