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Need to Know: Are the Redskins abandoning the run?

Need to Know: Are the Redskins abandoning the run?

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, November 17, the day the Washington Redskins play the Philadelphia Eagles.

Second-half running off slightly

Are the Redskins abandoning the run?

That seems to be a popular theme among the team’s fans and on talk radio. But such impressions seem to be based on play calls in some very narrow circumstances such as the fourth-quarter series of three passes that were called after the Broncos tied the October 27 game at 21. Let’s take a broader look at the Redskins’ second-half running game.

We’re going to compare two sets of games here. The one from last year covers the last seven games, the season-ending winning streak that pushed the team into the playoffs. In theory, that stretch of games should have set the blueprint for this year, showing the way that this offense can be successful.

The other set of games is composed of the 2013 season minus the first two games. The games against the Eagles and Packers got away from the Redskins very quickly and the rushing game was not much of a factor. The Redskins’ record in these games is 3-4.

In the last seven games of last year, the Redskins rushed 235 times for 1,214 yards. That’s an average of 5.2 yards per carry and 173 yards per game.

In games 3-9 this year they have run the ball 233 times, just two fewer attempts than they had to close out 2012. They have been slightly less effective, gaining 1,182 yards, 5.1 per carry. But, overall, we’re looking at a difference of less than three percent over seven games, not very significant.

But where you do see a difference is that they are running less after halftime. In the second halves and overtime last year the Redskins ran 142 times for 754 yards (5.3 per carry). This year they have 121 attempts for 643 yards (5.3 yards/carry). The difference of about three carries and 16 yards per game. That’s not huge but it’s significant.

In the seven game’s we’re looking at from this year, the Redskins have trailed at some point in the second half in all of them, so there might be some good reasons to throw the ball rather than run it.

While most of the seven games to close out last year were competitive late, the Redskins only trailed in the second half against the Giants and Ravens.

The Redskins hope to be running out the clock late in today’s game against the Eagles.

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Timeline

—Days until: Monday night 49ers @ Redskins 8; Giants @ Redskins 14; Chiefs @ Redskins 21

—Today’s schedule: Redskins @ Eagles 1 p.m.

In case you missed it

Sunday 11.10

Monday 11.11

Tuesday 11.12

Wednesday 11.13

Thursday 11.14

Friday 11.15

Saturday 11.16

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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.

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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.

[RELATED: Redskins stat breakdown: What worked and what didn't against Arizona]

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.