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Good start and finish for Redskins' McCoy but issues in between

Good start and finish for Redskins' McCoy but issues in between

Redskins quarterback Colt McCoy is getting kudos for first providing a spark to the Redskins offense in the second half by throwng a 70-yard touchdown pass to Pierre Garçon to erase a halftime deficit and then engineering a 10-play drive in the last minutes of the game to set up the game-winning field goal.

His numbers looked pretty good in a half of work in relief of Kirk Cousins. He completed 11 of 12 passes for 128 yards with the one touchdown and, perhaps most importantly, no interceptions. That comes to a passer rating of 138.9.

But a closer look at the numbers and what actually happened during the game might lead one to wonder if he should automatically get the start in Dallas next Monday night if Robert Griffin III is not yet 100 percent.

For one thing, while McCoy gets as much credit for that 70-yard touchdown play to Garçon as he would if it was a long, perfectly placed bomb, the fact is that it was a five-yard pass to the flat. It turned into a TD because Garçon was able to spin away from cornerback Blidi Wreh-Wilson and because safety Michael Griffin did a poor job of being the last line of defense, taking a bad angle on the receiver as he sped down the sideline.

If you give McCoy five yards on that completion instead of 70, he has only 63 yards passing and his yards per attempt from an impressive 10.7 to a substandard 5.3. Add in the eight yards he lost to sacks and it comes to a net yards per attempt of 3.9.

A team can occasionally win a game with a passing performance like that but it’s unusual. A team has averaged 3.9 net yards per pass attempt in 285 games since the start of the 2010 season. Those teams are 31-254, a .109 winning percentage.

Until the final drive, half of McCoy’s completions really didn’t do the offense much good. On one third-quarter drive he went to Garçon for three yards on second and nine, to Roy Helu for a loss of seven on second and 11 and to Garçon for six on third and 18. In a key possession after the Titans had scored to take the lead midway through the fourth quarter, McCoy was sacked on consecutive plays.

In between the TD pass to Garçon and the final drive, a span of about 24 minutes, McCoy completed five of six passes for a net of 10 yards and was sacked twice for a loss of eight.

But, to his credit, McCoy got it done when it needed to get done. He did what Cousins has not been able to get done since taking over for the injured Griffin.

On that final drive he was five for five for 38 yards. He had a 36-yard pass to DeSean Jackson wiped out due to offsetting penalties and he might have won the game a few plays earlier with a 29-yard TD pass to Jackson but Jason McCourty interfered, setting up the chip-shot field goal to win it.

Give McCoy credit, tons of it, for getting it done in the end of the game and for playing a part in the TD pass to Garçon. But Jay Gruden and company have to consider the whole game played by McCoy and some of it wasn’t very pretty. Will it be enough to give the Redskins a shot against the Cowboys in a week?

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Need to Know: Final thoughts on Redskins vs. Giants

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Need to Know: Final thoughts on Redskins vs. Giants

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, November 23, seven days before the Washington Redskins play the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Redskins Kickoff 7:30 NBC Sports Washington; Redskins vs. Giants, NBC, 8:30  

Days until:

—Redskins @ Cowboys Thursday night (11/30) 7
—Redskins @ Chargers (12/10) 17
—Cardinals @ Redskins (12/17) 24

Final thoughts on Redskins vs Giants

Look out for Eli—There are many reasons why the Giants are 2-8 but Eli Manning is not one of them. He isn’t nearly the turnover machine he has been for much of his career. His interception percentage this year is 1.6; he hasn’t been under 2.3 percent interceptions this decade. Manning only has 14 touchdown passes but considering that Odell Beckham, who went out in the fourth game of the season, still leads Giants wide receivers in touchdown receptions, that’s not bad.

Running game stuck—What makes Manning’s performance even more impressive is the fact that he doesn’t get much support from a running game. The Giants are 26th in the league with 920 yards. They have gained some traction lately after installing Orleans Darkwa as the starting running back; he is averaging 4.8 yards per carry for the season and 71 yards per game over the last three games. The Redskins certainly don’t want to let him get going tonight.

Reverting to reality—The Giants ranked 32nd in total defense in 2015. They dropped millions on free agents such as Janoris Jenkins, David Harrison, and Olivier Vernon and jumped to 10th. Now, this year they are 31st and equally bad against the pass (29th) and the run (30th). Health hasn’t been a huge issue, although Vernon has missed a few games and Jenkins was suspended. Redskins fans know full well that spending sprees don’t necessarily make for permanent improvements and Giants fans are learning it this year.

Keys to winning

  • Run the ballThe Redskins are 4-2 this year when rushing for 90 yards or more.
  • Continue to protect the ball—The Redskins have turned the ball over just twice in their last three games.
  • Don’t give them hope—The Chiefs let the Giants hang around last week and New York stole a win. The Redskins need to get on top early and mash down on the gas pedal.

Prediction—It’s hard to see a scenario where the Redskins lose this one. Even in their injury-depleted state they are battling every game and the same can’t be said for their opponents today. The weather forecast is for cold temperatures but not much wind, ideal conditions for Cousins to throw for 300 yards. For once, the Redskins get up early and keep going.

Redskins 31, Giants 13

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerNBCS and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.

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Everybody thinks the intentional grounding call against Kirk Cousins was wrong, except Troy Aikman

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Everybody thinks the intentional grounding call against Kirk Cousins was wrong, except Troy Aikman

The referees made a fairly obvious mistake last week in the Redskins loss to the Saints when they flagged Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins for intentional grounding late in the game. 

Let's be honest: the call was terrible.

Cousins never felt a pass rush on the play, and was very obviously throwing the ball away. Jay Gruden talked about the play on Monday, and could not figure out how a flag came out in that situation. 

We had two receivers in the area. Quarterbacks throws it away all the time that are uncatchable balls whether they are in the pocket or not. As long as there is a receiver in the area, you can throw it whether they are looking or not. Guys run bad routes – one guy runs a hitch and he’s supposed to run a go and the quarterback throws the go ball, it’s not grounding. So I don’t know why the confusion.

The NFL even reached out and apologized to Redskins team president Bruce Allen for the blown call, a hollow gesture that did not generate much excitement from Cousins (via 106.7 the Fan). 

Whatever they do to say, ‘we’re sorry, wrong call,’ it’s tough because there’s nobody bringing that up in February or March when we're making decisions about which direction to go with the organization. We appreciate the clarification but you know it really doesn’t do much.

If you're keeping score, the NFL, the Redskins head coach and the Redskins quarterback all know the call was wrong. 

You know who doesn't think the call was wrong? Fox analyst, and former Cowboys Hall of Fame QB, Troy Aikman.

Grounding? Free rusher? Decide for yourself below.