In Friday's Redskins game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, head coach Mike Tomlin said his team, "Quite frankly, got outplayed".
The head coach for the team that played in Superbowl XLV said the Washington Redskins, the team that hasn't made it to the playoffs since 2006, credited Washington on the team's blocking, tackling, running, throwing, kicking.
"Their team was better prepared tonight than us. They showed it, we accept that and I look forward to this group responding to what we put out there tonight. I understand that we have a lot of ground to cover, but such is life. I’ll expect these guys to respond accordingly. We’ll go back to work, we’ll assess this performance and it needs to be better quickly.”
That speaks volumes about a team that has seen so much drama over the last few years, and so few wins that if it were a stock, it would be given a performance downgrade.
Still, the Redskins pulled out a 16-7 win at FedEx Field that had just as many Pittsburg fans as Washington fans in the stands, but with far better results.
The home team's quarterback, the 'confident', yet controversial Rex Grossman, completed four of five passes for 53 yards on Washington’s opening drive of the game. One ending in a 17 yard TD pass to Santana Moss in the opening twelve minutes of the first quarter.
The Moss TD would be the game's only touchdown for Washington. Grossman would finish 19-for 26, for 207 yards.
If memory serves, 207 yards wasn't sufficient enough when Jason Campbell was at the helm. Neither was scoring just 17 points, mostly off field goals. Grossman's passing statistics in the game read (no disrespect) like a 2 foot small person: short.
Still Coach Shanahan seemed pleased with his developing quarterback.
“I thought Rex had a good game. I thought he played well. I thought he managed the game well. I was pleased with the way he managed the two-minute offense right at the end of the half".
John Beck Ready To Go. Shayne Graham Gone.
What a difference a couple of days make. Quarterback John Beck was out several days at the start of the preseason with a groin injury. An injury that led to him sitting out the preseason opener and having Coach Shanahan saying he didn't want to chance it.
After Sunday's practice, (and sitting sideline watching his chance pass him by on Friday), Beck is ready.
Beck said he was ready Friday, but this time he's even more sure of it.
Was the writing on the wall, Coach Shanahan for kicker Shayne Graham?
“I hate to say something right after a game. I’ll sit back here for a day and share with you guys once we make a decision on what we are going to do. Obviously, you look for opportunities in this game, and Shayne didn’t take advantage of those opportunities and Graham [Gano] did take advantage of those opportunities today.”
Shayne missed two field goals against Pittsburgh.
That answer by the coach means the writing was definitely on the wall.
Everybody on the team is vying for the top spot. No one is exempt from being cut.
Some interesting game notes you may not have been aware of.
Here are a few stats from last Friday's game. (The PR office always has a way of pointing out the good).
•Reserve wide receiver Terrence Austin caught a 38-yard pass from Rex Grossman to set up an 8-yard touchdown pass from Grossman to Santana Moss.
•Washington converted a second quarter fourth-and-1 play with a 6-yard pass completion from Rex Grossman to Anthony Armstrong, the only fourth down conversion by either team in the game.
•Starting running back Tim Hightower had 10 carries for 44 yards in his Redskins debut.
•Second-year wide receiver/returner Brandon Banks returned a kickoff 58 yards and a punt 19 yards, both the longest in the game by either team.
•Backup quarterback Kellen Clemens orchestrated a 14-play, 82-yard scoring drive to open the second half of the game. The drive culminated in a 32-yard field from kicker Graham Gano. Clemens finished 9-of-17 for 105 yards.
•Washington committed just three penalties and had no turnovers in the game.
•Washington controlled the time of possession in the game, 39:25 to 20:35.
•Rookie running back Evan Royster carried the ball 15 times for 66 yard in his Redskins debut.
Even with those impressive facts, I'm not ready to drink from the Winner's Cup after one game. A preseaon game at that. Fans were caught up with last year's preseason win, but the rest of the season turned out to be a bust.
In my opinion, even though a win is a win, the Redskins need to make more than one touchdown a game to even compete against powerhouse teams in the NFL. Scoring in the end zone has not been their strong suit.
We'll give recognition to the staff for seeming to connect the dots with this year's trade, and bringing in some extra help... but until this team starts the regular season and shows me some powerful wins, I'm taking a wait-and-see approach.
Prove it first, then there will be a reason to start celebrating.
Next up: Skins @ Colts, Friday the 19th. Game time 7:30 pm.