Inches often separate champions from also-rans.  There are no fractional points in football–it’s either through the uprights or not… and it’s either six points or nothing at all.  Danny Woodhead barely missed placing the ball inside the pylon…the Chargers never got into the endzone and never got the ball back.  There’s no partial credit (unless there’s a tie, of course…) in the NFL– and the Burgundy and Gold reach midterms on an upswing after a disastrous beginning. Now a 3-5 mark is hardly something to jump up and down about– but the 30-24 overtime win over San Diego gives the team a little adrenaline heading into a short work-week.  Suddenly a 1-7 Minnesota doesn’t seem as daunting a task.  Just three of the seven opponents after that have winning records.  So Redskin stock is high…at least until Friday morning.

RG3VER– despite a first half pick-six, the face of the franchise threw for 291 yards while adding 17 on the ground.  Key was completing 7 of 9 passes on third down while running for another conversion.  And now that there’s at least a threat he can take off… the feet of RG3 as a runner makes his arm look a little better.

Mr. Morris rings the Bell and Saves the season– Alfred the Centurion returned with his first 20+ carry effort of the season (okay, so he needed overtime to get there…but still)…Roy “Slater” Helu Jr. adds the third down threat (1 run and 1 catch) while Darrel Young makes the most of his short-yardage effort (5 carries for 12 yards and 3 touchdowns).  “Friends Forever”, indeed.  Does this make Young “Screech”?  Hell no– he’s Lisa Turtle (highly underrated but necessary to many an episode’s success).

Pierreless– M. Garcon kept the passing game somewhat vertical with 7 catches for 172 yards (nobody else averaged more than 11 yards a catch)… making more than a few outstanding grabs.  This space has often scrutinized misguided free agent signings (and there have been more than a few opportunities over the years), but the Garcon grab was one of the better moves of the Shanahan era.

Tight Quarters– the TE Trio of Jordan Reed, Logan Paulsen and Niles Paul notched 8 catches for 52 yards… with Reed an early target on third down (2 grabs in the first quarter).  Whither Fred Davis?  His inactive streak reaches three…and although he wasn’t traded by the deadline, he may be treading water in the organization.

Third and Awesome– 12 of 17!  That is how you move the sticks!  All three of Young’s touchdowns came on 3rd and 1…while runs by Helu, Morris and even RG3 (on a scramble) give a little more for defenses to worry about (and not just RG3’s arm).  Nine passes, two scrambles and six runs.  Yardage breakdown:  4 of 5 on 3rd and 1-3 yards, 3/5 on 3rd and 4-6, 5/7 on 3rd and 7+ yards needed.  Meanwhile, the defense got off the field on 6 of 9 San Diego third downs.

London Calling– perhaps the Washington Post should write every gameday that London Fletcher is on his last legs.  The veteran tallied a team-high 13 tackles (including 7 solo stops).  We know the end is sooner rather than later…but it was nice to see Mr. Fletcher get it done on a day where it mattered one more time.

Turning over into points– two interceptions led to 10 points…and on a defense that ranks 30th in yards per game and 31st in points per game, the offense needs to take advantage of every opportunity given to them.  Especially after Sunday’s fourth quarter.

Fourth Quarter Fortunes– after holding the Chargers in check (just one touchdown on their first 7 possessions) for most of the day, the Skins allowed 168 yards on two drives that almost sunk the previous 53 minutes of work.  Credit the Chargers for massaging the clock well after scoring to make it 24-21…despite making a first down the Skins only melted 2 minutes off the clock on six plays.  That San Diego was even able to get two plays off before the two-minute warning should serve as instructional film to clock-mangling coaches everywhere…but will be lost because they passed on 2nd and 3rd down from the one.

Flying Flags– 7 penalties for 65 yards keeps the club at 15th in fewest flags (51) and 16th in fewest yards (448) after having issues in September.  Five flags came on offense (with Chris Chester notching two of the three holds against the Skins)…as Chester leads the team with 5 penalties this fall (4 holds, 1 false start).  The two defensive penalties came on a horse-collar (London Fletcher) and a personal foul (DeAngelo Hall after an INT by EJ Biggers).  Did these penalties hurt?  Darrel Young’s false start kept the Skins at their own 1 on 1st and 10–RG3 tossing a pick six on the next snap.  Hall’s personal foul, Chester’s first hold, Montgomery’s hold and RG3’s delay of game didn’t prevent them from scoring touchdowns on those drives.  Fletcher’s horse-collar moved the Chargers from the Washington 46 to the 31 on San Diego’s fourth quarter TD drive…while Chester’s second hold gave the Skins 2nd & 19 instead of 2nd & 9 and stopped the clock (Skins wound up having to punt before the 2-minute warning).

Cobra Kai– like Mr. Miyagi leaping over the fence, Mr. Forbath had no idea what was coming when the Chargers blocked a pair of field goal attempts in the first half (nothing like ending the first drive on a whimper with a 25 yarder getting blocked).  While nobody was expecting a repeat of 2012 (17 of 18) but right now he’s on pace to go 10 for 18.  Which brings to mind:  how did five kids dressed up as skeletons not see a septuagenarian maintenance man crawling over what was sure to be a noisy fence?  I’ll give Bobby a pass, because he was trying to get Johnny to calm down as poor Daniel LaRusso had “had enough”.  Dutch wasn’t facing the fence so he gets the benefit of the doubt.  But Tommy?  Jimmy?  Way to have Johnny’s back.  Talk about special teams breakdowns.

Dissecting the Division– Dallas remains in first place thanks to a last-minute victory over Minnesota…as the Cowboys hold the #4 seed in the NFC.  Philadelphia’s 10th in the conference after a record day by Nick Foles…and the Redskins rank 11th in the NFC.  The last place NY Giants take 14th in the conference because Atlanta has a better NFC record.  But the NFC East rises again…with a 3-0 week.

Wests remain the bests– The AFC still leads interconference play, 23-19…and the divisions to beat are the left-coasters…as the AFC West (23-10) and NFC West (21-13) pace the league.  But watch out– the NFC East (14-20), aka the “SEC of the NFL” trails the NFC South by percentage points (thank you, Tampa Bay) for 6th best division.  Does that make them Conference USA, the Mountain West or the American Athletic Conference (of America)…?

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