July 25, 2014

Washington Redskins training camp notebook

by Justin Byram

The Redskins kicked off training camp on a rainy Thursday morning at Bon Secours Training Camp. Here’s what you missed at the first day of training camp.

Robert Griffin III had a shaky start to camp, his throws were often inaccurate and off target. That could be due to the sloppy conditions he was throwing the ball in, rust, or maybe he just needs more time to get on the same page with his new targets. Regardless, it is not time to panic if you’re the Redskins, but Griffin must improve on his rocky start sooner than later in camp.

Running back will be an interesting position battle to watch throughout camp, Chris Thompson looked very quick, and appeared to be fully healthy. Seastrunk proved to be as advertised showing extreme burst and playmaking ability. Seastrunk also did a nice job catching the ball out of the backfield, I saw him make two difficult grabs (one low and one behind him). Catching the ball out of the backfield is a huge part of Jay Gruden’s offense and the quicker Seastrunk can pick it up the better it will be for him. Both Seastrunk and Thomas worked on returning punts as well.

Keenan Robinson has received a lot of hype this off-season, and rightfully so. The third year linebacker looked extremely athletic and showed great range covering the very talented Jordan Reed (typically a linebacker matchup nightmare) and did a phenomenal job. Robinson looks like he will be a huge asset to the Redskins defense provided he stays healthy.

Another recovering Redskin that looks healthier than I expected him to be was Richard Crawford Jr., who was playing his best football before getting injured last season, and could be an asset in the return game in 2014. Phillip Thomas also looked good, and doesn’t seem to have lost his explosiveness after missing his rookie season with a lisfranc injury.

In addition to returning punts, Andre Roberts made his presence felt immediately, making some nice plays in eleven-on-eleven drills. Roberts might be an underrated addition thanks to DeSean Jackson, but Roberts will be a bigger playmaker than people expect in 2014. Although their timing was off (it will get better with time) DeSean Jackson appears to be the deep threat RGIII has lacked his first two years. Twice today Jackson blew by the defense and Griffin went to him with no hesitation, one ball was a bit overthrown, and the other Jackson probably could have caught but it’s a safe bet you can expect a lot of deep shots from RGIII to Jackson in 2014.

Trent Murphy was put on the field with Orakpo and Kerrigan and formed a very good looking pass rushing trio. Murphy is enormous in person, bigger than I thought he would be and he looked great in his first practice with Washington. Murphy was reportedly one of the first Redskins to show up for camp around 6:30 a.m. (two hours before practice). With Murphy’s hard working attitude and talent, expect him to make an impact early.
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Justin Byram is a contributor to District Sports Page. He covers the Washington Redskins for several on-line publications. You can follow him on Twitter @Justin_Byram.

What the 2014 NFL Draft Teaches us About the RG3 Deal

On Thursday, while the NFL world collectively held their breath, the Washington Redskins were merely spectators. Barring some eleventh hour trade possibilities, on that first night nothing was on the line.

The Redskins ‘earned’ the second overall pick due to their dismal 2013 season, but sat out of the first round as their pick went to St. Louis, the final piece of the package that ultimately brought in Robert Griffin III.

Meanwhile, Jacksonville hung their hopes of resurrecting their franchise on a quarterback most people had never heard of until a stellar performance in the Fiesta Bowl, Cleveland picked a dynamic playmaker that half of the experts believe will be a complete bust, Minnesota traded up for a quarterback who can’t throw the ball without a glove on and Houston is betting the season on Ryan Fitzpatrick after choosing not to draft a quarterback until the fourth round.

For Redskins fans, it stings to watch the first round of this draft and last year’s go by with no picks, but this draft also show exactly why the Redskins were willing to pay such a steep price.

Quarterback is the most important position in football and is debatably the most important position in sports. It is almost impossible for an NFL team to see sustained success without a dependable quarterback under center.

Things went downhill for the Redskins after Joe Gibbs retired (the first time) following the 1992 season. In the 21 seasons since that time, the Redskins have had 23 different quarterbacks start at least one game. To compare, the New England Patriots have had five quarterbacks start at least one game in that same stretch.

In those 21 seasons the Redskins won two playoff games, the Patriots won three Super Bowls.

Clearly, quarterbacks matter.

Franchise quarterbacks, however, are hard to find. There is a big difference between a quarterback who starts and a starting caliber quarterback. There are 32 teams in the NFL, but fewer than 32 franchise quarterbacks. Those teams fortunate enough to have one are loath to give them up. Barring the rare Peyton Manning situation that Denver benefitted from, the draft is the only avenue to acquire one.

