Very interesting to study the Washington Redskins against the Indianapolis Colts - defensive sister school of the Chicago Bears. The Colts and Bears have nothing in common on the other side of the ball but that doesn't mean there was nothing to be learned. Here are my thoughts on the 'Skins.
- Brian Orakpo already has five sacks on the season and his strip of Peyton Manning in the third quarter was the biggest play Sunday night for the Redskins. The Bears have now allowed a league-demolishing 27 sacks, 4.5 per game, so somebody is going to get to Cutler. They best look out for the Longhorn.
- Donovan McNabb is just not that accurate on underneath routes but the 'Skins had a lot of success with two plays that historically kill the Bears. Santana Moss ran what should now be called "The Mike Williams" perfectly - sprinting upfield against the left corner and settling in under his coverage. Chris Cooley is as good as it gets at finding the hole in the middle of the defense. That whole is seemingly endless with the Lovie Deuce. The Bears need a big game in coverage from Brian Urlacher.
- The Redskins coverage units on both kickoffs and punts were terrific Sunday so this will become one of the better matchups of the afternoon. Both Chris Wilson and Mike Sellers seems to be at the return man before he's even picked an attack gap.
- Peyton had a clear plan against this defense, specifically in the red zone. He went three-wide and attacked their slot corner. Austin Collie's touchdown to make it 13-7 was a picture perfect example and Manning actually missed Collie a few other times as he ran through the seam uncovered.
- Mike Shanahan is going to give Ryan Torain the ball between 20-25 times but I just haven't seen the stretch-play style work against the Bears when they have their starting linebackers out there. If Lance Briggs plays, I expect to see Shanny put this game in McNabb's hands. If Lance doesn't, Brian Iwuh should expect to be tested early and often.
- When Carlos Rogers and LaRon Landry get an opportunity to intercept the ball, they intercept the ball. Jay can't afford any of those toss-em-up-in-coverage moments. (I know, I know.)
- What I don't like about the Redskins defense, and most 3-4 alignments, is they require their inside linebackers to cover an extensive amount of field as they commit their outside guys to rushing the passer. Once again, and I'm tired of writing it, the Bears should be getting the ball outside to their receivers and backs quickly.
- Brandon Banks doesn't scare me as a kick returner. (That being said, he'll score eight times.)
- I don't know if anybody has the numbers but I'd love to see how many yards Ryan Torain gained after a Colts' missed tackle. I don't know if Torain's production was a result of his physical toughness or the Colts' porous run defense. I have a feeling it's the latter.
- If teams get obsessed with Chris Cooley, Fred Davis will make a big catch. And what I mean is if the Bears get obsessed with Chris Cooley, Fred Davis will end up in the end zone.
- I will give McNabb credit for this. About ten times in this game, the Colts seemed to have him dead for a ten-yard sack and he avoided it with a subtle side step. I've never understood McNabb's unwillingness to use his legs, his greatest asset, in the aftermath of the Limbaugh controversy. His other great asset is his ability to launch the deep ball. If he has time, the ball will go thirty through the air.
What we've got here is the making of a field goal / field position game.