Al Galdi Al Galdi
Contact Al



  • Page 1 of 335
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • ...
  • »
  • »»
How It Should Be Remembered: The Redskins' Loss To Tampa Bay In Week 11
by Al Galdi
Nov 21, 2014 -- 2:37pm
ESPN 980

The Redskins fell to 3-7 with a 27-7 loss to Tampa Bay on Sunday afternoon (Nov. 16, 2014).  Here were the 10 most important items from the game:


1. Quarterback Robert Griffin III had the worst game of his NFL career


Griffin was guilty of multiple bad outings in 2013: at Denver, at Philadelphia, home to San Francisco and home to Kansas City.  But his performance in this game was worse than any of those.  

Making Griffin’s performance even more disturbing:
     •    It came off off what was a pretty good performance by Griffin in the Week 9 loss at Minnesota

     •    It came against a Bucs team that entered this game just 1-8 and was without starting corner Alterraun Verner

Griffin registered a season-low 12.9 Total QBR.

Griffin threw two first-quarter picks.
     •    The first offensive play of the game resulted in a Griffin first-and-10 pick to linebacker Danny Lansanah.  Griffin, throwing out of the offset pistol and off read-option play-action, made a low and awkward throw while moving to his left (he continues to struggles when going left) on a pop pass.  Tight end Niles Paul bobbled the ball, which went into the arms of Lansanah.  Receiver DeSean Jackson was open on a bubble screen on the play.  

     •    Griffin threw a third-and-six 19-yard pick-six to corner Johnanathan Banks on a play that started at the Redskins’ 8.  Griffin, working out of the shotgun, was late on a throw to the left side, which included a dropping linebacker in Mason Foster.  He was the lone dropping linebacker, meaning that Griffin should have thrown the ball to the right side.  Foster tipped the ball, it went into the arms of Banks and he ran through an attempted tackle by Griffin for the touchdown.  

Griffin was sacked six times.
     •    The six sacks came despite Griffin being blitzed on just four of his 42 dropbacks according to ESPN.  Four of the six sacks came against standard pressure.  The Bucs’ defensive strategy also worked from a standpoint of Griffin's average pass traveling a career-low 4.2 yards downfield.

     •    The six sacks were registered by defensive linemen: Jacquies Smith (2), Gerald McCoy (1.5), Clinton McDonald and Michael Johnson (1 each) and T.J. Fatinikun (0.5).  McCoy after the game: "We knew we had to stay alive in our rush because [Griffin] does hold the ball a little bit."

     •    If you remove the Week 2 blowout of Jacksonville, a game Griffin left early due to suffering a dislocated left ankle, Griffin now has been sacked 38 times over his last eight regular-season games.

     •    Griffin took back-to-back redzone sacks during an early-second-quarter drive that at one point featured a first-and-goal at the 6 but resulted in Forbath’s missed 47-yard field-goal attempt.  The first sack of the sequence, a second-and-10 sack by McCoy for a 10-yard loss, came as a result of Griffin misreading the field and failing to run up an open hole in the A-gap.

Griffin didn’t see the field well and was off on multiple throws.
     •    Griffin twice overthrew receiver DeSean Jackson on deep balls.  The first instance was a first-quarter second-and-two pistol deep incompletion on a drive that resulted in a punt.  The second instance, which came out of the shotgun, was officially a third-quarter no-play thanks to a 15-yard facemask penalty on defensive end William Gholston on the drive that resulted in Kai Forbath’s third-quarter missed 50-yard field-goal attempt.  Jackson was open in both instances.

     •    Two plays after Griffin’s second overthrow of Jackson was a second-and-10 eight-yard pistol completion to Jackson on which receiver Andre Roberts was wide open for a big play.


2. Head coach Jay Gruden was highly critical of Griffin

Gruden essentially admitted after the game that thought about benching Griffin in favor of Colt McCoy.  But the real bombshells came the next day.

Gruden said the following of Griffin’s performance on Monday (Nov. 17): “Robert had some fundamental flaws.  He did.  His footwork was below average.  He took three-step drops when he should’ve take five-.  He took a one-step drop when he should’ve taken three on a couple of occasions.  And that can’t happen.  He stepped up when he didn’t have to step up and stepped into pressure.  He read the wrong side of the field a couple times…It was not even close to being good enough to what we expect from that quarterback position.”

Gruden said the following of Griffin’s postgame press conference, during which he took much of the blame for the loss but also said that his teammates didn’t play well enough and need to play better: “Robert needs to understand he needs to worry about himself no. 1 and not everyone else.  It’s his job to worry about his position, his footwork, his fundamentals, his reads, his progressions, his job at the quarterback position.  It’s my job to worry about everybody else.”

Gruden apologized for the Monday comments on Wednesday (Nov. 19), but then provided these gems to NFL Media’s Albert Breer in a story posted on Friday (Nov. 21): "Since the preseason, in the games that he's played, our production from an offensive standpoint has been awful.  I think five touchdowns in all the drives he's played, for whatever reason, and that's not good.  We're still trying to figure that out...His biggest thing, he's been coddled for so long.  It's not a negative, he's just been so good, he just hasn't had a lot of negative publicity.  Everybody's loved him.  Some adversity is striking hard at him now, and how he reacts to that off the field, his mental state of mind, how it affects his confidence, hopefully it's not in a negative way...He's auditioned long enough.  Clock's ticking.  He's gotta play.  We'll see….We want Robert to excel, we really do.  But the last two games, it hasn't been very good, anywhere.”


3. Griffin wasn’t helped out enough by those around him

Griffin had an awful game and was the biggest reason for the loss, but he certainly wasn’t the only reason.

Paul bobbled the ball on the Lansanah first-and-10 pick of Griffin on the game’s first offensive play.  Paul also committed a late-fourth-quarter 10-yard holding penalty on the game’s final drive, which resulted in time running out.

Helu had two fumbles, including a late-second-quarter lost fumble after a second-and-six 13-yard reception off Griffin being in the shotgun.

Right tackle Tom Compton committed three major blunders on the early-second-quarter drive that resulted in Forbath’s missed 47-yard field-goal attempt and was ignited by Young’s fumble recovery on special teams:
     •    first-and-10 10-yard illegal-block-above-the-waist penalty

     •    first-and-goal-at-the-6 five-yard illegal-formation penalty

     •    Compton got abused by Smith on a third-and-goal-at-the-20 sack of Griffin for a nine-yard loss

Receiver Pierre Garcon committed an early-first-quarter first-and-10 five-yard false-start penalty on a drive that resulted in a punt.  He had just one reception for six yards on two targets.

Tight end Logan Paulsen had a first-quarter first-and-10 two-yard false-start penalty on the drive that resulted in Griffin’s first-quarter pick-six to Banks.  Paulsen now has six accepted penalties this season.

Receiver Leonard Hankerson committed a late-third-quarter third-and-eight five-yard false-start penalty on a drive that resulted in a punt.  He made his season debut off having been placed on the reserve/physically-unable-to-perform list on Aug. 30 due to season-ending surgery to repair ACL and LCL tears in his left knee on Nov. 21, 2013.

Jackson had four receptions for just 35 yards on six targets, failing to register a reception of at least 37 yards for the first time in six games.  Jackson posted the following quote on Instagram on Monday (Nov. 17): “You can’t do epic s--- with basic people.”

Left guard Shawn Lauvao committed an early-fourth-quarter second-and-16 five-yard false-start penalty on a drive that resulted in a punt.


4. For a third straight game, we saw a good amount of read-option

I counted eight read-option or at least read-option-looking plays by the Redskins.  Seven of the eight plays came in the first half.

Griffin finished the game with six carries for 41 yards, but those numbers could have been even better.  Griffin’s willingness to run appears to be an issue.
     •    The play before Griffin’s first-quarter pick-six to Banks was a second-and-eight two-yard read-option run by running back Alfred Morris out of the pistol on a play on which it appeared as if Griffin should have kept the ball.

     •    The drive that resulted in fullback Darrel Young’s early-second-quarter fumble recovery of running back Marcus Thigpen’s muffed catch of a punt included a late-first-quarter second-and-one two-yard read-option run by Morris out of the shotgun on a play on which it appeared as if Griffin should have kept the ball and a second-and-eight four-yard read-option run by Griffin out of the pistol on the first play of the second quarter.

The second-quarter drive that resulted in running back Roy Helu Jr.’s lost fumble included three read-option plays: a third-and-one one-yard read-option-looking run by Morris out of the pistol; a second-and-two eight-yard read-option run by Griffin out of the shotgun; and a first-and-10 four-yard shotgun completion by Griffin to Paul off read-option play-action.

The third-quarter drive that resulted in Forbath’s missed 50-yard field-goal attempt included a first-and-10 read-option run for no gain by Morris out of the pistol.

The first offensive play of the game, Griffin’s pick to Lansanah, came off read-option play-action out of the offset pistol.

Just two of Griffin’s six carries were read-option runs.  The other four were scrambles.
     •    The drive that resulted in Young’s early-second-quarter fumble recovery on special teams included a late-first-quarter third-and-three 10-yard shotgun scramble.

     •    The third-quarter drive that resulted in Forbath’s missed 50-yard field-goal attempt included a first-and-10 six-yard I-formation scramble.

     •    A third-quarter drive that resulted in a punt included a third-and-13 five-yard shotgun scramble.

     •    An early-fourth-quarter drive that resulted in a punt included a fourth-and-four eight-yard shotgun scramble.


5. Five Redskins starters got injured

Left tackle Trent Williams left the game in the first quarter due to sprains of the MCL and ankle of his right leg.

Tight end Jordan Reed suffered a hamstring strain.

Lavauo suffered a concussion in the fourth quarter.

Defensive lineman Chris Baker suffered a moderate SC joint sprain early in the third quarter.

Rookie linebacker Trent Murphy suffered a partial tear of his PCL.


