Redskins vs. Chiefs: Live Game Grades and Analysis for Washington

Shae CroninCorrespondent IDecember 8, 2013

LANDOVER, MD - NOVEMBER 25: Head coach Mike Shanahan of the Washington Redskins watches his team warm up before the start of their game against the San Francisco 49ers at FedExField on November 25, 2013 in Landover, Maryland.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images

After a juicy report this morning from ESPN's Dan Graziano regarding Washington Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan preparing to quit last season, the Redskins were embarrassed by the Kansas City Chiefs in freezing temperatures and snow at a deserted FedEx Field. 


Redskins - 10
Chiefs - 45

Washington Redskins Game Grades
Position Unit1st HalfFinal
Passing OffenseDD-
Rushing OffenseD-D-
Rushing DefenseD+D
Passing DefenseD-D
Special TeamsF-F
vs. Chiefs / Week 14

Second-Half Analysis for Washington 

Passing Offense

Anytime your starting quarterback is benched at the start of the fourth quarter with his team trailing 45-10 in front of an empty home stadium, it’s probably safe to say things haven’t gone that well.

Despite poor play however, benching Robert Griffin III wasn’t all about performance. Clearly the weather conditions were risky for a struggling and frustrated quarterback less than a year removed from reconstructive knee surgery, and one could’ve made an argument to pull him from the game earlier than that.

Griffin finished the day with 164 yards on 12-of-26 passing with one touchdown and one interception in what has sadly become a routine outing this season. He was inaccurate aside from one drive late in the second quarter, he didn’t get much help from his offensive line and he continued to struggle with command in the pocket.

Not that it meant much, but backup Kirk Cousins finished the game with 59 yards on 7-of-16 passing. He barked calls at the line and showed better footwork in the pocket, but his accuracy was about on-par with Griffin's.

Rushing Offense

Screaming for more Alfred Morris on Sunday was likely common practice among Redskins fans, but it wasn’t as much about his lack of carries on the day (12) as it was about how ineffective the Redskins were at establishing anything of note on the ground.

Sure, Morris ran with his consistently tough attitude, but Washington’s offensive line was garbage. They lost at the line of scrimmage, they were blown back off the snap and they remain incapable of sustaining a block.

Morris finished the day with 31 yards.

Rushing Defense

Whether it was Jamaal Charles earning comparisons to NFL great Gale Sayers, or Chiefs backup running back Knile Davis having just as much success juking, dinking and scoring, this Redskins defense was embarrassing to watch.

A lot of it had to do with the Redskins and their constant struggle to tackle, but more notable was how uninterested the defense looked throughout the game.

Passing Defense

Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith was also pulled at the start of the fourth quarter on Sunday, but obviously for different reasons.

The Redskins allowed Mr. Game Manager to toss for 137 yards and two scores on 14-of-20 passing. While that may seem pedestrian to most, Smith efficiently carved up the Redskins secondary.

Given the Redskins struggle on defense as whole, Washington’s pass defense and rush defense deserve terrible grades.

Special Teams

Just when you thought you had seen it all on special teams, Keith Burns' unit got absolutely destroyed by Dexter McCluster and the Chiefs.

The Redskins allowed multiple big punt returns to McCluster, including a touchdown, before Sav Rocca started to punt away from him in the fourth quarter. And Quintin Demps’ kickoff return for a score helped demonstrate how bad the Redskins coverage was all game.


After Sunday—given the report and the play—don’t be surprised if Shanahan doesn’t last the rest of the season. Things are messy, egos are flaring, everyone is attempting to cover their own rear ends and, most importantly, the team is playing like garbage.

Of course, without Shanahan, his son Kyle and defensive coordinator Jim Haslett wouldn’t seem to have any future in Washington either.

Sunday’s loss may have been, sadly, the final straw.

Dec 8, 2013; Landover, MD, USA; Kansas City Chiefs strong safety Eric Berry (29) sacks Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III (10) in the second quarter at FedEx Field. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

First-Half Analysis for Washington 

Passing Offense

Weather conditions are obviously far from ideal, but Griffin and the Redskins passing game would be terrible even if it were sunny and warm.

Griffin is sailing passes, staring down receivers and taking sacks by way of poor awareness and a bad offensive line.

Griffin’s interception in the first quarter came as he stared down Pierre Garcon and linebacker Derrick Johnson read his eyes the whole way. It was all too familiar though, as Griffin stared down his receiver (Santana Moss) on the previous play.

Griffin put together a decent drive just before halftime to give the Redskins some points. He scrambled away from the pocket, kept his eyes downfield and found open receivers.

Logan Paulsen probably deserves more credit though, making an awesome catch to pull in the Redskins' lone score.

Rushing Offense

Through one half, Morris has just nine carries. In a game like this, he should have about 20 by now.

Generally we see this Redskins offensive line look a little more effective in the running game than in the passing game, but they’re not getting anything going on either front today. It's difficult to gain decent footing on the field, there’s little drive in the Redskins team and the Chiefs defense (oh, yeah) is pretty good.

The silver lining for the Redskins’ first-half rushing offense is that Morris’ lowly 29 yards put him over 1,000 yards for the season.

Rushing Defense

Jamaal Charles has 13 carries for 55 yards and a score in the first half, seemingly gripping to the turf just fine and finding big holes to gash a bad Redskins defense.

Not only do they seem out of position, but the Redskins appears to have zero interest in trying to stop the Chiefs.

Passing Defense

Like their rushing defense, Washington's passing defense isn't stopping anyone with their coverage. Smith has missed just three passes in two quarters and has tossed a pair of touchdowns to help lead his team to a 31-point lead at halftime.

Snow on the field can make the day a nightmare for defenses because defenders are guessing and reacting. As a result, Jim Haslett appears to favor keeping his secondary back with the receivers in front of them in order to avoid the big play.

Special Teams

This Redskins special teams unit has been terrible all season, but today is clearly the unit’s worst showing of the year.

McCluster has gashed the Redskins on all of his punt returns (and the Redskins continue to punt him the ball), Demps took a kickoff 95 yards to the house to answer the Redskins’ touchdown, Rocca continues to stink and coverage is nonexistent.

More than one third of the Chiefs’ points in the first half have come by way of special teams.


This morning’s report from Dan Graziano of ESPN really put an odd funk on today’s game. Not that Redskins fans had even the slightest belief that the Redskins could win today, but more drama over the relationship between Shanahan and Griffin is cause for continuous concern and speculation.

From the perspective of play-calling—while conceding a game isn’t necessarily respected—the Redskins opting to pass more than run in these weather conditions seems a bit careless.

Defensively, Haslett is calling a cushioned defense in order to avoid giving up the big play and the Redskins front seven remain ineffective.