Redskins vs. Chargers: Final Grades and Analysis for Washington

Shae Cronin@@BetBigDCCorrespondent INovember 3, 2013

LANDOVER, MD - NOVEMBER 03:  Alfred Morris #46 of the Washington Redskins rushes for a second quarter touchdown whilie being tackled by  Eric Weddle #32 of the San Diego Chargers at FedExField on November 3, 2013 in Landover, Maryland.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images

Thanks to some questionable play-calling by the San Diego Chargers to end the game, the Washington Redskins defended home turf in overtime and improved to 3-5 on the season. 


Redskins: 30
Chargers: 24

Washington Redskins Grades
Position Unit1st Half GradeFinal Grade
Pass OffenseC+B+
Run OffenseBA
Run DefenseBA
Pass DefenseC+B-
Special TeamsFC-
vs. Bears / Week 9

Game Analysis for the Washington Redskins

Pass Offense: Despite not throwing for a score in the game, Robert Griffin III regained command of his throws against the Chargers today. He still isn’t stepping up in the pocket or feeling out the pressure as well as he could, but his accuracy and velocity were there today...for the most part.

Having targets like Jordan Reed and Pierre Garcon (who had three incredible catches today) also helped things.

Right tackle Tyler Polumbus didn’t have a good game, constantly giving up pressure and helping to contribute to the Redskins’ four deflected passes at the line. Polumbus also struggled in run support, where he was asked to stretch or get outside.

But it’s not just Polumbus, of course. There’s no doubt this Washington offensive line isn’t very good. Against the Chargers, however, they weren’t at the worst level we’ve seen from them. No sacks in the game is a good thing.

Garcon finished with seven catches for 172 yards; Reed finished with four catches for 37 yards; Leonard Hankerson finished with five catches for 55 yards and Griffin threw for 291 yards on 23-of-32 passing with one pick.

Run Offense: Alfred Morris was the hardest runner on offense today, but fullback Darrel Young cashed in with three goal-line scores.

Although the offensive line seemed to improve in the second half, the Redskins rushing attack's success in this game is thanks to Morris. He was a bruiser against the Chargers, reminding everyone of his 2012 campaign.

Morris finished with 121 yards on 25 carries and a touchdown.

Run Defense: The Redskins can’t contain quick running backs when it comes to the short pass and dump-off, but in terms of limiting the rush itself, the Redskins are solid. They held Ryan Mathews and Danny Woodhead to fewer than 60 yards in Sunday’s win.

Pass Defense: A lack of pass rush didn’t make it an easy day for the Redskins secondary. Although coverage wasn’t nearly as tight as we’ve seen in weeks past, they were asked to keep up in extended plays, and the linebackers are extremely limited when asked to contain speedy running backs like Danny Woodhead.

The Redskins secondary deserves credit for tough coverage in the red zone at the end of regulation. The Chargers and their absurd play-calling helped the Redskins, but DeAngelo Hall was stout in San Diego’s attempted fade toss to Antonio Gates on 2nd-and-goal.

Special Teams: It was a treacherous first half for the special teams unit, but things fortunately improved in the second. Kai Forbath was finally able to get a field goal off, giving the Redskins a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter.

We also saw much better coverage in the second half and Santana Moss giving it a go on a kickoff return. Let’s hope both of those things continue.

Coaching: It’ll be interesting to see how people pick apart Kyle Shanahan on the airwaves tomorrow morning. Alfred Morris finished with 25 carries, which would seem to satisfy the people that scream for better balance on offense, and Kyle's play selection in overtime was very good. 

The Redskins couldn’t find a way to bring down Philip Rivers today, who was seemingly lathered in grease. Although congestion flooded him from the pocket, the Redskins only recorded one sack. There has to be a more creative way to get after the quarterback and Jim Haslett should hear about it.

Additionally, the relaxed coverage (perhaps a result of no pass rush) to end the game was also beyond frustrating and nearly cost the Redskins the game. Special thanks to the Chargers coaches for incompetent play-calling in the red zone with a chance to win the game.

LANDOVER, MD - NOVEMBER 03:  Quarterback Robert Griffin III #10 of the Washington Redskins throws a pass in the first quarter against the San Diego Chargers during an NFL game at FedExField on November 3, 2013 in Landover, Maryland.  (Photo by Patrick McD
Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

First-Half Analysis for the Washington Redskins

Pass Offense: Robert Griffin III looked sharp on the Redskins’ first long drive of the game, throwing darts for passes with good accuracy and strength. Problems remain, however, with Griffin opting not to climb the pocket and get a better command of his throw.

Griffin’s interception turned into the Chargers’ first points of the half, but it came when the Redskins were backed up in their own end zone and right tackle Tyler Polumbus gave up too much at the line, causing a tipped pass that stayed in the air entirely too long.

In fact, Griffin had three tipped (and dangerous) passes at the line of scrimmage in the first half—a combination of the Chargers defensive line getting too far into the Redskins blockers, and Griffin's somewhat low trajectory.

Run Offense: The offensive line got off to a slow start with their run blocking, but improved closer to halftime. Alfred Morris continues to run hard, breaking off good gains here and there and plowing in for a second-quarter score.

The Redskins run game is an essential ingredient for success on offense. If it doesn’t work, neither does the play-action nor the pass. For now, Morris and the Redskins are keeping the Chargers defense honest.

Run Defense: Aside from a few frustrating missed tackles in the backfield and a spurt run on one or two carries, the Redskins defense has done a good job of containing the Chargers rushing attack, limiting San Diego to fewer than 60 yards through one half.

Pass Defense: The Redskins were able to take advantage of a miscommunication between Philip Rivers and his receiver, as E.J. Biggers came up with an interception that eventually led to the Redskins’ lone touchdown of the half.

For two quarters, Brian Orakpo has been swallowed up by Chargers LT King Dunlap, and the Redskins pass rush has yet to bring down Rivers for a loss. Instead, Rivers has been able to escape congestion in the pocket and complete successful passes.

Special Teams: “Leave it to special teams.” That’s become a typical tagline for the Redskins this season. This time, it was the field-goal attempt to cap a nine-minute, 16-play, 93-yard drive by the Redskins that was blocked and resulting in no points.

And then another blocked 59-yard attempt to end the half. Awesome.

Additionally, the Chargers have been able to pin the Redskins at their own 1-yard line twice in one half.

Coaching: People will praise Kyle Shanahan for sticking with the run through the first half, but they’ll hate him for his play call on the Redskins’ 93-yard drive near the end zone. Personally, I like both.

And was Kyle Shanahan’s play-calling to end the half dangerous? Sure it was. But the Redskins were trailing by seven, they had three timeouts and, oh yeah, it moved the ball and gave the Redskins a chance at some points. They're 2-5, people.

Defensive coordinator Jim Haslett needs to get creative in the second half and throw Rivers off at the line. He needs to find ways to get his best pass rushers on the field at one time and let them try their hand against this Chargers offensive line.


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