Stephen Bowen: 'We had 'em"
Game Recap: After DeAngelo Hall glided into the end zone for his third defensive touchdown of the season, the Redskins had a two touchdown lead and, for a few moments, were solidly in command.
Then they suffered a team-wide meltdown at Mile High.
Thirty-eight unanswered points later, Peyton Manning and the Broncos emerged with a 45-21 victory, spoiling Mike Shanahan’s return to Denver and dropping the Redskins’ record to 2-5.
Hall’s pick-six staked the Redskins to a 21-7 lead at 11:34 of the third quarter. Manning and the Broncos, however, shook off their first half struggles and Manning engineered masterful, back-to-back drives of 11 and 16 plays to even the score 21-21.
Then the Redskins’ implosion began in earnest.
Sav Rocca shanked a punt—it traveled only 15 yards—setting the Broncos up at Washington’s 35. One play later, Knowshon Moreno turned a short pass into a touchdown that put the Broncos ahead 28-21.
On the Redskins’ ensuing drive, linebacker Von Miller blew past Trent Williams and sacked Robert Griffin III. RG3’s fumble set up the Broncos at Washington’s 34. Five plays after that, Denver had a 31-21 lead the Redskins would not challenge.
Griffin did not have a strong game, despite facing the league’s worst pass defense. Griffin finished the game 15 of 30 for 132 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions. He also gained only seven yards on the ground before being forced to sidelined late in the fourth quarter with a left knee injury.
Griffin’s status was not immediately known, but he was walking on the sideline, helmet in his hand as Kirk Cousins stepped in. Shanahan said after the game that Griffin's knee was fine and he could have returned into the game.
Key Moment: Rocca’s shanked punt. Up until that point, Rocca and the punt coverage team had been enjoying a good afternoon against one of the league's most dangerous returners in Trindon Holliday.
But Rocca’s miscue couldn’t have arrived at a worse time. The 39-year-old entered the game ranked 32nd in net average (32.5 yards per.)
Player of the Game: D-Hall. The veteran scored his third touchdown of the season in the third quarter. Wide receiver Demaryius Thomas slipped as Manning delivered the ball and Hall stepped up, picked it off and raced unchallenged 26 yards to the end zone.
The Redskins entered the game tied for the league lead in defensive touchdowns with four. Hall has accounted for three of them: two by way of interceptions and the other via a fumble return.
Hall added a second interception late in the fourth quarter.
Injury Update: Without Brandon Meriweather (suspended) and Reed Doughty (concussion), the Redskins turned to E.J. Biggers and reserves Bacarri Rambo and Jose Gumbs. Rambo had not played on defense since Week 2, while Gumbs had seen a total of nine snaps on defense this season prior to Sunday.
From the Locker Room:
-Shanahan on Griffin’s injury: “I think he is fine. Doctors felt that he could have went back in after that first play and decided to keep him out the way the score was.”
-Darrel Young: “It’s frustrating because I felt like we had that game. We controlled our destiny at 21-7 and we let the game slip away from us. We just didn’t finish offensively.”
-Trent Williams on the plays where Miller sacked Griffin, causing a fumble: “I slipped. I lost my footing at the start of the play and he had a free run at the quarterback. It sucks but hose type of things happen. I guess I have to pick a better pair of cleats. I slipped multiple times.”
-Josh Wilson: “It’s definitely frustrating. I felt like we had them. Peyton was flustered. We were able to get some turnovers and just weren’t able to keep the foot on the pedal.”
-According to Elias, Hall is the first Redskin ever to score three defensive touchdowns in a season. "It's nice to say, 'Hey, I played a good game.' But it still leaves a bad taste in your mouth not getting the win. That's what we came here for. And that's what I thought we were on the road to doing."
-Also from Elias, the last team to score 31 or more points in a quarter against the Redskins was the legendary 1985 Bears, who posted 31 in the second quarter.