The Redskins found out the hard way that sometimes knocking out the starter isn’t the answer to beating a team. Where Adrian Peterson is an athletic stud who can slash and dash, Toby Gerhart is more of the ground and pound bowling ball.
For the second consecutive year, Gerhart was the Vikings’ leading rusher against the Redskins, going over 100 yards in the second half alone.
Where quarterback Christian Ponder was a passer with some elusiveness and the ability to run, Joe Webb was a runner who attempted only five second half passes.
Unfortunately, half of them were for touchdowns, and he finished with a perfect 158.3 quarterback passer rating.
When a team loses their top playmakers on offense, it’s usually a disadvantage. But in this case, it cast the Redskins defense into the unknown of facing players they didn’t prepare for. The Redskins’ defense contained Peterson and Ponder in the first half, having good anticipation of the Vikings’ game plan. Once their replacements entered the game, it was a different ball of wax.
“It was disappointing because that wasn’t us out there,” said linebacker Ryan Kerrigan after the game. ”We feel like we have the capability to be one of the top defenses in the league, and to allow 240 rushing yards is disappointing.”
After last week’s win in New York, the Redskins looked to be pushing for a late-season surge. Even today, there were plenty of things to be proud of.
Roy Helu was out for today’s game, but Evan Royster rushed for 132 yards on 19 carries, good for second in the NFL after the 1 p.m. games. This was also the first time in Redskins history that two rookies running backs managed 100-yard games in the same season.
Jabar Gaffney eclipsed 900 yards receiving on the season for the first time in his career, and added another touchdown and “Landover Leap.” He needs only 81 yards to crack 1,000 yards this season, and his next touchdown will be his career-high sixth in a season.
Kicker Graham Gano, who was on the toastiest of hot seats only a month ago, has put the kicking game on ice with his fourth-consecutive perfect game of placekicking. Despite his leg strength, his lack of touchbacks this season looks to be a product of kicking the ball higher for added hang time. All-in-all, this has been quite a rebound for the young kicker.
Because of the Saturday game, the players will now have three days off for the first time since the bye week, with which to rest and recuperate before getting ready for Philadelphia. Despite a disappointing record, the Redskins have played each of their division opponents well this season, and beat the Eagles on the road last year. Given their record on the road and their level of play against division opponents, I wouldn’t discount their ability to play some of their best football next week.
For the last time this season, so long from FedExField, as the Redskins lose a tough one: Minnesota 33, Washington 26.
Tags: 2011 season, evan royster, fourth quarter, graham gano, Jabar Gaffney, minnesota vikings, roy helu, ryan kerrigan, washington redskins
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Much like last week, the Redskins turned the ball over early, but not because of aggressive play call down the field. Instead, it came via a breakdown in protection that led to a sack-fumble. The defense had a stellar stand, yielding two yard, but the Vikings were already in field goal range.
Vikings kicker Ryan Longwell doesn’t miss those: 3-0.
Running back Evan Royster has been a capable replacement for Roy Helu in the running game, gaining 24 yards on five carries. He looks strong to the hole and fast through it, but he isn’t quite the weapon so far in the passing game. On a downfield pass attempt midway through the quarter, there was some sort of miscommunication between Royster and Rex Grossman. On the play, Grossman went long with the pass and Royster curled back in.
Not sure who misread who, but it was a mistake that didn’t hurt the team. Hopefully that good luck will continue while they work out the kinks–the offense needs these two players to produce.
The Redskins top player in the first quarter was cornerback Josh Wilson, who has been playing out of his mind the last two weeks. Wilson has three tackles in the first quarter, a decent game statistic for him position. He has also stopped, slowed and prevented plays that could have potentially broken for big gainers.
Redskins trailing early with the Viking driving: Washington 0, Minnesota 3.
Tags: 2011 season, evan royster, first quarter, josh wilson, minnesota vikings, rex grossman, roy helu, washington redskins
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In case you haven’t heard the joyous news, the league has created an all new official publication called NFL Magazine. As it describes itself in the first few pages, it is:
“…an all-access magazine that will take fans where no other publication can go. In the coming months, we’ll be taking you inside coaches’ pregame meeting, peeking inside the NFL Command Center, taking a trip down memory lane to see where some of the biggest names in the league got their start and what made them who they are today.”
