Washington Redskins: Stats That Matter Headed into Week 16
Regular readers know how deeply we care about numbers here on the B/R NFC East Blog, which is why we try to check in on each of the division's four teams as often as possible from strictly a statistical perspective.
Here's a look at some of the key stats that tell the story of the Washington Redskins' season with two weeks remaining...
6.2: That's how many yards the Redskins are averaging per play this season, which is the highest mark in the NFL. Every time they snap the ball, they're getting more yards on average than the Patriots, Saints, Giants and everybody else in the league.
This isn't surprising when you consider that Robert Griffin III's YPA of 8.4 leads the NFL and that Griffin and Morris have come together to give the team the third-highest yards-per-rush average in the league, but it's still hard to believe how quickly this offense has become dangerous while defining balance.
They're averaging an entire yard per play more than last year, when they finished tied for 17th in the league in this category.
4: That's how many turnovers the Redskins have committed since Week 8, which is the lowest number in the NFL during that span. Only the 49ers have coughed it up five times and only Seattle and Carolina have turned it over six times. The league median during that period of time is three times higher than Washington's total.
Overall, Washington and Houston have given the ball away less often than everyone else in football. This comes one year after the 'Skins gave it away more than all but two other teams in the NFL. They're fourth in the league with a plus-13 turnover ratio after finishing 30th in that category in 2011. And with one more turnover-free game, they'll set a new franchise record with six in one season.
This is this primary reason why a banged-up, young and inexperienced team is somehow leading their division despite not being overly talented. It's an amazing turnaround, and it's not all on Griffin. Keep in mind that they're registering defensive takeaways at a much higher rate, too (their takeaways-per-game average is up from 1.3 to 1.8).
53: That's how many completions of 20 yards or more the Redskins have surrendered defensively this season, which is the fourth-highest total in the NFL. They've also given up 11 40-yard passes, which is only one behind the Giants and Raiders, who lead the league there.
The secondary is getting beat deep more often this year than it was in 2011 (58 and nine in the respective categories), and it's not as though they were much more talented last year. DeAngelo Hall has given up more yards than any cornerback in the league and Josh Wilson is third on that list, per Pro Football Focus.
A big factor is the absence of Brian Orakpo and Adam Carriker up front. The pass rush has taken a hit, with Washington's sack percentage dropping from 7.5 in 2011 (fifth best in the NFL) to 4.3 in 2012 (third worst in the NFL). They've found new ways to dial up manufactured pressure as games have worn on in recent weeks, but this is still a major concern.
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