Redskins fall to 2-5, get San Diego next week

Both Coach Mike Shanahan and quarterback Robert Griffin III pointed out in postgame news conferences that the NFC East remains wide open. The Dallas Cowboys are 4-4 and in first place, but Philadelphia and Washington are well within striking distance. Even the 2-6 New York Giants are far from out of it. But when Griffin was asked about the play-calling in the second half and getting away from the running game, he didn’t exactly back Shanahan, saying he couldn’t comment on those decisions. Stay tuned to see if the Redskins get back to the running game next week at home against the 4-3 San Diego Chargers.

Robert Griffin III: ‘Division is still wide open”

Opening statement:

“We’ve just got to be better. My message for the guys is we’ve got to forget about his game. Point the finger at yourself. That’s the only way to get better.”

How the knee feels:

“The knee feels fine. I’m not sure which D tackle it was, I think it was [Terrance] Knighton landed on me, all 300 pounds. It really just scared me. After I got up and the doctors checked me I was fine. I was ready to go back in the game.”

On getting away from running game:

“I can’t comment on that really. Whatever is called that’s what we run.”

Mike Shanahan: ‘Division is still up for grabs”

Following a 45-21 loss to the Denver Broncos, Redskins Coach Mike Shanahan pointed out that the Washington remains in contention for the division title even after dropping to 2-5. The first-place Dallas Cowboys are 4-4 after losing to the Detroit Lions, 31-30, and the New York Giants beat the Philadelphia Eagles, 15-7. The Eagles are 3-5, and the Giats are 2-6.

Mike Shanahan addresses 45-21 loss to Denver

On health of Robert Griffin III:

“I think he’s fine. Doctors felt he could have gone back in after the first play, and we decided to keep him out with what the score was.”

On throwing seven out of 10 times during one stretch in the second half:

“You can always second guess your calls if they don’t work. That’s part of football. I think we have as much balance as anyone in the National Football League. At the end of the day, you’ve got to find a way to get first downs.”

On the defense:

“We had four turnovers. We talked about getting three. I thought how we started in the second half was very impressive.”

Redskins lose to Broncos, 45-21, fall to 2-5

Robert Griffin III is intercepted twice and loses a fumble, and Broncos QB Peyton Manning throws for 354 yards and four touchdowns in a 45-21 win.

“Redskins’ fans right now” tweets

You’re not alone.


Cousins intercepted again

Kirk Cousins’ pass bounces off Jordan Reed, and Shaun Phillips catches the carom for the interception.

Cousins has interception returned for TD

Dominque Rodgers-Cromartie steps in front of Pierre Garcon to intercept Kirk Cousins, then takes it back 75 yards for a touchdown to take a 45-21 lead with 2:07 to play.

Official word on Griffin: “left knee injury”

Diagnoses like that are why the Redskins pay James Andrews the big bucks…

Anyway, Griffin was up, walking around, and trying to avoid the medical staff. Probably won’t return.

Kirk Cousins enters game

Backup QB Kirk Cousins replaces Robert Griffin III, who appeared to hurt his left leg on the Redskins’ last series.

So yes, it could get worse…

RGIII out. He’s up and walking on the sideline now, but this is what the aftermath of that big hit looked like.

DeAngelo Hall has second interception

DeAngelo Hall takes the ball away from Demaryius Thomas in mid-air and secure it for his second interception of Peyton Manning.

Reed Doughty saw this coming

Serious foresight from Reed Doughty this week:


Robert Griffin III intercepted for second time

Robert Griffin III is hit hard as he throws, and Rahim Moore gets the interception to set up Denver at the Redskins 41 with 5:43 to play.

Hall’s return questionable

Broncos had four blockers in front of Thomas

That was a well designed screen that led to the Demaryius Thomas touchdown, but the execution appeared even better. Denver ran the play from a trips formation, and Thomas was lined up outside. He stepped back to receive the screen pass, while two WRs blocked. Then Denver pulled two linemen out in front of the play.

