Redskins leave Baltimore with plenty of concerns

Redskins leave Baltimore with plenty of concerns
August 23, 2014, 10:15 pm
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(USA Today Sports)

BALTIMORE—In what amounted to a dress rehearsal for the regular season, it was more of the same for the Redskins’ starters in Saturday’s 23-17 loss to the Ravens: the defense continued to shine while the offense continued to sputter.

Quarterback Robert Griffin III finished the game 5 of 8 passing for 20 yards and an interception. He was also sacked three times for a total loss of 15 yards as the first team’s touchdown drought continued.

In nine full possessions spread over three games, Griffin and Co. have yet to get into the end zone. The first team unit is not expected to play in the preseason finale Thursday in Tampa. 

On the other side of the ball, though, the Redskins’ starting defense extended its streak of strong play.

The unit held the Ravens’ Joe Flacco-led offense to 10 points and 17 yards rushing in two quarters. Baltimore’s touchdown — a 24-yard pass from Flacco to Steve Smith— was actually the first touchdown the Redskins’ starters had surrendered all preseason.

Flacco was also sacked by linebacker Ryan Kerrigan and Jason Hatcher, who was making his exhibition season debut after missing the first two preseason games as he rehabbed from offseason knee surgery. The starters have now amassed five sacks (three by Kerrigan, one from Brian Orakpo and the other from Hatcher).

The Redskins started off strong enough, taking an early 3-0 lead on a Kai Forbath field goal that capped a five-play drive.

It was all Washington’s starters could muster.

The Redskins went 3-and-out on two of the next four drives and ended the first half trailing the Ravens 10-3.

Griffin returned at the beginning of the third quarter, but things quickly went awry. His first pass attempt was tipped up in the air and intercepted by inside linebacker C.J. Mosley, who returned the ball to the Redskins’ nine-yard line. Three plays later, a 21-yard Justin Tucker field goal put the Ravens ahead 13-3.

Griffin and the starters did not return to the game.

Kirk Cousins, meantime, got off to a quick start. Griffin’s backup directed a 13-play, 81-yard drive that culminated with an 11-yard touchdown pass to Santana Moss. That scored pulled the visitors to within 13-10.

Late in the fourth quarter, Cousins (14 of 20 for 122 yards and two touchdowns) connected with Nick Williams on a seven-yard touchdown pass to trim Washington’s deficit to 23-17. But it was as close as the Redskins would get.

Key play: Steve Smith’s sliding touchdown reception in the second quarter. On the play, cornerback E.J. Biggers slipped, allowing Smith to get wide open and haul in Flacco’s pass in the back of the end zone. The score put Baltimore ahead 10-3.  

Player of the game: Hatcher. In his Redskins’ debut, the defensive end wasted little time making his impact felt. Hatcher sacked Flacco on the Ravens’ second drive, taking down the Baltimore quarterback for a 12-yard loss as a result of bull-rushing Marshal Yanda.

Injury update: Orakpo left the game in the second quarter after suffering an ankle injury. He did not return to the game but the injury did not appear to be serious. …Cornerback Chase Minnifield left the game with a hamstring strain. …Right tackle Morgan Moses departed in the second half with a knee injury. There was no immediate word on the severity. 

From the locker room: Please check back later for notes, quotes and updates from the Redskins’ locker room.