The Redskins' day after the big "D" (disappointment)

Coming off a bye week, with an five extra days to rest and recuperate, the Redskins somehow looked like a team jet-lagged and disoriented. Photo: Cowboys Murray (29) runs the ball against the Washington Redskins / Tim Sharp, AP

WASHINGTON, October 14, 2013 – Sunday’s game in Dallas was monumental, not because it was Cowboys owner Jerry Jones’ 71st birthday. No, this game was monumental because it was probably Mike Shanahan’s poorest coaching performance since joining the Redskins in 2010.

Let’s begin with the 12 penalties the Redskins committed for over 100 yards.

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The quarterback, Robert Griffin III (RG3), looked confused, out of sorts, and disheveled. His passing statistics proved this fact. RG3 completed only 19 of his 39 pass attempts with a quarterback rating (QBR) of 37.2. Compare this to Peyton Manning’s performance last week against the Cowboys and it makes you cringe.

Last week, in that same big shiny stadium in Dallas, Manning completed 33 out of 42 passes with a QBR of 93.7. Of course it’s not fair to compare one of the greatest single game performances to a second year quarterback’s performance; especially when he is coming off his second ACL surgery. But you can’t help but notice a drastic difference between the two players (Manning and RG3) in both poise and command based on how they each approached the Cowboys Defense.

Maybe experience brings those qualities that Manning exhibited. Or maybe RG3’s performance demonstrates just how far has to go in order to become one of the NFL’s elite passers. The rest of the team looked undisciplined, out-coached, and out-played when it mattered most. Here is a breakdown of how each Redskins group fared on Sunday night:

Special Teams Grade: (F) The Redskins gave up huge chunks of yardage, a 90 yard kick off return and an 86 yard punt return for a touchdown to Dwayne Harris. Those two plays alone gave Dallas 14 points. When your team is struggling to score points (like the Redskins), these issues can’t happen.

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What’s most frustrating about the special teams play is that the Redskins of the Gibbs era prided itself on special teams. This was a Redskin trademark. Fake punts by Jeff Hayes (in the 1983 NFC Championship), clutch kicking by Mark Mosely throughout the 1982 Season (winning NFL MVP that year as a kicker), Chip Lohmiller’s consistency and clutch performances in 1991, and who can forget Darrell Green’s punt return for a touchdown in frigid Soldier Field in January of 1988?

Today it are the worst special teams group in the NFL and it has got to get better if this team wants to win any more games.

Offense: (C-) There were times when the Redskins looked like a team that could move the ball. In fact, the Redskins accumulated 433 total yards compared to the Cowboys’ 213 yards. You might ask, how in the heck did Dallas win by 15 points? Your answer (see special teams “F” grade) AND red zone efficiency.

The Redskins got inside the Dallas 20 yard line three times and only came away with three field goals (nine points). Compare that to the Cowboys scoring three touchdowns in four chances inside the Red zone (21 points). There’s your ball game. Had the Redskins finished the job each time down the field instead of settling for three points each time, the Redskins could have been within striking distance to win the game.

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Defense: (B-) Although they gave up some big plays, the defense kept the Redskins in the game. They fought hard and certainly didn’t lose the game for the Redskins. Deangelo Hall made an outstanding pass deflection to save a touchdown and overall forced the Cowboys to punt give times (mostly in the second half).

This resulted in the Redskins actually winning the time of possession battle 34:32 to 25:28.

Coaching: (F) Coaching doesn’t always show up in the box score. But last night it showed up in penalties committed and clock management. Probably one of the worst “two minute drills” executed so far this year in 2013 belongs to the Redskins as they tried to score a touchdown before half time last night. 15 seconds were wasted when the Redskins had two time outs. Then RG3 decided to run the ball up the middle of the field with nine seconds left in the half.

The Redskins settled for a field goal but wasted two, maybe three, plays simply by not using timeouts wisely. It’s not fair to compare the Redskins to the Broncos- who scored 51 points on Dallas last week, but they might want to take a look at the Broncos since the face them in two weeks.

Join Communities and writer John Heibel on Sunday at 1 p.m. Eastern where your analysis and insight is welcomed. Join Communities email to get all the best headlines from family to politics, and including sports and so that you know where the chat begins. 

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John Heibel


Born in Southern Maryland, 34 years old, John Heibel grew up a Washington DC  sports fan, playing pretty much all sports. Heibel served in the US Coast Guard for 7 years and has two bachelors degrees.
The writer currently lives in Kensington, MD covering all DC Sports for Communities.

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