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Did the no-huddle save the Redskins’ season?

Oct 2, 2013, 1:57 PM EDT

Morris vs. Raiders

With an 0-4 record staring them in the Washington Redskins in the face, Kyle Shanahan decided it was time to try something different.

The 0-3 Redskins trailed the Raiders 14-0 late in the first quarter. At that point the offense had mustered just one first down in three possessions. Washington had the ball at its own 20.

Shanahan figured it was time to pull out something they have had in their arsenal since training camp. After talking to head coach Mike Shanahan and quarterback Robert Griffin III, Kyle called for the offense to go in no-huddle mode.

“It’s something that we talked each week that there’s a possibility we could go with it,” Kyle Shanahan said yesterday. “We knew that we wanted to, we were struggling a little bit at the beginning, not converting those third downs and staying on the field and we thought it would be a good time to try it.”

Things started out with Griffin making a play-action fake to Alfred Morris and zipping a 15-yard pass down the middle to Leonard Hankerson. They immediately lined up, snapped the ball 19 seconds after Hankerson was tackled, and Griffin handed to Morris, who picked up eight off right tackle. Twenty seconds later Morris picked up the first down by going up the middle for three.

The quick pace continued:

  • 16 seconds later, play action-bootleg right pass to Hankerson for 15 yards.
  • 19 seconds, Morris off the left side for nine yards
  • 22 seconds, Morris to the right for eight yards
  • 17 seconds, play action-bootleg left pass to Niles Paul for 16 yards
  • 38 seconds, pass to Pierre Garçon for two yards to set up second and goal at the four.

On that last play, they went no huddle but it appeared that Griffin was changing the play at the line, not an easy thing to do in the “Black Hole” end of the Raiders’ stadium.

That play ended the first quarter. On the first play of the second quarter, Griffin was called for intentional grounding, a penalty that cost 14 yards and the Redskins ended up settling for a field goal.

In the six no-huddle plays starting with the second play of the drive and ending with the pass to Paul, they averaged just shy of 19 seconds in between snaps. They gained 59 yards. There were no third-down conversions because they didn’t face a third down until after the grounding penalty.

They ran the hurry-up here and there after that, including a stretch during their 2-minute drill near the end of the first half. They cranked it up again for a few plays in the third quarter and it appeared to jump-start their game-winning drive.

Starting at their own 42 with 6:51 left in the third, Paul made a diving catch of a four-yard pass in the flat. The Redskins made some substitutions, taking Paul out and putting in another receiver but still got off the next snap in 20 seconds. Morris picked up a couple of yards but the Redskins accepted an offside penalty, negating the play. Even with the time needed to enforce and announce the penalty, they still got off the snap 32 seconds after the previous play had ended.

Morris spun out of some trouble at the line and made his way up the sideline for 13 yards. They lined up quickly, Griffin again appeared to call and audible, and the ball was snapped after 33 seconds. The Raiders’ Mike Jenkins was shaken up on the play so the Redskins could not hurry back up to the line. Then Griffin threw back across the field deep to Davis and play again was stopped as the officials briefly huddled to decide to pick up a pass interference flag because the ball was uncatchable.

They went back to the huddle after that. Four plays later, Griffin threw a five-yard touchdown pass to Pierre Garçon to give the Redskins their first second-half lead of the season.

“They weren’t ready for it, something we hadn’t done before so I’m sure they didn’t have a big plan against it,” said Shanahan. “I’m not exactly sure, I think we had about 19 hurry up plays and it really got our run game going I thought.”

The part about getting the running game going seems to be accurate, particularly when talking about Morris. Before leaving with a rib injury late in the third quarter Morris carried 16 times for 71 yards. During just the two hurry-up sequences outlined here he carried five times for 41 yards. Doing the math, that’s 8.2 yards a carry in the no huddle and 2.7 yards per carry the rest of the game.

  1. rg3knees - Oct 2, 2013 at 7:44 PM

    Did the no huddle save the skins, or was it the crappy Raiders that saved the skins. Was it the Raiders team missing their starting qb, rb, fb, and many others, or was it the no huddle. If it really was the no huddle, I guess the skins better incorporate it into the offense in 2 weeks when they play Dallas in that wonderful stadium out there in the desert. We shall see in the upcoming weeks, lets hope the skins are not out there getting in trouble during the bye, and working out instead. I will be surprised to see how RG3 looks after the extra rest and maybe some more knee exercises. Otherwise the first 4 games he looks slow as molasses dripping down in the middle of the North Pole. Lets not forget qb’s like Alex Smith, Jack Locker, and ever Christian Ponder have more rushing yards than RG3 this year and that is pretty scary. Or maybe not scary if you think RG3 is a pocket passer.

    • weneedanewcoach - Oct 2, 2013 at 8:10 PM

      I think you are spot on and I said from day one this staff would ruin RG3 and so far it looks as if I was right on ..IMO RG3 will never be the same player we seen in his rookie season and for that alone this staff should be held accountable and be sent packing! I am sorry but an 8 year old could clearly see RG3 had no business playing and our VP / HC is 100 % at fault for his 2nd major knee surgery, and too treat your 4 PICK FRANCISE QB like this is a crime to all the fans of the REDSKINS and RG3 himself! Lets just ask why did we not run this no huddle O from week one, did this staff not have the team ready for it or was it a confidence issue?

      • Rich Tandler - Oct 2, 2013 at 8:12 PM

        You were fine for a while, now you’re back to trolling. Hate to have to ban you but I might have to.

