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Redskins Fend Off Rally, Beat Rams 17-10

Posted Oct 2, 2011

The Redskins jumped out to an early lead in St. Louis, with Santana Moss catching a TD pass and Ryan Torain running for 100+ yards. They fended off a late rally by the Rams to win at the Edward Jones Dome.

Team Quarter Play Score
Redskins 1 Moss 6-yard TD pass from Grossman (Gano Kick) Redskins 7-0
Redskins 2 Torain 20-yard run (Gano Kick) Redskins 14-0
Redskins 3 Gano 38-yard field goal Redskins 17-0
Rams 4 Brown 32-yard field goal Redskins 17-3
Rams 4 Jackson 15-yard TD pass from Bradford (Brown Kick) Redskins 17-10


Sunday’s game vs. St. Louis was a story of redemption. Not only were the Redskins looking to rebound from last Monday’s 18-16 loss to the Dallas Cowboys, but they were also looking to exact some revenge against a Rams team that beat them 30-16 a year ago.

Inside the Edward Jones Dome, the Redskins got off to a fast start, deployed running back Ryan Torain when it was least expected, and then had to fend off a late rally by the Rams. The result: a 17-10 victory that improves the Redskins’ record to 3-1 heading into their bye week.

Torain provided fresh legs to lead the Redskins’ offense. The defense shined in the pass rushing department, pressuring Rams quarterback Sam Bradford relentlessly and finishing with seven sacks.

Why is this win important? It sends a message that these are not the “Same Old Redskins,” that they can go on the road and defeat a struggling team that clearly had less talent. This may very well be the most significant win of this young season. And it happened in the “Show Me” state.


The Redskins led St. Louis 17-10 late in the fourth quarter, but Rex Grossman had thrown an interception to middle linebacker James Laurinaitis. The Rams and quarterback Sam Bradford seemed poised to score with a first down at the Redskins’ 19-yard line. They went backwards thanks to the Redskins’ superior pass rush. First it was defensive end Stephen Bowen breaking through the line for his second sack of the game for a 10-yard loss. Then on third down it was Brian Orakpo overpowering offensive tackle Rodger Saffold for a 5-yard loss. The Rams never seriously threatened again.


One play after Ryan Kerrigan forced a fumble on a sack of Sam Bradford, running back Ryan Torain made his 2011 debut. Well, hello there. He showed impressive burst on his first carry, a 7-yard run to the left. His second carry was even better. Left tackle Trent Williams and tight end Chris Cooley blocked a pair of Rams tacklers out of the way, opening up a huge hole for Torain. He ran down the left sideline and dove into the end zone, beating safety Darian Stewart for a 20-yard touchdown. The play gave the Redskins what would prove to be an insurmountable 14-0 lead heading into halftime.


It has to be Ryan Torain, who entered the game late in the second quarter and proceeded to pound the Rams’ defense. Late in the third quarter, Torain had already compiled 100 yards rushing. He finished with 135 yards and one touchdown on 19 carries. Along with his 20-yard touchdown run that was the “Play Of the Game,” Torain also had a 39-yard run and a 16-yard run. He drew waves of Rams tacklers but kept charging through the defense. Another candidate for Player Of the Game? Brian Orakpo, who logged 2.5 sacks and dominated left tackle Rodger Saffold.


-- The Redskins run game finished with 196 rushing yards, with the 40 carries split by Ryan Torain , Roy Helu and Tim Hightower. Torain came into the game late in the second quarter and provided fresh legs and a fresh burst. He averaged 7.1 yards per carry and as a whole the offense averaged 4.9 yards per carry.

-- The Redskins’ first trip to the red zone proved successful. Midway through the first quarter, the Redskins were faced with a 3rd-and-4 at the Rams’ 6-yard line. Rex Grossman read the Rams’ blitz – strong safety Craig Dahl raced in from the left side but the line picked it up. That left wide receiver Santana Moss 1-on-1 with cornerback Justin King in the left side of the end zone. Grossman floated a throw to Moss, who had two steps on King, and connected for a 6-yard touchdown pass. Moss managed to keep both feet in bounds for the score.

-- The Redskins’ defense got off to a strong start. The Rams tested the front line early with four consecutive runs by running back Steven Jackson to open the game. Linebacker Ryan Kerrigan was unblocked and tackles Jackson for no gain on the first play. After a 13-yard gain by Jackson, linebacker Brian Orakpo stopped Jackson for no gain on a run to the left. One play later, on a 3rd-and-12, Rocky McIntosh read a screen pass to Jackson and leveled him for a 5-yard loss.

-- Overall, the Redskins’ defense bottled up Steven Jackson, limiting him to just 45 yards on 17 carries in the run game. Ryan Kerrigan had his best game against the run and Rocky McIntosh, Brian Orakpo and Stephen Bowen were equally as solid slowing Jackson. Even Reed Doughty had a big tackle on Jackson for a 1-yard loss as the Rams were threatening to score from the Redskins’ 3-yard line.

-- The Redskins’ defense turned in its best performance of the season – even though it was against a Rams team really struggling on offense. The unit yielded just 172 total yards to the Rams and 143 passing yards. Pass rushers Brian Orakpo and Ryan Kerrigan put the pressure on early and often, taking advantage of the Rams’ struggling offensive tackles. The defense posted seven sacks overall.

-- Midway through the second quarter, a face-mask penalty pushed the Rams offense out of field goal range. Faced with a 3rd-and-22, quarterback Sam Bradford dropped back to pass. Brian Orakpo pushed left tackle Rodger Saffold back, nearly into Bradford in the pocket. Meantime, Ryan Kerrigan beat right tackle Jason Smith for a sack and the ball popped loose. Nose tackle Barry Cofield pounced on the ball for the recovery at the Rams’ 44-yard line. The turnover set up the Redskins’ second touchdown, the 20-yard run by Ryan Torain.