But what do you do when there are no franchise quarterbacks available in the draft?

The players considered to be the top quarterbacks in this year’s draft were Blake Bortles, Johnny Manziel and Teddy Bridgewater. Opinions on all three players varied, but the consensus seemed to be that none of them were in that Troy Aikman/Peyton Manning/Andrew Luck, can’t miss, surefire overall-number-one-pick category. In fact, there are major questions about each player’s potential and players at other positions were regarded as better NFL prospects.

Teams with higher draft picks frequently are in need of a franchise quarterback. Drafts like this one, however, leave these teams with a dilemma: do you reach for a quarterback and hope he will exceed expectations or take a player you are more confident is worthy of such a high pick?

Jacksonville reached for a quarterback in 2011, selecting Blain Gabbert with the tenth overall pick. Just three years later, the Jaguars selected Bortles, another quarterback, with the third overall pick. With Gabbert not playing as well as the Jaguars hoped he would, they still remain a basement-dwelling team in need of a quarterback three years later.

The draft is set up to help those teams that need it the most, but there’s no guarantee the player you need will be available the year you have a high pick. That is especially true with the quarterback position as it is so critical to success. When a draft comes along loaded with quarterback talent, therefore, teams must take the opportunity to acquire one just the Redskins did with Griffin.

That does not mean that there are not franchise quarterbacks available in the later rounds; Tom Brady was taken in the sixth round in 2000 and Russell Wilson was selected in the third round in 2012. These cases, however, are not the norm. Had teams known how good these players would be, they would have been taken considerably higher in the draft.

The point is that when your team needs a quarterback and is as sure as one can be about a certain players, that team must break the bank to acquire him. Three first round draft picks and a second round pick is a high price to pay for one player, but how much would Jacksonville give up to erase the last three years of poor play?

From their perspective, you could argue the Redskins got off easy.

Sure, you can take other players high and hope for a sleeper quarterback in the later rounds, but chances are you are not going to find that ‘diamond in the rough.’

You can reach for a quarterback and hope he pans out, but if you’re wrong you’ve set the franchise back several years. Instead, the Redskins paid what they had to for a quarterback they were confident could lead the team to the postseason.

Fans can be unhappy the team was without its first round pick, or they can just be glad they’re not rooting for teams like Houston and Oakland who skipped out on the top quarterbacks or teams like Jacksonville, Cleveland and Minnesota who decided to roll the dice.

To those teams, Griffin is worth what the Redskins had to pay for him and a whole lot more.

Shanahan coy about future in bizarre press confernce

“Anybody have anything to do with football?” Mike Shanahan, when asked if he wanted to return to the Redskins for next season.

Washington Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan met the media Monday, as is customary following a Sunday game. Although these days, customary is anything but ordinary. No one does drama like the Skins, and right now all anyone wants to know is whether Shanahan will return next season, or even be the coach of this team for next Sunday’s game at Atlanta, which is all Shanahan wanted to address.

“There’s always a lot of noise when you’re 3-10,” Shanahan said. “I understand that. Every organization has it. There’s going to be a lot more noise over the next few weeks, I understand that, but I’ve got one mindset right now and that’s focusing on Atlanta. We’re going against a football team that was 13-3 last year. They’re 3-10 as well. As I shared with my football team, they know they’re going to get my best shot over the next three games and I’m hoping I get their best shot over the next three games. Our goal is to win the next three, starting with Atlanta, then get a chance to get two NFC East foes here with Dallas and on the road against the Giants and hopefully we can end the season on a positive note.”

About the distractions?

“I’m not going to speculate through all those different things as we talked about before,” Shanahan said. “But if you’d like to talk about Atlanta, I’d be more than happy to talk about Atlanta.”

No one wanted to talk about Atlanta.

Well, with one major exception. Shanahan was non-committal about Robert Griffin III starting the rest of the way, citing all the sacks and hard hits he’s taken this season.

“We had 24 sacks in the last five games, that’s a lot,” Shanahan explained. “You go against a team that’s had two sacks in the last five games and you get six in a game, I’m talking about his health. I want to make sure he’s healthy. I think that’s the most important thing going into the offseason, that he has his first full season being healthy. And if he did play and something did happen to him, I think it would set our franchise back. That doesn’t say I’m not going that way, so … that’s the reason why I answered it the way I did. I’ll think about it here over the next 48 hours and we’ll make a decision on Wednesday.”

