Injuries, dissension, lack of aggressiveness and too many players with a ho-hum attitude toward winning have all been blamed this week for the Redskins' dramatic midseason slump as they prepare to meet the Cowboys Thursday in Dallas.
Redskin Coach Jack Pardee said the other day that no one is playing particularly well, and the statistics clearly bear him out -- on offense, defense and on the special teams, too.
hrough the first six games, when the Redskins were under-feated and all seemed right with the world. Joe Walton's new-look offense was averaging 317 yards a game, with an average gain per play of five yards.
Over the last six weeks, while the Redskins have lost four games, they have averaged 272 yards a game, with an average gain of 4.1 yards.
The most significant fall-off is in rushing. The Redskins averaged 163 yards rushing through the first contest, only 103 yards per game in the last six.
Part of that drop can be attributed to losing Mike Thomas with a foot injury for three games and fullback John Riggins sitting out Sunday [WORD ILLEGIBLE] to the Cardinals, hurt. Still, both men were averaging considerably more yards during the streak than the slump.
Riggins had 498 yards rushing through six games, with an average of [WORD ILLEGIBLE] yards per carry, and had two 100 yard games. Since then, he has gained 325 yards, with a 3.5-yard average and no 100yard games. Thomas slipped from a 3.9 yard average to 3.1.
Joe Theismann started off the season hitting 51 percent of his passes for [WORD ILLEGIBLE] touchdowns, with only five interceptions in the first six games. He has completed 40 percent, with two touchdown tosses and eight interception in the 4 1/2 games he has plated since.
The only increase in productivity of sensively comes in average yards passing from 154 yards at the start to 168 the last six games. But that is an apparent result of the Redskins being forced to play catch-up so often the last weeks.
Therer are other significant offensive figures. Theismann was sacked only 12 times in the first six games. Redskin quarterbacks have been buried 23 times since then and Theismann's battered body is testament to that -- he is black and blue from just below his left hip down to the middleof his left thigh.
Tight end Jean Fugett's point production has slipped, too. In the first six games, he had five touchdown catches among his nine receptions. In the last six games, he has eight catches, none for scores.
The Redskins averaged 22 points a game the first weeks, 17 points a game the last six. There were only four fumbles lost the first six, eight in the last six. The Redskins scored 16 touchdowns the first six games.They have scored 11 since.
Defensively, the Redskins have tightened up slightly in overall defense, down from 310 yards a game allowed in the first six to 296 yards allowed the last six.
But they have been yielding more yardage rushing -- 143 yards a game the first six to 158 the last six -- indicating opposing teams are having great success controlling the football, using up time and keeping the ball away from the Redskin offense.
The Redskins also posted 17 sacks in their first six games, only 10 in their last six. They allowed three touchdown passes in the first six, and six touchdown passes the last six weeks, 115 points the last six.
On special teams, Tony Green's statistics have slipped dramatically. He was averging 32 yards per kickoff return and 128 yards per punt return after six weeks. He has dropped to 26.5 yards a kickoff and 10.8 per ount.
Punt and kickoff coverage have remained about the same despite that 70-yard punt down return touchdown Sunday by the Cardinals' Willard Harrell.
The most dramatic single statistical improvement can be found among the receivers. John McDaniel, who joined the Redskins the first week of the regular season, caught two passes in the first six games, neither one for a touchdown. Over the last six games, he has 22 receptions for an 18.1-yard average and has scored four touchdowns.