Sadly, the 27-24 win over Philadelphia was merely just one week reprieve from what is becoming a familiar downward escalator–it only prevented me from revamping my “12 Losses of Redskins” that brought Burgundy and Gold Nation plenty of Christmas cheer.  Instead the season ends with a 44-17 loss to Dallas— a 60-minute coronation of the best team to come out of Big D in seven years and a 60-minute off-ramp into the offseason where the Fed Ex Field faithful have a last place team for the sixth time in seven seasons.  The light you see at the end of the tunnel?  Maybe it’s a train.

 

RG3VER– the face of the franchise completed 27 of 41 passes for 336 yards and a touchdown–but was picked off twice.  Both interceptions were less about great plays defensively and miss-reads or miss-times by #10.  He also had a 4th quarter fumble.  The vast majority of RG3’s passes were to targets under ten yards from the line of scrimmage.  Griffin was sacked three times in the second half…but they had to throw 30 passes after intermission in comeback mode.  The QB Trio finishes the year with 18 TD’s and 18 INT’s– with Griffin and Kirk Cousins posting a similar amount of attempts (214 and 204), yards (1694 and 1710) and passer rating (86.9 and 86.4).  But Colt McCoy’s limited (128 attempts) run yields the best completion percentage (71.1) and passer rating (96.4).  Are you thinking what I’m thinking?

 

Saved by the Offseason– wasn’t there that run of episodes on Bell where Zack didn’t get the girl despite doing everything right and getting punished for his transgressions (special drunk driving episode doesn’t count;  it was a Tori show and his trouble ends with the credits)?  That’s what 2014 feels like for Alfred the Underused–but you’d get just 12 carries if your team was down 17 at the half…or was unable to move the chains consistently.  Morris finishes with 1,074 yards which is kind of like getting excited that Mark-Paul Gosselaar’s appearing on “Franklin & Bash”.  On a good team, Morris can be a major factor.  On this squad, he’s window dressing they can’t use.

 

Wide Open and Shut– DeSean Jackson finishes the season with a bang:  2 catches for 86 yards and a touchdown!  The offseason acquisition notches 1169 yards receiving while last year’s leading receiver Pierre Garcon tallies 2 catches for 53 yards to conclude his 2014 with 68 receptions and 752 yards (11.1 per catch– not too far off last year’s 11.9).  Jackson may have had double the TD’s Garcon had (6 to 3), their first down catches are almost equal (35-32).  In theory if each could get just one more catch a game…

 

Third Down and Done– the Skins converted 4 of 12 third down attempts against the Cowboys… actually improving their success rate from 31.3% to 31.5.  Despite this Week 17 surge the team still finishes ranked 30th in the league.  Of RG3’s 9 passes–3 were short left, 3 were short middle and 3 were short right.  They did run once on 3rd & 1:  Morris rewarded their faith with a 22 yard scamper.  Yardage breakdown:  2 for 4 on third and short, 0 for 2 on third and medium (4-6 yards needed) and 2 for 6 on third and long.

 

Defensively Done– Coordinator Jim Haslett’s job security was a primary question this season…and as the team finishes the year by allowing 44 points a quick check of how the D graded:  12th against the run and 23rd against the pass, 20th in yards surrendered and tied for 29th in points allowed, tied for 25th in takeaways and tied for 24th in getting off the field on 3rd down.  Does Haslett deserve a sixth year with all of the injuries he had to try to work with in 2014?  Or is he the sacrificial lamb the franchise needs to feed a restless fan base?

 

Flying Flags– the Skins were whistled 9 times for 101 yards against the Cowboys…finishing the season tied for 4th in infractions and 2nd in penalty yards.  Four penalties were on offense:  Jordan Reed’s hold, Logan Paulsen’s false start and unnecessary roughness calls against Trent Williams and Pierre Garcon.  Four were against the defense: EJ Biggers’ facesmask, David Amerson’s pass interference and illegal use of the hands calls against Bashaud Breeland and Jackson Jeffcoat.  The three defensive penalties in the second quarter helped lead to Cowboy scores…

 

Cobra Kai…and Finding a Way– the dynamic kicking duo made us proud once again although Tress Way’s day was more impressive:  a 44 yard average that included a 60-yarder as opposed to Forbath’s 25-yard field goal and two extra points.  While Kai finishes the year 24 of 27 on field goals and 31 of 32 on extra points, Way simply leads the league in punting average with 47.5 yards per kick.  Perhaps Bobby should have taken a more prominent role in the Karate Kid II than Johnny Lawrence.

 

Dissecting the Division– NFC East Champ Dallas takes the 3rd seed with their victory at Fed Ex Field…and the Cowboys are looking as good as they did in 2007 when they had home field advantage only to be upset by the NY Giants.  But this is a sadder and wiser Tony Romo–and without the bye there’s no time to visit Cancun or Cabo.  Philadelphia’s victory over the Giants means the Eagles miss the playoffs at 10-6…which is slightly better than missing the playoffs after blowing a 9-3 start by losing four straight games.  Prepare for an offseason of complaining by Eagles fans that they’re 10-6 record is far superior to Carolina’s 7-8-1…7th place in the NFC is far from heavenly.  The NY Giants finish 11th in the conference thanks to their wins over Atlanta and St. Louis.  As for the Burgundy and Gold?  Fifteenth in the conference but two full games better than Tampa Bay.  So there’s that…

 

North By North West– the AFC North takes the best division of the year honors with a 38-25-1 mark while the NFC West came in second at 37-27;  the NFC North takes third at 35-29.  The NFC East?  In sixth at 32-32…comfortably ahead (who wasn’t) of the AFC South (25-39) and its NFC counterpart (a legendarily bad 22-41-1).  Which means nothing…

 

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