Shanahan was asked a myriad of questions, but very few of them had to do with actual football. Most of the queries centered around the report that he allegedly cleaned out his desk with intent to quit as head coach after the loss to Seattle in the playoffs, or whether he was going to quit or expect to be fired sometime in the next three weeks.

Shanahan mostly offered a “no comment” and offered few details, but sometimes not answering is as telling as answering.

Shanahan acknowledged that he has spoken with team owner Daniel Snyder, saying their relationship was “good”, but declined to answer whether the two spoke about his current and future employment, which Shanahan has one final year remaining on his current contract, a year that would pay him $7 million were he to be fired.

Eventually, Shanahan relented, a little bit.

“You always want to come back. You always want to come back. I love these guys and what will happen at the end of the season, we’ll get a chance, Dan and I, to sit down and decide – or he’ll make the final decision – on what’s in the best interest of the Washington Redskins. I’ll give my opinion on what I think. Obviously he’ll make the final decision. Anytime you’re with these guys — we’ve got some great character and we’ve got guys working extremely hard, so I would like nothing more than to be with them.”

It’s an untenable situation, really. For the past two weeks, information and innuendo has leaked into the national media regarding Shanahan’s situation with the team. Where are the leaks coming from? Hard to tell. But they come from somewhere, and it’s more than distracting — it’s overwhelming.

The Redskins “effort” in Sunday’s 45-10 shellacking by the Kansas City Chiefs was telling. Sure, the special teams play has been horrendous all season long. Griffin has been inconsistent and the defense — especially the secondary — has been porous.

But watching the performance, for the first time the Redskins looked distracted. They looked like they were being out-hustled. They looked a half-step behind all day. It’s one thing to get beat on talent, a whole different thing to get beat on effort. What happened Sunday is what happens when you get beat both ways.

The Redskins are a mess. The franchise quarterback had a rough and inconsistent season. The offensive line can’t pass block and has no depth. The defense was shredded all season long, and the special teams are atrocious.

On top of all that, the head coach has a strained relationship with both the quarterback and owner, and is seemingly trying his best to get fired — instead of quitting — so he can collect his $7 million paycheck for next season. Yup, no one does drama like the Washington Redskins.

Washington Redskins Game 13 Review: Skins obliterated by Chiefs 45-10 with rumors swirling

The Washington Redskins were dominated in every facet of the game Sunday, falling to the playoff-bound Kansas City Chiefs 45-10. In nine meetings between the two teams in their franchise histories, the Chiefs have won eight times — none more convincingly than this one.

The Chiefs (10-3) built a 17-0 lead after the first quarter on a Ryan Succop 33-yard field goal, a 2-yard Jamaal Charles run and Dwayne Bowe’s 21-yard touchdown catch from Alex Smith.

Kansas City extended its lead to 31-0 midway through the second quarter after Charles’ 5-yard TD catch and Dexter McCluster’s 74-yard punt return for a score.

The Skins (3-10) got on the board with Logan Paulsen’s circus catch of a 7-yard toss by Robert Griffin III, but Quintin Demps returned the Redskins kickoff 95 yards for another touchdown.

Kai Forbath nailed a 50-yard field goal as time expired on the half, and the Skins trailed 38-10.

The only second half score came in the fourth quarter when Knile Davis ran 17 yards through the Skins defense to provide the 45-10 final.

Griffin finished the game 12 of 26 for 164 yards, with one touchdown and one interception, but two other easy picks were dropped. Alfred Morris, the forgotten man in the Redskins offense the past two weeks, went over the 1,000 yard mark for the season, but finished with just 31 yards on only 12 carries.

Charles carved up the Skins defense to the tune of 151 yards on 19 carries, while Smith went 14 of 20 for 137 yards and two touchdowns.

The season-worst beating took place amid reports that coach Mike Shanahan and owner Daniel Snyder’s relationship is damaged beyond repair.

What is for certain is that the train wreck that is the Redskins season has three games remaining, and with no first round draft pick next season due to the trade for Griffin with the Rams, the Skins will have plenty of work to do in free agency this offseason to address major needs on the offensive line, defensive backfield and special teams.

The salary cap penalty will be over, so the Redskins front office can go about accumulating depth and special teams players that they just haven’t been able to do the past two offseasons.

Whether or not the current coaching staff will be here to guide them is a question still to be answered.

