Thursday, November 4, 2010 9:15 AM
By Rich Tandler
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At the midway point of the season, the Redskins have 19 takeaways after forcing just 17 all of last year. Not only has the quantity of the turnovers been high but they have had a major impact on the outcomes of the Redskins games. Many have occurred at key moments of the game and have either led directly to the points for the Redskins or have prevented what seemed to be certain scoring opportunities for the other team. Since all of the Redskins games have been close, many of the takeaways have been critical to the outcomes of games. I looked at all 19 of the Redskins turnovers this year and rated the impact of each of them. There is some subjectivity involved here, but here are the general criteria for the ratings: HighA takeaway that either led directly to a Redskins score or prevented one in a game that the Redskins won. Since all of the Redskins wins have been by six points or fewer, these turnovers played a hand in a Redskins win. MediumOne that helped the Redskins remain competitive in a game that they ultimately lost or one that helped the Redskins field position or in another way in a win but did not lead to any points. LowWhile a turnover almost always has some impact on the game, these are takeaways that did not lead to or prevent any points. The tally came to six high-impact turnovers, 11 with a medium impact and just two that were low in importance. Here are the 19 takeaways in chronological order: HighWeek 1, DAL, fumble, forced and recovered by DeAngelo Hall, returned 32 yards for a touchdown This takeaway set the tone for first half of the season for both the Cowboys and the Redskins. Tony had no business throwing the ball to Tashard Choice when the possible upside was negligible and the potential downsidewhich is what happenedwas huge. Three Redskins converged on Choice and Hall stripped the ball out, picked it up and scampered in for the Redskins only touchdown in their 13-7 win. MediumWeek 2, HOU, interception by Carlos Rogers, returned 5 yards to the Houston 32; 3 points See, Rogers can catch the ball every once in a while. He bobbled this one a bit before hauling it in. There was a penalty for an illegal block on the return so Washington took possession at the Houston 42. That meant that Donovan McNabbs 35-yard pass to Chris Cooley on the next play only got the Redskins down to the seven. Two Portis runs and an incomplete pass later, Graham Gano kicked a 27-yard field goal MediumWeek 3 at STL, interception by Kareem Moore, returned 5 yards to Washington 15 The Redskins were reeling. They already were down 14-0 in the first quarter and the Rams had just blocked substitute punter Graham Ganos punt. They had a first down at the Washington 26 and were ready to move in for the kill. Sam Bradford, however, let on get away from him and Moore made an interception that helped keep the Redskins from getting blown out early. MediumWeek 3 at STL, Fumble forced by Reed Doughty, recovered by Lorenzo Alexander at the St. Louis 21; 7 points The Redskins had just scored a field goal to scratch the scoreboard early in the second quarter and cut the Rams lead to 14-3. Doughty made a good hit on the ensuing kickoff and Alexander pounced on it. One play later, McNabb threw to Santana Moss for a touchdown to cut the deficit to 14-10. HighWeek 4 at Phi Fumble forced by Rogers, recovered by Moore at the Washington 21 The Eagles, trailing 17-6 with time running out in the third quarter, were looking to make it a one-score game as they marched from their 19 to the Washington 26. On first down, LeSean McCoy ran up the middle for five yards. The ball trickled out as Moore pulled McCoy down. Rogers grabbed the ball but McCoy was ruled down. Mike Shanahan saw it differently and threw the challenge flag. After going under the hood, the call on the field was reversed and the Redskins had the ball going the other way. LowWeek 4 at Phi, Interception by Hall in the end zone With the score 17-12, Kevin Kolbs final Hail Mary pass bounced off of the hands of Jason Avant and into those of Hall. It may seem to be underrating the play to say that the impact of an end zone interception on the last play of a five-point game as a low-impact play. But the ball already bounced off of Avant and it would not have mattered if Hall had made the interception or if the ball had fallen to the ground. LowWeek 5 GB, fumble forced by LaRon Landry, recovered by Moore On Green Bays second play from scrimmage, Aaron Rogers threw to tight end Donald Lee for 17 yards. At the end of the run, Landry stripped the ball out and Moore scooped it up and returned it 13 yards to the Packers 21. The Redskins