COMMENTARY | For roughly 2.3 quarters this past Sunday in Denver, Colorado, the Washington Redskins gave the NFL's best team quite a scare. After a DeAngelo Hall pick-six 3:26 into the second half, the Washington Redskins imploded and let the Denver Broncos off the hook.
At the half, things were looking pretty good for the Redskins. They were tied with the Broncos at seven and had just completed a 16-play, 95-yard touchdown producing drive just before the half ended. Washington just needed to stick to their game plan of running the football and controlling the clock.
To start off the second half, the Redskins scored 14-points in under a minute after forcing two turnovers by Peyton Manning, a fumble and Hall's pick-six. Up until then, they were pressuring the Broncos' receivers and Manning and the offense were finding plenty of success running the football. Washington was leading 21-7 at that point and everything seemed to be going their way.
Following the interception return for a touchdown, the Broncos took complete control of the game and the wheels fell off the Redskins' wagon.
The Broncos then went on a 11-play, 75-yard drive that ended in a touchdown run by Montee Ball. It was the first of many drives that resulted in a 38-point swing in favor of Denver. Once the dust had settled, Denver was the victor, 45-21.
Sunday's game was just another example of how the Redskins are the NFL's most bipolar football team. Against the Bears, we saw a similar game with the exception being the offense's ability to produce in the second half. Much like their game against the Bears, the defense played extremely well in the first half, but then completely came apart in the second half.
After giving up a touchdown to the Broncos on their first possession of the game, the Redskins' defense then tightened up to force three straight punts to end the half. After starting the second half by forcing two turnovers, the defense couldn't stop a nosebleed.
Following Hall's interception, the Broncos went on three straight drives in which they scored a touchdown and the fourth consecutive drive ended in a field goal. After giving up 179 yards in the first half, which isn't awful considering who they were playing, the defense then surrendered 263 yards in the second half.
The offense for the Redskins, while it only managed 266 total yards, was actually productive, but only because of Alfred Morris. On their only scoring drive, Morris got things going when he went for 27-yards on the drive's first play from scrimmage. Morris finished with 93 yards on 17 carries and a touchdown.
After the Broncos began to take control of the game in the third quarter, offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan then began to call more pass plays than run plays. The Redskins completely went away from the run game and became one-dimensional on offense. It's almost as if they panicked and felt they needed quick scores rather than clock killing drives that kept Peyton Manning and Co. on the sidelines.
If there's one thing that the Redskins have presented to the NFL, it's that there is now an obvious blueprint to beating the Denver Broncos. The week prior, the Indianapolis Colts exposed the weakness, but the Redskins have validated it. If you jam the Broncos' receivers at the line and can get pressure on Peyton Manning, you're going to put yourself in the best position to win. The Colts and the Redskins utilized similar game plans defensively. The only difference is that the Colts did it for a full 60 minutes.
For 2.3 quarters, it looked as though the Washington Redskins were going to shock the NFL. However, in the modified words of former Arizona Cardinals head coach Dennis Green, "The [Broncos] are who we thought they were and [the Redskins] let them off the hook!"
Brian Skinnell is a contributor for RantSports.com and Yahoo Sports. You can follow him on Twitter, @Brian_Skinnell.
- Sports & Recreation
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