Redskins notes: Rare third down woes

Redskins notes: Rare third down woes
November 14, 2011, 1:32 am
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MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. Through the first half of the season, there were two staples about the Redskins: They couldnt score on offense and were one of the NFLs elite in third down defense.

One continued Sunday and one didnt.

The Redskins offense continued to struggle, going without a touchdown in a 20-9 loss to Miami.

But after a fifth consecutive loss, the Redskins defense felt they had a hand in the defeat as well.

Miami was 8-of-14 (57.1 percent) on third down, the first team this year to break the 50-percent mark against the Redskins, who entered fifth (opponents were converting 29.8 percent).

One of the areas weve been doing pretty well was third down and they made some plays to keep some drives going, Redskins coach Mike Shanahan said.

Said cornerback Kevin Barnes: Were one of the best teams in the league on third down and today we were average, at best. Its something we have to go back and fix.

The Dolphins set the tone on their opening drive Matt Moore threw 26 yards to Brandon Marshall on third-and-8 and 4 yards to Reggie Bush on third-and-2.

Miami converted six long third downs, those of 5 or more yards.

It seemed like time and time again, they kept converting, defensive end Adam Carriker said. To me, that was a huge difference. We have to get off the field in those situations.

The Redskins lost the time of possession battle 33:33-26:27.

Tough Go For Gano
Redskins kicker Graham Gano was 3-of-5 on field goals and both of his misses were into the West End Zone (wide left from 50 and 49 yards).

That 50-yarder, thats about as much wind as Ive ever kicked in, he said. The wind out there, you cant judge it. Thats what Dolphins kicker Dan Carpenter said after the game, too. Before the third quarter, I saw him miss five in a row from there and he looked and said, I cant figure this out. It was just terrible conditions.

Of snapper Nick Sundberg and holder Sav Rocca, Gano felt like they did a good job. Theyre just tough kicks.

Gano is 15-of-21 on field goals this year.

Torain Takes Over
Running back Ryan Torains playing time continues to fluctuate. After only three snaps last week, he started and had the Redskins first 11 carries against Miami. He rushed for 20 yards.

I wanted to give Ryan a chance to see what he could do against a very good defensive team, Shanahan said.

Riley Debuts
Second-year inside linebacker Perry Riley made his first NFL start along side Fletcher and finished with nine tackles (tied for team lead), including four for lost yardage. He replaced Rocky McIntosh in the line-up.

We gave Riley a chance because hes been doing a good job on the scout team, a good job on special teams, Shanahan said. For the most part, I thought he stepped up and did a pretty good job.

Said Fletcher: I thought he played well. Being a young guy and getting his first start on the road, he made a lot of plays, had some tackles for loss.

Injury Report
The Redskins finished the game without receiver Leonard Hankerson (hip) and defensive end Kedric Golston (knee).

Golston said he tweaked his knee and was able to leave the locker room without assistance.

Hankerson was injured making a catch and needed crutches to slowly walk toward the team buses.

Its alright; Its just a little sore, he said. Well get some rehab and get back quick.

Safety O.J. Atogwe (kneetoe) was active but did not play. Shanahan said Atogwe would have played as an emergency option.

Contact OHalloran at rohalloran@comcastsportsnet.com