Against the Bengals in Wembley Stadium the Redskins raced up and down the field but they didn’t get rewarded for it by racking up many points. They had 546 yards of total offense and just 27 points to show for it.
Getting that many yards and so few points is unusual. Since the 1970 merger teams have gained 546 yards or more and have scored 27 points or fewer 11 times. There have been over 11,000 games played since the merger so that has happened in about a tenth of a percent of them. (all stats via the indespensible Pro Football Reference)
It should not be surprising that the Redskins would be one of the teams to record that “accomplishment”. A look at the numbers shows that they are one of the two most inefficient offenses in NFL history through eight games.
Through eight games this season the Redskins have 3,282 yards of total offense and 186 points to show for it. Only one other team in NFL history, the 2011 Carolina Panthers, had at least as much in total offense as the Redskins do now with so few points. In the first half of that season, which was Cam Newton’s rookie year, the Panthers has 3,321 yards of offense and had scored 187 points.
Those Panthers, by the way, were 2-8 at the midway point; these Redskins are managing to get by a 4-3-1.
How many points “should” the Redskins get for as many yards as they have? Since 1940 there have been 51 teams with between 3,250 and 3,500 yards of offense after eight games. The median number of points those teams have scored is 234. So the Redskins are about seven touchdowns shy of where they should be in terms of points scored.
The most glaring problem is the red zone. They have put the ball in the end zone just 40.6 percent of the time they have had possession inside the opponents’ 20-yard line. For comparison, the best teams in the red zone score touchdowns over 70 percent of the time.
The Redskins have half a season to try to do a better job of translating ball movement into points. If they continue on their current pace they would have over 6,500 yards of offense, shattering the team record (6,253 in 1989), and still not make the playoffs.