6. The Redskins’ defense got scorched by rookie receiver Mike Evans and again gave the team very little in the play-making department

Evans, the seventh overall pick of the 2014 NFL Draft, had seven receptions for 209 yards and two touchdowns on nine targets.  He became the fifth rookie in the Super Bowl era (since 1966) to have 200 receiving yards and two touchdowns in a game.  Among Evans’ big plays:
     •    early-fourth-quarter second-and-16 56-yard touchdown reception on which he beat linebacker Perry Riley Jr., who botched an A-gap blitz (he was supposed to blitz but didn’t; linebacker Keenan Robinson was supposed to be in coverage).  Corner David Amerson appeared to be at fault as well.  Also on this drive was a late-third-quarter third-and-14 34-yard reception.

     •    third-quarter second-and-nine 36-yard touchdown reception on which safety Ryan Clark blew the coverage.  The Redskins were in Cover-2, Evans ran past rookie corner Bashaud Breeland, but Clark failed to come over to help.

     •    second-quarter second-and-20 51-yard reception on the drive that resulted in Patrick Murray’s 38-yard field goal

The Redskins totaled just one takeaway (which came on special teams) and two sacks.  The Redskins exited Week 11 just 29th out of 32 NFL teams with nine takeaways and tied for 10th in the NFL with 25 sacks (though 15 of the sacks have come in two games: the Week 2 blowout of Jacksonville and the Week 8 win at Dallas.


7. All of that said, the Redskins held the Bucs to a number of respectable totals

The Redskins held the Bucs to 12 first downs, 3-for-10 on third downs, 329 total net yards of offense and an average of 2.3 yards on 21 carries.  Those numbers are more than good enough to win.


8. Morris was a bright spot

Morris had 20 carries for 96 yards and two receptions for 36 yards on three targets.  Morris now has 52 carries for 250 yards and three touchdowns since halftime of the win at the Cowboys.

Morris did an incredible job of breaking tackles and turning nothing into something on an early-second-quarter 13-yard I-formation-toss run that also included a six-yard facemask-penalty on linebacker Lavonte David.  The drive, though, resulted in Forbath’s missed 47-yard field-goal attempt.

Morris and Helu produced all 79 of the yards on the Redskins’ lone touchdown drive, which resulted in Helu’s late-second-quarter second-and-six 30-yard touchdown reception off a shotgun screen pass by Griffin in the face of pressure. Morris had a second-and-eight 19-yard shotgun-handoff draw-play run and a first-and-10 24-yard reception off a shotgun screen pass from Griffin on the next play.  


9. Redskins special teams produced a takeaway but overall performed poorly

Young’s early-second-quarter fumble recovery of Thigpen’s muffed catch of a punt was nice but basically a gift from the Bucs.  
Young committed a 10-yard holding penalty on a first-quarter 17-yard kickoff return by Roberts.

Roberts muffed the catch of an early-third-quarter punt, producing a mere one-yard return.  His only other punt return was a six-yarder late in the second quarter.

Forbath went 0-for-2 on field goals, missing a 47-yard attempt early in the second quarter and a 50-yard attempt in the third quarter.

Tress Way averaged just 34.3 net yards on four punts thanks in large part to two touchbacks..


10. Miscellaneous Notes:

This loss clinched the Redskins not winning at least 10 games this season.  The Redskins now have registered a double-digit win season just three times (1999, 2005 and 2012) over the last 23 seasons.

Nose tackle Barry Cofield, like Hankerson, returned in this game.  Cofield came off the bench and played pretty well on 58 percent of the Redskins’ defensive snaps.  He was placed on the reserve/injured list (designated to return) on Sept. 9 due to a high-ankle sprain suffered in the Week 1 loss at Houston.

So much for being inspired: former Navy SEAL Rob O'Neill, the man who says his bullet killed Osama Bin Laden, spoke to the Redskins during a team meeting on Saturday night (Nov. 15).

Inactives for the Redskins were:
     •    quarterback Kirk Cousins for a second straight game

     •    defensive end Stephen Bowen, who had been underwhelming over his three games this season.  He missed the first six games of the season due to being on the reserve/physically-unable-to-perform list, which he was placed on this past Aug. 30 due to microfracture surgery on his right knee last Dec. 3.

     •    receiver Santana Moss for the sixth time this season.  He was inactive for each of the first five games.

     •    receiver Aldrick Robinson for a fifth straight game

     •    right tackle Tyler Polumbus for a third straight game

     •    rookie guard Spencer Long for the eighth time in 10 games this season

     •    corner Greg Ducre, who was signed off San Diego’s practice squad on Oct. 8

The Redskins also played this game without:    
     •    linebacker Brian Orakpo, who was placed on the reserve/injured list on Oct. 21 due to a torn right pectoral muscle suffered in the Week 7 win over Tennessee

     •    corner DeAngelo Hall, who was placed on the reserve/injured list on Sept. 22 due to a torn left Achilles injury suffered in the Week 3 loss at Philadelphia.  We learned on Oct. 31 that he had torn the Achilles again.

     •    safety Duke Ihenacho, who was placed on the reserve/injured list on Sept. 22 due to a fractured heal bone suffered in the Week 3 loss at Philadelphia

     •    linebacker Akeem Jordan, who was placed on the reserve/injured list on Oct. 18 due to a sprained left MCL suffered in the preseason-ending win at Tampa Bay on Aug. 28 and then re-aggravated in the Week 6 loss at Arizona

     •    nose tackle Chris Neild, who was placed on the reserve/injured list on Aug. 30 due to a torn right ACL suffered in the preseason-ending win at Tampa Bay on Aug. 28


View Comments (0)
How It Should Be Remembered: The Redskins' Loss At Minnesota In Week 9
by Al Galdi
Nov 06, 2014 -- 3:09pm
ESPN 980

The Redskins fell to 3-6 with a 29-26 loss at Minnesota on Sunday afternoon (Nov. 2, 2014).  Here were the 10 most important items from the game:
ESPN 980 Galleries

1. Déjà vu all over again


For the second consecutive season, the Redskins improved to 3-5 with an overtime win (San Diego at FedEx Field in 2013; at Dallas in 2014).  And for the second consecutive season, the Redskins fell to 3-6 with a tough-to-take loss at a sub-.500 Vikings team (34-27 on Thursday Night Football in 2013; 29-26 in 2014).

The Redskins now find themselves 3-6 for a fourth straight season.


2. Quarterback Robert Griffin III played well in his return from a six-game absence

Griffin went 18-of-28 for 251 yards, a touchdown and a pick.  He had seven carries for 24 yards.  Griffin registered a Total QBR of 57.8 and a passer rating of 90.0.

The most encouraging aspect of Griffin performance was that he was a play-maker.  Among the examples:
     •    first-quarter third-and-seven 24-yard shotgun completion to running back Roy Helu Jr. on a play on which Griffin escaped potential sacks by linebacker Chad Greenway and defensive end Everson Griffin.  The drive resulted in Kai Forbath’s first-quarter 36-yard field goal.

     •    first-quarter first-and-10 45-yard under-center play-action completion to receiver DeSean Jackson.  The drive resulted in running back Alfred Morris’ early-second-quarter first-and-10 14-yard read-option touchdown run out of the shotgun.

     •    third-quarter first-and-10 13-yard under-center touchdown pass to Jackson, as Griffin fired a bullet into a tight window.  Also on the drive was a third-and-four 17-yard shotgun completion to tight end Jordan Reed.

     •    the drive that resulted in Morris’ fourth-quarter first-and-goal two-yard under-center-handoff touchdown run included an early-fourth-quarter second-and-seven 56-yard shotgun completion to Jackson and a third-and-five eight-yard shotgun completion to Helu off great jobs by Griffin and Helu of working off-schedule.

Griffin went 6-for-6 for 103 yards in the first quarter.  I was not in favor of him starting this game, having preferred McCoy for another game and then Griffin getting the bye week and returning for the Week 11 welcome of Tampa Bay.  But the notion that Griffin wasn’t ready to play well was wrong, as is the idea that McCoy would have been appreciably better.  

The negatives for Grffin:
     •    making a low throw to receiver Pierre Garcon on a late-fourth-quarter fourth-and-six shotgun incompletion on the Redskins’ final truly meaningful offensive play of the game.  The worst part of this play was that Griffin had a lot of room with which to run on his left side.  One official play before this one was a third-and-20 14-yard shotgun scramble on which Griffin slid in the vicinity of three Vikings defenders as opposed to trying to make a move for the first down.  No Redskins fan wants Griffin to get injured again, but there are risks worth taking, and this play may have qualified as that.  It is worth noting that Griffin had gotten banged-up on the previous play (a second-and-16 shotgun sack for a four-yard loss). 

     •    throwing a late-second-quarter first-and-10 shotgun pick to corner Captain Munnerlyn on the first play of a Redskins drive following a turnover on downs.  The ball did not come out of Griffin’s hand well at all, and head coach Jay Gruden said during his postgame press conference that Griffin “can’t throw a pick there.”

     •    getting sacked five times.  Head coach Jay Gruden on Inside The Locker Room on ESPN 980 on Nov. 14: "I think three of four 'em were possible plays we coulda got the ball out of our hands."  The protection certainly deserved some of the blame, as Helu and left guard Shawn Lauvao struggled.  But Griffin was at fault at times as well, including on an early-third-quarter third-and-eight sack by Greenway for a 10-yard loss.  Reed was open running across the field on that play but wasn’t thrown to.  Griffin now has been sacked 77 times in 31 career regular-season games.  Quarterback Kirk Cousins, for comparison’s sake, has been sacked 16 times in 14 career regular-season games.

Griffin had been inactive the previous six games due to the dislocated left ankle he suffered in the Week 2 blowout of Jacksonville.  He wore a modified shoe on his left foot.


3. For a second straight game, we saw more read-option from the Redskins than in any other game so far this season

I counted 11 read-option or at least read-option-style plays by the Redskins in this game.  The Redskins ran 62 offensive plays, so read-option, even at its peak for the season so far, comprised just 17.8 percent of the offense (and I counted read-option play-action as a read-option play, even though it technically isn’t).  

Five of Griffin’s seven runs were read-option runs.
     •    first-quarter second-and-seven three-yard read-option run out of the shotgun on the drive that resulted in Forbath’s first-quarter 36-yard field goal

     •    second-quarter third-and-one four-yard read-option run out of the pistol on a drive that resulted in a punt

     •    third-quarter third-and-one minus-two-yard read-option pistol run that resulted in a 13-yard unnecessary-roughness penalty on safety Harrison Smith for an alleged shot to Griffin’s head, even though Smith at most grazed Griffin’s helmet.  The next play was Griffin’s first-and-10 13-yard under-center touchdown pass to Jackson.

