Redskins-Dolphins instant analysis

Redskins-Dolphins instant analysis
November 13, 2011, 8:55 pm
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MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. Observations and opinions from the Redskins 20-9 loss to the Miami Dolphins Sunday, their fifth consecutive loss after a 3-1 start.

Of course, the big news pregame was Mike Shanahans decision to dump quarterback John Beck in favor or Rex Grossman. At this point, whats the risk? The offense entered the day in a seven-game slump.

What will be interesting but probably not revealed is how many, if any, veterans approached the coaching staff saying a move back to Rex was needed to get the offense going. Beck missed a few throws downfield last week.

Not even during his tumultuous tenure with Al Davis did a Shanahan head-coached team lose five straight games. At 3-6 entering a next four weeks that include Dallas, New England and the Jets, the Redskins better win at Seattle in two weeks to avoid things really going down the toilet.

The second-goriest statistic (besides the five-game skid): four offensive touchdowns in last five games.

The first-quarter woes continued for the Redskins (three points). They have 16 points in nine opening quarters. Their opening drives have gone punt, interception, field goal, punt, interception, fumble, punt, punt and punt.

Meanwhile, the Redskins defense was decent coming out of the gate, not allowing an opening-drive touchdown until today. The Dolphins used a short field (45 yards) to make it 7-0 less than seven minutes into the game. Miami fed Brandon Marshall early an incomplete bomb on the first snap and a 26-yard completion on the third play.

Weve long since stopped guessing about who plays and why on the Redskins. And for good reason. Offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan certainly made it sound as if Ryan Torain were not practicing well enough to earn additional playing time. Flash to Sunday Torain starts and has all of the Redskins 11 first-half carries.

Obviously, new running back Tashard Choice had some kind of setback with his hamstring on Thursday. He was inactive after professing confidence on Wednesday he would be ready to go.

New receiver David Anderson was playing the third-down slot spot from the first quarter on and had a 14-yard reception in the second quarter. That leaves the two outside spots to be divided among Gaffney, Armstrong, Hankerson and Austin.

Kevin Barnes interception in the first quarter gave the Redskins a rare short field (first-and-goal from the 5). On third down from the 1, Logan Paulsen was called for holding. The Redskins settled for a 26-yard field goal.

A Kyle Shanahan nitpick late in the first half: A Miami penalty gave the Redskins a first-and-five from the 28-yard line. Take a shot on first down? Nope Torain 2-yard run. Take a shot on second down? Nope dump-off pass to Darrel Young for a 3-yard gain. On third down, Grossman threw high and behind Anderson. Graham Gano kicked another field goal.

Ryan Kerrigan forced his second fumble of the game on the Dolphins initial second-half drive. Stephen Bowen recovered, and the Redskins were in business several plays later with a first-and-goal from the 9. Trouble ensued. A screen to Fred Davis lost 6 yards (thats tough to do) and on a third-and-goal from the 5, Grossman threw incomplete to the end zone.

Miami took a 13-9 lead by converting a third-and-10 (Davon Bess for 23 yards) and a third-and-four (Brandon Marshall for 26 yards).

The Redskins continue to do a poor job taking advantage of chances. An example: Miamis Igor Olshansky roughed Grossman after an incompletion. That should have been a 15-yard call. But Sean Locklear was called for holding, resulting in offsetting penalties.

Trailing 13-9 early in the fourth quarter, the Redskins got away with one. On a third-and-three from the Dolphins 35, Helu ran wide around the right side, but got the first down by half a football.

Again in scoring range (first-and-goal from the 10) after a fine pass-and-catch by Grossman and Hankerson for 25 yards came Rexs biggest mistake. He tried to find a tight window to Gaffney on a quick slant, but was intercepted by linebacker Karlos Dansby.

The drive that made it 20-9 Miami left a lot to be desired for the Redskins. The Dolphins converted a third-and-eight with an 11-yard throw to Anthony Fasano and a second-and-nine when Fasano got behind London Fletcher for 21 yards.

Reggie Bush sealed the game with an 18-yard run that started when he motioned from left to right and received the hand-off from the shotgun formation. DeAngelo Hall set the edge, forcing Bush to cut up-field, but the pursuit wasnt there.

Contact OHalloran at rohalloran@comcastsportsnet.com.