Robservations: Week 12

Antonio Gibson wave

It’s time to get that Swiffer out because it looks like we’re here to talk about a good ole fashioned sweep. You heard me right. For the first time since that magical 2012 season where RGIII was still a symbol for hope and I was still an acne-ridden adolescent, the Washington Football Team has swept the Dallas Cowboys. This wasn’t just an average sweep either, we demolished them twice. When has that ever happened? 

I was ready to run through a brick wall after this Thanksgiving victory. This team still has massive holes, they still have frustrating performances and they still got swept themselves by the Giants, but I’ve completely bought into the RivEra. This team is infamous for face planting Nate Robinson-style into the ground when there are actual stakes, but they actually managed to dominate a Dallas team that also has playoff hopes. I’m actually impressed. 

The 41-16 win puts Washington at 4-7 as they head into what’s probably a loss against the undefeated Pittsburgh Steelers next week. That’s a really great team so I’m not trying to get my hopes up there. 

We have a lot of topics to cover today so let’s get into it. 

Antonio Gibson has entered the national conversation 

All season long this fanbase has known what kind of impact Gibson has made. He’s clearly been a steal considering he wasn’t even really a player that was on my radar going into the draft. I think the world now knows what kind of player Gibson is after his legendary primetime performance on Thursday. 

20 carries, 116 yards and three touchdowns. THREE TOUCHDOWNS! Am I dreaming? What a game from the rookie. I’ve been seeing this tweet about Gibson’s performance compared to Randy Moss’ all week and every time I do I get a bit giddy. 

That’s now five consecutive games with a touchdown for Gibson, who is now at 11 for the season. He’s in sight for the franchise’s rookie record which is 13 rushing touchdowns by Alfred Morris in 2012. 

All three scores were impressive plays both from Gibson and from the line to give him the holes to run through. They gave him a lot to work with and he absolutely took advantage. His second touchdown was for me the most impressive, with a now iconic wave goodbye highlighting the 23-yard run. 

The third touchdown ended up being a dagger to any hopes for a Dallas comeback as Gibson ran right through the middle untouched for a 37-yard score. 

I have no complaints here. It was a perfect performance. 

I also have to give a quick shoutout to Peyton Barber for his best performance of the season. He hasn’t done much this season, but he looked like the downhill runner I hoped we’d be getting after his 57-yard performance off 11 carries. A+ grades all around for this group. 

It was a complete defensive effort 

Again, no complaints on this end, although Darby did get burned on that Amari Cooper deep ball in the second quarter. Other than that, pretty great game from Jack Del Rio’s group. 

The pass rush was constantly in Andy Dalton’s face, with Chase Young, Tim Settle, Jeremy Reaves, Cole Holcomb and Da’Ron Payne all contributing to the team’s four sacks. Dalton did get a few nice runs up the middle as the pocket collapsed on the edges, but I attribute that more to the linebackers getting caught in coverage and Dalton making a nice heads-up play. 

The run defense was also solid. The Cowboys offensive line is still a straight up disaster, and the Football Team took full advantage. Zeke Elliot and Tony Pollard rushed for just 44 yards on 14 carries, and Elliot also coughed up a third-quarter fumble. I get that those two haven’t had much help on the line this season, but those fumbles are all on Elliot. I don’t ever remember him giving the ball away this much prior to this season. 

I also really like how the secondary played. Darby was once again targeted a lot, and he got beat by Cooper a few times, but I think he played pretty well in general. Kendall Fuller and Kam Curl also made some nice plays throughout, but the player that really surprised me was Jeremy Reaves. 

This is the first time Reaves has made an appearance this season and he really showed out. He finished with a sack and made a crucial red zone play alongside Jimmy Moreland to hit CeeDee Lamb while he was trying to haul in a catch in the end zone. I was impressed by Reaves, and I’ll be now pleading to the gods for Del Rio to look to him over Troy Apke at the strong safety position. 

I’ve been praising the defense a lot, but let me also throw a little praise towards Mike McCarthy and Kellen Moore because their playcalling was straight up embarrassing. This team tried a few pretty risky fourth down calls and only one of those ended up working. The first was just an idiotic pass play on a fourth-and-inches at their own 34 which ended up in a Dallas 15-yard penalty that gave Washington the ball in the redzone. Why you wouldn’t sneak it there is beyond me. 