     •    third-quarter first-and-10 nine-yard read-option run out of the shotgun on the drive that resulted in Forbath’s third-quarter 26-yard field goal

     •    fourth-quarter first-and-goal shotgun read-option run for minus-three yards.  The drive, though, resulted in Morris’ fourth-quarter first-and-goal two-yard under-center-handoff touchdown run.


4. The Redskins’ defense fell on its face in the second half

The Redskins held the Vikings to just seven points, 4-for-9 on third downs and 146 total net yards of offense in the first half.  But the Redskins then allowed the Vikings to score 22 points, go 4-for-6 on third downs and total 206 total net yards of offense in the second half.  

The Redskins held the Vikings to 3.7 yards per carry on 27 rushing attempts but gave up three second-half touchdown runs to running back Matt Asiata, including an early-fourth-quarter first-and-goal seven-yard shotgun read-option touchdown run on which defensive end Stephen Bowen got pushed laterally so badly he collided with safety Ryan Clark, who was coming in for an attempted tackle.

The Redskins totaled just two sacks and five quarterback hits, including zero sacks in the second half.  The Redskins exited Week 9 tied for ninth in the NFL with 23 sacks.

The Redskins had zero takeaways and exited Week 9 29th out of 32 NFL teams with just eight takeaways this season.


5. Morris picked up where he left off after halftime of the Week 8 win at Dallas

Morris had 19 carries for a season-high 92 yards and two touchdowns, benefiting greatly from Griffin’s presence and the presence of the read-option.  Morris now has 32 carries for 154 yards and three touchdowns since halftime of the win at the Cowboys.

Morris had two 14-yard shotgun read-option runs on the six-play, 91-yard drive that resulted in his early-second-quarter first-and-10 14-yard read-option touchdown run out of the shotgun.  Morris totaled four carries for 41 yards and the touchdown on that drive.

Morris’ fourth-quarter first-and-goal two-yard under-center-handoff touchdown run concluded a drive that also included a first-and-15 under-center-toss run.

Morris also had a first-quarter second-and-11 15-yard reception on a shotgun screen pass on the drive that resulted in Forbath’s first-quarter 36-yard field goal.

Morris did have a drop on a second-quarter first-and-10 I-formation play-action incompletion.  The drive resulted in a three-and-out.


6. Jackson continued his excellent season

Jackson had four receptions for 120 yards and the touchdown on seven targets.    
     •    Jackson’s first-quarter first-and-10 45-yard under-center play-action reception saw him hold onto the ball despite a stiff shot from safety Harrison Smith.  The drive resulted in Morris’ early-second-quarter first-and-10 14-yard read-option touchdown run out of the shotgun.

     •    Jackson made an impressive catch in tight space on his third-quarter first-and-10 13-yard under-center touchdown reception.

     •    Jackson had an early-fourth-quarter second-and-seven 56-yard shotgun reception on the drive that resulted in Morris’ fourth-quarter first-and-goal two-yard under-center-handoff touchdown run.

Jackson now has nine receptions of 40 yards or more this season and five receptions of 50 yards or more this season.


7. Garcon and Reed totaled just six targets.

Garcon had three receptions for 15 yards on five targets.

Reed was targeted just once, producing the third-and-four 17-yard shotgun reception on the drive that resulted in Jackson’s third-quarter first-and-10 13-yard under-center touchdown reception.


8. Redskins special teams snapped their streak of two straight net-positive games

Receiver Andre Roberts totaled just one yard on three punt returns, including a first-quarter muff.  He also had just a 19-yard kickoff return on the opening kickoff of the second half, taking the ball out of the end zone to just the 18-yard line.  Roberts exited Week 9 tied for 12th in the NFL in yards per punt return (9.1).  

Roberts did have a third-quarter 45-yard kickoff return, giving the Redskins good field position for the drive that resulted in Jackson’s third-quarter first-and-10 13-yard under-center touchdown reception.  Roberts exited Week 9 averaging 23.5 yards on 11 kickoff returns this season.

The Redskins had just six accepted penalties, but two of them were on special teams: the first-quarter 15-yard illegal-blindside-block penalty on Young and an early-third-quarter five-yard player-out-of-bounds penalty on safety Akeem Davis.

Tress Way averaged just 45.3 yards and just 42.7 net yards on three punts.  Still, he exited Week 9 first in the NFL in yards per punt (49.4) and seventh in the NFL in net yards per punt (41.5).

The biggest bright spot: Forbath went 2-for-2 on field goals, connecting on a first-quarter 36-yarder and a late-third-quarter 26-yarder.  He now is 15-for-16 on field goals this season and 50-for-56 on field goals over his three seasons with the Redskins.


9. We had perhaps the newsiest pregame in Redskins history

First, Redskins team buses were involved in a wreck on their way to TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.  No major injuries were suffered, though rookie running back Silas Redd did end up being inactive due to back spasms suffered in the accident.

We also had two major reports from ESPN:
     •    Adam Schefter reported that multiple members of the Redskins organization told him that they believe the decision to go back to Griffin and away from Colt McCoy, who had led the team to two straight wins, was an owner- and general manager-driven decision.

     •    Britt McHenry reported that Griffin has alienated himself from the Redskins locker room.  But a key part of that report was teammates shouting as Griffin was talking to reporters on Oct. 31, and as was noted by multiple Redskins insiders (including our own Chris Russell), the shouting was directed as a joke at reporters and Redskins media relations.  I and many others have been told of at least some teammates not liking Griffin, but the shouting was not an example of that.

Finally, there was a large protest against the Redskins name outside of TCF Bank Stadium before the game.  The Minneapolis Star-Tribune reported that 3,000 people attended.


10. Miscellaneous Notes:

Roberts had yet another drop, failing to catch a second-and-six shotgun read-option play-action throw that in fairness was behind him on the first play of the second quarter.  The drive did result in Morris’ his early-second-quarter first-and-10 14-yard read-option touchdown run out of the shotgun.

Inactives for the Redskins were:
     •    Cousins

     •    Redd due to back spasms suffered in the accident involving team buses on their way to TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis

     •    right tackle Tyler Polumbus for a second straight game

     •    receiver Aldrick Robinson for a fourth straight game

     •    rookie guard Spencer Long

     •    linebacker Jackson Jeffcoat, who was signed off the practice squad on Oct. 8

     •    corner Greg Ducre, who was signed off San Diego’s practice squad on Oct. 8

The Redskins also played this game without:    
     •    linebacker Brian Orakpo, who was placed on the reserve/injured list on Oct. 21 due to a torn right pectoral muscle suffered in the Week 7 win over Tennessee

     •    corner DeAngelo Hall, who was placed on the reserve/injured list on Sept. 22 due to a torn left Achilles injury suffered in the Week 3 loss at Philadelphia.  We learned on Oct. 31 that he had torn the Achilles again.

     •    nose tackle Barry Cofield, who was placed on the reserve/injured list (designated to return) on Sept. 9 due to a high-ankle sprain suffered in the Week 1 loss at Houston

     •    safety Duke Ihenacho, who was placed on the reserve/injured list on Sept. 22 due to a fractured heal bone suffered in the Week 3 loss at Philadelphia

     •    receiver Leonard Hankerson, who was placed on the reserve/physically-unable-to-perform list on Aug. 30 due to season-ending surgery to repair ACL and LCL tears in his left knee last Nov. 21

     •    linebacker Akeem Jordan, who was placed on the reserve/injured list on Oct. 18 due to a sprained left MCL suffered in the preseason-ending win at Tampa Bay on Aug. 28 and then re-aggravated in the Week 6 loss at Arizona

     •    nose tackle Chris Neild, who was placed on the reserve/injured list on Aug. 30 due to a torn right ACL suffered in the preseason-ending win at Tampa Bay on Aug. 28


View Comments (0)
How It Should Be Remembered: The Redskins' Win At Dallas In Week 8
by Al Galdi
Oct 30, 2014 -- 7:22pm
ESPN 980

The Redskins improved to 3-5 with a 20-17 overtime win at Dallas on Monday Night Football (Oct. 27, 2014).  Here were the 10 most important items from the game:


ESPN 980 Galleries 1. One of the most improbable Redskins victories in the history of the rivalry


This was not on the level of the 1972 NFC Championship Game, the 1982 NFC Championship Game, the 1983 Week 15 Army Fatigue Game or the 2012 Week 17 win to clinch the NFC East.  But I would put this victory on the second-tier of Redskins wins over the Cowboys, along with games like the 2005 Midnight Miracle and the 2006 Sean Taylor-Troy Vincent game.

The Redskins won this game…
     •    …with Colt McCoy, who entered the season as a third-stringer, as their starting quarterback

     •    …despite entering it just 2-5 and without an NFC East win since Week 17 in 2012

     •    …despite the Cowboys having won six straight and being a 10-point favorite

     •    …despite the Cowboys entering the game first in the NFL in rushing yards per game and first in the NFL in third-down efficiency (57.4 percent)


2. A rare win under the lights

The Redskins snapped their seven-game losing streak in primetime games and improved to 4-17 in primetime games since the start of the 2008 season.  The Redskins are 3-12 at FedEx Field and 1-5 on the road during that stretch.


3. This was perhaps the high point for Jim Haslett over his four and-a-half seasons as the Redskins’ defensive coordinator

Haslett has taken a lot of criticism since he came to the Redskins in Jan. 2010, but his game-planning against a big-boy offense like that of the Cowboys was masterful.  The Redskins tied a season high by sending five or more pass rushers on 60 percent of dropbacks in this game.  And it’s hard to argue with the results.

The Redskins totaled five sacks, three forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, eight tackles for loss and six pass defenses.  The Redskins sent at least one defensive back on the pass rush for each of their five sacks.  

The Redskins held the Cowboys to just 17 points and 5-for-12 on third downs.  The Cowboys entered the game first in the NFL in third-down efficiency (57.4 percent).

