Washington Redskins: Reactional Observations to the Loss to the Atlanta Falcons in Week 5
- There is no question about it, QB Robert Griffin III must make a better decision with that ball in the redzone ball. Escaping pressure and scrambling to his right, Griffin was under heavy pressure by two Falcons defenders. The angles of pursuit showed that he had absolutely zero chance of eluding his way into the endzone. He is also not Cam Newton or Ben Roethlisberger with regards to size. Sometimes, part of being a field general is knowing when to retreat and admit defeat on a given play. Take the three points and live to fight for the next drive. Hopefully, that play will be a learning experience for Griffin.
- Kyle Shanahan must have taken the criticism about Griffin’s hits to heart, because he did his best to protect the rookie QB on Sunday. Griffin rushed only one time during the game, and that rush came on a QB scramble. The play in which Griffin got injured was also a designed pass. Unfortunately, the protection from Shanahan did not matter.
- Shanahan called a very balanced game: 24 passing attempts vs. 21 rushing attempts; however, four of those passes came during the 2-minute drill when the Redskins were attempting a comeback. Prior to falling behind with 2:46 left in the 4th quarter, Shanahan had called 20 passes vs. 21 rushes.
- Alfred Morris‘ 115 yards on Sunday brought his season total up to 491 yards (3rd in the NFL as of Monday night). That puts Morris on pace to reach 1,571 yards on the season, which would be the single-season franchise record for the Washington Redskins.
- Morris is either tied for or outright ranked #3 in yards per game, #4 in first downs earned, #2 in 20+ yard runs, #11 in yards per attempt for running backs, #1 for fumbles, and #1 for touchdowns in the NFL.
- Pierre Garcon came into Week 5 #1 on the team in efficiency, catching 83% of the passes thrown in his direction. Against Atlanta, Garcon struggled, catching only 3 of 7 passes in his direction. That brings his season total to 66.7% pass-catching efficiency.
- Garcon’s drops mean that Josh Morgan has taken over the mantle of being the most efficient Redskins WR. Morgan has now caught 13 of the 16 passes attempted to him (81.3%). Morgan was 1-for-1 against Atlanta.
- Rex Grossman threw 458 pass attempts in 2011 and completed one of those attempts for over 50 yards. Robert Griffin III completed an 88-yard pass to Pierre Garcon on his 7th attempt of the season (week 1 at New Orleans). Kirk Cousins completed a 77-yard pass to Santana Moss on his 4th attempt of the season.
- The Washington Redskins offense took an even bigger nosedive in its weakest statistical category: third down conversions. The Redskins were 1-9 on third downs against Atlanta. They are now dead last in the NFL in third down conversions (23.3%).
- For the first time this season, the Redskins were destroyed in time of possession, 37:01 to 23:59. Third down conversions had a lot to do with that, but another subtle factor is being overlooked; on the Redskins’ two touchdown “drives”, the offense took a grand total of 53 seconds off the clock. With the Falcons sustaining drives like they were, quick strikes from the offense/defense heightened the time of possession for the Falcons and contributed to the Redskins defense wearing down at the end of the game.
- The Redskins defense came into this game 10th in the NFL in by allowing only 34.1% of third down conversions. Atlanta ended that top 10 ranking by going 9 for 17 on third down (52.9%).
- Perhaps the most indicative statistic of how the game went: Atlanta earned 28 first downs; Washington earned only 12. That allowed Atlanta to run 81 plays to the Redskins’ 48.
- It appeared that the Redskins went bend-but-don’t-break defensively at the same time they went read-and-react on the defensive line. This accomplishes two things: prevent the big plays and contain the run. For the most part, both of those goals were achieved.
- However, for my money, the read-and-react philosophy does not work in concert with the bend-but-don’t-break philosophy. Read-and-react is, by design, a less-aggressive pass-rushing scheme because it requires that the defensive linemen maintain gap discipline before penetration. The bend-but-don’t-break philosophy almost requires an aggressive pass-rushing scheme because you are sacrificing numbers on the pass rush (by virtue of eliminating the blitz). If you drop 7 or 8 into coverage and instruct your defensive linemen to sacrifice penetration for gap control, it gives the offensive line a big opportunity to provide an inordinate amount of time for their quarterback to sit in the pocket. This is what happened with Matt Ryan, and it allowed him to find the open receiver underneath all game long.
- For the third time in five weeks, the Redskins scored a defensive touchdown when Ryan Kerrigan returned an interception 28-yards for the first score of the game. In week 1, a fourth takeaway set up a touchdown when DeJon Gomes returned an interception to the New Orleans 2-yard line. These dynamic turnovers are becoming a pattern.
- The Redskins have not lost the turnover battle in any game this season. This continued on Sunday as both teams force two turnovers.
- London Fletcher came into this game with only 23 tackles on the season. Against Atlanta, London Fletcher had 20 tackles by himself.
- For the fifth straight week, the Redskins allowed an opposing WR/TE to surpass 100 yards and 1 touchdown. Tony Gonzalez joins Lance Moore, Danny Amendola, AJ Green, and Vincent Jackson on that list.
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