1. Does the game matter to the Redskins?
It surely seemed that way considering how the first half went. And the way Washington recovered for the tie. The Redskins lost because this game symbolized the way they had played all season, not because they were looking to the offseason already.
2. Will they play the young guys?
They did not. At least not unless they were part of the rotation already. Fred Davis played a lot at TE; while Kareem Moore received time as the third safety, as he had been doing. Chris Horton already was starting. But Devin Thomas only played in four receiver sets. The Redskins made it clear they would not experiment, nor did they.
3. Who will sit out this game?
They all were able to go, even Jon Jansen at RT. He did OK considering he hadn't played in a few weeks.
4. Does a 9-7 finish mean anything?
We thought it would have, simply because it sounds better to say you had a winning season. But here's where the loss helps: the schedule (they get St. Louis and Detroit now) and the draft, as they'll now pick a little higher.
5. How good are the Niners?
We thought they were playing much better, but did not think they were somehow a new force. But they play with passion and energy and they're aggressive and physical. All are qualities of their head coach. It also helps that they're not afraid to throw downfield, or at least try to. It enabled them to drive into position for the game-winning kick. We also thought the Niners defense had a couple nice players but that was it. The Redskins scored 24 points and it was the first time they had scored three touchdowns in a game since Week 3 against Arizona. That doesn't speak too well of the Niners' D.
6. What about their offense?
We thought the Redskins needed to stop Frank Gore and it turns out an ankle injury did the trick. But he and DeShaun Foster ran well enough, particularly off-tackle. They got hurt on a few up-the-middle runs as well.
7. Who needs a big game today?
We thought Jason Campbell needed to have one simply to end on a good note and start to build on some momentum. He hasn't had much of late. Campbell had a mixed game; his legs sustained drives and tied the game on the 2-yard run. He completed 18 of 30 passes, which is good. But he averaged just 5.2 yards per pass attempt. That stinks and it's a big reason why they finished with just 268 yards. They can't make big plays. That's not all on him, but he does play a part. But, overall, he showed good poise in the pocket and made good decisions. Still, it wasn't a game to make you say, ‘Man, can't wait for next year!'
8. Anyone else?
We thought Santana Moss also needed a big game. He had not surpassed 75 yards since the Lions game on Oct. 26. Turns out he didn't in this game, either. He managed 68 yards to go over 1,000 yards for the season. But, once more, there were no big plays downfield.
9. How dangerous is QB Shaun Hill?
We thought he was an OK guy who could provide an occasional spark. But we also said he makes plays at the right time to win games. Well…. that's what he did. For the first three quarters he was horrible, then he completed 12 of 16 passes in the fourth and led a game-winning drive with some nice throws. He suddenly turned accurate. He plays with a moxie. He's not consistent, but there's something about him. Overall he finished 21 of 30 for 245 yards, a touchdown and an interception. And let me ask you this: Is it clear, after watching that game, which QB has the better future?
10. Will the Redskins win?
We thought it was one of the hardest games to predict all season and based on how the game went that was correct. But we thought the Redskins would win by six points. For a while we looked smart. Then, at the end, we did not. The Niners had been playing better for the past month; Washington had not. In the end, it was two teams at about the same level and that's how the game went.
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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