Monday Morning Water Cooler: Beating the Streak

11.28.2011 / Blog Posts Redskins

AP Photo

By Brian Tinsman

Despite the shortened week of practice, six-hour plane flight to Seattle and extreme elements during the game, the Redskins still managed to win yesterday. It didn’t come to them easily—as nothing has recently—but when the clock hit zero, they were ahead for the first time since the bye week.

Winning on the road against an evenly-matched opponent boils down to one or two big plays. Going into this week, I predicted that it would be a defensive interception by a Redskins cornerback that would swing the momentum in the Redskins favor. The Redskins’ defense has played well during the losing streak, despite having an uncharacteristically low number of turnovers. Given Tarvaris Jackson’s ability to make mistakes under pressure, it would make sense if the defense sparked the Redskins to victory.

The defense had their opportunities in the game, including missed interceptions by both DeAngelo Hall and Josh Wilson on the same drive in the second half. But it was actually a stellar play on offense that served as the catalyst for the Redskins victory.

With 7:55 to go in the game, the Redskins took over the ball at their own 44-yard line, trailing by three. After a first down reception by fullback Mike Sellers, and a short run by running back Roy Helu, the drive looked to be stalling, thanks to an intentional grounding penalty on quarterback Rex Grossman.

Intentional Grounding”—this is a call against the offense, in a situation where a quarterback is under pressure and throws a pass to no one, rather than taking a sack. In such situations, the pass is: 1. Always incomplete, 2. Not within five yards of an eligible receiver, 3. The pass does not make it back to the line or scrimmage, 4. The quarterback is still in between the rows of hash marks that run down the center of the field. If the pass meets each of these qualifications, then it is treated like a sack, with the offense being penalized at the spot of the pass and a loss of down.]

After the penalty, the Redskins were 3rd-and-19 at the 50-yard line with a little over 6:30 remaining. The Redskins were running out of time to come back, and instead chose to be aggressive downfield. Receiver Anthony Armstrong streaked down the left side of the field, and Grossman moved around in the pocket to buy his receiver time to get to the end zone. In one of the biggest Redskins plays of the year, Armstrong jumped up in the end zone and came down with the go-ahead, game-winning score.

This was Armstrong longest grab of the season, after coming up short in similar situations. With one catch, he more than doubled his 2011 production (previously five receptions for 47 yards) and played the hero in the Redskins’ comeback win.

Final score from Seattle: Redskins 23, Seahawks 17.

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