Robservations: Week 5

Alex Smith, Washington QB, makes NFL return with first game in 2 years
Steve Helber, AP

Sorry this week’s Robservations is a bit late. Even I need a day off from writing about this team and all of their ineptitude. Plus I needed to take my lady on a nice date night before she leaves for a few days. Priorities, people. 

This week we’ve got another doozy of a game to talk about. Washington got absolutely walloped by the LA Rams, who managed to start this season by sweeping this entire NFC East because why not? Those are free wins, man. 

Unlike the other matchups with NFC East opponents, Washington really didn’t put up much of a fight at all in this one. Besides one pretty nice drive led by new starter Kyle Allen that ended in a gutsy seven-yard touchdown run, Allen’s debut was short-lived thanks to a pretty cheap hit by Jalen Ramsey that ended Allen’s day before halftime. We’ll probably see Allen starting under center again next week, but we did catch a glimpse of Alex Smith in his return from probably the most gruesome injury I’ve ever seen. 

That’s probably a good place to start for this week’s 30-10 loss. 

Alex Smith’s return was the stuff of legend 

Before I go all apeshit on this team’s dysfunction this week, I have to mention what an inspiration Alex Smith is to us all. I’m still at a loss for words as to how he managed to come back from an injury that horrific. 

That fact that he’s still able to play a game this physical and grueling is beyond me. I certainly couldn’t do it. We’ve only had a handful of truly awesome moments this season, but that stands out as a big one. Will he play again? Probably, but I think Rivera runs with Kyle Allen a little bit longer before handing the reins over to Smith. 

While his play wasn’t necessarily good by any stretch of the imagination, I certainly can’t fault him (or really Allen for that matter) on any of that because of this next topic which will see me in a far worse mood than this topic. 

This offensive line is hot garbage 

And I don’t use the phrase “hot garbage” lightly. This group is truly terrible at what they do. It’s hard to be too critical of either Smith or Allen’s performance because neither had any time to let a play develop. If it wasn’t a dump-off for minimal gain, it was a five-step drop that resulted in an immediate collapse of the pocket.

I mean, what better way to welcome Smith back to the NFL then getting him sacked six times in little more than a half of football. That’s sweet of them to do that for him. Also makes the criticism towards Dwayne Haskins a bit unfair, no? I’d like to see him with a consistently clean pocket before shipping him off for a Day 3 pick, but that’s just me.  

I would say every part of the line deserves a strong F-grade after Sunday, but Wes Martin somehow deserves lower. He was the main culprit for Aaron Donald’s monster three-sack performance. To be fair, it’s Aaron Donald, one of the most dominant players in the entire sport, but Martin couldn’t even hold his own on the majority of his snaps. He got absolutely worked by Donald like on this play here:

Martin pretty much did everything he could to let Donald really test out Smith’s leg. It was horrendous.

PFF’s pass blocking grade for Martin after the game was 0.2 by the way. Has anyone else seen a grade that low? I haven’t. I wouldn’t keep Martin around as a camp body let alone a starting left guard. I wish we just paid Ereck Flowers. 

Covering tight ends remains a massive issue 

This defense has been a huge disappoint so far this season. I legitimately had hope for this unit with Jack Del Rio at the helm, but they’ve allowed 30+ points in four straight games. That’s completely unacceptable. 

One of the bigger issues this team has faced is dealing with receiving tight ends. Sunday was no exception. Gerald Everett killed us, finishing with four receptions and 90 yards. Not as bad as our performance against Dallas Goedert in week 1, but this has been an issue for years with this team. 

Weirdly enough I thought we had the personnel to handle it this year. Kevin Pierre-Louis was an addition I liked because of his ranginess and sideline-to-sideline speed and I thought we’d use Shaun Dion Hamilton much more effectively in this scheme. I’d consider myself wrong so far. 

Let’s talk about the few positives 

Despite this being a pretty terrible game to watch (unless you’re an LA fan, then I guess it’d be pretty enjoyable), I will single out two specific players who were pretty solid: Kendall Fuller and Montez Sweat. 

This isn’t the first time I’ve singled these two out in these articles, but I’ll do it again just to say something positive about the three and a half wasted hours I put into watching this game. Sweat is a truly blossoming star opposite Chase Young. He recorded the team’s only sack of the day that almost resulted in an early third quarter turnover. Watch how he takes advantage of the mismatch with tight end Tyler Higbee by swatting down his arms and getting speed off the edge to get a free hit on Jared Goff, it’s a very impressive play from the former Bulldog. 

Fuller on the other hand did end up getting the team’s only turnover of the day after picking off Goff’s pass before halftime. You can’t see from the broadcast angle, but Fuller completely baits Goff into thinking he’s got an open man towards the sideline and he takes advantage of a high touch pass.

Fuller now has a league-leading three interceptions this season and has proven to be the team’s best offseason acquisition so far. Let’s hope the rest of the defense steps up to help him out. 

Alright that’s all I have for you this week. I’m tired of thinking about this game. Next week should hopefully be a completely different tone with the Giants up next. If we lose that game, I think it’s time to seriously start considering what this team’s 2021 draft board should look like. 

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