Safety Brandon Meriweather has not had a good season, but he was terrific in this game.  Meriweather had two sacks, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery.
     •    Meriweather had a third-and-five sack for a 12-yard loss on the game’s opening drive (which resulted in a punt) and a late-fourth-quarter second-and-one sack-strip on a drive that resulted in a punt.  

     •    Meriweather’s first forced fumble came on a late-first-quarter second-and-20 12-yard run by running back Joseph Randle.  

     •    Meriweather’s fumble recovery came off an early-second-quarter forced fumble by rookie corner Bashaud Breeland on running back DeMarco Murray on a first-and-10 36-yard reception.   

Breeland had easily the best game of his young career, performing well despite repeatedly being tested.  He totaled four pass defenses and the forced fumble, helping to hold receiver Dez Bryant to just three receptions for 30 yards and a touchdown on seven targets.  
     •    Breeland knocked the ball away on the Cowboys’ final play of the game, a fourth-and-three incompletion intended for Bryant.  

     •    Breeland provided terrific coverage on Bryant on second-and-three and third-and-three incompletions on a third-quarter drive that began with a 51-yard run by Murray but resulted in a Dan Bailey third-quarter 21-yard field goal as opposed to a touchdown.  Head coach Jay Gruden on Tuesday (Oct. 28) credited Breeland for hustling to tackle Murray on the 51-yard run and prevent the touchdown.

Linebacker Ryan Kerrigan had three tackles for loss, including a third-and-three sack for a 12-yard loss on the final play of the first half.  He did fail to recover a fumble by quarterback Tony Romo on the late-fourth-quarter second-and-one sack-strip by Merriweather, though one of Kerrigan’s arms was tied up with a Cowboy.  The drive resulted in a punt.

Linebacker Keenan Robinson led the Redskins with 10 tackles, including a third-quarter third-and-11 sack that gave Romo a back contusion on a drive that resulted in a punt.  Romo was out of the game until late in the fourth quarter.

Linebacker Perry Riley Jr. started off missing two straight games due to a sprained left MCL suffered in the Week 5 loss to Seattle on Monday Night Football and despite linebacker Will Compton impressing during Riley’s absence (Compton, interestingly, played on just four defensive snaps in this game).  Riley had a first-quarter third-and-eight sack for an 11-yard loss on a drive that resulted in a punt and came up big on the Cowboys’ lone drive in overtime, tackling Murray for a one-yard loss on a second-and-two reception and then providing quality coverage on tight end Jason Witten on a third-and-three incompletion.

Rookie linebacker Trent Murphy had the fumble recovery off Meriweather’s late-first-quarter forced fumble on Randle and had a third-quarter second-and-11 near-pick on a drive that resulted in a punt, batting the ball in the air but dropping the potential interception.

All of that said, the Redskins’ defense did have some rough moments.
     •    Murray had 19 carries for 141 yards (7.4 yards per carry) and four receptions for 80 yards on four targets.

     •    Witten had five receptions for 70 yards on eight targets, including a fourth-quarter second-and-two 25-yard touchdown reception that capped an eight-play, 80-yard drive.

     •    Bryant had a second-quarter first-and-goal five-yard touchdown reception, capping an eight-play, 80-yard drive.  The play saw corner David Amerson with a missed tackle and safety Ryan Clark wrap-up Bryant, but he literally dragged Clark and got into the end zone.  Clark also was very tentative in trying to tackle Murray on his third-quarter first-and-10 51-yard run on the drive that resulted in Bailey’s third-quarter 21-yard field goal.  But Clark did provide pressure on Romo on his late-fourth-quarter third-and-one intentional-grounding penalty on a drive that resulted in a punt.


4. McCoy was terrific

McCoy went 25-of-30 for 299 yards, no touchdowns and a pick in his first regular-season start since Dec. 2011.  His 83.3 completion percentage set a single-game record for a Redskins quarterback with at least 30 pass attempts.

McCoy went 20-for-21 on pass attempts that traveled fewer than 15 yards in the air.

McCoy went 17-for-19 for 187 yards after halftime.  The Redskins went 0-for-4 on third downs in the first half but 6-for-10 on third downs after halftime.  

McCoy went 5-for-5 for 49 yards on the Redskins’ lone overtime drive, which resulted in Forbath’s 40-yard field goal.  The highlight of the drive was a first-and-10 16-yard under-center play-action completion on which McCoy ran to his left, put beautiful touch on the pass and tight end Jordan Reed did an excellent job of making the catch and staying in-bounds.

McCoy also displayed nice touch on his fourth-quarter fourth-and-one 12-yard I-formation play-action completion to fullback Darrel Young.  The drive, though, resulted in a punt.

McCoy, unlike quarterback Kirk Cousins, wasn’t afraid to use his legs, totaling seven carries for 16 yards and a touchdown.  Among the highlights:
     •    an early-fourth-quarter third-and-goal seven-yard quarterback-draw touchdown run out of the shotgun.  McCoy dove head-first into the end zone for the score.

     •    the first offensive play of the second half, which was a a first-and-10 seven-yard scramble on which defensive end Tyrone Crawford and linebacker Rolando McClain were guilty of missed tackles.  The scramble came off McCoy stumbling on I-formation play-action.  The drive resulted in running back Alfred Morris’ second-quarter first-and-goal five-yard read-option touchdown run out of the shotgun.

     •    a fourth-quarter third-and-two three-yard run on a naked boot out of the pistol on a drive that resulted in a punt.

The negatives for McCoy included:
     •    a first-quarter second-and-12 pick to safety J.J. Wilcox in the end zone.  McCoy, working out of the shotgun, took an unnecessary risk in trying to force the ball to receiver Andre Roberts, as receiver DeSean Jackson was open on the checkdown.  

     •    taking three sacks, including one by defensive end Jeremy Mincey on a late-fourth-quarter third-and-10 for a four-yard loss.

     •    being called for two five-yard delay-of-game penalties in the second half.  Gruden on Tuesday (Oct. 28) put the blame for those on McCoy.

     •    making a risky throw to Jackson as opposed to Reed, who was open, on a late-second-quarter third-and-five shotgun incompletion.  The drive resulted in a punt.

     •    underthrowing Jackson on an early-third-quarter second-and-seven 49-yard under-center play-action completion.  The drive resulted in a punt.


5. The Redskins’ running game, off being underwhelming over four and-a-half games, finally got going after halftime

The Redskins had just 10 carries for 23 yards in the first half but then had 21 carries for 100 yards and two touchdowns after halftime.

Morris had five carries for 11 yards in the first half, during which he appeared tentative and was cutting late.  Rookie Silas Redd actually came into the game for Morris in the second quarter but had a near-fumble after a first-and-10 five-yard under-center-toss run.  Morris, perhaps jolted by Redd’s brief action, then had 13 carries for 62 yards and a touchdown after halftime.

Morris had three carries for 39 yards and a touchdown on the opening drive of the second half.
     •    second-and-three 29-yard I-formation-handoff run

     •    first-and-10 five-yard I-formation-handoff run

     •    first-and-goal five-yard read-option touchdown run out of the shotgun

Running back Roy Helu Jr. had a first-and-25 18-yard run on a draw play out of the shotgun on that drive and a second-quarter first-and-10 10-yard read-option run out of the shotgun on a drive that resulted in a punt.

Redskins running backs, though, had two more near-fumbles in this game.
     •    Morris lost the ball after a third-quarter first-and-10 I-formation-handoff run for minus-six yards but was ruled down before the ball came out.  The drive resulted in a three-and-out.  Morris has two official fumbles over eight games this season but also had two near-fumbles in the Week 1 loss at Houston and another near-fumble in the Week 7 win over Tennessee.  

     •    Redd came into the game for Morris in the second quarter but lost the ball after a first-and-10 five-yard under-center-toss run.  The Cowboys challenged that Redd was down before the ball came out, but the ruling was upheld.  The drive resulted in a punt.  Redd totaled just one carry for the game.

Morris also provided a late-third-quarter second-and-six 12-yard reception on the drive that resulted in McCoy’s early-fourth-quarter third-and-goal seven-yard quarterback-draw touchdown run out of the shotgun.


6. We saw more read-option from the Redskins than in any other game so far this season

McCoy had a second-and-11 read-option run for no gain out of the shotgun on the Redskins’ first drive, which resulted in a punt.  It appeared as if McCoy should handed the ball off on this play.

Helu had a second-quarter first-and-10 10-yard read-option run out of the shotgun on a drive that resulted in a punt.

The opening drive of the second half, an eight-play, 80-yard drive that resulted in Morris’ second-quarter first-and-goal five-yard read-option touchdown run out of the shotgun, included two other read-option plays:
     •    second-and-five three-year read-option run by Helu out of the pistol.  It appeared as if McCoy should have kept the ball on this play.

     •    second-and-seven 18-yard completion to Garcon off read-option play-action out of the pistol.  The next play was Morris’ touchdown run.


7. Redskins special teams were a net-positive for a second straight game

Kai Forbath went 2-for-2 on field goals, connecting on a first-quarter 44-yarder and a 40-yarder in overtime and was named NFC Special Teams Player of the Week on Wednesday (Oct. 29).  He now is 13-for-14 on field goals this season and 48-for-54 on field goals over his three seasons with the Redskins.

Roberts had a first-quarter 37-yard punt return on which he did get tackled by punter Chris Jones.  The ensuing drive resulted in Forbath’s first-quarter 44-yard field goal.  Roberts did have a mere two-yard punt return late in the fourth quarter.

Tress Way had a first-quarter 53-yard punt on which safety Akeem Davis blasted receiver Dwayne Harris on a return for no gain.  Way also had a third-quarter 54-yard punt, though that resulted in an 18-yard return by Harris.  And Way had a late-fourth-quarter 38-yard punt that was downed at the Cowboys’ 3-yard line by safety Trenton Robinson.

The negatives for Way were two second-quarter punts: a 49-yarder that resulted in a touchback and a 37-yarder that was fair-caught by Harris at the Cowboys’ 12-yard line.


8. Redskins pass catchers delivered

Jackson had six receptions for 136 yards on seven targets.  He had an early-second-quarter second-and-seven 49-yard reception on a drive that resulted in a punt and a first-and-10 45-yard reception on the final play of the third quarter on the drive that resulted in McCoy’s early-fourth-quarter third-and-goal seven-yard quarterback-draw touchdown run out of the shotgun.  Jackson now has seven receptions of 40 yards or more this season, most of the NFL.  He also now has 42 career receptions of 40 yards or more, most in the NFL since he entered the league in 2008.