could not capitalize, though, as a third down snap went awry, knocking them out of field goal range. HighWeek 5 GB, interception by Landry, 3 points With about 12 minutes left in overtime, Landry dove in front of an Aaron Rodgers pass and picked it off at the Green Bay 39. It took a defensive holding call and a pass interference penalty for the Redskins to move into comfortable field goal range. Graham Gano kicked the game winner from 33 yards out. MediumWeek 6 IND, fumble forced by Orakpo, recovered by Carter, 7 points The Redskins were trailing the Colts 17-7 early in the third quarter when Peyton Manning went back to pass at his own 21. Orakpo came up on Mannings blind side and slapped the ball out of his hand as he was starting his passing motion. Carter recovered at the 13. A few plays later, Ryan Torain powered in for a touchdown. MediumWeek 6 IND, fumble forced by Alexander, recovered by Westbrook, 3 points After the Colts had stretched their lead back to 10 points at 24-14, Kenny Moore fielded a Hunter Smith punt and had a good return going until he was smacked by Alexander. Westbrook pounced on the ball at the Colts 39. The ensuing drive stalled when McNabb got sacked and the Redskins settled for a 39-yard Gano field goal MediumWeek 6 IND, fumble forced by Fletcher, recovered by Landry Early in the fourth quarter, the Colts were on the move trying to expand their 24-17 lead. From the Washington 23, Joseph Addia carried up the middle and, while Kedric Golston was riding him down from behind, Fletcher came up and hit the runner, dislodging the ball. Landry recovered at the 17 and it appeared that he popped up untouched and started a return. However, the whistle blew and the play was dead. HighWeek 7 at Chi, fumble forced and recovered by Fletcher Chicago scored near the end of the first half to take a 14-10 lead and they took the second-half kickoff and moved to a first and goal at the one. Jay Cutler tried to sneak over but Albert Haynesworth jumped over the line and held up Cutler. As the quarterback tried to poke the ball over the plane of the goal line (and possibly succeeded in doing so), Fletcher slapped the ball out and recovered at the one. MediumWeek 7 at Chi, interception by Hall The Bears had the ball in Washington territory at the 47. Hall jumped in front of a Cutler pass and picked it off at the 39. HighWeek 7 at Chi, interception by Hall returned 92 yards for touchdown, 7 points The Bears still led 14-10 late in the third quarter and had a third and seven at the Washington 13. Carlos Rogers came on a corner blitz and Cutler threw off of his back foot towards Johnny Knox. Hall snatched the floater out of the air with one hand and he was gone down the sideline. HighWeek 7 at Chi, fumble forced by McIntosh, recovered by Carriker The Bears came right back after Halls interception and trailing 17-14 they were threatening to tie it up or take the lead. From the Washington 35, Cutler threw a short pass to running back Matt Forte in the middle of the field. He had enough for a first down at the 22 but McIntosh came up and stripped the ball. Adam Carriker pounced on the ball at the 25. MediumWeek 7 at Chi, interception by Hall Knox did not make much of an effort to catch Cutlers pass from deep in Bears territory. Hall got an easy interception at the 13. The Redskins could have wrapped up the game right after that but they couldnt move the ball and Gano missed a 37-yard field goal. MediumWeek 7 at Chi, interception by Hall With about two and a half minutes left to play and the Redskins still clinging to their three-point lead the Bears had one last chance. From the Washington 47, Cutler threw deep for Knox. The pass went too deep and Hall made a diving interception at the 13. The Redskins took possession with 2:16 to play and ran out the clock. This could have been rated as a high-impact turnover since it essentially clinched the win but since the pass was from midfield, no Chicago score was imminent. MediumWeek 8 at Det, interception by Hall In the first quarter of a scoreless game, the Lions had a first and ten at the Washington 22. Matthew Stafford threw for Calvin Johnson in the back of the end zone. The ball was slightly underthrown and Hall made the interception in the back of the end zone. MediumWeek 8 at Det, fumble forced by Buchanon, recovered by Fletcher The Lions led 14-13 late in the third quarter and it looked like trouble for the Redskins when Stafford threw a short pass to Nate Burleson. After a gain of 25 yards to the Washington 40, Buchanon came up from behind and knocked the ball out of Burlesons arm. Fletcher recovered at the 27. You can reach Rich Tandler by email at RTandlerCSN@comcast.net and follow him on Twitter @RealRedskins.