Washington Redskins: 5 Reasons Why Perry Riley Shouldn't Get Blamed for Loss

Josh McCainSenior Writer INovember 30, 2010

As Redskins Nation celebrated watching the Lil' Assassin Brandon Banks run for a punt-return touchdown, a yellow flag dampened our spirits.

At first, many Redskins fans were in disbelief and hoped that somehow the penalty was on the Minnesota Vikings.

It was not. The flag was on rookie linebacker Perry Riley for his second block in the back penalty of the day.

Many of us wanted Riley's head, not because of the penalty, but because of the needlessness of the penalty.

The guy that Riley blocked was already out of the play.  Banks had made a move on him and he wasn't going to catch the tiny speedster.

In spite of Riley's penalty, that wasn't the only cause for the loss.

Reason number one was the Redskins interior defensive line.  It seemed that every time the Vikings ran the ball, they got at least four yards. 

It's a good thing that Adrian Peterson left the game in the first quarter, because he was looking like he was ready to set a career record with the chunks of yards he ripped off on the first drive.

Reason number two was the inability to force turnovers on defense.  The Vikings were minus-13 for the season and Brett Favre seems to gift wrap interceptions, but with the Skins' inability to stop the run and the lack of pressure on Favre, he had all day to make safe throws and protect the ball.

Reason number three was the receivers' drops.

People can talk all they want about quarterback Donovan McNabb not fully grasping the offense, but he looked pretty comfortable in that game.

He had a few balls that should have been first downs that were dropped, most notably one by tight end Chris Cooley near midfield and two by Santana Moss, one that bounced off Moss' shoulder pad and into the waiting arms of a Vikings defender.

All three of those drops would have resulted in first downs, and all three killed their respective drives.

Reason number four is a common one this season, the offensive line.  They started out pretty stellar this week.  For the first quarter and a half, McNabb had a pretty comfortable pocket to throw in.

But early drops and an inconsistent running game soon turned the tide in that department.  If some of those first-down drops turned into catches, the team may have stuck with the running game.

As the game wore on, however, the Skins seemed determined to pass the ball, and the Vikings went after McNabb every play and didn't fear the run at all.

Reason number five was the lack of a running game.  Thirteen attempts for only 29 yards is completely unacceptable.

It would be one thing if the team was down a ton of points like they were against the Eagles but they weren't.

For the most part they were either tied or down no more than 10 at any point in the game.

Sure, their gains weren't lighting the world on fire, but the choice of running plays wasn't that creative either.

With the exception of the two wildcat runs, I believe every attempt was up the middle.

I don't recall seeing any counters, draws, delays or stretch plays to keep the front four of the Vikings guessing.

So every down, the two ends simply went after McNabb because they had no fear of being beaten by a run.

At the very least, if the running game isn't doing much, they could pitch it to Brandon Banks on a sweep or end around to him, Santana Moss or Anthony Armstrong. Maybe they can even try a flea-flicker or shovel pass.

Anything to keep the opposing defensive line honest.

So there you have it, five reasons you can't blame Perry Riley for the loss. 

The team as a whole didn't play well enough to win that game, and if just one of these reasons weren't here that block in the back, though disappointing, wouldn't have had the game hinging on it.

They wouldn't have needed the return to win the game because they probably would have been in the lead already.

For more outside the box thinking about the Redskins, follow me on Twitter (@jomac006).


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