Reed had seven receptions for 40 yards on seven targets.  He had three receptions for 21 yards on the Redskins’ lone overtime drive, which resulted in Forbath’s 40-yard field goal.  Among Reed’s catches on that drive was a first-and-10 16-yard reception on which he did an excellent job of making the catch and staying in-bounds.

Receiver Pierre Garcon had four receptions for 47 yards on four targets.  He had a first-and-10 23-yard reception on the Redskins’ lone overtime drive, which resulted in Forbath’s 40-yard field goal.  

Tight end Niles Paul had three receptions for 27 yards on three targets.  He had a second-and-seven 20-yard reception on which he broke through an attempted tackle by safety Barry Church on the Redskins’ first drive, which resulted in Forbath’s first-quarter 44-yard field goal.


9. The Redskins continued to have game-management and/or administrative issues

McCoy committed two five-yard delay-of-game penalties in the second half.

The Redskins burned their first second-half timeout during the opening drive of the third quarter while on offense and then burned their second second-half timeout while on offense with 3:46 left in the fourth quarter.  The Redskins never spent their third second-half timeout, ultimately having McCoy take a knee to send the game into overtime.

Tight end Logan Paulsen received a second-quarter second-and-five 15-yard unsportsmanlike-conduct penalty for coming into the huddle as a sub and then leaving the huddle.  The drive resulted in a punt.

A late-third-quarter third-and-six seven-yard McCoy shotgun completion to Helu came despite major pre-snap confusion regarding what personnel should be on the field.  The drive did result in McCoy’s early-fourth-quarter third-and-goal seven-yard quarterback-draw touchdown run out of the shotgun.  

Our Redskins insider, Chris Russell, tweeted the following during the game: “Been told that there is way too much communication & coaching on the offensive side in headsets causing all these DOG issues.  I've heard that Sean McVay who is choosing & calling some of the plays is very talkative in the headsets w/ coaching points. Jay no like."


10. Miscellaneous Notes:

Roberts had what could be considered yet another drop, failing to catch a fourth-quarter second-and-eight shotgun pass by McCoy on a drive that resulted in a punt.

Corner Tracy Porter was active but did not play.  He re-injured his hamstring in the Week 4 blowout loss to the Giants off missing the first three games of the season.

The game averaged a season-high 11.4 household U.S. rating; 13,313,000 households; and 18,809,000 viewers (P2+), according to Nielsen.  It was the highest-rated MNF game since the New Orleans Saints-New England Patriots telecast on Nov. 30, 2009 (12.9 household rating) and the most-viewed game since the New Orleans-Atlanta Falcons game on Dec. 27, 2010 (19,137,000 viewers).
    
Inactives for the Redskins were:
     •    Griffin for a sixth straight game due to the dislocated left ankle he suffered in the Week 2 blowout of Jacksonville

     •    right tackle Tyler Polumbus

     •    receiver Aldrick Robinson for a third straight game

     •    rookie guard Spencer Long

     •    defensive end Clifton Geathers

     •    linebacker Jackson Jeffcoat, who was signed off the practice squad on Oct. 8

     •    corner Greg Ducre, who was signed off San Diego’s practice squad on Oct. 8

The Redskins also played this game without:    
     •    linebacker Brian Orakpo, who was placed on the reserve/injured list on Oct. 21 due to a torn right pectoral muscle suffered in the Week 7 win over Tennessee

     •    corner DeAngelo Hall, who was placed on the reserve/injured list on Sept. 22 due to a torn left Achilles injury suffered in the Week 3 loss at Philadelphia

     •    nose tackle Barry Cofield, who was placed on the reserve/injured list (designated to return) on Sept. 9 due to a high-ankle sprain suffered in the Week 1 loss at Houston

     •    safety Duke Ihenacho, who was placed on the reserve/injured list on Sept. 22 due to a fractured heal bone suffered in the Week 3 loss at Philadelphia

     •    receiver Leonard Hankerson, who was placed on the reserve/physically-unable-to-perform list on Aug. 30 due to season-ending surgery to repair ACL and LCL tears in his left knee last Nov. 21

     •    linebacker Akeem Jordan, who was placed on the reserve/injured list on Oct. 18 due to a sprained left MCL suffered in the preseason-ending win at Tampa Bay on Aug. 28 and then re-aggravated in the Week 6 loss at Arizona

     •    nose tackle Chris Neild, who was placed on the reserve/injured list on Aug. 30 due to a torn right ACL suffered in the preseason-ending win at Tampa Bay on Aug. 28


View Comments (0)
How It Should Be Remembered: The Redskins' Win Over Tennessee In Week 7
by Al Galdi
Oct 23, 2014 -- 1:56pm
ESPN 980

The Redskins improved to 2-5 with a 19-17 win over Tennessee on Sunday afternoon (Oct. 19, 2014).  Here were the 10 most important items from the game:


ESPN 980 Galleries 1. Overly impressive this was not


It was great to see the Redskins snap their four-game losing streak and win the annual Alumni Homecoming Game, and who knows how many more victories we’ll have to talk about this season.  But there was little from this game that has you feeling better about this season.  

The Redskins won despite going 0-for-4 in the red zone and 3-for-11 on third downs and totaling just 19 points and 16 first downs.  The Redskins now are 9-for-41 on third downs over the last four games.

The Titans, who fell to 2-5 with this loss, had three key players inactive: quarterback Jake Locker, running back Shonn Greene and defensive end Ropati Pitoitua.


2. Quarterback Kirk Cousins was benched at halftime

Cousins committed two first-half turnovers and now has 23 turnovers, including 19 picks, over 14 career regular-season games.
     •    First-quarter lost fumble on a third-and-10 sack-strip by linebacker Derrick Morgan off working out of the shotgun but then displaying poor pocket awareness

     •    Late-second-quarter first-and-10 pick to linebacker Wesley Woodyard.  Cousins, operating out of the pistol, stared down his intended receiver, Andre Roberts.  Roberts did make a bad choice to go inside the defender, but, still, that’s a throw that Cousins shouldn’t have made.  Head coach Jay Gruden on this pick after the game: “That was a standard pass play that we’ve run for a long, long time.”  The worst part about this play was that it was the very first play off rookie corner Bashaud Breeland’s second-quarter second-and-20 pick.

Cousins had an early-second-quarter second-and-five offset-I-formation completion to running back Roy Helu Jr. for minus-three yards, leading Helu right into fullback Darrel Young and Morgan.  The drive did result in Kai Forbath’s second-quarter 31-yard field goal.
 
Cousins also committed three first-half penalties.
     •    First-quarter third-and-five five-yard delay-of-game penalty on the snap right before his lost fumble

     •    Second-quarter first-and-10 five-yard delay-of-game penalty on the drive that resulted in Forbath’s second-quarter 31-yard field goal

     •    Third-and-five 15-yard intentional-grounding penalty on the final play of the second quarter, concluding a hideous first-half-ending drive for the Redskins

Cousins wasn’t all bad in the first half, connecting on a second-and-nine 50-yard under-center play-action completion with tight end Niles Paul on the game’s opening drive (which resulted in Forbath’s first-quarter 31-yard field goal) and finishing 10-of-16 for 139 yards.  

But Cousins’ confidence looked shot by the end of the half, and Gruden said as much after the game: “He’s been tentative a little bit here and there, a little bit more tentative than you would like him to, and sometimes he takes poor plays a little bit too hard.”

I am a fan of Cousins.  I supported spending a fourth-round pick on him in the 2012 NFL Draft.  I did not want him traded last offseason because of 1) quarterback Robert Griffin III’s injury history 2) Griffin’s poor 2013 season and 3) Cousins’ potential (which was certainly on display in the Week 2 blowout of Jacksonville and the Week 3 loss at Philadelphia).  

But I had no problem with the benching.  Cousins has proven to be a turnover machine, with too many of his turnovers being straight giveaways.  The goal for Gruden should be to win until the team is mathematically eliminated from postseason contention.  And benching Cousins, while obviously not an endorsement of him, doesn’t doom him as a Redskin, either, especially if Griffin gets hurt again. 


3. Colt McCoy was the Redskins’ quarterback in the second half, and he came through

McCoy went 11-for-12 for 128 yards, including a third-quarter second-and-nine 70-yard pistol touchdown pass to receiver Pierre Garcon on McCoy’s first pass as a Redskin.        

McCoy delivered on the Redskins’ game-winning drive that resulted in Forbath’s 22-yard field goal as time expired, going 5-for-5 for 38 yards.

Was McCoy spectacular in relief?  No.  Did he get lucky on the touchdown pass to Garcon, who literally ran by safety Michael Griffin after making the catch?  Yes.  But McCoy took what was given to him and, most significantly, didn’t commit a turnover.


4. Linebacker Brian Orakpo is done for the season

Orakpo suffered a torn right pectoral muscle and was placed on the reserve/injured list on Tuesday (Oct. 21), when the Redskins signed linebacker Everette Brown.  Orakpo also had been dealing with an injured left middle finger and an ankle injury.

Orakpo’s season ended with him having totaled ½ sack over seven games this season, during which he was playing on a one-year, $11.455 million franchise tender.  He has been good against the run, a point that was made by Gruden on Monday (Oct. 20).  

Orakpo did have his moments in this game, including pressuring quarterback Charlie Whitehurst on his second-quarter second-and-20 pick to Breeland.  But Orakpo had a missed tackle on rookie running back Bishop Sankey’s early-fourth-quarter second-and-one two-yard run on the drive that resulted in receiver Derek Hagan’s first-and-10 38-yard touchdown reception that helped to give the Titans a 17-16 lead.

