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Bolts Get Taste of Own Medicine
Over the Chargers season, there have been a number of steady factors leading to their success.
Offensively they include extended drives aided by key third down conversions, allowing the team to dominate time of possession. On defense, they were able to get off the field on third down and come away with key red zone stops.
On Sunday, the Redskins flipped the script on the Bolts, giving them a taste of their own medicine. The result was a heartbreaking 30-24 overtime loss in the Nation's Capitol.
Washington converted at a 71-percent clip on third down, succeeding on 12 of 17 attempts. Conversely, the Chargers converted just three of nine tries on third down for a 33-percent success rate. As a result, the home team dominated time of possession 40:03 to 25:58. In recent games the Chargers have been successful rushing the ball, but on Sunday the Redskins outgained them 209 to 69 on the ground. Finally, in the red zone the Bolts had been on a historic run, not allowing the opposition to score a touchdown in a franchise record 12 straight quarters. On Sunday, the Redskins scored a touchdown on four of five red zone opportunities, including each of their final four.
“This is a good football team,” Head Coach Mike McCoy said about Washington. “They had one of the top offenses in the league up until last week I believe statistical. They just haven’t won the games, so people overlook that. But they have had a great running game with (Head Coach) Mike Shanahan for a long time. Whatever team he’s been around they’ve been able to run the ball effectively.”
After the game, Jarret Johnson lamented the job the team did getting off the field on third down.
“We’re going to look and see what it was, whether it was scheme or technique, and I know you guys hate to hear it, but it always comes down to the little things,” he said. “We’re going to take a look at what happened on third down. I don’t know the exact numbers, but we definitely had some opportunities to get off the field but didn’t do it. And that’s on us. There were some times where we played really (well) on defense. We’ll take a look at it.”
Johnson also focused on the team’s inability to get stops in the red zone.
“When a team is able to run like that, especially fullback bellies up the middle at the goal line, that’s man play,” he said. “All the credit to them. They’re a very talented football team. But this is a disappointing loss today.”
Philip Rivers wasn’t blaming the defense for the Redskins' offensive success. Instead he said the offense needs to do a better job controlling the ball and extending drives, much like they had been entering the game. When that happens, it gives the defense a chance to rest, and ultimately, a better chance to succeed.
“I think in that situation, it’s our job to make sure we convert third downs and answer those drives,” he said. “We didn’t get many opportunities the first half, and that’s our fault offensively for not sustaining those drives. It’s not so much our defense; it’s that when we get our chances on offense, we’ve got to stay on the field.”