When a 6-foot-3, 229-pound wide receiver who runs 4.38 40 catches the ball in space with four blockers out in front, not many defenses stand a chance.

Broncos take 38-21 lead in 4Q

Demaryius Thomas scores on a screen pass, taking a short throw from Peyton Manning 35 yards to the end zone with 6:35 left in the game. Denver leads 38-21.

Denver Broncos wide receiver Demaryius Thomas (88) celebrates with guard Zane Beadles (68) after scorning a touchdown against the Washington Redskins in the fourth quarter of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013, in Denver. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)

Garcon slipped and fell on INT

Can’t do a whole lot about that. It happens.

Couldn’t have come at a much worse time, especially after E.J. Biggers played Wes Welker underneath so well and tipped the ball that Jordan Pugh intercepted.

Broncos take ball right back

Pierre Garcon slips on while making a cut on a dig route, and Chris Harris steps over him to intercept Robert Griffin III.

Redskins intercept Manning for second time

Peyton Manning tries to force  a pass to Wes Welker, but E.J. Biggers deflects it, and Jordan Pugh catches the carom for the turnover. Washington has first and 10 at its 22.

Rambo out with calf cramp

Boswell sums it up

Perry Riley’s out, Nick Barnett in at ILB

Riley’s on the sideline for now. Just something to watch.

Running game slowing for Redskins

Alfred Morris had 66 yards on nine carries in the first half. He has only seven carries for 21 yards in the second half.

Field goal gives Broncos 31-21 lead in 4Q

The Broncos have to settle for Matt Prater’s 19-yard field goal for a 31-21 lead with 11:14 left in regulation.

It goes from bad to worse

Whether that’s on Griffin for holding the ball, or the wide receivers for not getting open, a quarterback can’t hold it for much longer than a three count with Von Miller coming off the edge.

Another turnover, and Denver is threatening to make it a two-score game … quickly.

Robert Griffin III hit, fumbles

Von Miller hits Robert Griffin III, forcing a  fumble. Denver recovers at the Redskins 24.

Moreno makes it hurt

Moreno catches the screen pass just behind the 35-yard line, and a couple of nice cuts later, it’s 28-21 Denver.

So after a 16-play TD drive, Denver scores on a one-play, 35-yard drive. (Washington also scored on a 16-play drive, and then quickly next time it touched the ball in the second and third quarters).

The wave of momentum changes so quickly. Here are the three plays, courtesy of our Stats, Inc. page, that the Redskins ran in between the Broncos’ scores:

Robert Griffin III incomplete pass to the middle intended for Joshua Morgan.

Robert Griffin III incomplete pass to the middle intended for Pierre Garcon.

Robert Griffin III incomplete pass to the middle intended for Aldrick Robinson.

Yup. That’s not gonna get it done.

28-21 Broncos: reaction

General consensus: well, that escalated quickly.

Broncos move in front, 28-21

Peyton  Manning throwns  a screen pass to Knowshon Moreno, who scores from 35 yards to put Denver in front, 28-21, with 14:19 left in regulation.

Rocca’s punt travels 15 yards

The Broncos take over at the Redskins 35-yard line seeking third consecutive touchdown.

Robert Griffin III misfires deep downfield

Robert Griffin III had Joshua Morgan wide open over the middle but throws behind him. Had the throw been on target, Morgan appeared to have plenty of room to run.

Robert Griffin III has misfired on several throws against the Broncos. (Jack Dempsey/Associated Press)

Pereira says Broncos’ picks on defenders legal

Mike Pereira, former VP of NFL officiating and current FOX analyst, says the picks that the Broncos use to clear defenders — like the one that freed up Welker on the game’s first touchdown, for example — are legal.

Broncos tie game at 21 in 4Q

Peyton Manning completes a one-yard touchdown pass to backup tight end Joel Dreessen to tie the game at 21 on the first play from scrimmage in the fourth quarter.

A 99-yard walk to the other end

Broncos start the fourth quarter down 21-14 but looking at fourth and goal from the 1, or inside it.

