With second place in the NFC East at stake, Shanahan directed a balanced attack that amassed 437 total net yards — the Redskins passed for 295 yards and rushed for 142 — and the Redskins offense took charge as the team sprinted to a 28-3 halftime lead. Shanahan floored the accelerator in the first half.
He went after the Cowboys’ defensive backs at every chance and got the payoff he desired: Griffin had three touchdown passes (he finished with four and 311 yards passing) in Washington’s 28-point second quarter.
Considered a pass-first coach, Shanahan displayed a big-picture approach late in the game.
He leaned on standout rookie running back Alfred Morris after the Cowboys cut the Redskins’ lead to 35-28 with more than eight minutes to play in the fourth. Morris (113 yards rushing) had five carries during an 11-play drive that ended on place kicker Kai Forbath’s 48-yard field goal.
Shanahan’s group again bailed out defensive coordinator Jim Haslett’s crew, which looked great against the hapless Philadelphia Eagles’ offense but failed to play a complete game at Cowboys Stadium. Quarterback Tony Romo had 344 of his 441 yards passing after halftime.
Fortunately for Washington, its offense was ready for whatever challenges its defense or the Cowboys presented.
In a span of five days, the Redskins have scored 69 points in victories against NFC East rivals Philadelphia and Dallas. They’re tied for second in the division.
Coach Mike Shanahan has won consecutive games for the first time this season. Let’s take a look at how Shanahan’s son is helping him.
Making all the right calls
No member of Washington’s coaching staff is having a better year than the younger Shanahan. And although almost any coach would look good working with Griffin, Shanahan deserves a lot of credit for putting Griffin in the best position to rocket to NFL stardom.
Shanahan has succeeded in restructuring the team’s offense (the Redskins run a modified pro-style attack that draws heavily from college option schemes) while dealing with the offensive line’s pass-protection deficiencies and a key injury at wide receiver. He’s also having his best play-calling stretch of the season.
During the Redskins’ 28-point explosion — they scored touchdowns on four consecutive possessions — Shanahan’s aggressive play-calling inspired the Redskins. They broke open the game by scoring at least 28 points in a quarter for the first time since early in the 1999 season. Play-action fakes helped a lot.
Shanahan drew up a lot of fake handoffs and misdirection routes by receivers. He hoped that Dallas safeties Gerald Sensabaugh and Danny McCray would hesitate in coverage, which would open running room for receivers because Griffin and Morris are highly productive rushers. The Cowboys cooperated.