This is the fourth time that Orakpo has suffered a pec injury over the last three calendar years.
     •    Jan. 1, 2012 – Week 17 34-10 loss at Philadelphia - torn left pectoral muscle in the season finale

     •    Aug. 18, 2012 – Preseason Week 2 33-31 loss at Chicago – left pectoral injury that wasn’t a tear

     •    Sept. 16, 2012 – Week 2 31-28 loss at St. Louis – season-ending torn left pectoral muscle


5. Redskins special teams, thanks in part some good luck, had their first net-positive game since the 2012 season

Forbath went 4-for-4 on field goals: first-quarter 31-yarder, second-quarter 31-yarder, early-fourth-quarter 27-yarder and the game-winning 22-yarder as time expired.  He is now 11-for-12 on field goals this season and 46-for-52 on field goals over his two-plus seasons with the Redskins.

Paul had a late-third-quarter fumble recovery off a muffed catch of a punt by running back Dexter McCluster, who made a mistake in fielding what was a terrible punt by Tress Way (just 28 yards).  The ensuing Redskins drive resulted in Forbath’s early-fourth-quarter 27-yard field goal.

Way had mixed game punting
     •    late-first-quarter 44-yard punt that was downed at the Titans’ 13-yard line

     •    late-third-quarter 28-yard punt that resulted in Paul’s fumble recovery

     •     fourth-quarter 52-yard punt that was downed at the Titans’ 33-yard line.

There were two major negatives for Redskins special teams:
     •    rookie linebacker Trent Murphy had a second-quarter fourth-and-five five-yard offside penalty on a Brett Kern punt, extending a Titans drive that did ultimately result in the second-and-20 pick to Breeland

     •    Roberts was underwhelming on returns, including an early-second-quarter one-yard punt return and a late-second-quarter 20-yard kickoff return


6. The Redskins’ defense, overall, did its job well

The Redskins held the Titans to 17 points, just 236 total net yards of offense, 14 first downs, 3-for-11 on third downs and 3.5 yards per carry on 22 rushes.  Hard to complain about any of those numbers.

Breeland had the second-quarter second-and-20 pick and two tackles for loss.

Linebacker Keenan Robinson led the Redskins with 14 tackles, more than doubling the team’s next-best total (linebacker Will Compton’s six).  Robinson was named NFC Defensive Player of the Week on Wednesday (Oct. 22).

Defensive end Stephen Bowen made his season debut off missing the first six games due to being on the reserve/physically-unable-to-perform list, which he was placed on this past Aug. 30 due to microfracture surgery on his right knee last Dec. 3.  He played on just nine defensive snaps and two special-teams snaps.


7. But the Redskins’ defense remained lacking in impact plays and was guilty of some key lapses

The Redskins totaled just one sack and three quarterback hits.  Whitehurst, a backup quarterback not exactly known for his mobility, evaded the Redskins’ pass rush on multiple occasions, including on a fourth-quarter third-and-six five-yard completion to tight end Delanie Walker on the drive that resulted in Hagan’s first-and-10 38-yard touchdown reception that helped to give the Titans a 17-16 lead.

The Redskins officially totaled two takeaways, but one of them was Paul’s late-third-quarter fumble recovery on special teams.  Breeland’s second-quarter second-and-20 pick was the Redskins’ first takeaway since the Week 4 blowout loss to the Giants.  The Redskins now have six takeaways over seven games this season.

Corner E.J. Biggers got beat on Hagan’s fourth-quarter first-and-10 38-yard touchdown reception that helped to give the Titans a 17-16 lead, getting fooled by Whitehurst’s shotgun play-action.

Receiver Kendall Wright ran right between safeties Ryan Clark and Brandon Meriweather on a late-second-quarter second-and-10 14-yard touchdown reception.  Clark really struggled in this game when it came to tackling.
 

8. Redskins play makers largely delivered

Receiver DeSean Jackson drew a fourth-quarter third-and-two 22-yard pass-interference penalty on corner Jason McCourty on the game-winning drive, which resulted in Forbath’s 22-yard field goal as time expired.

The Redskins had two more receptions of at least 50 yards and now have seven receptions of at least 50 yards this season, exceeding the team’s output from the 2013 (three) and matching the team’s output from 2012 (seven).
     •    Garcon’s early-third-quarter 70-yard touchdown reception featured him beating corner Blidi Wreh-Wilson to make the catch and then literally running by Griffin.  Garcon finished with five receptions for 87 yards and the touchdown on six targets.

     •    Paul had a second-and-nine 50-yard reception on which he ran through safety George Wilson and stiff-armed McCourty.  The drive resulted in Forbath’s first-quarter 31-yard field goal.

Young had two impressive plays on the drive that resulted in Forbath’s early-fourth-quarter 27-yard field goal: a third-quarter third-and-one 14-yard I-formation-handoff run and a nice catch on a high throw by McCoy off I-formation play-action boot on the final play of the third quarter, a first-and-10 10-yard reception.

Tight end Jordan Reed had three receptions for 25 yards on the game-winning drive and finished with five receptions for 54 yards on six targets.

A negative: Roberts failed to make the reception on what was a catchable ball on a second-quarter second-and-five Cousins shotgun deep incompletion on the Redskins’ hideous-looking drive that ended with the conclusion of the first half.  Roberts now multiple times this season has failed to make receptions on catchable balls.

Another negative: tight end Logan Paulsen initially was ruled to have committed a lost fumble on a first-quarter second-and-nine reception from Cousins off an under-center play-action boot on the game’s opening drive, but the play was reviewed and ruled an incompletion.  The drive resulted in Forbath’s first-quarter 31-yard field goal.  It is worth noting that Paulsen had by far his best blocking game of the season so far.    


9. The Redskins’ running game was underwhelming for a fourth straight game

Running back Alfred Morris had 18 carries for just 54 yards.  He had seven carries for just 17 yards in the second half.  Gruden said on Monday (Oct. 20) that Morris missed several cuts in the game, and our own Chris Cooley said on Tuesday (Oct. 21) on The Drive on ESPN 980 that Morris had a chance for a 100-yard game had he properly read his keys and found the right fits.

Morris did injure his ankle on a first-quarter second-and-seven five-yard under-center-handoff run on a drive that resulted in a punt, but he soon returned to the game.

Morris also had another near-fumble, losing the ball off hitting the grass on a second-and-13 under-center-handoff eight-yard run on the game’s opening drive (which resulted in Forbath’s first-quarter 31-yard field goal).  The Titans challenged that Morris was down before the fumble, but the ruling was upheld.  Morris has two official fumbles over seven games this season but also had two near-fumbles in the Week 1 loss at Houston (one was officially a fumble on Griffin; the other was ruled to have happened after Morris was tackled).  

As is always the case, the running-game struggles weren’t just on one player.  This game saw center Kory Lichtensteiger have his worst game of the season, although he, left tackle Trent Williams and right guard Chris Chester have been overall positives this season.  

Helu did have five carries for 29 yards, but 15 of those yards came on a late-second-quarter first-and-20 shotgun draw-play-handoff run on the Redskins’ hideous-looking drive that ended with the conclusion of the first half.  Helu also had three receptions that totaled minus-nine yards.

The Redskins exited Week 7 21st in the NFL in rushing yards per game (99.4) and tied for 16th in the NFL in yards per carry (4.1)


10. Miscellaneous notes:    

Cousins wasn’t the only Redskins starter who got benched.  Tyler Polumbus and Tom Compton split time at right tackle in the second half, though Polumbus has been dealing with a right knee injury.  Still, Polumbus was easily bull-rushed and had essentially zero punch when it came to his pass blocking according to Cooley.

The Titans hae 11 accepted penalties.  Redskins opponents now have totaled 38 accepted penalties over the last three games.

Inactives for the Redskins were:
     •    Griffin for a fifth straight game due to the dislocated left ankle he suffered in the Week 2 blowout of Jacksonville

     •    linebacker Perry Riley Jr. for a second straight game due to a sprained left MCL suffered in the Week 5 loss to Seattle

     •    receiver Aldrick Robinson for a second straight game

     •    corner Tracy Porter, who re-injured his hamstring in the Week 4 blowout loss to the Giants off missing the first three games of the season

     •    rookie tackle Morgan Moses

     •    rookie guard Spencer Long

     •    defensive end Clifton Geathers

The Redskins also played this game without:    
     •    corner DeAngelo Hall, who was placed on the reserve/injured list on Sept. 22 due to a torn left Achilles injury suffered in the Week 3 loss at Philadelphia

     •    nose tackle Barry Cofield, who was placed on the reserve/injured list (designated to return) on Sept. 9 due to a high-ankle sprain suffered in the Week 1 loss at Houston

     •    safety Duke Ihenacho, who was placed on the reserve/injured list on Sept. 22 due to a fractured heal bone suffered in the Week 3 loss at Philadelphia

     •    receiver Leonard Hankerson, who was placed on the reserve/physically-unable-to-perform list on Aug. 30 due to season-ending surgery to repair ACL and LCL tears in his left knee last Nov. 21

     •    linebacker Akeem Jordan, who was placed on the reserve/injured list on Oct. 18 due to a sprained left MCL suffered in the preseason-ending win at Tampa Bay on Aug. 28 and then re-aggravated in the Week 6 loss at Arizona

     •    nose tackle Chris Neild, who was placed on the reserve/injured list on Aug. 30 due to a torn right ACL suffered in the preseason-ending win at Tampa Bay on Aug. 28


View Comments (0)
10 Takeaways From The Orioles Getting Swept By Kansas City In The ALCS
by Al Galdi
Oct 16, 2014 -- 7:24pm
ESPN 980

The O’s were swept in a postseason series for the first time in franchise history.  The Royals became the first Major-League team to start a postseason with eight straight wins (something only possible since 1985 when the LCS expanded to a best-of-seven format).  Here’s what happened and why.


Game 1: 8-6 10-inning loss at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on Oct. 10

Game 2: 6-4 loss at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on Oct. 11

Game 3: 2-1 loss at Kauffman Stadium on Oct. 14

Game 4: 2-1 loss at Kauffman Stadium on Oct. 15
    

1. Neither team's starting pitching was very good


This was the first-ever postseason series in which no starting pitcher, for either team, threw at least six complete innings.

The Orioles’ starting pitching was terrible in Games 1 and 2 and just so-so in Games 3 and 4

Chris Tillman allowed five runs in 4 1/3 innings in Game 1, giving up seven hits and two walks.  The fact that manager Buck Showalter didn’t start Tillman on regular rest in Game 4 despite the opportunity to do so off the postponement of Game 3 on Oct. 13 said a lot about the confidence Buck had in his “ace,” who, remember, struggled in Game 1 of the Orioles’ three-game sweep of Detroit in the ALDS (threw 105 pitches and gave up two homers in lasting just five innings).

