Washington Redskins 2012: Turnover Margin Is a Key to Winning

John BibbAnalyst IIIDecember 22, 2012

Washington Redskins QB RG3 and Coach Mike Shanahan enjoy a current five-game winning streak which includes six more takeaways than giveaways.
Washington Redskins QB RG3 and Coach Mike Shanahan enjoy a current five-game winning streak which includes six more takeaways than giveaways.Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

The Washington Redskins are a plus-13 in turnover differential this season, ranking them fourth in the NFL through Week 15. 

They're plus-12 in their eight wins and have won the turnover battle in every victory except their Week 13 win over the New York Giants on Monday Night Football. The 'Skins have scored 96 points through 14 games, more than double that of their 43 points off turnovers in the 2011 season.  

For comparison the Philadelphia Eagles and Kansas City Chiefs rank last in the NFL as both teams have 34 turnovers and a paltry 12 takeaways resulting in a minus-22 differential.

The 'Skins have 26 takeaways on the season: 17 interceptions and nine fumble recoveries.   The team is led by linebacker London Fletcher and cornerback DeAngelo Hall in interceptions as each player has four.  Cornerback Josh Wilson is the only defensive player with two fumble recoveries.

The more significant factor in this equation is the number of turnovers the team has committed on offense.  Their 13 turnovers (seven interceptions and six fumbles) ties them with the Houston Texans for the fewest number in the NFL this season.

In taking a closer look at the Redskins turnovers, rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III has thrown 351 passes with just four interceptions.   That is an astounding 88-to-1 attempt-to-interception ratio, and his 1.14 interception percentage would break a 14-year-old NFL rookie record of 1.98 percent held by Charlie Batch. Fellow rookie QB Kirk Cousins accounts for the team's remaining three interceptions.

The seven interceptions by the 'Skins ties them with the San Francisco 49ers and New England Patriots for fewest in the league.

Their six fumbles are divided among running back Alfred Morris with three and RG3 and wide receiver Santana Moss with two apiece.

Although the turnover differential is not indicative of a team's success, it is not a coincidence that two of the three teams ahead of the Redskins in turnover differential are the New England Patriots and Houston Texans.  These two teams are a combined 22-6 and have already clinched their AFC Divisions and playoff berths.

The turnover margin is yet another category the Redskins find themselves among the top teams in for the 2012 season.

Fans of the Redskins should take this with a grain of salt and remain optimistic in the possibility of the 'Skins making their first postseason appearance as well as winning the NFC East division for the first time since 2007.

Statistical information provided by NFL.com.

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