      • rg3knees - Oct 2, 2013 at 10:19 PM

        I like your posts, I do not know what you said that is so bad.

      • manchild157 - Oct 3, 2013 at 10:41 AM

        There you go with your ”RG3isabust” motto. Your hatred for every thing Redskins is irritating. Why don’t you go to the Cowboy website and bash our coaching staff and the Redskins with your buddies. You have any idea how embarrassing you are to Redskin Nation? I didn’t think so……

        • rg3knees - Oct 3, 2013 at 12:17 PM

          i never said RG3 is a bust, I simply have said he is not the same QB he used to be. What is wrong with that? I am sure he will develop into a new type of QB in his own time and be great. For the present I am just stating the facts. I am stating the tough facts that no one wants to hear. And of course RG3 is not slow compared to other QB’s, however, he is markedly slower than last year. His own teammate Garcon called him out on this fact. If you think I am delusional than I guess you think his own teammate that plays with him everyday is also delusional. Sounds like you are in denial bud. And if you do not want to read any criticism at all about the Skins, that is fine, but stay in la la land where all the other suck ups live

        • Rich Tandler - Oct 3, 2013 at 12:20 PM

          Good bye. Sorry, you’re just not contributing to the discussion here, just inciting.

      • jstforefn - Oct 7, 2013 at 9:34 AM

        People like you crack me up. Try coming off a major knee surgery where not one, but two of your knees were cut into. Adrian Peterson, for everything he did last year, didn’t have a 100 yard game until week 6. Guess what next week is for the Redskins? Tom Brady didn’t get back to good mechanincs until about week 6 or 7 after his knee surgery. RG3 is fine. He’s playing better than half the league’s QBs and he’s at 80% with that bulky leg brace. I didn’t say knee because that thing covers up most of his leg. And if you really knew anything, you’d know Pierre Garcon said he wasn’t as fast as last year because of the brace and the surgery. That’s common sense. He didn’t say anything negative or that 99% of us couldn’t see for ourselves. He will continue to get better, continue to get more confidence in the knee and get back to the QB of last year. It may not completely happen this year, but barring any other major injuries this season he will return to form for next year. Considering they are 1-3 and STILL have a fighting chance to win the division will only help.

    • manchild157 - Oct 3, 2013 at 10:36 AM

      First of all, if you think rg3 is slow as molasses then you are delusional at best. He’s still is faster than 80% of the qbs in the NFL. Those other qbs have more rushing yards,so what? Does that mean you can’t be successful if you don’t run? There’s a qb in Denver who can’t run to the end of the driveway but is an excellent qb. RG3 is developing into a fine pocket passer, you should watch the games with eyes open and not your mind closed. HTTR!!

      • rg3knees - Oct 3, 2013 at 12:10 PM

        You are one of those people that refuse to see the truth. You are in complete denial, check out RG3’s numbers, numbers do not lie manchild157. Everyone knows that what made RG3 special was his dual threat running and passing ability. Without the dual threat it is clear RG3 is not the same QB. If you can not see that, than you are delusional. If you knew anything about football, you would see RG3’s mechanics are not like a true pocket passer, he throws off the back foot, across his body, refuses to put any torque on his injured leg, etc, I am not here to bash up RG3, but I just call it as I see it. If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, than it is a duck.

        • Rich Tandler - Oct 3, 2013 at 12:12 PM

          And if it looks like a troll and has a screen name like a troll and acts like a troll, well, it’s probably a troll.

        • manchild157 - Oct 3, 2013 at 3:25 PM

          Rich Tandler- wish you had a ”like” button cause I would have hit it a couple of times for that statement. Also let me take this opportunity to say how much I enjoy your articles and appearances on Redskin Nation with Larry Michael. You definetely got a fanbase. HTTR!!

        • Rich Tandler - Oct 3, 2013 at 4:49 PM

          Thanks! Sometimes, enough is enough. Appreciate you reading and watching.

        • theinterstatekingz - Oct 5, 2013 at 7:34 PM

          im sorry but i have to say something because maybe your not a skins fan because you wanna talk numbers then your not looking at his number without running he still has passed for over 1200 yards in three games which some havent done that he is on his way to a three if not 4k passing season…. yes he is not 100% but who really is the same after they get hurt no one either your better or your worst no in between…. this is making his a better pocket passer…. no one says anything when tom brady dont run oh my bad hes never really ran…. yall people crack me up do you care about rg3 as a person or are you only caring about the skins winning???

  2. Big mixx - Oct 3, 2013 at 4:57 AM

    The redskins should’ve been using the no huddle! They are setup for it with the hybrid type tight ends they have. They can split out all 4 of them and have matchup advantages over line backers and some safeties. The defence would have to choose base or nickle. The skins could run or pass depending on the defences personnel.

  3. hailyeah1 - Oct 3, 2013 at 6:43 AM

    use the no huddle mixing it in to the regular offense ,chip kelly has found out it seems that teams have caught on thus 1-3 record so far .

  4. travdalaker - Oct 3, 2013 at 4:26 PM

    Time will tell… I think we should use this after a big play. A big pass or run play gets picked up then pick up the pace and capitalize off of the momentum. Problem would be then creating the “big” plays.

    • Rich Tandler - Oct 3, 2013 at 4:58 PM

      They did use it (second time) after the missed FG by Janikowski, a 52-yarder he usually hits. Redskins had lost the ball a few plays earlier on Paulsen’s fumble so that was a good time to try to establish control. So I’d think of using it after a turnover and similar situations. Archives

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