Antrel Rolle: RG3 takes brutal hits
Here is how the Redskins stand after 12 games (after Week 13 of the NFL season):
Record: 3-9, fourth place in NFC East
vs. NFC East: 0-4
vs. NFC: 1-8
vs. AFC: 2-1
Opposition cumulative record (all games played): 74-68-2 (.556 winning %)
Cumulative of teams beaten: 15-21 (.417)
Cumulative of teams lost to: 59-47-2 (.556)
Record of teams remaining on schedule: 24-24(.500)
Offensive MVP: On a team that is struggling, one good game can vault a player into MVP talk. Robert Griffin III broke a two-game slump against the Giants by completing 24 of 32 passes for 207 yards and a touchdown. He also was the team’s leading rusher with 88 yards on 12 carries. It was hardly a vintage RG3 performance but when a team has scored 42 points in its last three and a half games the bar isn’t set very high.
Defensive MVP: Brian Orakpo isn’t just the ‘Rak of old. He’s better. He now has sacks in four consecutive games; his previous best in his previous 57 career games was sacks in three games in a row. He’s not going to meet his stated preseason goal of becoming the NFL’s defensive player of the year but he is the best defender on this team.
[Related: First look at Redskins vs. Chiefs]
Top three storylines:
Out of it—The Redskins were officially eliminated from a playoff race they were never in after they lost to the Giants. Mike Shanahan said earlier this week that he was going to continue to play the games to win rather than experiment with any younger players in the lineup.
Leaky O-line—Shanahan wants to keep Griffin at quarterback to give him as many reps as possible but that is problematic considering the state of the offensive line. Even though all five starters have played every snap this year they have been falling apart in pass protection, allowing 19 sacks in the last four games. Yes, some of the sacks are not all on the line but regardless you just have to cross your fingers and hope that they can keep Griffin healthy for 16 more quarters.
Takeaways vanishing—The Redskins had 15 takeaways through their first eight games and they scored five defensive touchdowns. In their last four games they have a total of three takeaways and no scores. It’s not a coincidence that they have lost all four of those games
Next three games
Sunday vs. Chiefs (9-3)—The Chiefs have lost three in a row but two of them were to the Broncos, one of the NFL’s elite teams. It appears that the formula for beating them is to have your quarterback get rid of the ball quickly before the pass rush can get to him. Unfortunately for the Redskins, that’s not something that Griffin has done particularly well.
Dec. 15 @ Falcons (3-9)—Atlanta hosted the NFC title game last January and now there are some folks calling for coach Mike Smith to lose his job. That’s ridiculous, of course, but the Redskins should thank the Falcons for keeping them from being the most disappointing team in the NFC this year.
Dec. 22 vs. Cowboys (7-5)—This is probably the Redskins’ only chance to play spoiler in these last four games as the Cowboys should have plenty to play for. This game could be big for Mike Shanahan’s future. A poor performance with the FedEx Field stands loaded with Dallas fans would not bode well for Shanahan’s future.