The Redskins, tied with the Eagles at 1-3 in the NFC East cellar, could go 2-14, based on their four-game statistical profiles on the computer.
What statistical changes have turned the highest-scoring team in 1983 to one of the lowest-scoring in 1985? And is there hope for recovery?
With new receivers, the offense is in trouble. Of the four NFL quarterback rating factors, the most important is the touchdown passing percentage. And the Redskins this season are as weak as a rained-on bee. Joe Theismann earns a touchdown on only 1.3 percent of his pass attempts, ranking 26th. The Redskins have lost more ground on this key passing efficiency factor than any NFL team (Bears lead the league with 8.6 percent).
People win games, not statistics. But, with new people, the Redskins' pass efficiency has fallen dramatically. Of the 12 pass-efficiency stats monitored by an electronic computer, the Redskins are weaker this year on 11.
They rank last in the league in the following: 1) pass interceptions (2.5 per game); 2) percent interceptions (6.7); 3) yards opponents returned interceptions (47 yards per game); 4) opponents have scored twice on returned interceptions. A computer analysis shows the return touchdown the most valuable stat, worth 12-14 points.
Taken together, these stats contribute heavily to the Redskins' league-worst losing margin, minus-18.8 points per game).
One interception per game typically is worth five points; but this year, after four weeks it is valued at 7.1. In passing yardage, the Redskins have fallen to a puny 4.3 yards per toss, ranking 27th. They make more on the ground (5.05 yards a play.)
In 1985, the Redskins are on the slip side of their fantastic '83 turnover season (led league with plus-43 or 2.7 per game). They are last (minus-3 per game).
This makes it tough on the Redskins' defense. Given good field position, opponents can use 100 percent of their playbook. So their passing efficiency stats have gone through the roof. While opponents throw the fewest passes (24 per game), they earn 1.25 points per pass (league high for opponents, league low for Redskins).
This allows opponents to run against the Redskins' tough defense -- and eat up the clock. Washington led the league last season on the opponent run-pass balance. Now it rates 25th (13 opponent rushes to 10 opponent passes). They've lost more ground on this ball control/clock control stat than any NFL team.