3 & Out: Redskins face Charger challenge

3 & Out: Redskins face Charger challenge
October 30, 2013, 5:45 pm
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Redskins face dangerous Chargers team

San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers (17) passes during the second half against the Indianapolis Colts at Qualcomm Stadium. The Chargers won 19-9.

(Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports)

With Peyton Manning and the Broncos now in the rearview mirror, the Redskins have reached the part of their schedule where they must begin making up ground in the standings. 

And if they’re going to make a run, it’s got to begin Sunday against Philip Rivers and the 4-3 Chargers.

Here are three storylines to monitor in the coming days:
 
1st down—Last week, the Redskins’ defense faced the NFL’s second most accurate passer and lost, 45-21. On Sunday, they’ll face the most accurate passer in the league, the resurgent Rivers. After an off year in 2012, the 31-year-old is completing a whopping 74-percent of his passes though seven games. That’s nearly 10 percentage points higher than his career average. It’s also got him on pace to break the NFL record for completion percentage of 71.2, set by Drew Brees in 2011.
 
2nd down—But Rivers isn’t the only offensive weapon Jim Haslett and Co. must contend with at FedEx Field. Like Rivers, Antonio Gates is also enjoying a renaissance of sorts. At 33, the 6 foot 4 tight end is on pace for his first 1,000 yard season since 2009 and, according to ProFootballFocus.com, he has more yards after the catch than any other player at his position. Whichever Redskins defender draws that assignment must have a great afternoon.
 
3rd down—Speaking of needing a great afternoon, Robert Griffin III could really use one Sunday. The quarterback posted the lowest passer rating of his career in Denver and misfired on a number of important passes, particularly in the second half as the Broncos rallied. After the win over the Bears, we believed the old RG3 was back. Now we’re not so sure. But with another performance like the one he had against Chicago, those questions might disappear for good. 

Extra point: Brian Orakpo’s $15,750 fine for an illegal hit on Bears quarterback Josh McCown has been rescinded by the NFL, according to Coach Mike Shanahan. “You had to go back to a close-up on it to see that it didn’t happen,” he said.   

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