Following the Sunday-night loss to the New York Giants, it’s back to the drawing board for Mike Shanahan and the Washington Redskins, who have now lost four consecutive games. After getting off to a 14-0 lead, Eli Manning and the Giants rallied to outscore the Redskins 24-3 for the remainder of the game.
Washington struggled to convert on third down, successfully sustaining drives on just 31 percent of opportunities (stats via Espn.com).
Several areas of weakness were exposed for Washington, not the least of which was the egregious play of the offensive line.
After the game, left guard Kory Lichtensteiger alluded to the offensive line’s inefficiency—according to The Washington Times reporter Brian Mcnally on Twitter:
#Redskins OL Kory Lichtensteiger: "It’s not just flukes why we’re losing. We haven’t come out and performed like we need to."— Brian McNally (@bmcnally14) December 2, 2013
The Redskins will look to make the offensive line a priority in the coming NFL draft in an effort to improve pass protection.
Equally concerning was the inability to establish the running game. Aside from Griffin’s season-high 88 rushing yards, running back Alfred Morris had a rough night—rushing for just 24 yards on 11 carries.
Robert Griffin III said of his teammate (via Redskins.com):
Teams are going to want to try to take (Morris) away. The (Giants) did a good job of stopping the run.
Despite being an effective complement to Morris over the past couple of weeks, running back Roy Helu Jr. only received four carries in the loss. Washington will likely look to make him a more integral part of the running game going forward.
Though being a key weakness all season to this point, the receivers hauled in 24 passes on 32 targets last night (stat via Espn.com). However, Pierre Garcon coughed the ball up on what turned out to be the Redskins’ final offensive play.
Robert Griffin III said of the receivers (via Redskins.com):
All (of the receivers) are out there fighting hard. That’s all I can ask for right now. We’re sitting here at 3-9 and we’re too good to be a 10-loss football team. Our guys did a lot of good things in the game.
The young receiving corps of the Redskins continues to improve and likely won't be a large area of concern in the future.
Going forward, the remaining four opponents for the Redskins post an overall record of 26-22—two of which are against NFC East rivals the Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants.
Unless they win out, the Redskins will suffer their 13th season with double-digit losses in their long, 82-year franchise history (stat via Pro-Football-Reference.com).
How the season finishes will likely play a large part in the future of head coach Mike Shanahan in Washington.
The Redskins have so many areas to shore up—a task that will become even more cumbersome without a first-round pick in the 2014 NFL draft.
Will Grooms is a student in the B/R sports media program. You can find more of his work at Collegiate Times and follow him on Twitter at w_grooms94.