Bud Norris allowed four runs in 4 1/3 innings in Game 2, giving up nine hits.

Wei-Yin Chen allowed two runs in 5 1/3 innings in Game 3, giving up seven hits and a walk on 80 pitches.

Miguel Gonzalez allowed two runs (one earned) in 5 2/3 innings in Game 4, giving up four hits, four walks, two hit-by-pitches and a wild pitch on 85 pitches.

The Royals’ starting pitching followed a similar script to the Orioles’.  James Shields and rookie Yordano Ventura combined to allow eight runs in 10 2/3 innings on 15 hits in Games 1 and 2, but Jeremy Guthrie (one run in five innings) and Jason Vargas (one run in 5 1/3 innings, six strikeouts) were better in Games 3 and 4, respectively.  


2. The Orioles’ offense was good in Games 1 and 2 but bad in Games 3 and 4 and overall was lacking its biggest weapon

The O’s batted .291 (23-for-79) over Games 1 and 2 but just .119 (7-for-59) over Games 3 and 4.

The O’s totaled just two homers in the series off leading the majors with 211 homers.  The Royals, who finished last in the majors with just 95 homers, actually out-homered the O’s in the series, 4-2.

First baseman Steve Pearce went just 1-for-17 with a walk in the series.

Second baseman Jonathan Schoop went just 1-for-11 with two walks in the series.

Shortstop J.J. Hardy went just 3-for-15 with a walk in the series.


3. Nelson Cruz cooled off

The DH/left fielder began this postseason with two hits in each of the first five games (during which he went 10-for-21 with two homers and seven RBI), but he went 0-for-7 with a walk over the final two games of this series.


4. The Orioles’ most productive batter in the series was a surprise

Flaherty, who has been a bad offensive player over his three seasons with the O’s, blasted a solo homer in Game 4 and finished the series 4-for-12 with three walks.


5. Zach Britton and Darren O’Day struggled mightily in Games 1 and 2, but the Orioles’ bullpen ultimately delivered

Britton and O’Day combined to allow four runs in 2 2/3 innings on four hits and four walks in Games 1 and 2.  

Still, Orioles relievers combined to allow five runs in 15 1/3 innings (2.93 ERA) in the series.  

Andrew Miller tossed four scoreless innings over three games, recording five strikeouts.  

Kevin Gausman tossed 4 1/3 scoreless innings over two games.


6. The Royals’ bullpen was terrific

Royals relievers allowed just two runs in 16 innings in the series, recording 15 strikeouts and holding the Orioles to a .172 batting average.

The Royals’ top three relievers (seventh-inning man Kelvin Herrera, eighth-inning man Wade Davis and closer Greg Holland) each pitched in all four games and combined to allow one run in 14 2/3 innings, recording 15 strikeouts.

Holland became the third pitcher to record four saves in a postseason series.  Dennis Eckersley (1988 Oakland Athletics, ALCS) and John Wetteland (1996 New York Yankees, World Series) are the other two.


7. The Royals’ defense was excellent

The O’s and Royals were arguably the two best defensive teams in the majors during the regular season.  And while the Orioles’ defense in the series wasn’t bad (though catcher Caleb Joseph did commit a catching error in the Royals’ two-run first in Game 4), it was the Royals who made one great play after another.

Left fielder Alex Gordon made a sliding-forward catch of a Pearce fly ball in deep left-center with two outs in the bottom of the third in Game 1.

Center fielder/right fielder Lorenzo Cain, who went 8-for-15 with two walks and won series MVP, robbed Hardy of two hits in Game 2:
     •    diving catch while running to his left on a fly out in right-center while playing center field in the bottom of the sixth

     •    running catch on a bases-loaded two-out fly ball as it sliced toward the right-field line while playing right field in the bottom of the seventh

Third baseman Mike Moustakas made two excellent grabs in Game 3:
     •    diving catch to his left of a Pearce line drive in the top of the fourth

     •    diving and backhanded catch over the railing atop the bullpen suite of a pop out by center fielder Adam Jones in the top of the sixth

Gordon made a running catch with the sun in his eyes while running into the right-field wall to rob Hardy of a hit in the top of the fifth of Game 4.


8. Game 3 provided two mini-controversies

Guthrie caused a stir by wearing a t-shirt that read, “These O’s ain’t Royal” after Game 3 (the line is in reference to the Chris Brown song “Loyal”), but he apologized on Twitter that night and in front of reporters the next day.

Pinch runner/center fielder Jarrod Dyson, who scored the winning run in Game 3 on a sacrifice fly, told CBSSports.com after the game that third baseman Ryan Flaherty “put the knee down” on him on a pickoff try of Dyson at third base.  Showalter the next day: “It's funny how imagination runs rampant this time of year."


9. The Orioles' TV ratings in D.C. were quite good

The following is courtesy of Dan Steinberg of The Washington Post and SportsMediaWatch.com.

Orioles-Royals ratings in the D.C. market:

Game 1 – 5.7

Game 2 – 4.5

Game 3 – 6.3

Game 4 – 3.8

(By comparison, Games 1 and 4 of the Wizards-Bulls first-round playoff series last spring received D.C. ratings of 5.34 and 5.7.)

Nationals-Giants ratings in the D.C. market:

Game 1 – 6.9

Game 2 – 9.5

Game 3 – 5.9

Game 4 – 8.8

O's-Royals Game 3 aired on a Tuesday night on TBS and had an 8:07 p.m. start time.  Nats-Giants Game 3 aired on a Monday afternoon on MLB Network and had a 5:07 p.m. start time, taking place hours before Redskins-Seattle on Monday Night Football.  Still, even when you consider all of that, the fact that O's-Royals Game 3 out-did Nats-Giants Game in the D.C. market says all you need to know regarding whether there exists a substantial Orioles fanbase in the D.C.-area.  


10. The Orioles on Oct. 9 announced the re-signing of Hardy

The biggest long-term item regarding the O’s may have been what they announced the day before Game 1: the re-signing of Hardy to a three-year contract extension with an option for 2018.  The deal is worth a reported $40 million.  

2015 will be Hardy’s age-32 season.  His biggest strength is his defense, which is excellent.  Since Hardy joined the Orioles in Dec. 2010, he is third among all major-league shortstops with 44 Defensive Runs Saved (Atlanta’s Andrelton Simmons is first with 88).  Hardy this season led A.L. shortstops with a 13.9 Ultimate Zone Rating and was seventh among all A.L. players with 2.1 Defensive bWAR.

The Orioles’ re-signing of Hardy to a three-year deal despite him being in his 30s communicates two things to me:
     a.    The O’s see Hardy’s defense as so good that it overrides his offensive struggles.  He has been a below-league-average offensive player over his last three seasons.  Hardy’s OPS+ in each of the last three seasons working backwards (100 is average): 93, 99, 81.   

     b.    The O’s don’t trust third baseman Manny Machado’s knees to move him to shortstop, which is the position he primarily played in the minors.


View Comments (0)
How It Should Be Remembered: The Redskins' Loss At Arizona In Week 6
by Al Galdi
Oct 15, 2014 -- 7:01pm
ESPN 980

The Redskins fell to 1-5 with a 30-20 loss at Arizona on Sunday (Oct. 12, 2014).  Here were the 10 most important items from the game:


1. Quarterback Kirk Cousins fell apart in the second half for the second time in three games


ESPN 980 Galleries Two games after throwing four second-half picks, including three third-quarter picks, in a loss to the Giants, Cousins tossed three picks in what proved a four-turnover fourth quarter for the Redskins, who entered the period trailing by just four points (17-13).
     •    Pick no. 1: first-and-10 at the Cardinals’ 47…Cousins working out of the shotgun…overthrows receiver Andre Roberts…safety Rashad Johnson with the interception…and a 30-yard return.

     •    Pick no. 2: third-and-three at the Cardinals’ 42…Cousins working out of the shotgun…Redskins inexplicably have three pass catchers in the same area, thanks to receiver DeSean Jackson giving up on his route and Roberts setting a weak pick on corner Jerraud Powers…Cousins still makes the throw…Powers with the interception…and a six-yard return.

     •    Pick no. 3: first-and-10 for the Redskins at their 14…Cousins working out of the shotgun…throws the ball into an area containing only Johnson…he makes a 28-yard pick-six that helps to give the Cardinals a 30-20 lead…  Cousins says after the game that he didn’t see Johnson on this play.

Cousins now has 18 picks over 13 career regular-season games.  Quarterback Robert Griffin III has 17 picks over 30 career regular-season games.  

Another negative for Cousins were the two sacks he took.
     •    The first play of the second quarter featured Cousins getting sacked by linebacker Alex Okafor for a 10-yard loss on a first-and-10 off I-formation play-action.  Okafor did push right tackle Tyler Polumbus back into Cousins, but Cousins failed to climb the pocket and was too locked in on receiver Pierre Garcon, as Jackson was open.  The next play, though, was Cousins’ second-and-20 64-yard shotgun touchdown pass to Jackson.

     •    The fourth-quarter drive that resulted in Cousins’ first pick included a second-and-one sack by Okafor for a nine-yard loss.  Cousins was in the shotgun, the Cardinals blitzed, tight end Jordan Reed could have been thrown to, but Cousins instead took the sack.

The Redskins ran at least one read-option play in this game: a second-and-15 one-yard run by running back Alfred Morris out of the shotgun on a first-quarter three-and-out.  Cousins should have kept the ball on this play, which would have resulted in a run for a significant gain.  Cousins admitted on Wednesday (Oct. 15), “I do believe that there are times where I probably don’t give myself enough credit as an athlete.  And I probably could…do a little bit more athletically than maybe what I give myself credit for...”      

The positives for Cousins:
     •    Cousins made a nice throw on a short-middle pass on the second-and-20 64-yard shotgun touchdown pass to Jackson on the second play of the second quarter.        

     •    The drive that resulted in Kai Forbath’s second-quarter 28-yard field goal included a fourth-and-one play-action-boot seven-yard completion to tight end Niles Paul.  Cousins displayed beautiful touch on a jump-throw.