In the inaugural issue of the league’s new NFL Magazine, the Redskins get some pretty serious props for their work off the gridiron. First we have love for the dynamic backfield duo of Darrel Young and Roy Helu helping out at recent Play60 Events:
Tags: Darrel Young, nfl magazine, play60 event, redskins blog, redskins hogettes, roy helu
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Happy holidays, from Eli Manning, to the Redskins’ defensive backs.
That say it’s better to give than receive, and Manning gave three different Redskins takeaways. When three-quarters of the starting secondary has an interception in the game, it usually bodes well for the team as a whole. The Redskins offense capitalized with 10 points off of those turnovers.
For the fifth-consecutive week, the Redskins went over 300 yards of total offense, including 121 yards on the ground. Although this is the first week in four chances that Helu didn’t crack the century mark, it was the fourth consecutive start for the rookie, and the fourth consecutive week that the team had over 100 yards.
Helu is also proving that he can be a workhorse in the backfield, carrying the ball 20-plus times for the fourth consecutive week, the first time that a Redskins back has done that since Week 5-8 of the 2008 season (via @granthpaulsen). Since he’s been the starter, the team has shown a renewed commitment to the run, something that we haven’t seen since Tim Hightower’s success early in the season.
Altogether, there were more than 78,000 Giants faithful here at kickoff, with a very sparse sprinkling of Redskins fans. The trickle of fans into the parking lot started at the beginning of the fourth quarter and turned into a flood with seven minutes to go. In the waning moments of the fourth quarter, there were fewer than 10,000 fans remaining, most of them frozen to their seats or jumping around in jubilation.
This game was a opportunity for a Giants’ statement game, a chance to avenge a Week 1 loss and keep pace with the Cowboys for the division crown. Instead, it was the Redskins that made the statement, putting an exclamation point on the Week 1 victory. After a dismal middle of their season, the Redskins have clearly embraced the role of road warrior and spoiler down the stretch.
After the Week 1 victory, Giants safety Antrel Rolle stated that the Giants would beat the Redskins “95 times out of 100.” Earlier this week, he reiterated his theory, upping his ante to 99 times out of 100.
Good thing he covered himself and didn’t guarantee 100 out of 100, because then he would have been wrong. By giving the Redskins a 1 percent chance of victory, he saved himself from looking foolish on gameday.
There are a number of reasons why the Redskins lost six-straight earlier this season–some which are more obvious, and some which we will never know. But this team has had a different mentality over the last five weeks, finally rolling on all cylinders with the roster that they have available.
There have been growing pains and disappointments, but this is a team with talent and a team with heart. Showing up today and battling for the win was well-deserved and a job well-done.
That’s all from East Rutherford, as the Redskins come away with the win: Washington 23, New York Giants, 10.
Tags: 2011 season, fourth quarter, new york giants, roy helu, tim hightower, washington redskins
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This morning started off with an unexpected twist, as the team hotel’s fire alarm started going off just as people piled out of bed and into the shower. It also turned out to be one of the most polite fire alarms I had ever heard, first suggesting that the alarm had been triggered, and then that I might want to consider leaving.
I obliged, but only because the automated man was calm and asked so nicely.
For most of the team, this is the first trip to this stadium, and everyone’s first visit to the newly-coined MetLife naming rights. Given that the Giants don’t really have a mascot, per se, Snoopy will be the most recognizable mascot-esque feature at the game today.
I’m not sure what Snoopy has to do with the Giants, but then again, I’m not really sure what he has to do with life insurance either. I’m sure it all makes sense.
An interesting feature of the stadium is that it’s a behemoth structure that is very tall. Seems like an obvious statement, but the end result could spell shadow concerns for gametime. As we speak, the sun is still rising and the shadows stretch nearly to midfield: Read more »
Tags: 2011 season, MetLife stadium, new york giants, roy helu, washington redskins
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While we already have early impressions, it will be about three or four years before analysts are able to fully gauge the Redskins’ 2011 rookie class. Here are the facts for this group so far:
- 11-of-13 rookies have played.
- Six have started for the team this season.
- They’ve accounted for 1,141 yards of the team’s 4,553 total offense.
- They’ve accounted for three of the teams 23 touchdowns, including the only score on defense.
- They’ve also scored the team’s only two-point conversion.
- They’ve account for 88 of the team’s 977 tackles, 10 for a loss.
- They’ve account for 8.5 of the team’s 34 sacks.
