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Quick Snaps - Minnesota Mashes the Skins!

November 12, 2017
The Washington Redskins dropped to (4-5) with a frustrating 38-30 loss to the (7-2) Minnesota Vikings, who have now won five in a row.

The Redskins made plenty of plays, but it was more about what they left behind and where the fell short more than anything else or any other problems.

Let’s get to “Quick Snaps” for where it went wrong for the Redskins, who were not “expected” to win but needed to find a way to get a victory, because it’s unlikely that they’ll be able to get a W in New Orleans against the surging Saints.

1 – The defense was a horror show as everybody knows. Outside of two interceptions by D.J. Swearinger and a couple of isolated impact plays by Martrell Spaight, Greg Manusky’s defense was gashed. We wrote in “First-and-Ten” that the Redskins defense would likely have to come up big to try and win for the offense, but instead, it was anything but.

On the first scoring drive, Josh Norman allowed a 51-yard double move completion to Stefon Diggs, who racked up a lot of catches and yards last year against Washington, but didn’t score. Diggs didn’t score on this particular play (that would come later) but he put the Vikings at the Redskins-2 yard line. It was as good as a touchdown.

2 – On the Vikings third offensive drive, Josh Norman had a diving chance at an interception that he didn’t come up with. It was not an easy play by any means, but if Norman would have been able to come up with it, it would have saved the Redskins seven points. The problem, in general, is that Norman has had several of these type plays over the last year-and-a-half and hasn’t been able to make any of them.

He has three interceptions with Washington and twice as many non-interceptions or potential game-changing plays. Two picks came in a must-win in Chicago off of Matt Barkley and one came off of Browns quarterback Cody Kessler, which was the infamous bow-and-arrow celebration.

Norman is normally very good in coverage but Sunday was a bad day in every way. He was beat on that first drive and also was beat by Adam Thielen on a short stop route into zone coverage. Norman also was beat by Diggs on another key third-down pass and blew an opportunity to make a potentially huge stop on a short third down conversion to Thielen. Norman had Thielen completely stopped behind the sticks and the Minnesota receiver still found a way to break free and convert.

Norman also was partially responsible on a long 49-yard reception by Thielen who split Norman and the Redskins safety over the middle of the field. 

It was a bad day for Norman. Bashaud Breeland was also beat on a touchdown and another key reception by Thielen to set up a score.

3 – In one stretch, the Redskins defense allowed four touchdowns (28 total points) on 24 defensive plays which encompassed every drive in the second quarter and the first Vikings drive of the third. The Vikings racked up 241 yards on those four drives.

4 – One of those drives was because of a bad, batted up in the air interception by Kirk Cousins. The pass was too high, intended for Jamison Crowder and was picked off when it went off of his out-stretched hands. Bad throw by Cousins no doubt.

That interception led to another quick Vikings touchdown and in a couple of minutes, all of the wind was kicked out of the Redskins. The Vikings scored two touchdowns in less than two minutes, an area that the Redskins struggle in mightily.

Redskins D Drives thru Week 10
FOX had a graphic that was extremely revealing and troubling. The Redskins have now allowed 78 points combined in the last two minutes of the second and fourth quarters this year.

Via the Redskins game notes (photo/graphic above), the total is indeed 78 points allowed under the two-minute mark of the second and fouth quarters, cumulatively. That includes 14 points allowed under the 2:00 warning yesterday in the second quarter.  The breakdown that I have is 14 against Philadelphia (includes 2 pt. conversion) in week one, 16 against Kansas City, 14 against San Francisco, 7 each against the Eagles (MNF) and Dallas along with 6 against Seattle (2 pt conversion failed)  and the 14 vs. Minnesota. 

21 of those points allowed (not shown on chart because they not "scoring drives") are on touchdown returns on the same play as an offensive turnover,  such as the week one fumble return, the last play in Kansas City and the interception return by the Cowboys at FedExField. Essentially, that means only 57 of the 78 points allowed are the responsibilty of the defense (including extra point conversions),  an egregious amount and worst in the NFL. 

Cousins also overthrew Josh Doctson for what likely would have been a touchdown in the third quarter on a 2 nd-and-9 incomplete. The Redskins ultimately went for it on 4 th-and-6 and had a pass tipped and ultimately incomplete.

Washington could have gone for a 49-yard field goal attempt but bypassed rookie Nick Rose, likely because a missed field goal would have given the Vikings offense the ball at the Minnesota-39.

It was one of five times on the day “Riverboat Jay” rolled the dice on fourth down. The first two were successful while the next two were a disaster. The fifth and final time they went for it, was a conversion to Vernon Davis on a 4 th-and-10 for 15 yards. That was before Cousins took a bad sack to lose huge yardage that forced Nick Rose into a 55-yard field goal attempt, which he made.

5 – One of the fourth-down failures was because the Redskins tried to run a stretch wide right concept with Chris Thompson that was blown up when Brandon Scherff lost his block and the play was blown up for a four-yard loss. Tom Johnson easily beat Scherff to the play side and the Redskins were dead. Once again, Gruden bypassed the field goal attempt of 50 yards in a 38-27 game.

If he kicked the field goal there and it was successful, the Redskins would have only been down one score and eight points, but he chose to roll the dice again. At that point, with 4:48 left and after the Redskins were stuffed on a quick snap run with Thompson on 3rd-and-1 the play before, it might have served the Redskins better to kick the field goal and get within that one score.

6 – The other issue was not giving Samaje Perine an opportunity to get one tough yard. Perine had earlier converted on 4 th-and-inches to set up a touchdown and had success on several runs throughout the game. The likely problem? The Redskins can’t fully trust Perine with ball security and they were trying to slip one past Minnesota. 

7 - Another sequence that the Redskins lost points on was a three play microcosm of shooting yourself in the foot disease. On first down, the Redskins had Josh Doctson for a touchdown and he tripped and fell, after a great sell and route. On 2nd down, Jamison Crowder dropped a pass near the sideline. On third-down, Cousins bought a little extra time and extended a play and threw a would be touchdown pass into the hands of Crowder, who did a nice job to provide a passing window only to not hold on to a ball in his hands. The Vikings safety, Andrew Sendejo, also helped to knock it out. Washington settled ultimately for a field goal. 

This was after Cousins and Crowder had hooked up on a beautiful pass connection to convert on 3rd-and-4, a 36-yard catch-and-run to put the Redskins inside the Vikings-5 yard line. 

Chris Russell has covered the Washington Redskins for eight seasons for multiple media outlets and was a part of the Redskins Radio Network broadcast team for five years. He covers the Redskins, Washington Valor and Baltimore Brigade for Monumental Sports Network (  Listen to Chris on Washington D.C.'s # 1 sports radio station, 106.7 The FAN