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Monday six pack: Redskins' Amerson comes through with big plays

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Monday six pack: Redskins' Amerson comes through with big plays

Here are some of my observations from the Washington Redskins’ 30-24 overtime win over the Chargers:

1. Pierre Garçon was good and very valuable last year but we didn’t see the acrobatic, jaw-dropping catches he made in Indianapolis. Now, we have. Last week in Denver he made a lunging, one-handed grab of a Robert Griffin III pass. Against the Chargers he turned in some SportsCenter highlight material and the catches came in critical situations. In the third quarter he batted the ball to himself with his right hand while fighting off cornerback Derek Cox set up the Redskins’ game-tying TD and he reached back to grab an off-target Griffin pass late in the fourth quarter that forced the Chargers to burn a timeout. All seven of Garçon’s receptions were good for 13 yards are more and four of them covered over 25 yards. Six of the seven resulted in first downs (counting the overtime reception for 17 yards on first and 20 that had a personal foul penalty tacked on, getting an automatic first down).

2. The “pound the rock” fans certainly got their wishes fulfilled yesterday with Alfred Morris finally getting his quota of carries with 25 and with Darrel Young scoring three touchdowns. Overall, the play selection was 39 runs and 32 passes. They showed excellent balance in their two third-quarter drives that turned a seven-point halftime deficit into one-touchdown lead early in the fourth. The first one had six runs and three passes with Morris getting four carries for 26 yards. Santana Moss picked up 18 on an option pitch and Young scored the TD from a yard out. They got the ball back with 7:02 left in the third and embarked on an 11-play drive that featured six runs and five passes. Again, Young scored from a yard out.

3. It’s hard to say that the Redskins’ defense had a great day when they gave up a 10-point lead in the last seven minutes of the game but there is no shame in holding the Chargers to 17 points (seven came on the batted end zone interception) and holding Philip Rivers to 63 percent completions (he was near 74 percent on the year coming in). And the goal line stand made up for a lot. It started with David Amerson’s hit on Danny Woodhead, which, as replays showed, knocked the runner out of bounds about half a yard short of the goal line. On first down, London Fletcher and Brandon Meriweather got credit for the stop of Woodhead on the dive play but it was Barry Cofield at the bottom of the pile who clogged things up. DeAngelo Hall was matched one on one with Antonio Gates on second down and Hall’s jam at the line kept Gates from getting out on a fade pattern. When Rivers rolled right on third down, Josh Wilson stuck by Eddie Royal and Amerson locked on to Keenan Allen and Rivers had nowhere to go.

4. It’s always something with the Redskins’ special teams. They were solid in kickoff and punt coverage and did nothing to hurt either themselves or the other team returning. But two blocked field goals loomed large as the Chargers rallied in the fourth quarter. The one on a 59-yard attempt is somewhat understandable as kicks from that distance generally come low off of the kicker’s foot. But a blocked 25-yarder is inexcusable. Shanahan indicated that it might be due to a blocking issue in the middle of the line but he should have more details in his 5:30 press conference after reviewing the film.

5. Griffin was far from perfect yesterday but he was very good in an area he has struggled—third downs. One of the issues in his spectacular rookie season was his inability to convert on the money down. That was not the case yesterday. Griffin passed on nine third down plays. He completed eight of those passes for 100 yards and six first downs. Included were two conversions with eight to go, one with 11 yards to go and one with 12 to go.

6. The goal line tackle of Woodhead wasn’t the only big play that Amerson made in the late going. Earlier in the fourth quarter he got around Allen on a dig route and snared Rivers’ pass to give the Redskins the ball near midfield. It was one of those “I can’t believe he just did that” plays. It set up a field goal that gave the Redskins a 10-point lead. It wasn’t all good for the rookie. Allen, who happens to be a lifelong friend of Amerson, beat the cornerback on a double move a few minutes later to pull the Chargers with three and set up the last-minute dramatics. He’ll learn how to handle double moves but you can’t teach the ball hawking instincts that led to that interception.

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Redskins Stat Breakdown: What worked - and what didn't - against Arizona

Redskins Stat Breakdown: What worked - and what didn't - against Arizona

CSN has teamed up with The Edge Systems to provide the occasional statistical review of Redskins game film. The Edge is analytical football software currently being used by coaches in the NFL, SEC, ACC and the media, providing some of the fastest and best data in football.

Below is a breakdown of the Redskins run game against Arizona - a game coach Jay Gruden admitted did not feature enough carries for Robert Kelley. 

The Redskins had a lot of success with their GAP runs early in the game.

In the first half they were successful on 75 percent of their GAP runs. 

As the game wore on the Redskins moved away from what had been successful and only ran two GAP runs in the second half.

As their power running game vanishing, mirrored their prospects for winning the game.

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!

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State of the Redskins: Playoff chances trending in the wrong direction

State of the Redskins: Playoff chances trending in the wrong direction

Here is where the Redskins stand in Week 14 of the NFL season.

Record: 6-5-1, 3rd in NFC East
vs. NFC East: 2-2
vs. NFC: 4-4
vs. AFC: 2-1-1
Home: 4-2
Away: 2-3-1

Rankings and changes from Week 13

Offense (yards/game): 418.6 (2nd, no change from Week 13)
Defense (yards/game): 369.6 (23rd, +2)
Points for: 303 (10th, -1)
Points against: 295 (20th, -2)

Passer rating offense:  99.8 (8th, -2)
Opp passer rating: 95.0 (22nd, -3)
Yards/rush attempt: 4.5 (5th, no change)
Opp. yards/rush attempt:
 4.6 (29th, +2)
Weighted DVOA (Football Outsiders): 9.8% (10th, no change)
Playoff chances per FO: 41.5%, -14.1% from last week

Trending the right way: Not much, really. Their ranking in rushing defense improved a couple of notches but mostly because other teams got worse, not because the Redskins put the clamps down on the rushing game.

Trending the wrong way: For the first time in a few weeks the Redskins’ playoff chances are below 50 percent. Two straight losses will do that.  

Top three storylines:

Letting them have it—Jay Gruden is usually supportive of his team after a loss but that was not the case following the Cardinals game. He could be heard speaking to the team in angry tones in the locker room following the loss. We will see if this rare tirade jump-starts the Redskins’ stretch run.

Dealing with injury issues—Not only do the Redskins have to be concerned about the condition of Jordan Reed, whose status is unclear as he rehabs from a shoulder injury he suffered on Thanksgiving Day in Dallas, their starting center is in the concussion protocol. If Spencer Long can’t go the Redskins may have to add a center to back up John Sullivan.

Help wanted—The Redskins need other teams to lose if they want to make the playoffs. They need a little help if they win out to finish 10-5-1; they need more help if they finish at 9-6-1. Scoreboard watching starts at 4:25 on Sunday when the Bucs, a half-game ahead of Washington, host the Saints and continues on Sunday night football with the Cowboys at the Giants.

Next three games

Sunday @ Eagles (5-7)—The Redskins handled them well in October; the final score did not indicate how Washington dominated the game. The Eagles look more like a rebuilding team than a playoff contender and the Redskins could elimate them for all practical purposes

December 19 vs. Panthers (4-8)—The season of the defending NFC champs officially came off the rails on Sunday night when Cam Newton started the game on the bench because he didn’t wear a tie and he ended it looking at the wrong end of a 40-7 beatdown by the Seahawks. Still, the Redskins have never beaten Newton so this is not one that will come easily.

Christmas Eve vs. Bears (3-9)—There is no such thing as an easy game in the NFL but if the Redskins can’t manage to win this one they don’t deserve to make the playoffs.