3 and out: Keys to a Redskins win in Denver
When the NFL schedule was released seven months ago, Sunday’s game at Denver jumped off the page. RG3 vs. Peyton Manning. Wes Welker vs. DeAngelo Hall. Mike Shanahan’s return to the Mile High city where he won two Super Bowls.
Those some of the MAJOR story lines this. But here are three more that are making news right now.
1st down—The Redskins’ situation in the secondary could be a complete mess come Sunday. Although Brandon Meriweather’s suspension has been reduced to one game, he won’t be on the field in Denver and if Reed Doughty is also unable to suit up because of a concussion, that would leave the Redskins without both of their starting safeties as they attempt to corral the league’s top passing offense. The other four safeties on the roster—Bacarri Rambo, Jose Gumbs, Jordan Pugh and Trenton Robinson—have played exactly nine snaps on defense the past two weeks. What could go wrong?
2nd down—Two weeks ago, Dwayne Harris returned a punt 86-yards for a touchdown. One week ago, Devin Hester took one back 81 yards for a score. This week? They’ve got Trindon Holliday, a 5 foot 5, 170-pound speedster who is the only player with a kickoff and punt return for a touchdown. Despite Hester’s touchdown, special teams coordinator Keith Burns said be believes his coverage units made progress against the Bears. There’s still much work to do, though, and keeping Holliday in check (and out of the end zone) would be a good way to build some momentum.
3rd down—Robert Griffin III has rushed for 161 yards the past two games after gaining only 72 in the previous four contests combined. RG3’s burst is back. His agility has also returned. And so has the Redskins’ zone read offense. The result was 45 points against the Bears. In order to beat Manning, Demaryius Thomas and Knowshon Moreno in front of their fans, in the thin air of Mile High, the Redskins might have to score 45—again. After all, the Broncos are averaging a league-high 42.6 points per game.
Extra point: The Redskins are tied for the first in defensive touchdowns with four (three interceptions and a fumble.) The Bears and Chiefs have also scored four times on defense.