Washington did not get off to the start they needed in the season or in this game. After going three and out on their second possession of the game Sav Rocca lined up for the punt. The only problem is the punt couldn’t get off his foot before it was blocked by Rashad Jennings and recovered in the end zone by Jeremy Stewart to give Oakland the early seven point lead, and they didn’t stop there. Washington would get one first down on their next offensive series but it still only last four plays before Rocca had to line-up for another punt. This one he got off but Matt Flynn and Oakland were able to drive down the field on ten plays for a 14-0 lead.
Then the game turned. Washington looked dead. The defense once again couldn’t stop anyone and the offense couldn’t get anything going. The response to Oakland’s second touchdown was a drive that started off promising enough but then stalled in the red zone on an intentional grounding penalty by Robert Griffin III. They settled for a field goal, and then they got life from their defense. On the sixth play of Oakland’s next possession rookie David Amerson made the first interception of his career and returned it for a touchdown.
Washington would go on to score two more touchdowns and the defense never let Oakland back in it. Barry Cofield ended the day with two sacks and a fumble recovery. Brian Orakpo and Ryan Kerrigan had two sacks of their own as the entire front seven had pressure on Matt Flynn all afternoon.
This win didn’t come clean for Washington. Alfred Morris ended up leaving in the second half with injured ribs. That didn’t effect the running game though as Roy Helu Jr. had 41 yards on 13 careers to add to the 71 that Morris had on his 16 career before the injury. In total Washington rushed for 122 yards and passed for 227. It was the most balanced offensive attack they have mustard all season. The threat of a running game is the best way to keep pressure off of Robert Griffin to open up the passing game, and that is what eventually happened in this game.
Griffin had 300 yards in all three of Washington’s previous games, but that had a lot to do with them falling behind early and struggling to establish the run. Against Oakland they were able to establish the run and eventually open up the field for Griffin. He ended up with 18 completions on 31 attempts for 227 yards and one touchdown.
This was the most complete game that Washington has played this season. The defense stepped up and held Oakland down while the offense was able to put together a balanced effort. Some of that, a lot of it, has to do with the fact that Washington was playing Oakland with Matt Flynn starting at quarterback and Darren McFadden leaving early due to injury. McFadden left with 29 yards on five carries which is good for 5.8 yards a carry. If Washington had to deal with that all afternoon the outcome may have been different. A win is still a win and being 1-3 and one game back in the division is better than being 0-4. Just ask the Giants.