As they enter their bye week, the Redskins are a more efficient team than they were a year ago. They are not moving the ball quite as well on offense as they did in 2014 but they are scoring more than they did last year.
In 2014, the Redskins had some odd top line stats. They were 13th in the NFL in terms of years gained on offense, posting 358 yards per game. A team putting up yards at that rate should be about in the middle of the pack in scoring. But they ranked a dismal 26th in scoring, putting up 18.8 points per game.
You don’t need high-level advanced stats to figure out why the Redskins were spinning their wheels so much. They could move the ball pretty well but they would get stuck at key moments. The main drive killer was third-down conversions. They made first downs on 31.5 percent of their attempts, 30th in the league. They were frequently trying to convert those third downs from long distances since they took a sack 10.6 percent of the time that they dropped back to pass (30th). When they could keep drives going long enough to get near the end zone they weren’t very good at finishing them off with touchdowns; their red zone touchdown percentage was 47.9 (26th).
Through seven games this year, the Redskins rank 26th in yards per game with an average of 340. But they are averaging 21.1 points per game, an improvement of 2.3 points per game. That is not a massive improvement but it is significant. And it is a sign that they are operating more efficiently on offense.
The Redskins have converted 43 percent of their third downs, ninth in the NFL. Their sack percentage has plummeted to 2.9 percent, second best in the league. They have improved in the red zone, pushing it into the end zone on 61.9 percent of their visits (11th).
There also has been improvement on the defensive side of the ball. They allowed 27.4 points per game last year (29th) and 24.0 per game this year (17th). Add it up and a team that was outscored by an average of 8.6 points per game last year is only at minus-2.9 points per game. That’s not where they want to be but such a point differential is more middle of the pack (18th this year) rather than bottom of the barrel (29th last year).