Reviewing the 4: Still no first-quarter offense

Reviewing the 4: Still no first-quarter offense
November 14, 2011, 4:07 pm
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Reviewing the four things we identified to watch in the Redskins-Dolphins game preview posted Sunday morning:1. ANOTHER GREAT RECEIVEREntering the game: Miamis Brandon Marshall entered the game with 46 catches and was on pace for 1,200 yards receiving and the Dolphins targeted 10 or more times in four of the first eight games.What happened: The Dolphins went to Marshall twice on the first three snaps an incomplete trick play downfield and a 26-yard completion on third-and-long. It was the start of another productive day for Marshall, who had seven catches (nine targets) for 98 yards.The Redskins kept Marshall out of the end zone but lost him in coverage, especially down the middle of the field, which was inexcusable.2. FIRST QUARTER PULSEEntering the game: The Redskins hadnt scored an opening-drive touchdown. That led directly to first-half deficits during the four-game losing streak.What happened: More of the same. The Redskins did get a Graham Gano field goal, but the offense started punt and missed field goal. The vaunted 16-play script the Redskins always talk of has produced a grand total of 16 first-quarter points for the season.3. ACCOUNTING FOR BUSHEntering the game: Bush had 112 carries-receptions for a combined 591 yards but he up-ticked his rushing totals the last two weeks, carrying 28 times for 195 yards against the Giants and Chiefs.What happened: The Redskins kept Bush in check (14 carries-47 yards, four catches-four yards) except for one play. Leading 13-9 midway through the fourth quarter, the Dolphins drew up a smart play. Matt Moore was in the shotgun and he handed off to Bush, who was in motion left to right on the formation. Bush scored on an 18-yard touchdown to seal the game.4. FIRST DOWN SHOTSEntering the game: The Redskins ranked ninth in the NFL on first down, averaging 6.1 yards per snap. But more big plays are needed to start drives or continue successful drives.What happened: The Redskins ran 24 first-down snaps and had 13 of the snaps gained fewer than 5 yards. Two negative plays stood out. Both came in the red zone. A screen pass to tight end to Fred Davis lost 6 yards (they settled for a field goal) and on first-and-10 from the Dolphins 10, Rex Grossman was intercepted by Karlos Dansby. Overall, Grossman had six completions of 10-plus yards on first down.Contact OHalloran at rohalloran@comcastsportsnet.com.