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RG3: 'We're all frustrated'

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RG3: 'We're all frustrated'

Maybe Robert Griffin III and the Redskins have hit rock bottom. Maybe they haven’t. But they sure did look bad in front of a national television audience on Monday night.

Griffin finished 17 of 27 for 127 yards and one interception. His passer rating of 58.7 was the third lowest of his NFL career. He has had worse ratings in two games in the past six weeks.

But at least in those other games Griffin was able to get his team in the end zone. According to ESPN, Griffin had never played a game at Baylor or with the Redskins in which his team’s offense did not score a touchdown. That streak ended at 67 games.

“We’re all frustrated. Everybody is tired of losing,” said Griffin. One thing to take away, one thing that we’re not, we’re not quitters.”

The Redskins mustered just 30 yards of offense and one first down in the entire second half.

“We haven’t been dominated like that since I’ve been here,” said Mike Shanahan.

Griffin didn’t go into much detail about what went wrong. “What am I supposed to do, come up here and talk about how bad we are?" he asked rhetorically.

It’s not as though Griffin got much help. His line provided scant protection as he got sacked four times and was running for his life on many other occasions. That same line couldn’t provide any running room for Alfred Morris, who picked up just 52 yards rushing on 14 carries. And the Washington defense breathed life into struggling 49ers QB Colin Kapernick.

But last year it seemed that Griffin would lift the team over and above whatever wasn’t going right. But on Monday, as in most of the rest of the season, he either was unable to pull his team past the problems or he contributed to them.

Griffin had a rocky first half. The Redskins went three and out on their first three series with Griffin unable to get anything going with the exception of a few runs. Near the end of the first quarter the Redskins got something going until Griffin threw an interception to safety Donte Whitner.

It was one of those mistakes that Griffin never seemed to make as a rookie last year. Defensive end Justin Smith didn’t bite on a play action bootleg. As the defender zeroed in on Griffin, the quarterback threw the ball towards Pierre Garçon around the hash mark. But Whitner was in much better position to make the catch and he made the easy pick.

San Francisco drove for a field goal to take a 10-0 lead. At that point, Griffin was 0-6 passing with the one interception. His passer rating was a perfect 0.00.

But then things turned around for Griffin and the Redskins. Alfred Morris got a drive going on the ground and they moved into the red zone. But the drive fizzled after Griffin threw into the vicinity of two receivers on first down and he couldn’t get off an accurate pass against an all-out blitz on third down. A Kai Forbath field goal cut the lead to 10-3.

Things got going again on the Redskins’ next possession. Santana Moss snagged a low Griffin pass to pick up 18 yards on third and nine. Then Josh Morgan gained another 18 down the sideline.

But this drive died in the red zone as well. Griffin wasted a timeout after Garçon went out of bounds after a catch and then he fumbled while scrambling. That forced them to burn their final timeout. After a completion to Garçon was inbounds and short of the first down, the field goal team scrambled onto the field and Forbath’s 35-yarder made it 10-6 at the half.

As bad as the half was, it was better than the second.

"For us, as players and coaches, you have to believe,” said Griffin.

It’s hard for people on the outside to see much to believe in right now.

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Enemy Intel: Yes, Redskins fans, you need to root for the Cowboys again

Enemy Intel: Yes, Redskins fans, you need to root for the Cowboys again

Here is my weekly Redskins-centric spin around the NFL:

Before we get going, let’s line up the NFL wild card contenders by current seed and their remaining four games.

Giants (8-4): Cowboys, Lions, @Eagles, @Redskins
Bucs (7-5): Saints, @Cowboys, @Saints, Panthers
Redskins (6-5-1): @Eagles, Panthers, @Bears, Giants
Vikings (6-6): @Jaguars, Colts, @Packers, Bears
Packers (6-6): Seahawks, @Bears, Vikings, @Lions
Cardinals (5-6-1): @Dolphins, Saints, @Seahawks, @Rams
Saints (5-7): @Bucs, @Cardinals, Bucs, @Falcons
Eagles (5-7): Redskins, @Ravens, Giants, Cowboys

—The Redskins can knock the Eagles out of any practical chance of making the playoffs with a win on Sunday. An Eagles loss would mean they could finish no better than 8-8 and that is highly unlikely to get it done this year.

—For a second straight week, Redskins fans need to root for Cowboys to win. Or for their opponent to lose. Some wanted to make that distinction last week when Cowboys played the Vikings and the optimal outcome for the Redskins was a Dallas win. However you want to look at it, a Giants loss to Dallas could move the Redskins to within a half game of the No. 5 seed.

