Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos rolled all over the Washington Redskins in the second half with 38 unanswered points, en route to a 45-21 destruction at Mile High Stadium. Last week the Redskins offense showed signs of coming around against the Chicago Bears, but on Sunday against the Broncos, they appeared to have hibernated. Or maybe they were just stymied from the top down.
Enter offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan. Why, oh why, do people try to put square pegs in round holes? This isn’t the first time that Redskin fans have been left scratching their heads as to what in the aqua blue hell was going on in Das Wunderkind’s brain – but it’s the first time for a while, that one might scratch hard enough to draw blood. I did anyway, and I may just have to remove the Redskins from my NFL football betting list if their offense continues to be completely paralyzed by their coordinator’s need to treat it like a toy. It’s a costly betting oversight most weeks.
Albert Morris was averaging over SEVEN yards per carry at one point – 12 carries for 85 yards – right after his touchdown to give Washington a 14-7 lead early in the third quarter. When DeAngelo Hall returned an interception for a touchdown to put the Redskins up 21-7 on the Broncos next possession, the giant underdogs had momentum, a solid lead, and less than a half of football to play.
Surely as an offensive coordinator you’re going to take stock of the situation – on the road against a top team – leading early in the second half against a team that has one of the best quarterbacks to ever play the game. You’re going to lean on your workhorse right? You’d bet on it. You’re going to let the guy that averages over 5 yards per carry on the season, shoulder the load aren’t you?
Morris finished with 17 carries and 93 yards. I will save you looking back up the article or figuring it out, that’s 5 carries for 8 yards after the Redskins took a 2-touchdown lead with over TWENTY-SIX minutes to go in the game. Doesn’t that make you just want to stab yourself in the eye with a spoon or something?
Don’t point me to the Broncos scoring immediately to get them back in the game either, that’s just even more reason to hand the ball to your back. Killing clock, and keeping Manning off the field was always going to be the Redskins best ‘defense’. Kyle Shanahan and the Redskins offense made an absolute shambles of it.
If you need a particular sequence of plays to accentuate what i am talking about, have a look at when Washington got the ball back to start the fourth quarter (14:56) tied at 21. Sure Washington had seen their two touchdown lead disappear, but they were still square going into the last quarter, and given the circumstances, that was a good result and there was no need to panic. Put together a solid drive, much half a quarter of clock if you could manage it while marching down the field, and give yourselves a good chance to win.
First pitch? A dud of a deep pass from Robert Griffin III over the middle to Josh Morgan. Okay, live with one, maybe the Broncos were expecting you to hunker down, so you take a shot.
Second pitch? Another groaner down the middle to Pierre Garcon, and now the Redskins have not only gained no yards in two attempts, they’ve left themselves with a third and long, and obvious passing situation.
Third pitch? Another deep waste over the middle, to Aldrick Robinson this time.
Three and out. TWENTY seconds used up.
The football gods see this all happen, have a quick pow wow about the massive blunder, and respond swiftly.
Sav Rocca shanks a punt, the Broncos capitalize on the first play, and suddenly the Broncos are back on top.
On the next series, RGIII was sacked on the third play of the drive, fumbles and loses the ball on the Redskins 24-yard line. While the defense valiantly stopped Manning, they couldn’t stop the Broncos from kicking a field goal, taking a 31-21 lead, and the football gods had spoken.
The game was an absolute travesty from that point on. There were seven drives, and SIX of them ended in interceptions – two for RGIII before he got hurt, two for Kirk Cousins in relief of him (one returned 75 yards for a touchdown) and two from Manning as well. I like to bet on the NFL, and I like math, so given the very limited probability of that happening, it’s fun to think of the cash that even a five dollar wager would have earned. Not that anyone would make that bet!
Instead, I had to endure the fiasco as it played out, and wait for the final whistle to thankfully blow. It was impossible for me to not think of how differently things COULD have played out.
I may not be an NFL offensive coordinator, but I understand a couple of very valuable leadership tools that you can use in any line of work:
Take constant stock of the tools that you have at your disposal, and adjust your plan to make the best use of them.
Be aware of your situation at all times. Sometimes it can and should change your plan.
Failing to do so can be blamed on poor leadership, or on pig-headed stubbornness or ego, but in the end, the whole team suffers for the breakdown.
Like the Redskins did in their 45-21 meltdown for Kyle Shanahan on Sunday.
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