DENVER, CO – DECEMBER 27: Quarterback Peyton Manning #18 of the Denver Broncos calls a play at the line of scrimmage against the Washington Redskins. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)


Redskins lead after 3Q, 21-14

The Broncos are facing fourth down and goal from the 1 when the fourth quarter begins.

RGIII’s thrown for 91 yards

And the Redskins still lead in the third. Against the Broncos, no less.

Have to assume he’ll need to step that up in the fourth if the Redskins are going to hold off the Broncos’ charge.

Redskins cornerbacks playing physical

David Amerson is grabbing and clutching Eric Decker, but no flags.

Kevin Vickerson = Broncos’ Brandon Meriweather

So maybe Vickerson isn’t Meriweather-esque in terms of the head-to-head combat stuff, but that late hit on Griffin sparked an outrage from Broncos’ fans similarly fed up with a similarly oblivious decision to the ones Meriweather made on a consistent basis pre-suspension. Apparently John Fox had some — constructive criticism? — for Vickerson after the play.Vickerson was fined $10,000 for unnecessary roughness last week.

Alfred Morris apporaching 100 yards

Redskins RB Alfred Morris is 10 yards from his first 100-yard rushing game of the season.

Washington Redskins running back Alfred Morris (46) is tackled by Denver Broncos free safety Rahim Moore (26) in the second quarter of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013, in Denver. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)

This is what makes the Broncos so dangerous

They get one good play, in this case the Wes Welker catch, and they can march down the field quickly. The fourth-down conversion helped too, but that was a 11-play touchdown drive that felt like it happened in the snap of a finger. (Officially, it was 11 plays  and 75 yards in 3:37)

The good news is the last time the offense had the ball with the length of the field to drive, they went 16 plays and 95 yards. The past two times they’ve had it overall, they’ve scored TDs.

This is a key moment for the Redskins here. Can they take a turnover-fueled lead and build on it, or will they be on their heels after Denver seized back the momentum?

Broncos trim deficit to 21-14 in 3Q

Montee Ball’s four-yard touchdown run with 7:48 to play in the third quarter draws the Broncos with 21-14.

Line judge Gary Arthur (108) signals a touchdown after Denver Broncos running back Montee Ball (28) crossed the goal line against the Washington Redskins in the third quarter of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013, in Denver. (AP Photo/Joe Mahoney)

First and goal for Denver

Broncos convert on fourth down and two, then get 11-yard pass to Demaryius Thomas to the 3-yard line to set up first and goal.

Orakpo’s back on the field

Brian Orakpo seems to be fine. So that’s good news.

So what do you do here?

With a two-score lead, but more than 25 minutes of football left, do the Redskins play any differently? Stay aggressive, get more aggressive, back off a bit and make the Broncos rely on short runs and passes to move the ball?

For Denver, do they change up at all? Sometimes teams that aren’t using to playing from behind begin to press when they lose ground.

I think both teams exhale, and stick to their game plans for the most part. But the momentum is definitely with the Redskins, and the Broncos definitely have to do something to keep the snowball from rolling down hill.

Brian Orakpo slow to get up

Redskins linebacker gets blocked to ground by Knowshon Moreno but is able to walk to sideline.

Broncos’ tight end Julius Thomas questionable to return

Suffered an ankle injury and headed to the locker room. He’s battled ankle issues in the past.

21-7: Reaction

General consensus: wow.

DeAngelo Hall scores on interception return

Cornerback DeAngelo Hall steps over Demaryius Thomas, who was falling on the throw, and returns the interception 26 yards for a touchdown to give the Redskins a 21-7 lead with 11:25 to go in the third quarter.

And the Redskins come alive

Two turnovers lead to 14 points and a 21-7 Washington lead.

DeAngelo Hall, admit it, you love him.

Redskins nation making noise in Denver

With their team leading — yes, leading! — the Broncos in the second half, Redskins’ fans are making themselves heard at Mile High.

Washington takes first lead, 14-7

Alfred Morris powers his way into the end zone from two yards to give the Redskins a 14-7 lead with 12:20 left in the third quarter. Morris ran for 13 yards on the previous play to set up the short scoring run.

