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Penalties, confusion at key point costs Redskins

Dec 23, 2013, 2:55 PM EST

Cousins-at-line2

When you lose a game by a point, a team can go back and point a finger at almost any moment during the game where something went wrong.

One such moment for the Redskins on Sunday came in the second quarter. With the Cowboys leading 7-3, Washington embarked on one of their better drives of the game, moving from their own 21 to a first and goal at the nine. They got closer after a Kirk Cousins pass to Darrel Young set up third and goal at the two.

Then the march backward started. Santana Moss saw Cousins shift back from under center to shotgun formation. Thinking the ball had been snapped, he took off early. The false start pushed the line of scrimmage back to the seven. It looked for a moment that Mike Shanahan would have a tough fourth-down decision to make as a Cousins pass to Pierre Garçon got them inside the one.

But due to a flag for an illegal shift it became third down at the 12. For good measure, the Redskins had to burn a timeout due to some confusion as they lined up. A Cousins pass to Moss over the middle got the ball to the four and Kai Forbath booted a 22-yard field goal. Where the could have had seven points they were forced to settle for three.

The Redskins actually haven’t been bad in goal to go situations. They have converted those on into touchdowns 73 percent of the time, 11th in the NFL. But when you essentially stop yourself  because of a Keystone Cops-style sequence of events when you’re in the 15th game of the fourth year of a coaching regime and lose by a point, the mistakes are magnified.

  1. kenlinkins - Dec 23, 2013 at 6:09 PM

    1. Moss knew the snap count, he could see the ball, SO WTH! 2. The legal shift, well maybe we did it good in “Practice” and that’s why that TE was on the field (LOL) 3. The Time Out, well maybe the coaching staff was making sure they didn’t jump off sides or have two guys moving before calling the play and that confused the players. 4. Maybe the coaching staff was showing that they know football and should take the points and not go for the TD, we do not want anyone thinking our coaches do not know what they are doing, that could cost them their jobs.(Maybe the Cowboys should have kicked the FG, tried and On-side kick and played for a tie, and Overtime, Now that’s coaching) 5. The reason we were down 7-3 was because our defense could not hold out the Cowboys from the 3 yard line and force a FG, after a long punt return. 6. You would think that 4th and goal from the 10 would work in your favor with a 4 point lead, (unless you forget to rush the passer)

  2. blackqbwhiterb - Dec 24, 2013 at 10:19 AM

    The tone of some of the commentary would indicate the writer is losing patience with the coaching staff….. I’d like to say, I agree. There were several instances in this game where coaching seemed to be the biggest obstacle. First, the Spurlock return-every week. Disaster on specials. Second, on the last offensive possession, 2nd & 3rd downs both incomplete passes while trying to burn clock vs a Dallas defense that can’t stop the run….lastly, on 4th & 10, can we play tight man coverage? Ever?? I say throw ALL the coaches out. Didn’t feel that way all year, trying to see what else there is, but this staff showed on Sunday they’re as big a mess as Dan Snyder’s turf- which is another embarrassment!

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