MORE REDSKINS: Assessing the four remainig opponents

—There should be no hesitation about pulling for the Saints to beat the Bucs. A Washington win and a Tampa Bay loss puts the Redskins back into playoff position with the No. 6 seed. The Bucs are 2.5-point favorites at home. They are the hot team, coming in with four straight wins while New Orleans has lost three of four. The Saints are on the fringe of contention but Redskins fans need to pull for the teams ahead of Washington in the standings.

—The Redskins can’t look for much help when it comes to the team immediately behind them in the standings. The Vikings visit the Jaguars, who are locked in to yet another season of double-digit losses. You might be tempted to look for the home underdog to put up a fight and they might. But Blake Bortles has thrown three pick sixes this year and the Vikings have returned two interceptions for TDs this year. Look for such a play to be decisive and for the Vikings to remain tight with Washington in the standings.

—The other team a half game behind the Redskins is the Packers. They host the Seahawks in what could be very snowy conditions in Green Bay. Seattle is a three-point favorite but if the weather gets crazy anything could happen. Redskins fans need to root for the Seahawks, for obvious reasons.

RELATED: Three Redskins out on Sunday, Reed questionable

—The Cardinals creeped back into contention with their win over the Redskins. That win and the fact that they have a tie on their ledger means that the Redskins do not want to finish with the same record as Arizona. This is one of the few situations where a tiebreaker would matter. It’s an easy call to pull for them to fall to the AFC Dolphins.

—I went 2-1 last week, winning with the Patriots over the Rams and the Seahawks over the Panthers. I have four NFL picks this week, all of them road favorites: the Redskins -1 on the road over the Eagles, the Cowboys -3 at the Giants, the Falcons -6 over the Rams in L.A., and the Seahawks giving three to the Packers.

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Need to Know: Assessing the Redskins' four remaining opponents

Need to Know: Assessing the Redskins' four remaining opponents

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, December 10, one day before the Washington Redskins play the Philadelphia Eagles.

Timeline

Today's schedule: No media availability

Days until: Panthers @ Redskins 9; Redskins @ Bears Christmas Eve 14; Giants @ Redskins, New Year’s Day 22

Injuries of note:
Out:
G Long (concussion), S Blackmon (concussion), DE Lanier
Limited: TE Reed (shoulder), G Scherff (ankle), DE Jean Francois (knee/foot), DE Baker (ankle), G Shawn Lauvao (groin)
Final injury report

Around Redskins Park

The Redskins have four games remaining on their schedule. Three wins would give them a record of 9-6-1 and a very good shot at the playoffs. Four will almost certainly get them a ticket to keep playing; two wins or fewer will have them needing a whole lot of help to make the postseason

Let’s take a look at the Redskins’ remaining four opponents and revisit the confidence level on the Redskins’ chances of beating each one of them. (I first did this exercise a few weeks ago).

@Eagles, 5-7, weighted DVOA via Football Outsiders, 15.3% (ranked 5th)
The Eagles looked like playoff contenders for about half of the season but they have taken a tumble back to earth, losing five of their last six. Right now the Redskins are the better team, although their long injury list is an area for concern. The Eagles appear to be in some degree of disarray after their coach accused some unnamed players of giving less than full effort. Confidence that the Redskins will win: High

Panthers, 4-8, DVOA -7.5% (25th)
They won’t be able to defend their NFC championship much longer. By the time this game comes around they could be either eliminated or on the verge of being mathematically out of the playoffs. Their problems are numerous including big issues at cornerback (too bad they didn’t have a guy who could have helped franchise tagged) and an offensive line that has been injury-wracked all year. Still, Cam Newton is a scary quarterback and he still has tight end Greg Olsen and receivers Kelvin Benjamin and Ted Ginn Jr. If the Redskins get into a shootout they could be in trouble. Confidence: Moderately high

@Bears, 3-9, DVOA -3.0%, (24th)
Matt Barkley is the Bears’ third starting QB this season and in most statistical categories he’s the worst of the three. The Bears have been hit by injuries as hard as any NFL team with multiple starters on injured reserve. They probably would have struggled even with those players healthy; without them they are one of the five worst teams in the NFL. The one thing to beware of is the late December weather in Chicago, which could randomize the outcome to an extent. Confidence: Very high

Giants, 8-4, DVOA 5.0%, (12th)
The new players on the Giants’ defense were just starting to gel when end Jason Pierre-Paul’s season ended after sports hernia surgery. Their defense, with the No. 7 DVOA (-9.6%), won’t collapse but it won’t be as strong. Eli Manning’s stats are down a tick from last year but as long as he has Odell Beckham to throw to the Giants won’t be totally stymied on offense. This one is hard to get a good feel for this far out, not knowing what might be at stake for either team. Confidence: Moderate

For comparison purposes, the 6-5-1 Redskins have a DVOA of 9.8% (10th)

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