Washington Redskins Game 12 Review: Skins eliminated from postseason with 24-17 loss to Giants

The Washington Redskins took a 14-point lead over division rival New York Giants, but allowed that lead to evaporate while frittering away opportunities all evening, eventually falling to the Giants 24-17 as Pierre Garcon was stripped after making a catch on fourth down with less than two minutes remaining in the game.

The Redskins fall to 3-9 on the season and were officially eliminated from the playoffs. The Giants, at 5-7, remain mathematically eligible for now.

Robert Griffin III completed his first 12 passes on the Skins first two drives of the game as they built a 14-0 lead, and finished 24 of 32 for 207 yards and a touchdown. But after those first two drives, Griffin was harassed all game and Justin Tuck abused right tackle Tyler Polumbus for four sacks on the day.

The Skins took the opening drive right down the field, going 71 yards in 14 plays, culminating with Alfred Morris’ 1-yard touchdown plunge. It was a systematic attack, with the longest play a 16-yard strike to Pierre Garcon for 16 yards.

New Yorkwent on a pair of three-and-outs and Washington took over on their own 41 late in the first quarter. Another picture-perfect drive went 54 yards in eight plays, as Griffin found Logan Paulsen wide open in the seam for a 19-yard touchdown. Griffin had completed 12 straight passes on the Skins first two possessions.

The Giants bowed their backs on their next drive. After a couple of Eli Manning (22 of 28, 235 yards, 1 TD) completions, Peyton Hillis gashed the Skins defense for runs of eight and 27-yards on consecutive carries, bowling over linebacker London Fletcher and safety Brandon Meriweather on the second carry. Andre Brown then carried for seven yards to set up his 23-yard touchdown run.

The Skins then couldn’t pick up a first down on two possessions, and the Giants took over on their own 19 after a 53-yard Sav Rocca punt. Manning led the G-Men on a 9-play, 81-yard drive, going 6-for-6 on the drive, including a 22-yard scoring pass to tight end Brandon Myers, his third catch of the game at that point.

The first half ended with the Skins bypassing a 57-yard field goal attempt, but a 3-man Giants rush disrupted Griffin and he ran around left end for 20 yards instead of heaving one into the end zone.

Neither team could do much with their first drives of the second half. On the Giants second possession, Manning tried to force a ball to his tight end, which was tipped right to Meriweather, who returned it to the Giants 19-yard line. But the Skins stalled, and settled for a 33-yard Kai Forbath field goal, to put the Skins up 17-14.

On the next series, Washington was forced to punt from their own 38. Long-snapper Kyle Nelson, who replaced Nick Sundberg when he went on the I.R. with a knee injury, flubbed the snap, forcing Rocca to quick-kick. The punt traveled just 18 yards, and a holding call on Nelson exacerbated the matter, giving the Giants the ball at the Skins 46.

It took the Giants just four plays to put the ball in the end zone, as Andre Brown’s 1-yard plunge gave the Giants a 21-17 lead. The play was reviewed, as it appeared Brown’s knee might have touched down before the ball crossed the line, but replays proved inconclusive.

Two more fruitless Redskins possessions later, the Giants went 40 yards on eight plays to set up Josh Brown’s 39-yard field goal to make it a 7-point game with 2:32 remaining.

The Skins last drive was filled with dropped passes, and on their final play, a reception that would have kept the drive alive on fourth down, Pierre Garcon was stripped by defensive back Will Hill to ice the game for the Giants. That play came immediately after the referees screwed up the downs, originally giving the Redskins a first down, then revoking it and forcing them into fourth down.

Regardless, the Skins would have had a first down if Garcon held onto the ball.

Washington Redskins Game 11 Review: Offense disappears in second half against 49ers

The Washington Redskins took a different tack this week in losing to the San Francisco 49ers to fall to 3-8 on the season. Many times this season, the Skins got down big in the first half and made it a game in the second half when the opposition fell back into a shell. This week, the halftime deficit was a mere four points, but the Niners simply ran away with it in the second half, stretching the lead to the eventual 21-point margin.

Robert Griffin III completed 17 of 27 for just 125 yards and an interception.

The 49ers built a 10-0 lead early in the second quarter on an Anquan Boldin 19-yard touchdown pass and Phil Dawson 29-yard field goal.

The Skins, largely thanks to the running of Alfred Morris, cut the lead to four with a pair of Kai Forbath field goals, the second one as time expired in the half.

