Critics dislike Washington’s playcalling

October 28, 2013

(John McDonnell/The Washington Post)

Not surprisingly, the Redskins’ fourth-quarter playcalling has been a major topic for Monday Morning blog posts, radio programs, and television shows. And I’m using “Monday Morning” figuratively; some of this happened Sunday night.

Now, there are two sides to this issue. On the one hand, several of the called pass plays early in the fourth quarter could have — and really should have — succeeded. And if Joshua Morgan has a 30-yard catch-and-run, or Aldrick Robinson doesn’t drop a catchable pass for a first down, no one is complaining. On the other hand, Morgan didn’t, and Robinson did, and the result was a boat-race.

To recap, Washington opened the fourth quarter like this: incomplete, incomplete, incomplete, punt. And then followed up with this: complete, run for loss, sack/fumble. And then followed up with this: incomplete, sack, complete, punt. Remember, when that first drive of the fourth quarter started, the game was still tied. And yet eight of the next nine plays called for passes.

Thus, the reaction:

Fox 5′s Wisdom Martin: “I’m pointing to the offensive coordinator not being able to do a competent job.”

Comcast SportsNet’s Brian Mitchell: “If it’s 21-14, I don’t care who you’re playing. If your running back is chalking up five, six yards a carry, he has to touch the ball some. If you just come out here throw it three times and give it back to a guy who you don’t want to give extra chances to, you’re basically saying, I don’t want to win the football game. And we keep hearing about the situation and this that and the other. I recall one Joe Jackson Gibbs. You could put eight people in the box. Yeah, there’s 12 minutes left in the game, but I’m running four-minute offense. You stop it. And they could never stop it. They need to figure out a way to keep the ball going to Alfred Morris.”

Pierre Garcon to teammates, via Wise:  How Kyle went away from [Morris] is still a mystery that won’t be unearthed until the offensive coordinator talks on his scheduled day of each week of the season, Thursday — about five days too late for an answer. And don’t think people didn’t notice. Garcon was dissecting the disaster afterward in the locker room, grumbling to Jordan Reed, Aldrick Robinson and Josh Morgan as he walked toward the shower.

“Run, pass, pass, punt,” he mouthed, shaking his head.

ESPN.com’s John Keim: “Washington threw 22 times to nine runs in the final two quarters. Running back Alfred Morris carried six times in the third quarter out of the Redskins’ eight plays — yes, they threw only twice in that quarter. It’s in the playbook; look it up. But the drives that hurt were the first two in the fourth quarter when the game was either tied or they trailed by a touchdown. In those two series, the Redskins ran the ball one time and Morris gained 6 yards. Griffin dropped back to pass on the five other plays, throwing three incompletions and losing the ball on a sack….Just because plays should work doesn’t mean they’re high percentage when the players aren’t executing them consistently. Some of these guys are too hit-or-miss.”

ESPN 980′s Kevin Sheehan:  “Just to set the record straight, they didn’t totally abandon the run in the second half as some may think. They ran Morris on six of their eight third-quarter offensive plays.  Their first drive of the fourth quarter, they faced a Denver defense with the line of scrimmage stacked to stop the run and Morgan and Robinson dropped big-gain passes. Just one catch on either of those two passes and Morris would’ve likely gotten carries on that drive and the game may have stayed competitive the rest of the way. With that said, down 28-21 on their next offensive drive, Morris carried it just once before the RGIII fumble…and then down 31-21 after the RGIII fumble with still 11:14 left in the game, they went with three straight passes.”

Terrance Knighton, via DenverBroncos.com: “You know, when we score and the crowd gets going, it puts a little pressure on their offense. They tried to run it when they had the lead and we stopped it, and our offense kept scoring. It puts the pressure on them, so they had to go back to passing.”

Dan Steinberg writes about all things DC sports at the DC Sports Bog.
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Dan Steinberg | October 28, 2013