On special teams:
- They’ve account for 14 tackles, a forced fumble, one return, and a kicked down inside the 20.
From this laundry list, it’s fair to say that they’ve performed well with their opportunities this season, experience that will inevitably jump-start their development down the road.
Early bright spots as far as individuals, have been running back Roy Helu and outside linebacker Ryan Kerrigan. When discussing Kerrigan, teammates London Fletcher paid the pair a high compliment about their preparation. Read more »
Tags: 2011 season, evan royster, london fletcher, Rookies, roy helu, ryan kerrigan, washington redskins
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With a 126-yard performance on the ground Sunday, Redskins running back Roy Helu served notice that he’s here to stay on offense. It was his third-consecutive 100-yard game, which has been well-publicized as a franchise first for a rookie, a draft-class high, and the first of any Redskins back since Portis went five-straight in 2008.
But after the game, Roy wouldn’t hear the praise. He attributed his success to his teammates, his line–even his backup Evan Royster. The only thing that he would take credit for was his preparation during the week and film study–everything else was deferred to others.
Here were a few of his answers:
On continued success: ”The offensive line played their butts off. All credit to them.”
On going three straight: “It’s pretty cool. All credit to the linemen, they did pretty great…Honestly, today I felt like it was a gift from the offensive line, and DY played his tail off.”
On the confidence Shanahan has in rookies: “I’m impressed with Coach Shanahan’s confidence in us. I think a lot of us had experience going into the game. I think Evan Royster did a good job doing that as well.”
For some well-deserved appreciation, we turn to Helu’s head coach, who addressed his contributions on offense, yesterday. Read more »
Tags: 2011 season, evan royster, mike shanahan, roy helu, running back, washington redskins
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Last week, offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan saw something in the Patriots’ defense that caused him believe they were susceptible to a trick play. The quarterback would take the snap, hand it off to the running back, who would run to the right side of the field. He would then flip it to the receiver, who would run an option to the left and either keep it or throw it.
All he needed was a speedy, left-handed receiver that could get the ball downfield.
And that’s pretty much exactly what it was supposed to look like.
“We practiced it a couple of times this week–probably four or five times,” Banks said after the game. ”They played around with me throwing it, but it was a joke at first. This week it was kinda serious though, obviously.” Read more »
Tags: 2011 season, brandon banks, Brian Orakpo, kyle shanahan, mike shanahan, rex grossman, roy helu, washington redskins
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The last time that the Redskins clashed with the Patriots was in 2007 under mildy New England skies.
Quarterback Jason Campbell threw a touchdown and an interception, in addition to fumbling the ball three times on three sacks. The Redskins rushing attack managed only 47 yards on the ground, while the defense yielded 486 total yards to the Pats’ fabled offense.
Fans who watched it all the way through managed to see the Redskins tack on a touchdown onto the scoring parade, with the game mercifully ending at 52-7.
The scary thing is that some people expected that to happen again, yesterday–or worse. But the Redskins showed up in a big way.
This season has been defined by progress. When the team came out of training camp with 25 players with less than three years experience, it was considered a sign of progress towards a much-needed influx of youth. When the team started out 3-1, it was seen as progress towards competitiveness. When the team lost six-straight, but kept fighting and didn’t fracture emotionally, it was considered progress in character.
And when the Redskins showed up yesterday, they proved that they have the heart to show up ready to play. Last week’s late loss to the Jets could have deflated this group, but they rose to the occasion. Injuries and suspensions have utterly decimated a Redskins’ offense that nearly out-dueled the NFL’s No. 2 offense. The defense picked off Tom Brady, who hadn’t thrown an interception since Week 9.
Even in a loss, yesterday was a fine example of progress, as the Redskins played perhaps their best game all season. Yesterday, the Redskins showed that their progress is paying off, and that there’s a lot to look forward to, both immediately and in the future.
Special kudos for yesterday’s game go out to the following players:
On Offense: Roy Helu
Who else? This young man is showing the vast potential of mid-round backs in the Shanahan system, putting up three-consecutive 100-yard games with his 126 yards yesterday. With yesterday’s performance, he is:
- The first rookie running back to accomplish this feat in franchise history.
- The first of his 2011 rookie draft class to do so.
- The first Redskins running back since Clinton Portis went five-straight in 2008.
- The first 100-yard rusher against the Patriots this season.
Even though he didn’t get his first career start until Week 8 against San Francisco, Helu has already accomplished multiple feats never seen before in this organization. That’s not just noteworthy, that’s downright impressive.