The second, and this one still makes me laugh, was a fake punt on fourth-and-10 at their own 24. Now if someone runs that play at maybe midfield and it doesn’t work, fine, it’s still not a smart decision, but you can maybe catch a defense off-guard, but at your own 24? Was McCarthy actually behind that call or was it a 12-year-old playing Madden? That is so laughably stupid, and it backfired so badly. Washington scored on the first play of the drive. I mean, that’s something that used to happen against us, not for us.

George Carlin once said to never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups, and maybe Jerry Jones needs to take a long look at the staff he’s constructed and really consider if this group is capable of returning his team back into the powerhouse they once were. From what I saw yesterday, I doubt it’s likely.

Scott Turner’s playcalling is starting to win me over 

I’ll be the first to admit that I was not a fan of Scott Turner’s playcalling ability early this season because it just wasn’t very good, but I always gave him a little bit of leeway because the personnel wasn’t too hot either. It’s hard to see what an offensive coordinator is trying to do when the team out there is barely capable of doing it. The team on the field has improved in recent weeks though, so we’re finally getting a clearer picture of what he wants to do, and it’s looking pretty promising. 

Since Alex Smith (and even Kyle Allen to an extent) became the starter, we’ve seen the offense look more aggressive in the passing game, and we’ve seen a little more creativity with the usage of guys like Logan Thomas and J.D. McKissic. Remember when Turner promised more pre-snap motions from the running backs to throw different looks at the defense? We’re seeing a lot more of that too! 

Logan Thomas in particular was used pretty effectively this week, with two plays coming to mind. The first being the tight end toss trick play that resulted in a 28-yard Terry McLaurin reception. I thought it was a good play to dial up early in the game to set the tone, and it resulted in a positive outcome. Logan Thomas can apparently still sling it these days, I mean that was a pretty impressive throw for a guy who hasn’t consistently played under center since he was in a Virginia Tech uniform. 

The second play was the read option third-and-1 call that Thomas pulled and took for a three-yard gain. Even if it didn’t work, I liked the idea from Turner. Thomas is a 250-pound truck, and I like his odds of picking up at least a yard or two in those types of short-yardage situations. 

Also…uh…what was this? 

I mean it worked, but I still have a hard time processing what the hell I just watched. Rivera mentioned it was a play from Little Giants which I haven’t seen in probably 15 years, but the fact that it was called in an NFL game and led to a first down is pretty wild. I should give it a rewatch. 

I’m still not fully convinced that Turner was the right hire (I’ll still die on the Kevin O’Connell hill), but he’s looked better lately and I hope to see the positive trend continue. 

McLaurin made the play of the game, and it wasn’t even a catch 

As far as I’m concerned, Terry McLaurin has never had a bad game. He literally can do no wrong in my eyes. This week was no different, hauling in a respectable seven catches for 92 yards, but he made one play as a defender that pretty much kept momentum from completely flipping in the Cowboys’ favor. 

Late in the third quarter with just a seven-point lead, Smith made what ended up being his only real mistake of the game by throwing a pass directly into the hands of Cowboys linebacker Jaylon Smith, who had a clear path to the endzone to make it an even 20-20 game in the second half. Somehow, someway, McLaurin raced down the sideline to trip him up by the shoelaces to stop him at the Washington 4. The defense held them to just a field goal which made McLaurin’s effort on the tackle basically a four-point play. What can’t he do? 

You can tell by watching McLaurin that he puts his all into every single snap that he’s involved in, and it’s good to see him get the appreciation he deserves for it. He is also currently fourth in the league in receiving yards behind DeAndre Hopkins, Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce. That’s pretty good company. 

The off-topic section 

I haven’t done a proper binge of a show in some time. Like a real, non-stop binge. I think everytime I start to pick up steam and get through a show I just have something come up that takes me completely out of flow. It’s taken me legitimately five months to finish two seasons of Ozark because I keep getting sidetracked by work, other shows, football and basketball games, just everything. 

I almost feel like there’s too much to offer in terms of entertainment. Not that that’s a bad thing or anything, but I have like seven shows that I’ve put on hold that I just either take forever to finish or just never end up revisiting. I remember binge-watching the first six seasons of Game of Thrones in four weeks when I was a junior in high school. That was an experience. I’d just get home from school, watch two or three episodes, and then start my homework at like 10:00 p.m. It was the perfect set-up for a night owl like myself. It was the peak of my existence (at least in terms of binge watching). Is this the case with anyone else or am I just complaining about a miniscule dilemma? Or the real question might be, does it even matter? 

Thanks for reading another rendition of Robservations. I’ll be back next week to talk about the Pittsburgh game as well as a bunch of other nonsense. See you soon!

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