Washington Redskins running back Alfred Morris (46) crosses the goal line for a touchdown against the Denver Broncos in the third quarter of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013, in Denver. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)

Redskins force turnover

Peyton Manning fumbles amid pressure by Ryan Kerrigan, and Brian Orakpo recovers at the Broncos 29. To top it off, Manning was called for holding trying to prevent Orakpo from recovering the fumble.

Not to be a downer but…

This stat is a little disconcerting.

Still, Redskins have beaten the odds so far so…

Broncos start second half with ball

Denver has first and 10 at the 20.

Yes, they really are tied at 7…

Can’t believe the halftime score? You’re not alone…

Stat of the first half?

a. 16:53 (The Redskins’ time of possession)

b. 7.3 (Alfred Morris’s yards per carry on nine totes)

c. 2 for 5 (Denver on third down, despite Peyton Manning being 12-of-15 passing)

You make the call.

(also, don’t you hate when people use the word “totes?”)

First-half analysis: Redskins at Broncos

The Redskins couldn’t have scripted a much better first half. They kept the Broncos high-octane offense off the field with ball control, holding an advantage in time of possession of more than four minutes. Washington also has been able to control the clock thanks to the running of Alfred  Morris, who has 66 yards on nine carries. The game plan shouldn’t change much, if at all, in the second half.

Was that the best half of the season?

Robert Griffin III Robert Griffin III guided a 16-play drive late in the second quarter. (Jack Dempsey/Associated Press)

The Redskins haven’t dominated or played a completely clean half by any means, but going toe-to-toe with the Broncos, on the road, after giving up a quick early score bodes well. Especially going into halftime on a 16-play touchdown drive.

Of course, as Chelsea said to me, “there’s not much competition” for best half of the season.

It’s 7-all in Denver, in a game that many simply assumed would be a blowout. But the Redskins instead seem to be building on the win against the Bears.

Doesn’t mean they’ll win in Denver, but it could be a lot worse. At least it’s encouraging.


Redskins, Broncos tied at 7 at hafltime

Thanks to a Broncos penalty on fourth down, the Redskins take advantage of first and goal from the seven and score a touchdown to go into locker room tied at 7. Robert Griffin III has completed 10 of 18 passes for 80 yards and a touchdown, and Alfred Morris has nine carries for 66 yards.

Redskins tie game at 7 late in first half

Leonard Hankerson’s seven-yard reception from Robert Griffin III with 19 seconds in the first half ties the game at 7.

First and goal for Redskins

Denver commits a penalty before Redskins’ field goal try, giving Washington first and goal at the 7.

Gameday photo gallery

Pictures from Denver:


Jordan Reed back in game

Redskins are facing third down and eight at Denver’s 32.

Jordan Reed down on the field

Redskins’ tight end Jordan Reed was kneeling with his head on the field after would-be reception was broken up. Got hit from behind, tough to tell exactly what got hurt there.

Jordan Reed slow to get up

Robert Griffin III’s pass to Jordan Reed is incomplete, but the rookie tight end remains on the ground.

Boswell on Peyton’s performance

Renowned Post sports’ columnist Tom Boswell on Peyton’s performance.

Pretty sure NO ONE had Redskins in a 7-0 game midway through the second quarter.

Redskins on move at first two-minute warning

Washington has put together its most promising drive of the game, moving to the Broncos 32-yard line with two minutes left in the first half.

Long run for Alfred Morris

Fullback Darrel Young leads the way, creating huge hole for Alfred Morris for a 27-yard gain.

Washington Redskins running back Alfred Morris (46) is tackled by Denver Broncos free safety Rahim Moore (26) in the second quarter . (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)

Redskins force punt, start deep in own territory

Peyton Manning overthrows Wes Welker on third and three, but a 38-yard punt has the Redskins pinned at their 5-yard line with 7:22 left until halftime.

Broncos advance to midfield

Eric Dekcer’s eight-yard reception has Broncos on the move.