-- In the third quarter, Ryan Torain continued to show impressive burst. He broke loose for a 39-yard gain to put the Redskins in scoring range again. The big run was behind strong blocking by big right tackle Jammal Brown and it helped set up the Redskins’ third score of the game, a 38-yard field goal by Graham Gano.


-- Rex Grossman is still struggling with consistency. He was impressive early in the game, completing 5-of-7 passes for 60 yards on the offense’s first two drives. In the fourth quarter, he was picked off twice. Grossman finished the game with 15-of-29 pass completions for 143 yards, one touchdown and the two interceptions. His QB rating was 48.5.

-- Early in the fourth quarter, the Rams finally had some life thanks to a defensive turnover. The Redskins read a blitz and it was picked up effectively by Tim Hightower. Rex Grossman threw across the middle to Santana Moss, but the ball bounced off Moss and into the air. Cornerback Justin King picked off the pass and raced down the left sideline for 55 yards, giving the Rams the ball in Redskins territory.

-- Leading 17-10, the Redskins had a 1st-and-10 at the 20-yard line with 5:45 left in the game. Offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan opted to stay aggressive – but it backfired. On play action, Rex Grossman dropped back to pass and saw Santana Moss open 15 yards downfield. He did not see middle linebacker James Laurinaitis dropping back into coverage. Laurinaitis turned into the passing lane and picked off Grossman’s pass, returning it to the Redskins’ 19-yard line.

-- With the Rams driving downfield trailing 17-3, linebacker Rob Jackson committed a costly infraction. He blitzed past the line and pressured Sam Bradford just as he released the ball. Jackson grabbed Bradford and appeared to drive him into the ground. He was flagged for roughing the passer and the Rams’ momentum continued at the Redskins’ 10-yard line.

-- Two plays after Rob Jackson’s gaffe, the Rams narrowed the Redskins’ lead to 17-10. Brian Orakpo had coverage on Steven Jackson, but he was briefly tangled up by a fellow Redskins defender, allowing Jackson to get open on a route down the left sideline. Sam Bradford lofted a pass over Orakpo, charging hard to catch up, but Jackson caught it and dove across the goal line for the score.

-- Earlier in the fourth quarter, Sam Bradford connected with wide receiver Danario Alexander on a sideline pattern to the 3-yard line, although it appeared Alexander pushed off cornerback DeAngelo Hall to get open. Hall, perhaps frustrated, leveled Alexander and was flagged for an unnecessary roughness penalty. No matter, the Rams sabotaged themselves with a holding penalty and had to settle for a field goal.

-- In the first quarter, the Redskins moved into Rams territory but were faced with a 4th-and-4 at the 39-yard line. Mike Shanahan opted to go for it, and Rex Grossman had a wide open Santana Moss in his sights, but Jammal Brown committed a costly false start prior to the play. Pushed back 5 yards, Shanahan changed his mind and Sav Rocca punted.

-- Penalties are sure to be a focus for the Redskins during the bye. The discipline was so impressive the first three weeks, with just 10 penalties, the fewest penalties in the NFL. Against St. Louis, the Redskins had 10 penalties in one game, for 96 yards.


On the Redskins’ first touchdown drive, the offense turned to wide receiver Jabar Gaffney, who made two clutch, third-down catches. Credit should also go to the offensive line, though. On 3rd-and-8, the line gave Rex Grossman a perfect pocket and he fired a 20-yard pass to Gaffney. On 3rd-and-7, center Will Montgomery pointed to the Rams blitz coming from the right. The Redskins picked it up and Grossman had enough time to connect with Gaffney on a 17-yard gain.


The Redskins logged seven sacks on Sam Bradford, the most in a game since December 2009 when the had eight against the Oakland Raiders. Brian Orakpo had four sacks that game, he had 2.5 to lead the Redskins against the Rams. Defensive end Stephen Bowen had a career-best 1.5 sacks. And Ryan Kerrigan and Adam Carriker had sacks as well. Kerrigan now has 2.5 in the first four games of his NFL career.


“The whole week we talked about dominating up front. It started with us. We tried to focus on stopping the run and once the offense got [a lead] we just pinned our ears back and try to make [Sam] Bradford uneasy back there.” – Stephen Bowen


Once again, the Redskins emerged from a game with only bumps and bruises. LaRon Landry, Brian Orakpo and Ryan Kerrigan each were sidelined at various points during the game, but they returned to action.


Wide receiver Anthony Armstrong and fullback Darrel Young sat out Sunday’s game as they continue to rest hamstring injuries. Both were questionable for the game. Safety DeJon Gomes, also questionable with a hamstring injury, was up, though. Also inactive for the Redskins: cornerback Brandyn Thompson, linebacker Markus White, offensive lineman Willie Smith, wide receiver Leonard Hankerson and defensive lineman Darrion Scott.


It's time for byes as the Redskins get a midseason week off. Since the NFL introduced the bye in 1990, the Redskins are 11-11 in games following a bye, including a seven-season winning streak from 1996-2002. Up next, on Sunday, Oct. 16, the Redskins will face off against NFC East rival Philadelphia. Kickoff is 1 p.m. ET at FedExField. It's the first meeting of the year for the two NFC East clubs and the second consecutive year that the Redskins will face the Eagles at home following their bye. Last year, the Redskins lost that contest 59-28.


The plane ride back from St. Louis was a happy one – lots of happy faces compared to the disappointment that followed the loss in Dallas. This is a team that is feeling good about itself and the direction its going. Thanks to the bye, they get a one-week break. Something tells me players will return still hungry and just as focused.



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