The second quarter began with another strong defensive effort by the Redskins, forcing a fourth punt of the day. Linebacker Rocky McIntosh brought pressure on third down, blitzing from the blind side after dropping back in coverage. Although his efforts didn’t lead to his second sack on the season, it was enough to force the errant pass.
The Redskins secondary has benefited from Rams receivers beating themselves with a lot of drops. Free agent acquisition Mike Sims-Walker has been targeted four times in the first half in big spots, and has yet to come down with any of them. The boo-birds have come out for the frustrated fans, and the Redskins fans in attendance are starting to out-cheer the home crowd.
As the half wound down, pressure finally started to hit home for the Redskins defense. Linebacker Ryan Kerrigan recorded the team’s first sack, with a fumble, and big man Barry Cofield grabbed the recovery. Remember that Ryan Kerrigan tied the NCAA record with 14 career forced fumbles at Purdue, and with his second on the season, it appears that that skill has translated to the pros. This was his third turnover of the season, in just his fourth career game.
Wow. Just wow.
Redskins fans had their first glimpse of cult hero running back Ryan Torain, who had a modest seven yard burst on his first carry. Casting modesty aside, he rumbled 20 yards for a second Redskins touchdown. This is his first touchdown in 17 quarters of Redskins football, making the plunge for the first time since Jacksonville in Week 16 last year.
Add the All-Torain vehicle back to the three-car running garage in Washington. From the looks of it, the Redskins now have a sports car with Roy Helu, a bulldozer with Tim Hightower, and an off-road vehicle with Torain.
And a truck on the defensive line.
As far as the Redskins special teams penalties are concerned, they are the appropriate calls by the officials, because within the letter of the law, they qualify as unnecessary roughness. Yes, Perry Riley and Niles Paul need to make a better effort to lower a shoulder and avoid contact to the helmet. But I would suspect that Rams returner Austin Pettis will learn to wave for a fair catch, or he won’t be back out on the field in the second half.
After the tremendous hits that he took in the first half, he may not be back anyway.
This is the Redskins first, first-half shutout since last year’s season opener against the Dallas Cowboys. This is total-team domination, but the Redskins need to keep it going in the second half. The loudest noise made by the 12th Ram today, was the boos showered on the Rams coming off the field.
Redskins up at the half, 14-0.