Time to set your Thanksgiving Day table as you load up on turkey and sides… and Monday Night Football delivered one massive turkey to the Beltway.  After rallying with a last second field goal heading into halftime, the Skins turned a 10-6 deficit against San Francisco into a 27-6 nightmare.  Eight of the team’s twelve possessions ended without the offense getting a first down.  Two more ended after five plays (one punt, one interception).  The Redskins gained just 30 yards after halftime…allowed four sacks and committed four penalties after intermission.  With a chance to keep a tiny bit of hope alive, the season was effectively snuffed out.  The Skins do technically remain in contention, however–I call this part of the season the phantom zone.  Welcome.

RG3ver– after his prepositional usage was questioned the week before, the Face of the Franchise completed 17 of 27 passes…but for only 127 yards.  That’s about 7.5 yards per completion–and won’t make opposing defenses crowd the box any less.  Add an interception and a fumble plus four sacks…and it’s one bad stretch as the second year signalcaller continues to experience growing pains…and the fan base experiences groaning pains.  Wise move, getting married this past offseason.  Can I get my wafflemaker back?

Morris’ Tale of Two Halves– THREE CARRIES AFTER HALFTIME. That is not good. Especially in a one-possession game.    During the team’s three game losing streak, Alfred the Underused has carried the ball on average 16 times for 71 yards in the first half while getting the ball 5 times for 23 yards after intermission.  Even Mr. Belding’s brother didn’t disappear so quickly–and sadly instead of a white water rafting trip to the playoffs it’s a plot that involves Bob Golic as the RA during “The College Years”.

Garcon Selling Short?– Peerless Pierre tallied 8 catches to pace the receiving corps…but his longest catch was 10 yards.  So instead of stretching the field vertically… Garcon’s 8 grabs for 48 yards looks rather pedestrian.  But with Jordan Reed and Leonard Hankerson (33% of the team’s catches) hurt, #88 was given extra attention by the San Francisco secondary.

Morgan makes his move…while Davis is dormant– Josh Morgan made the most of his opportunity with 5 catches for 45 yards.  The often inactive wideout entered the game with 11 receptions on the season–and none this month.  Fred Davis saw action– but only on the last possession as #83 remains in the doghouse.  Davis’ 3 catches for 25 yards on the year (none since September 15th) are close to his rookie season numbers–which would be fitting if this is the final fall in the Burgundy and Gold for onetime Triumvirate member.

Third and Falling off a Cliff– another tale of two halves… as the Skins convert 4 of 9 in the first two quarters, only to go 0-6 after intermission.  RG3 went 5-8 (with 2 conversions)…scrambled twice (moving the chains once) and got sacked twice.  Roy Helu Jr. ran on the other three 3rd downs– getting stopped one yard shy on a 3rd & 3… gaining five on 3rd &1…and getting stopped after two yards on 3rd & 18 (we’ll give him a pass there). The top target?  Santana Moss (2 catches for 23 yards and 1 conversion in 3 targets).  Yardage breakdown:  2-3 in short yardage (1-3 needed), 0-3 in medium yardage (4-6) and 2-9 in long yardage (7+).  So in nine of fifteen third downs, the Skins failed to gain a combined 3 yards on first and second down.  That’s a bigger problem than going 4-15.

Defending the Defense– Colin Kaepernick had struggled in two previous games…generating just 218 yards combined and posting a passer rating of 60.  Against the Skins, he completed 60 percent of his passes for almost 10 yards per attempt…tossed 3 touchdown passes and wasn’t intercepted.  Oh, and the passer rating was 134.5.  Now the Skins did a decent job shutting down the Niners’ ground game (76 yards on 33 carries with a long of 8)…so there’s a positive to build upon.  But when three of your four top tacklers are defensive backs, there’s a problem.

Cobra Kai– Mr. Forbath connected on both attempts to give the Skins their only points of the night.  Good job by the kicking team getting on the field quickly late in the first half to connect on the 35 yarder to make it a four point game.  Sadly, the 35 and 36 yarders felt like easy stuff… not unlike beating up Daniel LaRusso on the beach.  Why did he have to ruin Ali’s boom box?  Really, Johnny–if you had just played it cool and let Daniel self-destruct…

Flying Flags– four penalties for 30 yards… all in the second half.  Two holds, a false start and going out of bounds on a punt.  Trenton Robertson’s special teams penalty didn’t hurt the Skins as the Niners failed to gain a first down from the Washington 40.  Niles Paul’s hold turned what would have been a 3rd &3 into a 2nd & 13…while Trent Williams’ hold and Kory Lichtensteiger’s false start both came on the final possession of the game.  Despite a sloppy September, the Skins rank in the top half of the league in fewest penalties and yards–while allowing the 5th fewest first downs via penalty.

Monday Night Mayhem– Remember when the Reskins went 15-5 at RFK Stadium?  Not to say the franchise left a bit of its mojo on East Capitol Street…but the team is 2-12 in MNF games at Fed Ex Field.  Far from ideal…

Dissecting the Division– Dallas takes over first place in the NFC Least thanks to their win over the NY Giants…as the Cowboys own the head to head tiebreaker with Philadelphia. But the Cowboys don’t hold the tiebreaker with Detroit, and settle for the 4th seed. Philly’s 8th (thanks to a better conference record than Chicago)–and the good news for the Eagles is they have better conference records than two of the teams they’re chasing for a wildcard berth. The NY Giants fall to 12th place in the NFC…but despite an 0-6 start they don’t reside in the division cellar. That dubious distinction goes to the Redskins…who are 14th in the conference because Tampa Bay has a better conference record.  Right now the Skins are trying not to avoid giving St. Louis a top 5 draft pick. 

West is Best…and Goin’ South– while the NFC East at 19-25 remains one game behind the NFC North in the race for 6th place…the NFC West remains the division to beat (29-15) with the league’s best team (Seattle at 10-1) as well as two of the three top wildcard contenders (San Francisco and Arizona at 7-4) and the best fourth-place team in the NFL (St. Louis at 5-6). The NFC West also owns the best interconference mark (12-3 against the hapless AFC South)…which helps the NFC take a 28-24 lead in the Conference Clash.

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