NFL Wire News

Redskins need wakeup call after halftime

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The Sports Xchange

ASHBURN, Va. — The Washington Redskins were ahead at halftime in five of their six games, including Sunday’s contest at the New York Jets.

But their record of 2-4 counting the entirety of those games can be attributed to an inability to wake up after the halftime break. That was once again the case Sunday when the Redskins snoozed as the Jets outscored them 17-0 in the third quarter on the way to a 34-20 victory.

Opponents have outscored the Redskins 46-3 in the third quarter, a stark stat that baffles players and coaches alike and must change when Washington hosts the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday at FedEx Field.

“I don’t know, man, because there’s nothing extraordinary going on in here at halftime,” safety Dashon Goldson said. “Everybody comes in here, they sit down with the coaches, make the corrections we got and we go back out. I just think we got to come out with a mentality of finishing faster.”

Washington has more than held its own in the other quarters. The Redskins have outscored opponents 26-19 in the first and 40-16 in the second. And the fourth quarter and overtime are relatively close at 57-48 for the opposition. But for whatever reason that first-half momentum hasn’t carried over into the third quarter and it’s costing them wins.

“That’s something I’ve got to address,” head coach Jay Gruden said. “We have a plan. At halftime we preview the second-half plays, we talk to the team, they get rested, we show them what happened in the first half, we talk about our plan moving forward, they’re all eager, ready to go. They’re fired up. But we haven’t gotten much success or results in the third quarter.”

In Week 2, St. Louis outscored Washington 10-0 to cut into a deficit. In Week 3, the New York Giants kicked a field goal for the lone points of that third quarter. The Philadelphia Eagles outscored the Redskins 13-3 to start the second half of their Week 4 battle.

The Atlanta Falcons kicked a field goal for the only points in Week 5 and then there were the Jets doing all the scoring in the third quarter Sunday. Take away the third quarters and Washington has a point differential of plus-22.

“We’ve been terrible in the third quarter,” linebacker Ryan Kerrigan said. “The whole team, really – offensively, defensively and on special teams. I don’t know what it is. We come out with good fire. It’s unfortunate.”

REPORT CARD VS. JETS

–PASSING OFFENSE: D. QB Kirk Cousins threw two interceptions, one of them an awful pass into the flat that Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis snagged. That set up the go-ahead touchdown for New York. The Redskins couldn’t find Pierre Garcon in the second half, either. After he caught a 4-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter, Garcon was not targeted at all after halftime. The top targets receiver was running back Chris Thompson (six catches on 10 throws).

–RUSHING OFFENSE: F. This group didn’t have a chance with three starters out injured on the offensive line, including LT Trent Williams and C Kory Lichtensteiger (finger/left shoulder/neck). The Jets are dominant up front and the Redskins’ offensive line couldn’t generate any push. Washington finished with 34 rushing yards on 17 carries.

–PASS DEFENSE: C. Held its own against the Jets, but Brandon Marshall still snagged a ball off the turf and beat Bashaud Breeland for a 35-yard touchdown in the second half that put the game out of reach at 27-13 late in the third quarter. Breeland’s earlier interception did help set up a Washington field goal at the final gun of the first half. But Ryan Fitzpatrick still threw for 253 yards and two touchdown passes.

–RUN DEFENSE: D. This has been a strength all season for the Redskins, but it’s struggled the last two weeks. Chris Ivory finished with 146 rushing yards and New York had 221 total. Ivory had a 54-yard run in part because of a bad angle taken by safety Dashon Goldson. The most frustrating run? Probably Ryan Fitzpatrick’s 18-yard touchdown run right up the middle one play after Cousins threw the interception to Revis.

–SPECIAL TEAMS: B. Is this unit getting better? The Redskins blocked a punt for the first time since 2006. Rashad Ross did struggle on kickoff returns with a couple of questionable decisions and Jamison Crowder had one fair catch and no other punt return chances. But kicker Dustin Hopkins also made both of his field goals, including a 54-yarder.

–COACHING: C. Again, injuries have crippled the Redskins, so it’s hard to judge what the coaching staff could have done differently. They don’t have tight end Jordan Reed on offense or deep threat DeSean Jackson and are missing three of five offensive line starters. Still, Alfred Morris has to get more than 11 touches no matter how good New York’s front is. Running 5-foot-9, 185-pound Chris Thompson at the goal line in the second half made no sense. And while the Jets could afford to blanket Garcon with one of the top corners in the game, he has to have a pass at least thrown his way in the second half.


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