The Redskins have been starting games well but finishing them poorly.
In aggregate they have outscored their opponents in each of the first three quarters of their five games. The Redskins have scored 38 points in the first quarter to 27 for the other team, have a slim 41-40 advantage in the second period and have come out of the locker room and doubled up the other team 34-17 in the third quarter. That is a 113-84 edge in the first 45 minutes of play.
But in the fourth quarter things fall apart. They have been outscored 63-27 in the final 15 minutes of play. The fourth quarter woes are why the Redskins are 2-3 instead of having a better record.
In each game they have played they have been leading or tied going into the fourth quarter and have been outscored in the final 15 minutes.
—In New Orleans the Redskins led 30-17 going into the fourth quarter and were outscored 15-10 in the last period.
—In St. Louis they were up 28-23 at the end of three quarters and were outscored 8-0 in the fourth.
—They were tied 24-24 with the Bengals going into the fourth quarter and were outscored 14-7.
—The Redskins led the Bucs 21-13 after three quarters of play and were outscored 9-3 in the fourth quarter.
—Last Sunday, the Redskins led 10-7 after 45 minutes and were outscored in the fourth quarter 17-7.
“That’s when it really matters,” said linebacker Lorenzo Alexander. “That’s been [the issue] around here for a long time. We can compete with teams but in the fourth quarter when it comes down to it, making plays, we tend to fade away and the other teams seem to make plays.
“That’s across the board and if you want to become a good team in this league you can’t allow that to happen.”
The fourth-quarter fades continue a trend from last year. In 2011 the Redskins were outscored 126-82 in the final period.