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State of the Redskins, Week 6—Second-half shutdowns key to winning streak

State of the Redskins, Week 6—Second-half shutdowns key to winning streak

Here is where the Redskins stand in Week 6 of the NFL season.

Record: 3-2 3rd in NFC East
vs. NFC East: 1-1
vs. NFC: 1-1
vs. AFC: 2-1
Home: 1-2
Away: 2-0

Rankings and changes from Week 5 (through Sunday’s games)

Offense (yards/game): 366.0 (11th, -3 from last week)
Defense (yards/game): 392.0 (27th, +2)
Points for: 115 (16th, -4)
Points against: 122 (19th, +7)
Passer rating offense:  91.1 (18th, -2)
Opp passer rating: 91.0 (17th, +6)
Yards/rush attempt: 4.1 (15th, -8)
Opp. yards/rush attempt:
 5.1 (32nd, -1)
Weighted DVOA through Week 5 (Football Outsiders): 4.1% (12th, +2)

Trending the right way: The Redskins improved from 26th to 19th in points allowed at 24.4 per game. That is close to where they were last year when they were 17th at 23.7 allowed per game.

Trending the wrong way: The rushing defense is not getting any better. The Redskins dropped to last in yards per carry against them at 5.1 allowed per attempt. No other team has allowed even 5 per carry. While we're on the topic, the rushing offense dropped eight spots down to 15 in yards per carry.

Top three storylines:

Second half shutdowns—Last year the Redskins allowed an average 13.6 points per game in the second half. This season the average in the second half is 9.4 points. In the last three games they have allowed no second-half touchdowns.

Related: TD Punt return earns Crowder player of the week honors

Next men up getting it done—There were 16 players who participated in at least a third of the defensive snaps against the Ravens. Of those seven played either very little or not at all against the Steelers in Week 1. With Bashaud Breeland and possibly Su’a Cravens close to coming back, the Redskins have demonstrated some defensive depth.

Cousins still not there—You won’t see many better throws than Kirk Cousins’ perfectly placed touchdown to Pierre Garçon in the third quarter. But you won’t see many passes uglier than some of his third and short efforts that sailed over the heads of the receivers. If he hits a couple of those the game is a laugher at the end. Cousins still is clearly a notch below where he was last year. In 2015 he finished with a QBR of 70.1, sixth in the NFL. This year that metric has slipped to 58.2, 16th in the league.

Next three games

Sunday vs. Eagles (3-1)—Does rookie Carson Wentz really possess the best traits of Bret Favre and Peyton Manning as his coach said he does? Or is he a rookie who is off to a hot start and will come back to earth when defensive coordinators figure him out? If I’m the Redskins I’m more worried about an Eagles defense that has allowed just under 13 points per game.

October 23 @ Lions (2-3)—The Redskins once went for 30 years, from 1968 through 1997, without losing to the Lions. Now the Lions have won three in a row against Washington. The last time the Redskins beat Detroit Jim Zorn was in his first year as the head coach.

Related: Can Redskins D rattle Eagles QB Wentz?

October 30 vs Bengals (2-3) in London—While the Bengals are still a quality team this game does not seem quite as daunting as it did when the matchup at Wembley Stadium was announced. The Cowboys steamrolled them on Sunday. Despite a pretty good arsenal of weapons Andy Dalton has just five touchdown passes in five games.
https://audioboom.com/boos/5147074-episode-9-redskins-best-the-ravens?t=0

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Updating Redskins' injury list after loss to Cardinals

Updating Redskins' injury list after loss to Cardinals

GLENDALE, AZ—The Redskins went into today’s game against the Cardinals somewhat banged up and they exit with a couple of additional injury concerns in the form of concussions.

Center Spencer Long left the game in the second quarter. Initially it was announced that he had been evaluated for a concussion but that he had been cleared. But after halftime the word came down that he had been retested and it was determined that he does have a concussion. Long has entered the concussion protocol.

Veteran John Sullivan, picked up earlier this season when Kory Lichtensteiger went on injured reserve, filled in a center the rest of the way. He is a capable fill-in but if Long is out he would be the only available center. The Redskins might have to sign a center if it looks like Long will be out of action against the Eagles.

In the fourth quarter safety Will Blackmon left the game. According to Redskins coach Jay Gruden he was being evaluated for a concussion and a stinger. His exact status is unknown. Gruden will give more information during a conference call with reporters on Monday.

[MORE: JOSH NORMAN ON HIS CRUCIAL FOURTH-QUARTER PENALTY]

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Josh Norman on his crucial fourth-quarter penalty vs. Larry Fitzgerald

Josh Norman on his crucial fourth-quarter penalty vs. Larry Fitzgerald

GLENDALE, AZ—The Redskins had a couple of chances to stop what would eventually turn into the Cardinals’ game-clinching drive in the fourth quarter. The first one came when they went for it on fourth and one at their own 34. It was a gutsy call by Arizona coach Bruce Arians and David Johnson make him look smart by popping off a 14-yard run.

The Cards earned that one. But it looked as though they got something of a gift a few plays later when Josh Norman was flagged holding receiver Larry Fitzgerald. It was a borderline call, granting Arizona a gift third and five conversion. Two plays later Carson Palmer went in for the kill, throwing a 42-yard touchdown pass to J.J. Nelson.

On the field, Norman seemed to be none too pleased with the penalty flag. He said after the game that he thinks that Fitzgerald may have stolen a flag.

“He [Fitzgerald] was within five yards. Larry is a wily vet,” said Norman. “I'd been doing it all game, kind of . . . He breaks out and I go for the ball and the flag got thrown. We'd like to see that not happen in that situation because there was some good position, some good leverage. And a flag came out.

“It is what it is. You can't blame a call on that, blame a call on this. It's whatever, man.”

Norman is right. The Redskins blew plenty of chances to take control of the game and the blame can be spread around on both sides of the ball. But the flag will loom large as the Redskins try to shake off this loss and get ready for the Eagles next week.

[MORE: ANGRY JAY GRUDEN SAYS REDSKINS 'NOT EVEN CLOSE' TO THINKING ABOUT PLAYOFFS]