On the Niners’ first possession of the second half, Vernon Davis coughed the ball up trying to extend the play, and Washington took over on the 49er 49 yard line. On fourth-and-two, however, Roy Helu’s run fell short, and San Francisco took over on downs. They immediately marched down field and scored on Boldin’s second TD of the game, a nine-yard strike from Colin Kaepernick.

The rout was then on.

While Griffin continued to flail under pressure, the Niners added to the lead. D.C. native and University of Maryland’s Vernon Davis hauled in a one-yard scoring strike and Dawson hit from 49 yards to cap the scoring.

OPINION: Redskins flat second half on the coaching staff

The Washington Redskins had this one in the bag. A 24-14 halftime lead became a 27-14 mid-third quarter lead. They dominated the line of scrimmage on offense, punishing the Minnesota Vikings defensive line all evening. Alfred Morris looked like the second coming of John Riggins… well, maybe Gerald Riggs. Anyway, Morris was running roughshod through the Vikings undersized and overmatched D-line.

So how did they allow 20 unanswered second half points to fall to ignominious defeat to a team that had won just once all season?

Easy. Offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan decided to get “cute”. Instead of sticking with what was working all too well, Shanahan felt that with the luxury of a 13-point lead, he could throw caution to the wind and start flinging the ball all over the field. It’s the complete opposite thinking that was required here. With a big lead, you pound the ball at every occasion. Even if you go three-and-out, you’re guaranteed to run 1:30 off the clock in an effort to get the game over a quickly as possible.

But that’s not good enough for Kyle. He wants to show folks just how smart and creative a coach he is. His offense is particularly adept at getting receivers open and in position for big gains. We saw it continuously in the first half. Building off Morris’ punishing runs, Pierre Garcon, Leonard Hankerson and Jordan Reed were wide open, making catches in space and running after the catch for even more yardage. It was a well-oiled offense running at just about maximum efficiency.

The first possession of the third quarter was the same. The Skins marched down the field, going 59 yards in 12 plays, chewing up 5:38 in the process, inching closer to what should have been an inevitable win. Alfred Morris and Robert Griffin III lugged the ball on the ground, while Hankerson and Garcon made catches in space because of the success of the run game.

After the Vikings went 74 yards in nine plays for a touchdown, the Skins got the ball back at their own 28 yard line. A five-yard Morris carry set up second-and-five. Run the ball! Chew up the clock!

Nope. Kyle called for a short pass (two-yard gain) to Garcon, then an incomplete pass. On the ensuing punt effort, the Skins called for a fake, which would have worked to perfection save for two things: Jerome Murphy did not set on the offensive line, for a false start penalty, and gunner Niles Paul didn’t hear the fake call anyway, and Sav Rocca’s pass fell harmlessly to the ground since Paul never turned to look for it.

The Redskins were never the same.

A roughness penalty on the punt return (Darrel Young) gave the Vikings terrific field position, and the comeback was on. It took Minnesota just four plays to reach the end zone.

When the Skins got the ball back, Kyle acted as if they were down by two touchdowns. Griffin ran a keeper on a zone-read, but it was brought back for holding. They then ran five straight snaps from the shotgun, and the Vikings pinned their ears back and came after Griffin, sacking him the last two plays of the possession.

The Vikes needed just seven plays and 30 yards to set up Blair Walsh’s 39-yard field goal.

Three-and-out, including another sack of Griffin, ensued, and the Skins gave the ball right back to Minnesota, who walked right down the field for another field goal.

In the NFL, if something is working, especially against a team that is already out of the playoff picture, you stick with it. The Redskins failure to stick with what was working Thursday night now has them squarely out of the playoff picture, with only a series of improbable circumstances now able to rectify that situation.

When you dominate in yardage and time of possession like the Redskins did Thursday night, against a one-win team, you have to win. Plain and simple. The Redskins coaches took the Skins out, not the Vikings.

Of course, it would have helped if the defense did their job. But that’s another rant entirely.

Washington Redskins Game 8 Review: Young’s 3rd TD beats Chargers in OT

The Washington Redskins were able to establish themselves within the red zone on both sides of the ball Sunday afternoon in a 30-24 OT victory over the San Diego Chargers. Three touchdowns from fullback Darrel Young, along with a key goal line stand by the Redskins defense late in the fourth quarter, paved the way to the win.

Washington’s offense struggled in the passing game early on, which resulted in offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan placing the ball in the hands of Alfred Morris and Darrel Young. Young only had 12 yards on five carries, but three of those carries resulted in touchdowns, the last of which won the game. Morris carried the water most of the day and finished with 25 carries for 121 yards and one touchdown, his first 20-plus carry and 100-yard games of the season. [Read more...]

