106.7 The Fan Redskins beat reporter Craig Hoffman was in the press box at FedExField as the Washington Redskins took on the Houston Texans in Week 11 of the season. He combined his observations with post-game interviews to write his top-three takeaways from this week in football:
The Redskins lost 23-21 as Dustin Hopkins last second 62-yard field goal fell about five yards short. Of course, that is just a small part of what happened at FedEx Field on Sunday.
- Alex Smith broke his tibia and fibula, the two bones of the lower leg, and his season is over. Smith was taken to a local hospital and will have surgery immediately. The veteran quarterback went down on a sack in the 3rd quarter and immediately knew he was seriously hurt. He was taken off on a stretcher with his leg in an air cast.The play was on a 3rd down and Preston Smith turned DeShaun Watson over soon after the ensuing punt. Immediately, Colt McCoy led a 2 play, 14-yard scoring drive. The plays were a good read option keep by McCoy and a dime to Jordan Reed in the back corner of the end zone.McCoy continued to operate at a very high level. The circumstances around him taking over cannot be much worse, but the chance for McCoy is one he’s ready for. Frankly, the offense looked better with McCoy than Smith. The ball was consistently out on time. McCoy tucked and ran when he needed to and the opportunities were there. He gave guys chances to make plays. The results weren’t amazing on the stat sheet – 6/12 for 54 yards and 1 TD – but the offense felt like it had a rhythm. If it can carry that into Dallas, they’re going to have more than a chance on Thursday.Play aside, the injury is crushing. As I’ve said before, we get to know many of these players as men and there are few finer men in the NFL than Alex Smith. The more I’ve gotten to know him as the season has gone on, the more I’ve enjoyed him. There are plenty of ways to be critical of his play, but on a human level today sucks. It flat out sucks. His teammates were crushed. Many around the league shared thoughts, including his former backup in Patrick Maholmes, because it’s hard to find someone who doesn’t like Alex Smith. That includes this reporter. Speedy recovery, 11.
- Josh Norman has misstepped twice this year. After the debacle in New Orleans, he called a DB’s meeting that may have saved the season. The unit has been far better since then and many of the miscommunication issues have gone away. Of course, the story of the week was Norman’s comments on the fans. He said all he wanted was a good home crowd and even gave away tickets to help ensure that happened.The crowd responded in a major way. They were in it the entire game, including multiple long breaks before big plays where they continually responded to Norman, D.J. Swearinger and others asking for more noise. The energy was right the entire day. There’s no question the fire Norman lit had a role to play in that. Norman thanked “Redskins Nation” after the game. With two huge divisional road games to come, the next FedEx Field crowd will almost certainly depend on the results, but today was a success.
- As for the late penalty on Norman…it was a pathetic call. A referee making that call in that situation isn’t ready for the NFL. The call was made on next to no contact away from the play and it cost the Redskins precious time. There were other painful non-calls throughout the day, including on the Redskins last play from scrimmage where there was plenty of contact with Josh Doctson and no pass interference call.The Redskins wound up getting a shot from 62 yards with Hopkins, but it fell short. “It was a good ball, but not good enough,” Hopkins said after. The ball was a high, end-over-end kick. There’s always a fear of getting blocked on long, low attempts. Hopkins said he should have feared the block less and instead gone for a lower ball.
Stat of the day: Adrian Peterson’s two touchdowns on the day moved him past John Riggins into sole possession of 6th on the NFL’s all-time rushing touchdown list.
Quote of the day: “I just probably oughta calm down this week and really focus on my job,” McCoy said ahead of his pending Thursday start in his home state of Texas. “Probably have a lot of family and friends there. But at the end of the day, it’s football, man. I’m excited to play. Again, I hate the circumstance but at the same time, we have a really good football team and I’m excited to go out there and play with them.”