Redskins' pass rush struggling in money time

Redskins' pass rush struggling in money time
November 9, 2013, 11:30 am
Share This Post

Redskins have a 'very outside' chance after loss

The Redskins are doing a better job of getting to the quarterback so far this year than they did through nine games in 2012. A year ago they had 14 sacks after their ninth game and so far this year they have 21.

While the improvement should be noted, the Redskins are still having issues getting up sacks late in games when they are in the lead. Going into the year it was hoped that with both Ryan Kerrigan and Brian Orakpo in the lineup they could help preserved second-half leads by pinning their ears back and taking off after the other quarterback.

But it hasn’t worked out that way. Since their Week 3 game against the Lions, the Redskins have held a second-half lead in every game except the one in Dallas. But all year long they have only six sacks while leading in the second half.

That’s not much of a performance but it’s even less impressive when you take a closer look. Of those six sacks, four came in one game, the one against Matt Flynn and the Oakland Raiders.

Other than that, we have Rob Jackson’s sack of Philip Rivers at the line of scrimmage in the fourth quarter against the Chargers and Barry Cofield and Ryan Kerrigan splitting a sack of Josh McCown on the very last play of the Redskins’ win over the Bears. That is the extent of the Redskins’ lead preservation via the quarterback sack.

A sack or two of Christian Ponder would have helped a great deal while the Vikings were in the process of driving to two third-quarter touchdowns to turn a 27-14 deficit into a 28-27 lead. When they did get pressure on Ponder he was able to scramble away from it and produce some big plays in the process.

Mike Shanahan seemed to be frustrated with team’s inability to close out games with pass pressure.

“That’s what we’re working on,” he said at his news conference on Friday. “If we were satisfied ,we would have won those games in the second half. So that’s what we’re talking about.”

Had they been able to sack Ponder in the second half, or one of Matt Cassel while the Vikings were driving to extend their lead with two fourth-quarter field goals, we might be talking about an entirely different outlook for the rest of the Redskins season.