Washington Redskins Game 7 Review: Broncos bust out in second half to beat Skins 45-21

There were a lot of different ways the Washington Redskins could have lost to the Denver Broncos Sunday. The way that it actually worked out might have been the unkindest of all. The huge underdog Redskins built a 21-7 third quarter lead before completely imploding, left to watch Denver score 38 unanswered second half points en route to a 45-21 defeat as demoralizing as they come.

The loss drops the Redskins to 2-5.

To complicate matters, Robert Griffin III left the game with over four minutes to play after being clobbered by Denver’s Terrance Knighton as he delivered the ball — which was intercepted by Rahim Moore. Griffin’s left knee — the one he did not recently have surgery on — buckled underneath him and though he tried to re-enter the game later, the coaching staff held him out.

According to reports, Mike Shanahan said after the game Griffin could have played but was held out due to the score at that point.

Denver took the opening kickoff and marched down the field, using nine plays to go 77 yards, culminating in Wes Welker’s 6-yard touchdown. The Skins defense didn’t seem to provide much resistance at all. But as it turned out, that was the offensive highlight of the half for Peyton Manning and the Broncos, who were held to under 10 points int he first half for the first time this season.

They more than made up for that in the second half.

The Skins evened thing up right before halftime, going on a 16-play, 95 yard drive that took 7:03 to complete. The Redskins used a balanced mix of passes and runs to walk up the field, but the drive stalled at the 12 yards line, where the Skins lined up for a field goal attempt. But the Broncos had too many men on the field, giving the Skins a first down.

On the next play, Griffin found Leonard Hankerson settled in a soft spot in the zone for a 7-yard touchdown.

On Denver’s first possession of the third quarter, Ryan Kerrigan stripped Manning of the ball and Brian Orakpo fell on the loose ball, giving Washington the ball at the Denver 19. Three Alfred Morris runs netted the Skins second TD of the day, as Morris bounced in from one yard out.

With Denver’s very next play, Manning tried to his Demaryius Thomas on a slant, but Thomas fell and DeAngelo Hall picked off the pass and went 26 yards the other way to put the Redskins up 21-7.

That was the end of the highlights for the Skins.

Denver came roaring back, going 75 yards on 11 plays with Montee Ball carrying the last four into the end zone to make it a one-score game. On the Broncos next possession, they went 83 yards on 16 plays and finished with Manning’s 1-yard strike to backup tight end Joel Dreessen.

The Redskins went three-and-out and Sav Rocca shanked his punt, netting just 15 yards, giving Denver the ball on the Skins 35-yard line. Manning hit Knowshon Moreno with a middle screen, and the running back took it to the house, breaking several tackles along the way, to make it 28-21.

Washington picked up a first down on the next possession, but the following play Griffin was sacked and fumbled, turning the ball over on their own 34. Five plays later, Matt Prater booted a 19-yard field goal that made it 31-21.

The teams traded punts, but the Skins weren’t done turning the ball over. After Morris lost four yards on a pitch-sweep, Griffin dropped back in the shotgun, was hit as he threw, and was picked off by Chris Harris at the Redskins 26-yard line. It took Manning just two plays to score as he found Thomas on the left flank and he took it 35 yards to make it 38-21.

It was on the Skins’ next possession that Griffin was hit and hurt, and Shanahan turned to backup Kurt Cousins. Unfortunately, both of Cousins’ possessions ended in interceptions, the first of which was returned by Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie 25 yards for Denver’s final touchdown.

 

Washington Redskins Game 5 Review: Skins fall to Cowboys 31-16 in mistake-filled game

There are some games that are closer than the score would indicate. Though the Washington Redskins outgained the Dallas Cowboys both rushing and passing Sunday night, the Skins fell to the Cowboys on the road 31-16 in a performance where the Dallas kick returner outgained the Cowboys total offensive effort.

Yes, it was one of those games.

As has been the case too often this season, problems on special teams, penalties and turnovers all played a big part in eventual defeat in a game by all accounts the Redskins could have stolen on the road.

The Redskins-Cowboys rivalry is one of the crown jewels of the NFL. Even in seasons where the teams aren’t particularly good the seasonal pair of matchups are usually entertaining due to the long-standing rivalry. When the teams are expected to be competitive, like this season, they make for national television viewing. [Read more...]

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