1. Who will sit out?
We thought the Redskins would be relatively healthy, but I did wonder about Shawn Springs. Despite the optimism, he just never seems to play unless he's 100 percent. That doesn't sit well in the locker room. And he didn't play. Nor did Kedric Golston. He must be really bad. Can't say the Redskins missed Springs or even Golston. Springs, though, would have played a decent amount at safety had he been available because of Chris Horton's injury.
2. Why do the Redskins play so much better on the road?
Guess that storyline ended last night, huh? Again, it had more to do with the quality of opponent than the site. The Redskins aren't as good as Baltimore, which is hard to believe given where these teams were at last year and how the Ravens have a rookie head coach and quarterback. Kind of throws that whole learning-another-offense excuse out the window, doesn't it? But, really, it's about the defense. While the Redskins have a good one, would anyone ever say it's better than the Ravens? Not if they're smart. The Ravens have a couple future Hall of Famers in Ed Reed and Ray Lewis. The Redskins have a couple future Pro Bowlers.
3. Can they dent the Ravens' defense?
We didn't think they would. They didn't. We thought they had to play turnover-free if nothing else. That ended on th e first series and was destroyed on the third, putting the Redskins in a 14-0 hole.
4. Why is Baltimore so good defensively?
Talent and scheme won out last night. The Ravens simply have a lot of playmakers. Well, one in particular in Reed. They played fast and were always around the ball and if there was a mistake, they pounced. The Ravens also ran some of their circus schemes in which they move around until the snap of the ball and go to an assigned area. They also take advantage of ridiculous one-on-one opportunities. Like, say, Terrell Suggs vs. Justin Geisinger, a center playing left tackle. It was criminal not giving him any help.
5. Where can the Redskins hurt them?
Their corners were a little susceptible and the Redskins had some chances. But not enough. The screens worked fine, but not much else.
6. Will Clinton Portis be able to last all game?
No, he could not. Jim Zorn said earlier in the week that he wanted to give Portis a game off but could not. Well, he gave him the second half off last night and Portis wasn't happy, talking in sarcastic tones afterward about how now he'll be ready to practice on Wednesday – saying it in a way as if that were more important than the game. Portis' absence hurt. Mike Sellers in pass protection is a mixed bag. If two guys rush at him, he misses both. One reason he does well on isolation plays is that he doesn't have to think; he picks out one guy. Whenever he is forced to20choose, he comes up empty most of the time.
7. Will the Redskins get more creative offensively in this game?
They couldn't. They tried misdirection stuff, but that had mixed results. The real problem is falling behind 14-0 in the first quarter. You can't start fooling teams with trick plays in that situation. You have to establish an offense first before you can fool someone. They did not.
8. Is Joe Flacco for real?
Flacco was OK last night. Actually, his numbers weren't even OK: 10-21, 134 yards, one touchdown and one interception. His intangibles seem to outweigh a lot of other things right now. The Redskins do have a good secondary so that bothered him. He also wasn't pressured most of the night. Nor did he have to make a lot of clutch throws. LaRon Landry made a nice interception of a bad decision by Flacco, who tried to squeeze a seam route in. Landry read it perfectly for the pick.
9. Who should the Redskins worry about?
We said receivers Derrick Mason and Mark Clayton. They combined for five catches for 79 yards so it's hard to say they really hurt them. Mason, however, burned corner Carlos Rogers on a double move for a 28-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter.
10. Will the Redskins win?
Silly me had this game picked right, a 10-point victory for Baltimore. Then I changed my mind and went to a four-point win. My first instinct was correct. The Ravens are just better right now in many areas and it showed. The Redskins have serious injury issues now and are limping to the finish.
John Keim covers the Redskins for the Washington Examiner and is a contributing editor for Warpathinsiders.com. He has covered the team since 1994. Some of his other stories can be found at dcexaminer.com
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