Big plays, finally, for Redskins

Big plays, finally, for Redskins
November 28, 2011, 11:19 pm
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It was 11 games, two quarterback changes and constant receiver shuffling in the making, but the Redskins offense finally delivered on one of the few things they excelled at last year: They made a big play in the passing game.

When Rex Grossman avoided the rush, stepped up in the pocket and lofted a pass that Anthony Armstrong collected for a 50-yard, go-ahead touchdown catch, the Redskins not only had the lead for good over Seattle, it had the longest play from scrimmage this year.

Donovan McNabbs lone strength during his doomed tenure with the Redskins was the home run pass in general and to Armstrong in particular. That disappeared this year amid injuries and performance issues.

But in the last two games, the Redskins have gained 339 and 416 yards; in the last three games, theyve made nine trips to the red zone. Against Seattle, the offense overcame missed first-half opportunities to rally from a 10-point deficit.

Its a little bit easier to look at the film and critique somebody when you win as compared to when you lose, coach Mike Shanahan said Monday afternoon at Redskin Park. Thats when you put the pressure on, when youre winning, because people are a little bit more objective in their evaluation of how they did. Our players should feel good about themselves but we know its 24-48 hours and then to the Jets.

In breaking their six-game losing streak with a 23-17 win over the Seahawks, the Redskins hope they have discovered a way to stretch the field.

Along with Armstrongs catch, Roy Helus 28-yard touchdown was the Redskins second longest run of the season.

During the six-game losing streak, the Redskins longest play was a 45-yard completion to Jabar Gaffney against Philadelphia on a flea flicker; a 17-yard catch against San Francisco off a deflected pass; and against Miami, a 32-yard play to Leonard Hankerson which included 15 penalty yards.

On and on it goes. When the Redskins cant run it, they cant use play action; when they cant use play action to make the defense honest, they dont hold possession and dont score points.

Games in which the Redskins hold the time of possession edge: 4-0.

Games in which the Redskins out-rush their opponent: 3-1.

So many people talk about time of possession and normally if you win games, youre controlling the ball in the fourth quarter, youre running the football and if youre behind, youre throwing the football, Shanahan said. When you do move the ball like we did, you feel better about everything your running game, your protection, your drop-back game, everybody is a lot more positive.

To move the ball like we did gives a big boost to our offense players. We just have to do it on a consistent basis.

Contact OHalloran at rohalloran@comcastsportsnet.com