We've covered the Ballers so now it's time to move on to the Busters.
I know this top Buster must come as a bit of a shock, but this game was lost by Matt Flynn. He was spotted a 7-0 lead, added a nice drive and touchdown pass of his own, and then gave it all back to the Redskins with interest. His field awareness and pocket presence was atrocious in this game. His first two dropbacks resulted in a tipped incompletion and sitting in the pocket too long for a sack. Then he had his one great drive for a touchdown, but even that almost didn't happen. He nearly threw an interception but Brian Orakpo couldn't hold onto the ball. He would live to fight another down and made it count with a touchdown pass to Mychal Rivera. It went downhill fast from there.
The next drive ended in disastrous fashion. He stared down Denarius Moore on his route and delivered the ball right into the hands of the defender who had nothing but real estate to score the touchdown. And just like that, the 14-0 lead was 14-10. After a drive kept alive temporarily by a fake punt, four of his next five drives ended in a three and out and featured two off-target incompletions and a sack and several check downs and screens short of the first down marker. After that he had four straight drives end in a sack with the final two drives as sack fumbles.
Many of the sacks were entirely his own fault. He stayed in the pocket too long while somehow not feeling the pressure or he didn't step up into the pocket which allowed the edge rushers to either sack him or, in one instance, swipe the ball out of his hand for a fumble. It's the kind of thing that doesn't show up on a team without the pass blocking issues the Raiders have. It also can be masked in practice when the pass rushers must let up before reaching the quarterback.
He gave up two catches of 15 yards each on the Redskins first drive for a field goal and was bailed out on a third catch given up when Charles Woodson came up to stop the receiver from scoring. Then in the fourth quarter, with the Redskins in scoring position after the first Flynn fumble, Jenkins had RGIII dead to right and missed the sack. Griffin escaped and threw for a 28-yard completion and the next play, they scored the final touchdown.
Matt Flynn deserves a lot of the blame for the sacks in this game but the offensive line is not in the clear. They shouldn't have to have a quarterback as athletic as Terrelle Pryor in order to keep their numbers from being terrible. The second sack of the day came right around Pashos and Flynn had almost no chance to escape it. It ended a one of many three and out drives in the middle portion of this game. In the third quarter, Pashos gave up another sack to end a drive. The fumble in which Flynn didn't step up into the pocket was forced by Ryan Kerrigan who had pushed Pashos into the backfield and reached out to get Flynn's arm on his wind up. This was a step back for Pashos who had been the best offensive lineman on this team through the first three games.
This is a special Buster nod for the fans in attendance at the game who were booing before the second quarter. Booing is to be expected when a team or player looks consistently terrible or blows a game. I am not talking about that. But when Matt Flynn was introduced, there were a smattering of boos from the crowd. Before he even took a snap. Then on his first sack, the boos got extremely loud. One bad play and showers of boos? It was clear the crowd was angry from the very start that Terrelle Pryor wasn't on the field. That's fine. Be angry. But booing his replacement or anyone on the team you are supposed to be supporting is not smart to say the least.
Many fans like to talk about how if these guys are worth their salt, they should be able to play through the boos, but why should they have to in their home stadium? Better results come from a pat on the back than a kick in the ass. In other words, Flynn, as well as the rest of the team, would have been far more inspired to play better with the fans behind them. Booing at the disappointment of not seeing Terrelle Pryor is like burning down your own house to kill a rat. It wasn't Flynn's or anyone else on this team's fault Pryor got a concussion and couldn't play. You go with what you got. Next man up. Any Darren McFadden fans out there booing Rashad Jennings when he took the field? Didn't think so. There are places in this league which are considered hostile environments for the visiting team. O.co on Sunday was a hostile environment for Flynn and the home team. That's not right.