Grade vs. Vikings: B+
Comment: The big unknown entering Sunday’s game was how first-year kicker Kai Forbath would perform in his NFL regular season debut.
To say it went smoothly might be an understatement.
Forbath scored the Redskins’ first points of the afternoon, booting a 50-yard field goal early in the second quarter that kick-started a 24-0 run for the home team.
Forbath also put five of his seven kickoffs into the end zone, including four touchbacks. That’s notable because he was not used on kickoffs during his distinguished collegiate career at UCLA.
“I’ll take that anytime,” Coach Mike Shanahan said Monday of Forbath’s performance on kickoffs.
Although punter Sav Rocca sent his first punt out of bounds after only 33 yards, Niles Paul and the punt team produced its share of highlights.
In the third quarter, Paul showed his speed and downed Rocca’s punt inside the Vikings' three-yard line. In the fourth, Paul delivered a big hit on returner Marcus Sherels, knocking Sherels’ helmet off. In all, the Vikings accumulated a mere -2 yards on punt retuns.
Kick returns, however, were another story. Percy Harvin took three back for a total of 100 yards, including a 45-yarder in the third quarter that helped set up a Vikings’ field goal.
Overall, though, special teams were strong for the Redskins, particularly when compared to the units’ early struggles.