Redskins Cheat Sheet: Week 8 @ Detroit

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Trick or Treating, the Marathon and Recovering from Restoring Sanity probably went to the top of your list for Sunday, and not watching the Redskins/Lions stumblefest in Detroit. That’s why we have the Redskins Cheat Sheet.

One of the jokes last year that came after the Redskins helped the Lions get one of their few wins on the season was the easy crutch policy line: “Oh, of course Washington is bailing out Detroit.” This year, I’m not sure what the excuse was, but boy was it painful to watch the ending of that one. While an NFC playoff spot isn’t ruled out at 4-4 halfway through the season (mainly because I’m convinced that everyone is going 8-8 this year), going into the bye week, there are probably more questions than answers for Shanahan’s maiden voyage.

To help you talk through as yesterday’s loss gets dissected in the office, read on beyond the jump.

Mental Errors: This was one of those games where the box score tells far from the whole story. The 37-25 final just doesn’t tell what and how it all went down. For example, middle of the third quarter, the ‘Skins had stopped the Lions on a third down in the red zone, and Detroit had to trot out its field goal unit to try and settle for three points and carving out some of Washington’s 13-7 lead. It seems like a weird play to call a turning point, but it was pretty clear the Redskins were in their own head come the field goal attempt. Lining up with short yardage to go, the Redskins jumped offsides, giving the Lions a fresh set of plays inside the 10, and an eventual touchdown.

That Crazy Fourth Quarter: The third quarter ended after trading drives and that 14-13 scoreline. In the fourth, the teams would combine for 25 points, four attempted two-point conversions, several turnovers (including a pick by McNabb and a fumble on Rex Grossman’s only snap under center, but more on that in the next point). Never truly getting settled on offense was what kept the Lions in it, and a few crazy bounces and it was just enough that the Lions were able to get that win.

The Donovan Plan B: Another late interception by Donvan McNabb set up Detroit with a short field and a chance to score the go ahead score deep into the fourth quarter. The pick was the sixth for the Washington QB in the last four weeks, and many of them have been seemingly late in the game. McNabb’s certainly getting some heat for his questionable fourth quarter decisions and now the Redskins have let two wins slip away through his late turnovers. Is there a Plan B for McNabb not working out? Is backup Rex Grossman really a reliable decision? Donovan was benched on the last drive, but the play-by-play for that one snap Rex took is as follows: “WAS #8-R. Grossman now in at QB. R.Grossman sacked at WAS 23 for -7 yards (K.Vanden Bosch). FUMBLES (K.Vanden Bosch), RECOVERED by DET-N.Suh at WAS 17. N.Suh for 17 yards, TOUCHDOWN [DETROIT].” Miserable. What will Shanahan do?

The Redskins have the bye next week to try and put the season back together, and, probably more importantly, figure out their offense. There will be no Cheat Sheet next week, and join Tom Bridge for the recap of the November 15th Monday Night Football contest in which the Eagles come to Fed Ex for primetime against the Skins later this month.

Dave Levy is a PR guy by day, a media researcher on the side and a self-proclaimed geek. He blogs often about how traditional media adapts – or tries to adapt – to the growing digital media world at State of the Fourth Estate. You can follow Dave on Twitter for various updates about everything from sports from his previous home in Boston to eccentric and obscure pop culture references. Read why Dave loves D.C.

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