Vikings must love to see Redskins on the schedule

 

At this rate, the Vikings will be on the Redskins' schedule next year.

Washington and Minnesota have shown a disturbing tendency to  make the playoffs or to sink to the division lower half at the same time. The 'Skins and Vikes have met four times in the last four years. The Redskins have been 1-3 in that span.

See? Disturbing.

The 34-27 loss to the Vikings was like the loss to the Broncos, only worse.

This was a conference loss. Defeating tiebreaker rules now to make the playoffs is out of the question.

Washington's was better on offense than in the Denver game.

Ø  RG threw for a net 281 yards, 3 TDs, no picks, for a passer rating of 114.8.

Ø  Alfred Morris out gained Adrian Peterson by 64 yards.

Ø  Jordan Reed leads all rookies in pass receptions.

Ø  The Redskins dominated time of possession … in the first half… by 2:1.

Ø  The Redskins won two of the three stats worth watching: passer rating differential and turnovers.

They lost because they did a poor job on the third stat that matters, third down stops. They didn't make enough of them, especially in the second half. For the game, Minnesota was six of 10 on third down attempts.

RG's three sacks in the fourth quarter drove me back to something I read in the Football Outsider's Almanac 2013.

"Rushing is more dependent on the offensive line than people realize, but pass protection is more dependent on the quarterback himself than people realize."

Some quarterbacks have an instinct for the rush and move around in the pocket or are quick to throw the ball away, says Football Outsiders. Others hold on to the ball too long and take a loss.

Every coach I've read who has spoken of the issue says the same. Griffin III's three sacks on Washington's first two possessions in the fourth quarter lost this game as much as the defense that allowed the Vikings 20 second-half points.

Why? Because we expect the defense to do that. They are not good. Their forte is disruption. They were disruptive with two turnovers last night. Ryan Kerrigan's near pick would have killed a drive and might have made a difference. But that's not why the Redskins lost.

The Redskins lost because they could not mount a pair of scoring drives that yielded 10 points in the fourth quarter.

Grades

Those late game sacks knocked Griffin's performance down a grade from A+ to B+, although it's coaches who may be fired for it.

The offensive line grades an F. Kevin Williams ran through the interior line like it was warm butter.

Coaching grades as B. Play calling was balanced. The game plan was good enough to win.

The Shanahans will take heat for Washington's last three plays. After a three-minute,  11-play drive put the 'Skins on the Minnesota four yard line, the coaches called for three passes that went to the three studs of the receiving corps, Pierre Garcon, Jordan Reed and Santana Moss.

There were 38 seconds left at that point and the Redskins were without time outs. A run risked bleeding the clock with the Vikings sitting on players and doing anything else to keep the Redskins from reforming the line timely.

Three passes to our best receivers; shouldn't one of them caught one?

The resulting score would have been a tie and that's no assurance of a win. (The Hog Heaven Magic 8-Ball said "Outlook doubtful" for a win. I chose not to tell you.)

Optimist will say the Redskins are not out of the playoff race. True, but those are just numbers no more meaningful than Washington's 4-0 preseason record.

These guys are failing the eyeball test. They haven't strung together consecutive wins. They haven't dominated teams when they were ahead. They are too dependent on Griffin to win. They are close to pulling it all together, but like the Washington Nationals, it may not be enough or come soon enough to make a difference.     

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Anthony Brown

About Anthony Brown

Lifelong Redskins fan and blogger about football and life since 2004. Joined MVN's Hog Heaven blog in 2005 and then moved Redskins Hog Heaven to Bolguin Network. Believes that the course of a season is pre-ordained by management decisions made during the offseason. Can occasionally be found on the This Given Sunday blog and he does guest posts.

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