Did the Redskins wave the white flag after their 21-13 loss to Carolina?  Coach Mike Shanahan’s comments after the defeat led many to believe he’d be focused on roster building for 2013 once the Skins got back on the field after their week off.  Naturally cooler heads in Burgundy and Gold Nation did not prevail and that became the issue as opposed to wondering what went wrong during the team’s third straight loss.  A defeat to a one-win team that had dropped five in a row.  Another game where the defense was gashed… and another week where the offense was held to one touchdown.  Maybe there’s something to evaluating personnel extensively over the final seven games– if only to prevent the current situation from happening again in 2013.  And in 2014.

RG3ver–  #10 wasn’t bad… but he wasn’t really that good.  Yes, the rookie threw for over 215 yards and heading into the 4th quarter was a sick 15 of 21…but he was neutralized by the Panthers defense… and while he completed 9 of 11 passes on third down… only two moved the chains (and one came after a penalty tacked onto the play).  Griffin ran for 53 yards… but couldn’t get the two that mattered in the second quarter.  But even on an off day, he’s much better than anyone playing QB since Brad Johnson.

Short Circuit– one reason why Griffin’s numbers have plateaued has been the lack of downfield threats;  with Pierre Garcon on the shelf and Fred Davis done for the year, is there anybody who can stretch the field?  Of the nine receivers who caught passes, only Leonard Hankerson (3-49) and Niles Paul (1-22) averaged even 12 yards per catch.  That clogs things up and keeps defenders closer to a scrambling quarterback.

Mr. Morris’ Bell Rating–  Alfred injured his shoulder but still finished with 76 yards rushing… moving him into the league lead with 793 on the season.  Another solid day where he wasn’t the star.  I’m feeling this is kind of like when Jessie’s new stepbrother comes to town and upstages Zack for the two-episode arc never to be seen again.

No Defense for the Defense–  where to begin?  The 4.8 yards per carry?  Just a pair of 3 and outs?  NO sacks or turnovers?  Or how about the monster plays like the 82 yard pass in the 4th quarter…yeah, I’m kind of stumped.  Every opponent’s possession is a potential nightmare.  When a safety is the leading tackler, there’s a problem.  When Ryan Kerrigan only has one assist on the day, there’s a problem.  But with the injuries sustained and the personnel that remains what do you tweak?  Unfortunately, they can’t take 4 years off and reboot the defense like the Bond series did with “Casino Royale”*.

Saved By the Whistle– the Panthers got on the scoreboard and took the lead for good in the first quarter with a 30 yard run by DeAngelo Williams… aided by an inadvertent whistle that slowed down the defenders and let the running back score untouched for the final stretch.  Thankfully the next day the league apologized and said it shouldn’t have been a touchdown.  Thanks… all the Redskins need now is a DeLorean and some Plutonium.

Third and… Let’s Just Quick Kick– the Skins went 3 for 15 at moving the chains… a paltry 20%.  Now, they did convert 3 of 5 fourth down attempts but you can’t win when you can’t move the sticks consistently… or even inconsistently.  Once again the seeds are poor performance on 1st and 2nd down:  ten of their fifteen 3rd down situations were by 7 yards or more (Skins went 1-10 thanks to a penalty).  Of the five that were 3rd and 4-6, they made the necessary yardage twice.  And no 3rd and 3 or shorter.

Dissecting the Division– after an 0-4 week everybody slides down the NFC ladder a little bit:  the division leading NY Giants are now the 4th seed… while Philadelphia holds the divisional tiebreaker over Dallas (1-0 to 1-1 NFC East record) the Eagles would have jumped to 9th in the conference with a Monday night win over New Orleans;  instead Philly’s 13th.  Dallas drops to 14th after its Sunday night loss to Atlanta…while the Redskins have only Carolina behind them in the conference standings– and we know who has the tiebreaker there.

North Stars– the NFC North remains the division to beat at 22-12… while the South has eclipsed the West on percentage points after a 4-0 week.  The NFC ‘s lead increases to double digits (23-13) as the AFC doesn’t have a division with a composite winning record (although the North and South are both close at 16-17).

*”Casino Royale” easily makes my top 5… with “Goldfinger” #1… “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service” #2… “From Russia With Love” #3… and “For Your Eyes Only” #4.  Favorite Timothy Dalton film?  “License to Kill”… while “Tomorrow Never Dies” is probably my number one Brosnan.