1. Will last Sunday's win provide a bounce for this week? We thought it would. And after two series it definitely did. The Redskins continued their physical play, showing again what their identity is, and needs to be. After two series, when it was 14-0, they clearly had a bounce from last week. But that bounce didn't last long, thanks to a young quarterback, the inability to pick up a blitz, and a defense that continues to surrender plays. They got their bounce, but then reality intruded.
2. Can the Redskins' handle success? Apparently not. But, again, it wasn't a matter of handling it or not. If they had not handled it well, they would not have jumped to a 14-0 lead. They clearly were prepared to play, a sign that they handled success just fine. What they couldn't do was sustain their good play. Why? It's not because they can't handle success, it's because they're not very good.
3. Is this Nick Novak's last game? It's not a good sign that Shaun Suisham not only kicked off, but handled extra points and the one field goal attempt. Suisham's kicks were deep, but they were line drives to the middle of the field and allowed good returns. And he was wide left on his 50-yard attempt, but it was long enough. Novak should not feel safe, but he's still in the locker room.
4. Will the Redskins continue with the same running game? They continued with a strong running game, helped by sweeps and some inside runs. They ran very well to the left side. They rarely asked Jon Jansen to pull because of his calf. But they did pull the other way. And it worked for two reasons: the linemen, and Mike Sellers, did their jobs and Ladell Betts is one heck of a patient back. He does an outstanding job of setting up his blockers and letting them make their blocks, then cutting.
5. The weekly: Is now the time for the wideouts? We thought it would be better for Santana Moss because he's healthy and because the Falcons give up long passes. We were right about that; Moss had a good day, making a great adjustment on the 42-yard touchdown pass. But Brandon Lloyd still didn't do much, which shouldn't be surprising. He's horrible -- what a misjudgment of talent. Jason Campbell missed Moss on occasion -- didn't even see him being wide open on a third and 12 on the third series. Campbell is still learning his receivers and it's clear he can't trust all of them.
6. How can they contain Michael Vick? They actually did a decent job of not letting Vick dominate, though he made enough plays with his arm and leg to burn them. Sean Taylor was often near the line of scrimmage to help contain Vick as well as the run. And the linemen did a decent job of maintaining their lanes. Of course, they couldn't stop the running game and that's what did them in. And worrying so much about Vick means something else will be open.
7. What about Atlanta's receivers? We knew they dropped lots of passes. We also knew they were getting open and, if they hung on to the ball, would be dangerous. They dropped a couple yesterday, but they caught enough to hurt Washington, especially the touchdown pass to Michael Jenkins. Of course, had Shawn Springs played Jenkins might not have gotten the score. But it wasn't hard for him to get inside Kenny Wright.
8. Which tight end will do better? Neither tight end had a huge game, as both were more factors in run blocking than in the passing game. And both dropped passes. So this one was a wash. The Redskins used a variety of plans against Crumpler, making sure he was jammed off the line with linebackers (often Warrick Holdman). Other times it was a safety, like Vernon Fox. But Crumpler did make some big plays, including a 46-yard catch.
9. What matchup are you worried about? We were worried about end John Abraham, especially when lined up against the injured Jansen. Abraham was mostly controlled, though he did apply some pressure. The biggest problem Washington had was dealing with the blitzes. The Falcons would rush seven; the Redskins tried to block with six. Atlanta excelled at getting in the passing lanes, but Campbell did not always make the proper throw. The other guy who had some success inside that concerned us was tackle Grady Jackson. But the Redskins still rushed the ball very well.
10. Will the Redskins win? We thought they would win, 20-17. Why? Apparently because we're fools. But for a while we looked pretty good. Washington has turned a corner as far as finding an identity, which is good. They're committed to the ground game and have the right combination of backs and linemen to do it. But the Redskins still have a ways to go because of a young quarterback and a defense that isn't very good. Atlanta seized on both areas and won the game.