Royals’ Billy Butler in the house

Royals’ fan favorite and designated hitter Billy Butler is at the game…in Denver… and rooting for the Redskins. He’s originally from Florida, so this all makes great sense.

DHall looks okay

DeAngelo Hall is back in the game and looking pretty normal after coming off the field a few minutes ago. Good thing, too: Redskins can’t afford to lose anyone else from that secondary.

Penalty pushes Denver back to its 7

Broncos have first and 10 deep in their territory.

Fourth punt for Redskins on the way

Washington comes up two yards short on third and five.

Redskins call timeout

With 12:37 left until halftime, Redskins call timeout to discuss play on third down and five from the Denver 48,

More good stuff from the special teams

A big return from Josh Morgan, and suddenly the Redskins’ special teams look downright respectable. But don’t take my word for it…

First down via penalty for Redskins

Redskins WR Aldrick Robinson gets grabbed running a pattern, and officials call illegal contract to give Washington a first down at its 47.

Big return from Joshua Morgan

Joshua Morgan breaks five tackles deep in Redskins territory for a 34-yard return. First and 10 at the Washington 40.

DeAngelo Hall being attended to by trainers

DHall was down on the field, then was sitting down on the field, then walked off. More info to come.

Redskins trail Broncos after 1Q, 7-0

Peyton Manning’s six-yard touchdown pass to Wes Welker produces only points of the first quarter.

Manning sacked to force third and long

Rob Jackson breaks through to drop Peyton Manning for a four-yard loss.

No pressure on Manning

The Redskins are getting virtually no pressure on Peyt0n Manning.

Redskins fail to extend drive

Facing third and less than a yard, the Redskins are forced to punt when Roy Helu Jr. can’t pick up the first down.

Garcon makes acrobatic catch

Pierre Garcon makes a one-handed grab to set up Redskins with third down and one.

Alfred Morris off to fine start

Redskins RB Alfred Morris has four carries for 27 yards.

Nice effort by Santana Moss for first down

On third and nine, Santana Moss makes the catch and stretches ball for 10-yard gain. Spot of the ball being challenged by Denver Coach John Fox.

Santana Moss, bobbling a pass against the Raiders, has one catch against the Broncos. (Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post)

Defense forces punt from Broncos

Peyton Manning throws consecutive incomplete passes, and Denver punts.

Redskins special teams makes a good play

This is big news in the context of Washington’s season so far. Nice job by Sav Rocca and Jerome Murphy to pin Broncos at their own one yard line.

Broncos backed up on second series

Peyton Manning and Company have first and 10 at their 1.

Second punt coming for Redskins

Robert Griffin III throws incomplete on third down and seven.

Roy Helu Jr. getting involved early

The backup tailback is in the game on the Redskins’ second possession.

Redskins pick up initial first down of game

On third and one, Robert Griffin III completes to Jordan Reed for seven yards to move the chains.

General consensus: Redskins must answer

…or they’re doomed.


Modified pick play yields Denver TD

Wes Welker came wide open in the flat in part because Demaryius Thomas got in the way of Redskins defenders.

Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (18) congratulates wide receiver Wes Welker (83) after Welker caught a touchdown pass from Manning against the Washington Redskins in the first quarter of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013, in Denver. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)

Broncos score first for 7-0 lead

Wes Welker’s five-yard touchdown catch opens the scoring with 10:07 left in the first quarter.


Denver Broncos wide receiver Wes Welker (83) steps across the goal line for a touchdown against the Washington Redskins in the first quarter of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013, in Denver. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)

Denver into red zone quickly

It’s first and goal Denver at the 5-yard line.

E.J. Biggers starts instead of Rambo

Redskins announced Bacarri Rambo would start at safety with Gumbs. Biggers started instead.

That crafty Washington coaching staff, really keeping us guessing…

Broncos moving ball on the ground

Don’t expect the Redskins to bring a safety up to the line of scrimmage. Denver is taking advantage with runs straight up the middle.

Three and out for Redskins

Sav Rocca punts out of bounds to Denver 23.