In a entertaining back and forth encounter filled with penalties and more than a little aggro, the St Louis Rams have defended their home turf and come out on top 31-28.
The rivalry between the Rams and Redskins is one of the more understated in the NFL but it was clear throughout this game that the two teams plain don’t like each other. This was emphasised in three critical spots – star Rams RB Steven Jackson was benched partway through the contest due to unsportsmanlike conduct; Rams DE Robert Quinn was penalised for punching Redskins LT Trent Williams in the face; and late in the game Redskins WR Josh Morgan cost his team a chance to at least tie in the dying seconds when after making a nice gain to get into reachable field goal range he reacted to taunting from Cortland Finnegan by throwing the ball at him and costing the Redskins 15 yards that resulted in Billy Cundiff kicking and missing a 62 yarder rather than attempting a 47 yard field goal.
The man who made all the moves for the St Louis Rams in this game was WR Danny Amendola who tied an NFL record with 12 receptions in the first half as he cut the depleted Redskins secondary to shreds. In the end, Amendola finished with 15 receptions for 160 yards and a touchdown with the only blemish being a lost fumble early in the game. This effort, along with Brandon Gibson’s 2 receptions for 53 yards and a TD, helped the Rams former #1 overall draft pick Sam Bradford to a very good day behind center as he completed 26 of 35 passes for 310 yards and 3 touchdowns with only one pick and also contributed with 10 yards on the ground from three carries. Speaking of rushing, Steven Jackson’s primary back-up Daryl Richardson had himself a great game when he got in by rushing for 83 yards on 15 carries and two receptions for 19 yards.
On the Redskins offense, Robert Griffin III was as sublime as he was in week 1 and despite not passing for a lot of yards – 20/29 for 206 yards and a TD with one pick – he made up for it by using the option game to full advantage on the ground, taking his 11 carries for 82 yards and two rushing touchdowns. The aforementioned Josh Morgan had his QBs confidence in this game as he brought in 5 receptions but it was the much maligned Leonard Hankerson who got the big play today when he hauled in a 68 yard bomb for a touchdown. Week 1 hero Aldrick Robinson had a day to forget as while he caught two passes for 40 yards he dropped a 60 yard bomb that should have been caught and could have won the game for Washington.
It was a big game for the defenses too with Cortland Finnegan getting his second interception in as many weeks for the Rams while wily veteran Redskins ILB London Fletcher got a pick of his own and forced a fumble. The Redskins forced three fumbles in total with OLB Brian Orakpo and ILB Perry Riley credited with the other two. In the end, both defenses came off the field having played very physical football but the difference was the inability of the Redskins secondary to contain Sam Bradford and Danny Amendola. Add a big blocked punt the Rams got on the Redskins – the second punt Washington have had blocked after the Saints did the same in week 1 – and the Rams squeaked out a win taking them to 1-1 while the Skins are now also 1-1.
Next week the Washington Redskins have their home opener hosting the 1-1 Cincinnati Bengals at FedEx Field while the St Louis Rams head out on the road to Soldier Field to face the hurting 1-1 Chicago Bears.