10.24.2011 / Blog Posts Redskins
By Brian Tinsman
Some games boil down to an obvious turning point, where a game is won and lost. Yesterday’s game didn’t have one for the Redskins, but there was a drive when the air went out of the Redskins sails.
The score was 6-9 early in the third quarter, and the Redskins needed a spark to get back in the game. The Redskins had just crossed the 50-yard line, and it was fourth down with two yards to go. Most teams--in most situations--punt on fourth down, for fear of losing the ball on downs. The Redskins elected to go for it, and had one more chance to pick up the first down, asking Beck to throw the ball.
["Losing the ball on downs,” “Turnover on downs”: Teams get four chances to move the ball 10 yards. If they fail on fourth down, then they give the ball to the other team, at that spot on the field. Most teams elect to punt on fourth down, but the Redskins chose to go for it, in hopes of picking up the two yards needed for a first down.]
Beck’s receivers were well-covered on the play, forcing Beck to hold onto the ball and wait for them to try to get open. The Panthers blitzed defenders up the middle of the line, and linebacker James Anderson got past the Redskins blockers. Beck was sacked, and because they had failed to get a first down, the Redskins turned the ball over to the Panthers.
[“Blitz”: Any time a defense sends more defenders to get to the quarterback, than an offense has blockers for. An offense typically uses five or six blockers, so this can mean six or seven blitzers. Teams can also create pressure and get sacks by beating the blockers, over-loading one side of the line, or sending unexpected defenders.]
Unfortunately, that’s the risk of going for it on fourth down. It’s a high-risk, high-reward play, and sometimes it backfires, as it did yesterday. The Redskins came into the game going three-for-three on fourth down conversions this year, but failed on two occasions yesterday.
The turnover on downs sparked the Panthers, who scored a touchdown two plays later. The Panthers would score touchdowns on their first three possessions of the second half, to take a commanding lead.
After replacing quarterback Rex Grossman with John Beck this week, yesterday was supposed to be a day of answers. Beck played fairly well in his first start, but with injuries sidelining seven Redskins starters, the Redskins have more questions moving forward.
Final score from Charlotte: Redskins 20, Panthers 33.
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