Redskins.com recaps Sunday night's 19-3 preseason loss to the Cincinnati Bengals, at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati:
#### Revealing Moment:
Clinton Portis lay along the Redskins' sideline, the team's athletic trainers tending to him--and all of a sudden, Sunday night's preseason opener seemed irrelevant. The Redskins appear to have good depth at running back, but Portis is the motor that keeps the offense running. After Portis's injury to his left shoulder, it seemed the air was let out of the balloon. 19-3? So what. How is Portis's shoulder?
Redskins Play of the Game:
#### Redskins Player of the Game:
Anybody who has attended training camp has taken note of Mike Espy. He has a knack for getting open and making clutch receptions. In his first NFL action, Espy continued to impress, leading the offense with four catches for 56 yards. He even endured several hard tackles, still managing to hold on to the ball.
Redskins Unsung Hero:
Preseason games are for young players and veterans hoping to stick on an NFL roster. Falling into the latter category would be fifth-year player Karon Riley, a 6-2, 268-pound defensive end who has played mostly for the Atlanta Falcons in his career. On back-to-back plays, Riley sacked quarterback Doug Johnson to end a drive. Assistant head coach-defense Gregg Williams has taken great pride in discovering quality talent from "street free agents." (Witness Demetric Evans and Ryan Clark, to name two.) Could Riley be his next find?
#### What Went Right:
-- The first-team defense was in mid-season form. Shawn Springs rushed quarterback Anthony Wright on a cornerback blitz, sacking him for an eight-yard loss and ending the Bengals' first drive. Coming to the sidelines afterwards, defensive players were charged up, led by Marcus Washington.
-- On special teams, punters Derrick Frost and David Lonie renewed their competition. Frost had the game's longest punt at 55 yards, but Lonie produced a higher yards-per-punt average at 48.0. Meantime, kicker John Hall redeemed himself from a shaky scrimmage to connect on a 38-yard field goal.
What Went Wrong:
-- With so many inexperienced backups in the game at offensive line, it was hard to get a gauge on the Redskins' running game. Overall the Redskins could only muster 30 yards on the ground, on 24 carries. That's 1.3 yards per carry. Rock Cartwright, Nehemiah Broughton and Kerry Carter were swarmed by Bengals' defenders all evening.
-- The Bengals took advantage of the Redskins' young secondary. The Bengals used some trickery--a flea flicker--on rookie safety Reed Doughty, as Anthony Wright connected on a 52-yard pass to T.J. Houshmandzadeh. Second-year safety Ben Emanuel, who signed with the Redskins last week, was victimized twice on big plays, including a 34-yard touchdown from Doug Johnson to Kelley Washington. (Memo to Washington: leave the end zone dancing to Chad Johnson.)
#### What's Next:
First and foremost, it's an update on the status of Portis. The Redskins will likely be cautious with him for the remainder of preseason. It seems unlikely that Portis will play next Saturday night against the New York Jets at FedExField. Could he be out longer? His status will be determined later this week.
Combined, the Redskins' three quarterbacks (Mark Brunell, Todd Collins and Jason Campbell) were 19-of-37 for 233 yards and three interceptions in the game. Overall QB rating: 37.3.
"I'm sure there are going to be some good things [in the game film], but it's hard to find them when you wind up playing a game like that. So I think it's something that we need to get in [on Monday] and take a long, hard look at the film and try to do the best evaluation we can. I think it's obvious to everybody: we've got a long way to go. We've got some real serious work we're going to have to do." -- Joe Gibbs
It's the first week of preseason. So it's too soon to read much of anything into the Redskins' performance. Preseason games are rarely remembered for anything, but Sunday's game will be remembered for Clinton Portis's injury. The Redskins' first-team offense took baby steps in Al Saunders' offense--before Portis's injury. Until offensive players have a full grasp of the scheme, look for the defense to lead the way again.