The Redskins have solved their problem of blowing early leads but not the way they want to get it fixed.
The pattern for most of the season has been to build an early lead, blow it, and either hang on to win or, more often, lose.
Here is a quick synopsis of the games where they lost most or all of a healthy lead.
—In Week 2 against the LA Rams, they had a 13-0 lead in the second quarter. The Rams came back and tied it 20-20 in the fourth quarter before the Redskins won on a late drive.
—On Monday night in Week 4, they led the Chiefs 10-0 in the first quarter before losing 29-20.
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—The then-winless 49ers came to town in Week 6 and the Redskins built up a 17-0 lead late in the second quarter. San Francisco rallied to tie it at 17 in the third quarter. The home team reestablished a nine-point lead but they still had to hang on through a final, desperate 49ers possession before claiming a 26-24 win.
—In Week 9 in Seattle, they took a 10-2 lead into the fourth quarter. The Seahawks came back to take a 14-10 lead before the Redskins pulled out a 17-14 win on a late drive and hold.
—Week 11, Saints. You don’t need the details of this one.
But those were glory days compared to the last two weeks. The Redskins did not hold a lead at any time against the Cowboys or the Chargers. The game in Dallas was scoreless going into the second quarter but the Cowboys tore off 17 unanswered points to take control. The Redskins never got to within one score.
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The next week, the Chargers jumped out to a 13-0 lead and the Redskins were fortunate it wasn’t 21-0 as the LA offense was moving the ball at will. The Redskins did drive for a TD to pull within a touchdown at 13-6 but they were close for all of 11 seconds as Philip Rivers threw a touchdown bomb to Tyrell Williams on the next play from scrimmage.
This is not the direction you want to go in at the end of the year. The ideal scenario, of course, is to build a big lead and then hold the opponent at arm’s length the rest of the way. The Redskins will try to accomplish that against the Cardinals on Sunday.
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.