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RG3: 'Too many mistakes'

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RG3: 'Too many mistakes'

The play of the Redskins and quarterback Robert Griffin III against the Lions was improved from the previous two games. The team was more competitive. There were some signs of hope.

There was, however no victory.

Unlike the previous two games, blowout losses to the Eagles and Packers, the Redskins were in the game at halftime and well into the fourth quarter. Griffin got into rhythm early, made plays with his arms and with his feet and started to resemble the RG3 who won was the rookie of the year in 2012.

Still, Detroit became the first Lions team to come out of Washington with a win. They were 0-21 there before today, a skid that went all the way back to 1939.

“We had too many mistakes a crucial times,” said Griffin. “Of course, the fumble, the interception early in the game.”

Both of the turnovers by Griffin came in Lions territory. The Redskins trailed 14-7 in the second quarter when they mounted a drive from their own 20. On first down from the Detroit 20, Griffin was chased out of the pocket by the Lions’ Willie Young. The defensive end had Griffin’s jersey and was pulling him down when the quarterback fired a pass in the direction of Pierre Garçon, who was tightroping the sideline. But cornerback Chris Houston was right there and he picked off the desperation throw.

“I thought I saw Pierre coming right back towards me on the sideline,” said Griffin. “Then when I watched it on the big screen he had actually stepped out of bounds and the corner behind him kept coming downhill. Another play, you make the play it's a great play, you don't make the play and it's a bad play. And it was a bad play.”

Perhaps the wiser play would have been to throw the ball away or take the sack but instead the drive was killed.

It was Griffin’s fourth interception of the season. All of last year he threw only five.

The lost fumble was perhaps more exasperating. With the game tied at 17 early in the fourth quarter Griffin took off upfield. After a gain of 21 he saw the safeties coming and dove headfirst to the ground. The ball came out after he hit the ground but before anyone contacted him. The Lions recovered the loose ball.

If a quarterback slides feet first, he is down as soon as he hits the ground. But a headfirst slide keeps the play alive until contact is made.

"Knee down, elbow down, that’s the rule. I was trying to declare myself down, avoid the big hit,” said Griffin. “It's the rule. It can be a sucky rule but it's still the NFL rule.”

The Lions answered with a field goal to take a 20-17 lead and there was one more costly miscue by Griffin. After what could have been the play that saved the game, a 57-yard bomb to Aldrick Robinson that was originally called a touchdown before being overturned on replay, Griffin mishandled a snap. He scrambled for it and recovered but the play lost 10 yards. That made it third and 20 and the Redskins punted. Detroit drove 75 yards for the clinching touchdown.

“The one thing you want to make sure doesn't happen in those situations is a negative play,” said Griffin. “And we had a negative play right afterwards.”

Griffin finished the day 32 of 50 passing for 326 yards with no touchdowns and the one interception. It was his third straight game with over 300 yards passing. Given their 0-3 record that is obviously not a formula for success.

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Want to beat the Cardinals? Bring down Carson Palmer

Want to beat the Cardinals? Bring down Carson Palmer

Many considered the Cardinals a Super Bowl contender this season, though the team has not performed to that level so far in 2016. One huge problem for Arizona - protecting quarterback Carson Palmer. 

In its last four games, Arizona has given up 16 sacks on Palmer, including a staggering eight sacks against the Carolina Panthers. In the last two games, Palmer has gone down six times, and both games have been losses. 

With weapons like wideout Larry Fitzgerald and running back David Johnson, Palmer has lots of options to move the ball. That's why Jay Gruden knows how important it is for his front seven to get home.

"It’s going to start with the pass rush," Gruden said. "If Carson [Palmer] has all day to throw and give Larry time to do double moves and stem you inside and vertical and then get back out or break it back across, I don’t care how big you are or how fast you are, it’s going to be hard."

In all six Cardinals losses, Palmer has been sacked at least two times, and in four of the losses, Palmer has gone down at least four times. Beyond the Panthers' eight sacks, the Bills brought down the Cards QB five times, and both the Seahawks and Vikings got to Palmer four times.

While the sack totals stand out, Washington's Preston Smith knows each week is different in the NFL.

"Every game you’re fired up because you feel like it's an opporttunity to get out there and get sacks," Smith said. "You don’t think about what another team did, they’re going to play us different."

Talking on the latest #RedskinsTalk Podcast, Redskins linebacker Trent Murphy acknowledged that the defense knows how beat up the Cardinals' offensive line is. Murphy, who has seven sacks on the season, added that he's 'drooling' for this matchup and the opportunity to take advantage of the Arizona vulnerabilities up front. (Listen to the full podcast below.)

Bruce Arians knows his team is undermanned on the line, and the Arizona offense will be creative to protect Palmer.

"You have to help them," Arians said of his O-line. "You have got to stay balanced and hopefully not get into a situation where it’s a throw, throw, throw game because then you’re putting them in harm’s way and your quarterback in harm’s way."

It doesn't help that in his 14th season, Palmer is probably one of the least mobile quarterbacks in the NFL. After matching up against Aaron Rodgers and Dak Prescott in their last two games, the Redskins defense knows Palmer won't move nearly as much, though that doesn't mean he's neccesarily easier to get down.

"You’re not going against a mobile quarterback but you still got to get to that spot," Smith said. "Carson’s a good quarterback."

Linebacker Mason Foster said that sacks aren't as important as consistent pressure. 

"On a great quarterback like that you want consistent pressure all day long. Make things tough on him, you don’t want a clean pocket," Foster said. "If you have pressure in his face all day and you don’t get no sacks, I think that's a success."

Even at 36, Palmer is still a dangerous quarterback. He's thrown for nearly 3,000 yards this year with a beat-up offensive line and missing one start. But numbers are numbers, and the data shows that if the 'Skins pass rushers can get Palmer to the ground, the chances of a Washington win shoot right up. 

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

 

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Poll: What is your approval rating for Redskins coach Jay Gruden?

Poll: What is your approval rating for Redskins coach Jay Gruden?

As always, hit the poll and then head to the comments section here and talk about your answer, or reply on Twitter.