Grading the Redskins: A mixed bag for 'D'

Grading the Redskins: A mixed bag for 'D'
December 11, 2012, 11:30 am
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Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Torrey Smith (82) gets the ball knocked away by Washington Redskins cornerback Josh Wilson (26) at FedEx Field.

(Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports)

Defense

Grade vs. Ravens: B-

Comment: The first half was not pretty for Jim Haslett’s unit as Baltimore's Ray Rice led ground game accounted for 91 yards and Joe Flacco passed for three touchdowns.

Two of Flacco’s scores were tossed to wide receiver Anquan Boldin, who hauled in the passes over cornerback DeAngelo Hall. It’s unclear how much Hall’s ankle injury encumbered his agility, and it could be argued that safety Madieu Williams could have helped more, but it was obvious that Flacco intended to target Hall in the early going. And it worked.

“I think he’s fine,” Coach Mike Shanahan said of Hall’s injury on Monday. “I still think it’s a little sore, but he pushed through it.”

For a second week in a row, however, the Redskins regrouped at halftime, made ajustments produced a different outcome in the second half. The Ravens scored only seven points the rest of the way – six days after the Giants were held to a field goal in the second half.

The Redskins seized control in the third quarter after the unit forced a pair of forced turnovers. Rob Jackson made a big play for the second straight week, stripping Flacco of the ball. And London Fletcher’s third interception of the season snuffed out a Ravens’ drive deep in Washington’s end. Both of the Redskins’ ensuing drives resulted in field goals, trimming their deficit to 21-20 at the start of the fourth quarter.  

During the four-game winning streak, the Redskins have forced eight turnovers.

In the final analysis, it wasn’t the type of 60-minute effort Haslett preaches about. And the Ravens’ 173 yards on the ground were a season-worst for what had been the league’s fourth-ranked rushing defense. But timely takeaways – and a high-octane offense – proved to be just enough.