On defense, the Redskins also have startling stat traits, but they’re bad ones. They have allowed more touchdown passes (28) than any team in the NFL. That’s almost unique in Redskins annals, too. Only once in the past 49 years have the Redskins allowed the most touchdown passes.
Why? Part of the reason is a very poor rush with the third-worst sack percentage in the NFL. The Redskins certainly get enough chances to rush the passer. Nobody even bothers to run on the Redskins (second-least rushes against) even though Washington is just average at stopping the run (4.2 yards).
The combination of little pressure on the other quarterback, plus poor coverage, means that everybody tries to throw on Washington (551 attempts, second most) and almost all have succeeded at it.
The result: a team that has won 38-31 but also lost 38-31. The average play in a Redskins game gains a gaudy 6.1 yards — yes, the most in the league. The acquisition of an adult beverage could cause you to miss three touchdowns. Half of the Redskins’ games this season have had 59 points or more.
Much as the Redskins have improved in one year, there’s still an unsettling reality. Even after a five-game winning streak, the Redskins have scored only one more touchdown than their foes (39-38).
The Redskins are good for the soul (long-suffering), but bad for the heart (palpitating). Nobody runs the ball better, passes more efficiently and protects the ball better. And Kai Forbath has made 15 straight field goals.
But few teams give it back quicker. And few teams have found victory so linked to limiting their own turnovers to zero or one.
The Redskins are both thrilling and exasperating, epitomizing extremes in many aspects of their game. After 20 years of being a little of this and a little of that, but not much of anything, it’s a welcome change.
But brace for harrowing holidays. Santa, how about a defibrillator?
For previous columns by Thomas Boswell, visit washingtonpost.com/