On Defense: Barry Cofield
Cofield will never get the credit that he deserves as the 3-4 nose tackle in Washington, but fortunately, he doesn’t seem to mind. He finished yesterday with five tackles, putting him at 55 on the season. He added in a half-sack of Brady, and was credited with his league leading (among nose tackle) ninth pass defensed.
On Special Teams: Brandon Banks
Admittedly, this recognition goes for his overall performance, not just what he was able to do on special teams. Banks got all of his work on kickoff returns yesterday, managing 117 total return yards. But when you combine that with his 49-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter–now we’re talking. Notes on that pass:
- Was the first by a Redskins receiver since Oct. 5, 2008, when Antwaan Randle El threw an 18-yard touchdown pass to tight end Chris Cooley at Philadelphia.
- The longest by a non-quarterback in Redskins’ history, beating the previous long of 48, set on a Randle El pass to Moss vs. the New York Giants on Dec. 30, 2006.
- It was the first of Banks’ career. He did not attempt a pass in college during his time at either Kansas State or Bakersfield College (Calif.).
- The touchdown reception was the 35th of Moss’ tenure with the Redskins, tying him with Ricky Sanders for seventh-most in team history.
Here are the rest of your random assortment of game notes: Read more »
Tags: 2011 season, barry cofield, brandon banks, David Anderson, Donte Stallworth, evan royster, Jabar Gaffney, josh wilson, new england patriots, rex grossman, roy helu, Santana Moss, sav rocca, stephen bowen, washington redskins, Willie smith
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With only two minutes left in the game, it looked like the Redskins were destined to capitalize on a defensive takeaway and drive the length of the field. Here were my exact thoughts at the 2-minute warning:
In the classic kiss-of-death scenario, the CBS crew flashed the Tom Brady stats that he hadn’t thrown an interception in 200 consecutive passing opportunities, good for best in the league.
Thank you, CBS statisticians.
Two plays later, Redskins cornerback Josh Wilson ended that streak, plucking the ball away from would-be receiver Tiquan Underwood in the back of the end zone. This follows in a long tradition of sports commentators ruining streaks for players, but the Redskins were the beneficiaries today.
In other television news, Brady was shown on the sidelines, trading obscenities with an assistant coach. Brady remained seated on the bench, but the assistant had to be restrained by other players, including Underwood and Bill Belichick. Whatever soap opera is being played out on the Patriots’ sidelines can only be a benefit to the Redskins at this point.
And that seemed like a logical perspective. By getting the takeaway, not only had ample time to march the length of the field, but they had the opportunity to tie or win it without giving Brady another chance with the ball.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be. Santana Moss was flagged for offensive pass interference on a goal line reception, pushing them back to the 15. On third-and-goal from the 10, Moss was hit as he made the reception, jarring the ball loose and causing an awkward hot-potato shovel pass to the safety in coverage.
By losing today, the Redskins ensure a losing season and eliminate themselves from playoff consideration. But for the first time all season, they stood toe-to-toe with a quality opponent. Excluding the two Cowboys games, they haven’t played all that well against bona fide playoff competition.
Ladies and gentlemen, the Patriots are as bona fide as it gets, and they were playing all of their star players. This was a Redskins team lacking both starting tight ends, both starting tackles (three offensive linemen total), and nearly pulling off something that 79 percent of football fans thought to be impossible.
What was the difference between the best team of the 2000s and your Redskins? Today, it was about five yards.
What fans should take solace in, is that this team has proven that they’re headed in the right direction. The guys that head coach Mike Shanahan called “developmental picks” and “guys that projected well,” are now working their way into the lineup and playing competently. Obviously guys like Roy Helu are exceeding simple competency.
The Redskins could have folded today in the first quarter when the score was 14-3 and the Patriots were rolling. This had all of the makings of a blowout, and no one would have been terribly shocked. But instead, they clawed their way back in, literally taking it down to the last minute.
If the youthful core on this roster can stay healthy and continue to develop, they’re going to beat teams like the Patriots and win games like today’s down the road. Unfortunately, it just didn’t quite happen today.
That’s all from FedExField, where the Patriots held on for the win: Washington 27, New England 34.
Tags: 2011 season, fourth quarter, josh wilson, mike shanahan, new england patriots, roy helu, Santana Moss, washington redskins
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