Do not be fooled by the final score; the Redskins defense is statistically playing its worst football of the season. Even though they allowed only 21 and 25 points the last two weeks, that hardly tells the entire story:
- The Redskins gave up 21 points on 9 drives against Carolina. That’s 2.33 points per drive. This rate would be poor enough for 4th worst in the NFL. The Redskins season average coming into this game was 2.41 points per drive.
- The Redskins gave up 21 points on 50 plays against Carolina. That’s 0.42 points per play. This rate would be poor enough for 5th worst in the NFL. The Redskins season average coming into this game was 0.43 points per play.
- The Redskins allowed 330 yards on 50 plays against Carolina. That’s 6.6 yards per play. This rate would be poor enough for 2nd worst in the NFL. The Redskins season average coming into this game was 6.2 yards per play.
- The Redskins allowed 330 yards on 9 drives against Carolina. That’s 36.67 yards per drive. This rate would be poor enough for 3rd worst in the NFL. The Redskins season average coming into this game was 36.48 yards per drive. This included 98-yard and 91-yard touchdown drives.
- The defense’s performance against Pittsburgh was not any better. They allowed 0.41 points per play, 2.5 points per drive, and 5.8 yards per play against the Steelers.
- Through the first 7 weeks of the season, the Redskins totaled 13.0 sacks. In the last two weeks, the Redskins have totaled one sack…and that came on an attempted WR pass from Emmanuel Sanders. The Redskins have not sacked an opposing quarterback in the last 8 quarters of football.
- Through the first 7 weeks of the season, the Redskins totaled 10 interceptions, 5 forced fumbles, 5 fumbles recovered, and 5 defensive touchdowns. In the last two weeks of the season, the Redskins have generated zero turnovers.
In the last two weeks of the season, the Redskins are allowing points and yards at the exact same rates (in terms of per play and per drive scenarios) as they were earlier in the season, but they are not getting even remotely close to the same amount of big plays that they were generating early on in the season. If you thought it couldn’t get any worse than when the defense was giving up 30 points regularly….well it has.
The fewer points allowed per game over the last two weeks can be attributed to two things: (1) opponents are deliberately attempting to drain the clock in order to keep the Redskins offense off of the field, and (2) the Redskins offense has completely missed big plays, which forces them into consistently long, clock-eating drives. As a result, both teams are getting fewer opportunities to score
The Redskins longest offensive play of each game this season, are as follows:
- Week 1 @ New Orleans: 88-yard TD pass to Pierre Garcon
- Week 2 @ St. Louis: 68-yard TD pass to Leonard Hankerson
- Week 3 vs. Cincinnati: 29-yard reception to Fred Davis
- Week 4 @ Tampa Bay: 39-yard TD run by Alfred Morris
- Week 5 vs. Atlanta: 77-yard TD pass to Santana Moss
- Week 6 vs. Minnesota: 78-yard TD run by Robert Griffin III
- Week 7 @ New York Giants: 30-yard TD pass to Santana Moss
- Week 8 @ Pittsburgh: 37-yard reception by Niles Paul
- Week 9 vs. Carolina: 25-yard reception by Leonard Hankerson
QB Robert Griffin III has not been as accurate recently as he was to start the season. A lot of this can be attributed to the pressure he is feeling in the pocket. Griffin is getting abused on traditional drops and is finding it very difficult to set his feet and throw. Carolina generated ample pressure with only four rushers for most of the day, which meant that they could drop 7 into coverage consistently. Griffin appeared hesitant on certain throws; others, he simply missed his target. This isn’t something to worry about, however, until it becomes a pattern.
WR Aldrick Robinson was given the start ahead of Leonard Hankerson largely in part to Hankerson’s underwhelming performance and untimely drops against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Robinson dropped his first pass of the game. Hankerson responded to his demotion by catching 3 passes for 49 yards on only 4 targets; his one incompletion was an overthrown bomb by Griffin in the endzone. Robinson finished with 1 catch for 6 yards on two targets.
The Redskins obliterated Carolina in time of possession, 35:20 to 24:40.
Carolina capitalized on their opportunities, going 2-2 in the red zone. The Redskins did not, going 1-3 in the red zone. Despite all of the issues with the Redskins, performance in the red zone made the difference between winning and losing.
The Redskins averaged 4.8 yards per passing attempt (sacks included). The Panthers average 8.7 yards per passing attempt.
Brandon Banks had 2 receptions, 1 rush, and 2 punt returns for a combined -8 yards against Carolina. His case for remaining on the team is getting slimmer and slimmer with every week that passes.
Kai Forbath is looking like one of the few bright spots for this team at the moment. Forbath continued his strong play with two more made field goals. Forbath is now 6/6 on the season.
Alfred Morris quietly continued his strong rookie campaign. Morris had 78 yards on 13 carries for 5.8 yards per attempt. He appeared to get dinged up in the second half (it looked like his shoulder was bothering him), but returned to the game. Morris should be fine after resting this bye week.
Niles Paul has made a (relatively) long reception for the second week in a row. Against Pittsburgh, Paul had a 37-yard reception. This week against Carolina, Paul had a diving 22-yard reception for a first down. Paul appears to be growing more comfortable catching the ball downfield.