What do the investment disclaimers say about “past performance does not necessarily guarantee future results”?  They should take a look at the Burgundy and Gold stock (BNG on NYSE):  3-6 in 2011, 3-6 in 2012, 3-6 in 2013 and…3-6 this year!  With the exception of a few outliers, this team has actually started 3-6 in seven of the last eleven seasons:  twice under Joe Gibbs, once under Jim Zorn, three times under Mike Shanahan and now this year in Jay Gruden’s debut.  For some reason both of Steve Spurrier’s teams got off to 4-5 starts…he must have missed the memo.

The Redskins had a chance to capture major momentum entering their bye week with 1-7 Tampa Bay sitting on the other side…instead the winning streak ends at two and they fall to a rookie quarterback and Minnesota 29-26.  A day that began with a bus crash…continued with stadium protests and turned into a media-on-media feeding frenzy saw a team that’s just not good show exactly that.

 

 

RG3VER!– it’s been seven weeks since I could focus on the goings-on of Griffin…and the face of the franchise did not disappoint on multiple levels:  251 yards and a touchdown passing… he also ran for 24 yards on 7 carries and his presence gave Alfred Morris a little more room to maneuver.  Yes, he made an ill-advised throw late in the first half that was intercepted and instead of leading 10-0 or 13-0 at the half the Skins lead was just 10-7.  Yes, he was sacked 5 times–and more than a few could be attributed to RG3 holding the ball too long.  The first drive saw both sides of the “holds the ball too long” coin:  Griffin escaped a collapsing pocket on 3rd and 7 at midfield to complete a 24 yard pass to Roy Helu Jr before getting sacked for an 8 yard loss on 2nd and 13 (effectively killing the drive).  Was it an ideal return?  No…but Griffin’s proved that he’s better than the other options (no offense to Kirk or McCoy).

 

Alfred the Accomplished– it was like reuniting with Kelly Kapowski during the College Years.  Mr. Morris gained a season high 92 yards on 19 carries while scoring two touchdowns.  Don’t discount the return of #10 to the lineup for the resurgence.  In games that Robert Griffin III starts, Morris averages 18 carries for 89 yards while in the other six he averaged 16 runs for 56 yards.  I’ve often compared Roy Helu Jr to Slater and Darrel Young to Lisa Turtle–but Zack was lost without Mr. Belding to play off of…and Robert Griffin III remains Alfred Morris’ principal.

 

DeSean the Dynamic– I can only imagine where this passing game would be without Jacksons field-stretching abilities.  Yes, he jaws with opposing defensive backs and doesn’t have the best reputation as a run-blocker, but once again he produces with 4 catches for 120 yards and a touchdown.  Now if only the Skins can bring Pierre Garcon back into the fold as a downfield option (3 catches for 15 yards against the Vikings).

 

Third and Improving– the Skins converted 6 of 13 third downs…with RG3 completing 4 of 7 passes for 3 conversions while moving the chains once with his feet and getting sacked once.  Three called runs to runningbacks saw Alfred Morris gain 6 yards on a draw (3rd and 20)– Roy Helu gained 3 on a 3rd and 2 while being stuffed for a 2 yard loss on 3rd and 1.  Isn’t Morris your money back?  Yardage breakdown:  2 for 5 on short yardage, 3 for 3 on 3rd and 4-6 yards needed and 1 for 5 on 3rd and long.  What’s encouraging is the 5 of 13 third downs coming by 3 yards or less…

 

Dismal Defense– the Skins after shutting out Minnesota for most of the first half allowed touchdowns four of the last six times the Vikings had the football (and one was a clock-killing drive late in the 4th quarter).  Despite some really, really bad throws by rookie quarterback Teddy Bridgewater (at least a couple wide-open misses) the Skins coughed up 29 points to a team that ranks 27th in the league in scoring.  Just a pair of sacks.  And the Vikes moved the chains on 8 of 15 attempts…often finding running holes where they shouldn’t have been.  Coach Jay Gruden said he could have gained 48 yards against the Skins run defense Sunday–and I think he was selling himself short.

 

Sizing up the Secondary– for whatever reason the back four looked sloppy.  In the first quarter Cordarelle Patterson somehow got wide open (thank you high-throwing Teddy Bridgewater) due either to miscommunication or lack of speed.  It wasn’t the only time there were gaps in the secondary Sunday or this season;  it happened a few times in the Giants loss–notably on a Larry Donnell TD catch.  Is it lack of communication by the safeties to the corners or the inability of the safeties to follow up on “I got this guy”?  When you’re getting just a pair of sacks from your front seven, you can’t have either.

 

Flying Flags– six penalties for 55 yards (and one offsetting)…and as is usually the custom it wasn’t the quantity but the quality of penalties that hurt the Skins.  Two came on special teams (peelback block/blind block on Darrel Young and a player out of bounds on a punt), two came on defense (Ryan Kerrigan’s neutral zone infraction and Keenan Robinson’s roughing the passer) while three were on offense–all in the fourth quarter.  While Logan Paulsen’s false start didn’t stop a touchdown drive, DeSean Jackson’s offensive pass interference turned a 1st and 10 into a 1st and 20 hole they couldn’t climb out of–and Shaun Lauvao’s hold offset a defensive hold to wipe out an automatic first down.  Robinson’s roughing the passer moved the Vikes 17 yards closer to paydirt on a touchdown drive that gave them their first lead of the day.

 

Cobra Kai– a quiet day after the four field goal performance against Tennessee and the Special Teams Player of the Week effort against Dallas.  Two for two from 26 and 36 yards plus a pair of extra points…simply solid with nothing special.  Even Johnny Lawrence had days when he didn’t throw Daniel LaRusso into a garbage can.

 

Dissecting the Division– Philadelphia’s win at Houston propels the Eagles to first place in the NFC East at 6-2 (they’re the 3rd seed in the NFC thanks to Detroit prevailing on the conference record tiebreaker) with Dallas dropping to 2nd (and 5th in the NFC) as the Cowboys lose their second straight.  Three straight losses drop the NY Giants to 13th in the conference while the Redskins are 14th…and on the verge of leaving last place.  Actually, they’d be in third if the Skins had beaten Minnesota–but never mind.

 

Boom and Bust–Division Style– the NFC East is tied for 4th best in the league with an 18-16 mark…one half game behind the NFC North.  The AFC North owns a 21-12-1 composite record and has all four teams boasting winning records.  Both Souths are sorry:  the AFC South is 13-22 while the NFC South is 10-22-1…it’s a shame the Redskins aren’t playing both Souths this year.

 

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