     •    Cousins connected on four straight shotgun completions on the fourth-quarter four-play, 64-yard drive that resulted in a first-and-goal five-yard touchdown pass to receiver Pierre Garcon.  That scored helped to cut the Redskins’ deficit to 23-20 with 2:17 left.
    

2. The Redskins’ running game was essentially a non-factor for a second straight game

Running back Roy Helu Jr. had a meaningless 16-yard shotgun-handoff run on the final play of the game.  If you take that play out of the mix, the Redskins totaled 16 carries for just 56 yards (3.5 yards per carry).

Morris had just 13 carries for 41 yards (3.2 yards per carry).  He now has registered 14 or fewer carries in four of six games this season.  While at no point during the game did I feel like the Redskins weren’t running Morris enough, I do think the notion that Morris needs to get into more of a flow before he truly becomes effective is valid.  Morris hasn’t had a 100-yard rushing game since the loss at Minnesota on Nov. 7, 2013.  

The reasons for the lack of success for the running game were many.  Fullback Darrel Young played for just four plays due to a hamstring injury.  The Redskins had a bunch of missed assignments in the running game, as blocking from pass catchers like Jackson and tight end Niles Paul was poor and the offensive line certainly wasn’t blameless.  Morris himself isn’t blameless.  And I would argue not having read-option as a major threat is a factor as well.

Interestingly, Helu played more than Morris for a second straight game.


3. Three Redskins skill-position players stood out

Jackson had three receptions for 115 yards and a touchdown on five targets.  He had excellent catch-and-runs on his early-second-quarter second-and-20 64-yard touchdown reception and a second-quarter second-and-eight 42-yard reception on the drive that resulted in Forbath’s 28-yard field goal. 

Reed returned from a four-game absence caused by a hamstring injury suffered in the Week 1 loss at Houston.  He had eight receptions for 92 yards on 11 targets, continuing to shine on stick and slant routes and to display a knack for YAC.

Helu was a stud on an impressive late-second-quarter four-play, 55-yard drive that resulted in Forbath’s 43-yard field goal and consumed just 29 seconds off the clock.  Helu had a first-and-10 eight-yard pistol-handoff run and a second-and-two 33-yard reception on which he made an impressive catch on a low screen pass from Cousins and then produced a terrific run after the catch.  But Helu also missed three blocks in the backfield.


4. But Redskins pass catchers still were guilty of too many errors

Roberts had a lost fumble on a first-and-10 14-yard reception on the first play of a Redskins drive early in the fourth quarter.  He appeared as if he was down, but the play was reviewed and upheld (referee Ed Hochuli: “It is not clear when the ball starts to come loose compared to when the knee hits the ground…”).  Roberts also had what you could consider a drop on a late-first-quarter first-and-10 incompletion.  The drive, though, resulted in Jackson’s early-second-quarter second-and-20 64-yard touchdown reception.  And Roberts failed to make a catch on a high throw on a third-and-six incompletion on a second-quarter drive that resulted in a punt.

Jackson gave up on his route on Cousins’ second fourth-quarter pick.  And Jackson continued to be woeful when it came to blocking, particularly on an early-third-quarter third-and-one reception by Roberts for minus-two yards.  The next play was a punt.  

The Redskins’ second first-quarter drive, which resulted in a three-and-out, included a first-and-10 drop by Morris, a second-and-10 five-yard false-start penalty on tight end Logan Paulsen and a third-and-14 incompletion intended for Reed, who failed to make the catch on a ball that was behind him but catchable..

Reed also made a bad choice in going inside of his defender on a second-quarter third-and-goal end zone incompletion.  The drive resulted in Forbath’s 28-yard field goal.

Garcon had the fourth-quarter first-and-goal five-yard touchdown reception but finished with just four receptions for 31 yards on six targets.  He now has just eight receptions over the last three games and 21 of his 30 receptions this season have come in two games: the Week 1 loss at Houston and the Week 3 loss at Philadelphia.  


5. Cousins, the lack of an impactful running game and the struggles of various pass catchers contributed to another woeful performance on third downs

The Redskins went 2-for-10 on third downs and now are 6-for-30 on third downs over the last three games.

The Redskins exited Week 6 31st out of 32 NFL teams in third-down conversion rate (23-for-71 or 32.4 percent).


6. The Redskins’ defense gave the team nothing in the play-making department

The Redskins’ defense in some respects played well enough to win, holding the Cardinals to 23 true points (the final seven came on Johnson’s late-fourth-quarter 28-yard pick-six), 0-for-2 in the red zone, just 317 total net yards of offense and just 3.2 yards per carry on 23 rushing attempts.
    
But the Redskins totaled no takeaways and now have just four takeaways over six games this season.  No moment epitomized this more than linebacker Brian Orakpo’s dropped pick on an early-fourth-quarter first-and-10 incompletion on a play at the Redskins’ 17.  Orakpo is dealing with an injured left middle finger and an ankle injury, but that’s a play that a guy who wants a long-term, big-money contract makes.  The drive resulted in rookie Chandler Catanzaro’s 37-yard field goal that gave the Cardinals a 23-13 lead.  

The Redskins totaled just one sack, and that was essentially a fluke sack, coming off a dropped shotgun snap by Palmer (linebacker Ryan Kerrigan and defensive end Jason Hatcher were credited with the sack).  The Redskins did finish with seven quarterback hits (two apiece for Kerrigan and Orakpo), and the pass rush was decent at times, but it wasn’t good enough.  The final play of the third quarter was a third-and-two seven-yard completion to running back Robert Hughes on a play on which Palmer, a 34-year-old who hadn’t played since suffering a nerve injury in his shoulder in Week 1, made the throw while being taken down being taken down by Orakpo and Hatcher and being hit by nose tackle Chris Baker (though Orakpo was credited with the quarterback hit).   

Safety Ryan Clark and corner E.J. Biggers had missed tackles on receiver Larry Fitzgerald’s late-second-quarter second-and-10 24-yard touchdown reception.


7. The Redskins were hurt by two bad calls

The Roberts early-fourth-quarter lost fumble should have been reversed, as Roberts’ left knee was on the ground before the ball came out.  Instead, the ensuing Cardinals drive resulted in Catanzaro’s 37-yard field goal that gave the Cardinals a 23-13 lead.

Rookie corner Bashaud Breeland was called for a second-quarter third-and-eight 36-yard pass-interference penalty that was iffy at best.  The eight-play, 85-yard drive resulted in Fitzgerald’s second-and-10 24-yard touchdown reception and the Cardinals taking a 14-10 lead.
    
It’s worth noting, though, that the Redskins benefited from Jackson not being called for a personal-foul penalty for slamming Johnson to the ground on the Cardinals’ sideline after his 30-yard return of Cousins’ first pick.

    
8. Redskins special teams were mixed

Forbath went 2-for-2 on second-quarter field goals of 28 and 43 yards and produced three touchbacks on kickoffs (his late second-quarter kickoff went just 56 yards, but the idea was for a return to end the half (and that’s what happened)).  But Forbath produced a bad attempt at an onside kick late in the fourth quarter after Garcon’s first-and-goal five-yard touchdown reception.

Tress Way had first-quarter punts of just 41 and 42 yards and a third-quarter 43-yard punt but also a second-quarter 58-yard punt and a third-quarter 53-yard punt.  

Cardinals receiver Ted Ginn Jr. averaged 12.3 yards on three punt returns.

Linebacker Akeem Jordan committed a second-quarter six-hard holding penalty on a punt that resulted in a fair catch by Roberts.

Roberts had a first-quarter 12-yard punt return but then later in the first quarter returned a kickoff for just 23 yards from five yards deep in the Redskins’ end zone.
    

9. Have the Redskins fixed their penalty problem?
    
The Redskins had just six accepted penalties and now have totaled just nine accepted penalties over the last two games off having 39 accepted penalties over the first four games of the season.

The Cardinals won despite totaling 14 accepted penalties.  Seattle won at the Redskins in Week 5 despite recording 13 accepted penalties, including three that negated touchdowns by receiver Percy Harvin.
    
    
10. Miscellaneous notes:    

The Cardinals displayed curious clock management in the second half, calling two of their three timeouts while on offense and by the 12:59 mark of the fourth quarter and having Palmer pass on three straight downs (all incompletions) on a mid-fourth-quarter drive while leading, 23-13.
    
Inactives for the Redskins were:
     •    Griffin for a fourth straight game due to the dislocated left ankle he suffered in the Week 2 blowout of Jacksonville

     •    linebacker Perry Riley Jr. due to a sprained left MCL suffered in the Week 5 loss to Seattle

     •    receiver Aldrick Robinson

     •    corner Tracy Porter, who re-injured his hamstring in the Week 4 blowout loss to the Giants off missing the first three games of the season

     •    rookie tackle Morgan Moses

     •    rookie guard Spencer Long

     •    linebacker Jackson Jeffcoat, who was signed from the practice squad to the 53-man roster on Oct. 8

The Redskins also played this game without:    
     •    corner DeAngelo Hall, who was placed on the reserve/injured list on Sept. 22 due to a torn left Achilles injury suffered in the Week 3 loss at Philadelphia

     •    nose tackle Barry Cofield, who was placed on the reserve/injured list (designated to return) on Sept. 9 due to a high-ankle sprain suffered in the Week 1 loss at Houston

     •    safety Duke Ihenacho, who was placed on the reserve/injured list on Sept. 22 due to a fractured heal bone suffered in the Week 3 loss at Philadelphia

     •    defensive end Stephen Bowen, who was placed on the reserve/physically-unable-to-perform list on Aug. 30 due to microfracture surgery on his right knee last Dec. 3

     •    receiver Leonard Hankerson, who was placed on the reserve/physically-unable-to-perform list on Aug. 30 due to season-ending surgery to repair ACL and LCL tears in his left knee last Nov. 21

     •    nose tackle Chris Neild, who was placed on the reserve/injured list on Aug. 30 due to a torn right ACL suffered in the preseason-ending win at Tampa Bay on Aug. 28


View Comments (0)
  • Page 1 of 335
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • ...
  • »
  • »»


INSIDE ESPN 980