Redskins Cheat Sheet Week 11: @ Tennessee

Photo courtesy of
‘Donovan McNabb, Washington Redskins’
courtesy of ‘the extinction blues’

Some Redskins fans may still be smarting from last Monday, but the team’s season wasn’t officially over: they still had seven games left. The first of the last seven was yesterday afternoon, and in case you missed it or tuned it out in hopes that the ‘Skins would go away, the Redskins Cheat Sheet is here to be your Monday morning guide to another nailbiting Washington win.

The Redskins are up to 5-5 after the win over a now seemingly dysfunctional Tennessee Titans, and the story of not only yesterday’s game, but most of the season, is all in the numbers. As a walkthrough guide to yesterday’s game, we are going to arm you with the stats you need to get through the holiday week’s office banter about the ‘Skins. I warn you now, if offensive futility makes you squeamish, you best look away.

Under 20: In all five of the Redskins wins, the team has been victorious without scoring more than 20 points, and the most an opponent has scored in a loss is the 16 the Titans put on the board yesterday. Meanwhile, in every loss, the Skins have given up a minimum of 27 points. The pattern is pretty self-evident here: the offense cannot win a game, but the defense can certainly lose one. Interestingly, most of the point prevention by the defense isn’t coming through stops, but opportunity: the Redskins are in the upper third in the league when it comes to takeaways, and that came up again yesterday with both a fumble recovery and interception by the D.

4 for 6: Kicker Graham Gano connected on his second game winning field goal of the season about halfway through overtime to give the Redskins the walk-off victory in Nashville. But it could have been settled a lot sooner, as Gano left a kick of the same distance short as the clock ran out in regulation, his second miss of the day. Gano has actually had a very significant workload for a kicker this season, and the winner could have been his third OT winner of the year if he connected in the early season game against Houston. Gano carries a 73 percent conversion rate on his 26 field goal attempts on the season, third most attempts for a kicker in the NFL. Here’s where stats get annoying, Gano’s foot has been responsible for 76 points this year between field goals and extra points; McNabb can only take credit for about 60 (10 passing TDs, 0 rushing).

30-50, 1 TD, 1 INT, 376 yards: Say what you want about McNabb’s season, but he’s been scarily consistent. I commented to my brother-in-law last night that Donovan had a very Donovan-esque stat line in yesterday’s game: 1 touchdown, 1 interception, 60% completion and  almost 400 yards. There are several ways to depict offensive struggles, but that’s just one of them: a solid amount of yards and only one trip to the end zone. McNabb wasn’t aided greatly by his running backs (Portis and Williams combined for 100 yards), and, ultimately, if the Redskins want to make things interesting in the NFC East over these next six weeks, they better find some balanced offense instead of settling for field goals.

Next week, Brett Favre and the Minnesota Vikings come to FedEx Field. We’ll be back with another cheat sheet on Monday as long as Favre doesn’t get our cell phone number.

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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