Penchant for penalties proves costly for 'Skins

Penchant for penalties proves costly for 'Skins
December 2, 2013, 1:15 pm
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Shanahan on controversy and missed opportunities

Poorly timed penalties have been a reoccurring issue for the Redskins each of the past two seasons.

On Sunday night, though, the frequency of the flags they incurred proved to be more than a nuisance. It was a major problem.

The Redskins were whistled for eight infractions (to the Giants’ one) in their 24-17 defeat at FedEx Field.

[Related:Flat second half costly to Redskins]

The penalties, which including two for unsportsmanlike conduct, cost them a total of 55 yards. But the timing proved just as damaging, if not more so.

“The penalties are something we have to address,” linebacker Brian Orakpo said. “It’s very disappointing when we continue to get penalties and shoot ourselves in the foot. It’s a big change in field position for them. We need to cut back on them. We have so many guys that play with a lot of heart and passion, but we have to know how to handle it.” 

The Redskins were flagged two times each for false start, delay of game, holding and unsportsmanlike conduct.

Two of the penalties, in fact, came on a single drive early in the third quarter as the Redskins attempted to pull ahead in a 14-14 game. They were moving the ball efficiently and effectively on drive that had started at their own 10-yard line. But the drive stalled after center Will Montgomery and wide receiver Santana Moss were flagged for holding on consecutive plays. Moss then made matters worse by arguing with the official and getting called for unsportsmanlike conduct.

[Related:Redskins abandon Alfred Morris in run game]

“I mean honestly, you know, he called a holding and I just thought it was a B.S. call and I told him it was a B.S. call and he gave me unsportsmanlike conduct,” Moss said. “I guess I got a unsportsmanlike conduct for saying ‘B.S. call.’”

The penalties forced the Redskins to punt. And, fittingly, linebacker Nick Barnett was flagged for a false start on the punt.

The other penalty that attracted a lot of attention after the game was wide receiver Pierre Garçon’s delay of game, which he incurred after kicking a dead ball out of frustration one drive later. There appeared to be a mix-up between Garçon and Robert Griffin III, who threw the ball to the inside when Garçon turned to the outside in the end zone. Garçon was fortunate to have only been penalized five yards for delay rather than 15-yards for unsportsmanlike conduct, which easily could have been justified.

[Related:Griffin puts up numbers but not in the clutch]

Garçon didn’t want to elaborate much about the play (or anything else) after the game except to say, “I don’t know. Kicked the ball. It’s a flag.”

RG3 added: “Yeah, there was a little frustration but it’s all frustration because we want to win football games. He knows he can’t do that. We have to keep our composure out on the field.”

Overall, the Redskins have been better in the penalty department this season. They were the 25th most penalized team in 2012 and started the season near the bottom of the heap before inching up toward the middle of the pack.

But that improved discipline certainly was not on display Sunday night.

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“It’s not a state of mind, but guys are just very passionate about this game,” Orakpo said. “When things aren’t going our way, we tend to get a little more aggressive and intense. That’s all it is. Guys are playing with a lot of passion; we just have to make sure we handle it a little better.”