Washington Redskins Key Stats Tracker: Game 1 (Dallas Cowboys)

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Washington Redskins Key Stats Tracker: Game 1 (Dallas Cowboys)
Larry French/Getty Images

Welcome to the first regular season installment of the 2010 Washington Redskins' Key Stats Tracker.

This is a weekly feature that will run all season, focusing on three specific statistical categories: turnover differential, third-down-efficiency, and red-zone efficiency—plus any specific observations/anomalies that stand out from any given game. 

This week, we look at the Redskins' season-opening 13-7 victory over the Dallas Cowboys.

Not a bad way to start.

KEY STATS TRACKER

Quick Notes:

● Few games will better support the theory that turnovers are the single most important statistic in football.

The Redskins got owned in areas commonly pointed to, like yardage (380-250), time of possession (34:03-25:57), and third down efficiency (38-23%). They scored just six total offensive points on two field goals.

But they won the turnover battle.*

Season record of team forcing more turnovers: 1-0

● One of the lingering mental images I had of this game prior to visiting the stats page was of Dallas seemingly having their way with the Redskins in the running game, on both sides of the ball.

It felt like Dallas ran at will and the Redskins barely crawled. So the final rushing numbers came as a bit of a surprise:

Net Yards Rushing: Dallas 103; Washington 89

Interestingly, and perhaps encouragingly, 43 of the 89 yards the Redskins gained on the ground came in the final, time-consuming (we will reserve "Riggo Drill" for when they finish out a game with it) drive that featured runs of 8, 10, 18, and 7 yards.

1-10-WAS 23 (6:14) 5-D.McNabb pass incomplete short right to 45-M.Sellers
2-10-WAS 23 (6:07) 26-C.Portis right tackle to WAS 31 for 8 yards
3-2-WAS 31 (5:27) (Shotgun) 5-D.McNabb pass short left to 89-S.Moss to WAS 41 for 10 yards
1-10-WAS 41 (4:46) 27-L.Johnson right end to WAS 42 for 1 yard
2-9-WAS 42 (4:11) 5-D.McNabb pass short middle to 47-C.Cooley to DAL 47 for 11 yards
1-10-DAL 47 (3:26) 26-C.Portis right end to DAL 37 for 10 yards (PENALTY on WAS-47-C.Cooley, Phantom Illegal Motion, 5 yards, enforced at DAL 47 - No Play.)
1-15-WAS 48 (3:19) 26-C.Portis up the middle to DAL 34 for 18 yards
1-10-DAL 34 (2:38) 27-L.Johnson left end pushed ob at DAL 33 for 1 yard
2-9-DAL 33 (2:32) 27-L.Johnson right end to DAL 26 for 7 yards
Two-Minute Warning
3-2-DAL 26 (2:00) PENALTY on WAS-71-T.Williams, False Start, 5 yards, enforced at DAL 26 - No Play.
3-7-DAL 31 (2:00) 5-D.McNabb pass incomplete short right to 87-R.Williams.
4-7-DAL 31 (1:56) 4-G.Gano 49 yard field goal is GOOD

That said, the Redskins better hit the ground running a little more effectively going forward; don't be surprised to see the Houston Texans test the Redskins' run defense with a little more resolve this coming Sunday afternoon than the Cowboys did (22 total rushes).

● It feels like it's been a long time since the Redskins were the more disciplined, well-coached team on the field in a big game.

This stat could prove to be a promising indicator of early organizational change under the new regime: 

Penalties (number-yards): Dallas (12-81); Washington (5-42)

Definitely something to track over the coming weeks.

● Here I would normally dazzle you further with similarly insightful statitiscal sleuthery. Not this week.

To at least this one semi-dispassionate observer, the truth of this game could not be clearer.

May the forced turnover be with you.

FORCED TURNOVERS

Redskins: 1
Opponent: 0

Season:

Redskins: 1
Opponent: 0

3rd DOWN EFFICIENCY

Offense:  3-13 (23%)
Defense:  5-13 (38%)

Season:

Offense:  3-13 (23%)
Defense:  5-13 (38%)

RED ZONE (TD) EFFICIENCY

Redskins:  0-2 (0%)
Opponent: 1-3 (33%)

Season:

Redskins:  0-2 (0%)
Opponent: 1-3 (33%)

* Yeah, like I was going to let it go that easy.

Bonus: 

This one is was going to be my own pet peeve and will was going to be tracked, relentlessly and with ever-increasing angst, until it is was broken.

As of this writing Sunday night, with :04 seconds to go in the first half, the last Redskins' defensive touchdown came in October 2007, when they beat the Arizona Cardinals 21-19 at FedEx Field.

Linebacker London Fletcher picked off Kurt Warner and took it to the house in the second quarter, giving the Redskins a 14-0 lead. At least it was epic—be sure to check out his flying leap into the end zone. For those scoring at home, that was the streak lasted 56 games (43 regular season, 12 preseason, 1 playoff).

That, mercifully, is where it ended. The only way it could end, really—with a cathartic, heart-thumping, stand-in-your seat romp up the sideline and celebratory end zone somersault by cornerback DeAngelo Hall to slowly, inexorably, gleefully slip a proverbial jagged-edged knife blade between the exposed ribs of the Dallas Cowboys.

Not to give away my bias or anything.

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