By Rich Tandler
As the second half unfolded yesterday, there was a lot of chatter about the Redskins abandoning the run, especially after they took a seven-point lead in the third quarter.
In what could become a weekly feature as second-half running was a topic of discussion after last week’s win over Arizona as well, let’s take a look at the Redskins run-pass play selections and see if complaints that they failed to run the ball enough hold water. (Statistics include sacks)
For the game:
22 runs for 65 yards, 3.0 yards per carry
40 passes for 233 yards, 5.8 yards per pass play
That is a ratio of 65 percent passes and 35 percent runs, which is about the ratio they ran for the 2010 season. Earlier this week, Kyle Shanahan said that one of the things they wanted to do this year was to run the ball more. For this game, they did not and considering that they trailed in the game for a total of about four minutes that seems to be a bit pass happy.
It also should be noted that they came in averaging 71 plays per game so they ran about nine fewer plays. They also came into the game leading the NFL in time of possession but they held the ball for just 28:24 to 31:36 for Dallas.
15 runs for 41 yards, 2.7 yards per carry
20 passes for 121 yards, 6.0 yards per pass play
This is closer to the run-pass ratio that the most of the NFL runs. They had a time of possession advantage of just over 16 minutes to just under 14 minutes for Dallas.
7 runs for 24 yards, 3.4 yards per carry
20 passes for 112 yards, 5.6 yards per pass play
It gets really out of whack here. Dallas had a substantial advantage in time of possession as they held the ball for about 18 minutes to around 12 for the Redskins. Let’s look at the individual drives to see where it got that way.
Redskins get the ball at own 24 9:31 left in third quarter game tied at 9
5 runs (all Hightower) for 20 yards, 4.0 yards per carry
4 passes (all complete) for 56 yards, 14 yards per pass play
This is the touchdown drive, a nice mix of Rex Grossman passes and Tim Hightower runs. Kevin Barnes’ interception gave them possession and it looked like they were going to take control of the game after the scored on Grossman’s one-yard pass to Hightower to take a 16-9 lead with 4:00 left in the third.
Redskins get ball at own 25 0:14 left in third quarter leading 16-12
3 passes, all incomplete
This is where the chatter about too many passes started. After a solid, balanced drive, the Redskins burn all of 30 seconds off of the clock and punt it away to the Cowboys.
Redskins get ball at own 10 13:03 left still leading 16-12
1 run (Helu) 3 yards
3 passes (1 complete) 15 yards
The Redskins do get out of a hole at their own 10 with a 15-yard first-down pass from Grossman to Jabar Gaffney. But from the 25 it’s Helu for three yards (where’s Hightower?) and then two incompletions, one shallow and one deep.
Redskins get ball at own 17 6:58 left leading 16-15
1 run (Helu) for 1 yard
5 passes (3 complete, 1 sack) for 24 yards plus a 15-yard penalty
To be fair here, the passes were working initially. A screen to Helu picked up 14 yards and then Grossman went to Chris Cooley for four yards and then to Moss for six. A 15-yard personal foul was tacked on to Moss’ catch and the Redskins were at the Dallas 44 nearing field goal range. It falls apart when Helu runs for one and then Grossman is sacked for a loss of eight. The third and 17 pass has no chance and the Redskins punt.