Tag Archives: Anthony Armstrong

Redskins vs. 49ers preview: By the Numbers

If you’re a Redskins fan, you might want to brace yourself — because this isn’t going to be pretty.

Team Record:

Washington Redskins: 3-4
San Francisco 49ers: 6-1

Quarterbacks:

Rex Grossman + John Beck, Washington: 134 completions out of 223 attempts (56.8% completion), 1736 yards, 7 TD’s, 12 INT’s, 67.7 QB Rating
Alex Smith, San Francisco: 115 completions out of 182 attempts (63.2% completion), 1267 yards, 9 TD’s, 2 INT’s, 95.7 QB Rating

Advantage: Let’s see, Smith has a better QB rating, better completion percentage, more touchdown passes, and less interceptions. I’ll go out on a limb and give this one to San Francisco

Runing Backs:

Tim Hightower + Ryan Torain + Roy Helu, Washington: 150 attempts, 618 yards, 4.1 yards per carry, 2 TDs, 4 carries for 20+ yards, 0 fumbles lost.
Frank Gore, San Francisco: 140 attempts, 675 yards, 4.8 yards per carry, 5 TD’s, 7 carries for 20+ yards, 2 fumbles lost

Advantage: Frank Gore has more yards, touchdowns, and runs of 20+ yards on less carries than the entire Redskins backfield combined. Again, San Francisco, by a landslide.

Wide Receivers and Tight Ends: Both teams have had to deal with injuries here, so we’ll look at the top 3 receivers plus tight end for each team.

Washington:

Jabar Gaffney: 27 recs, 401 yards, 14.9 ypc, 1 TD, 6 receptions for 20+ yards
Terrance Austin: 6 reces, 80 yards, 13.3 ypc, 0 TD’s, 1 reception for 20+ yards
Anthony Armstrong: 5 recs, 47 yards, 9.4 ypc, 1 TD, 0 receptions for 20+ yards

Fred Davis: 36 receptions, 517 yards, 14.4 ypc, 2 TD’s, 10 receptions for 20+ yards

San Francisco:

Michael Crabtree: 25 recs, 263 yards, 10.5 ypc, 1 TD, 4 receptions for 20+ yards
Delanie Walker: 11 recs, 114 yards, 10.4 ypc, 3 TD’s, 2 receptions for 20+ yards
Braylon Edwards: 8 recs, 90 yards, 11.3 ypc, 0 TD’s, 1 reception for 20+ yards

Vernon Davis: 27 recs, 298 yards, 11.0 ypc, 3 TD’s, 6 reception for 20+ yards

Advantage: San Francisco. Crabtree is more talented than any receiver on the Redskins roster, though he just hasn’t seemed to get his act altogether yet. Crabtree and Edwards have both been slowed by injuries this season, but are monumentally more talented than any receiver the Redskins would put on the field on Sunday. On the flipside, Fred Davis has already become one of the 10 best tight ends in the league, but there may not be a more talented tight end than Vernon Davis. Vernon’s stats might not be as good as Fred’s, but that’s because the 49ers don’t have to lean on him nearly as much as the Redskins do on Fred Davis.

Offensive Line:

Washington: 23 sacks allowed, 3 out of 5 opening day starters still playing
San Francisco: 17 sacks allowed, 4 out of 5 opening day starters still playing

Advantage: San Francisco

Rushing Defense:

Rushing Yards allowed Per Game

Washington: 21st in the NFL (allows 120.4 yards per game)
San Francisco: 1st in the NFL (allows 73.4 yards per game)

Rushing Touchdowns allowed:

Washington: 6 (16th in the NFL)
San Francisco: 0 (1st in the NFL)

Games in 2011 where opposing running back has gained 100+ yards:

Washington: 2 (Philadelphia, Buffalo)
San Francisco: 0

Advantage: Again, San Francisco by an embarassing margin. The 49ers haven’t given up a 100-yard rushing effort to an opposing running back over the past 29 games, the longest active streak in the NFL. They’ve held very solid running backs like LeSean McCoy, LeGarrette Blount, and Jahvid Best to under 40 yards rushing for the entire game. On the flipside, the Redskins gave up 120 yards to Fred Jackson, 104 yards to the the duo of Deangelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart, and 126 yards to McCoy over the past three weeks alone.

Passing Defense:

Yards Per game:

Washington: 12th in the NFL (allows 223.1 yards per game)
San Francisco: 21st in the NFL (allows 255.7 yards per game)

Sacks:

Washington: 23 total (5th in the NFL), lead by LB Brian Orakpo (4.5)
San Francisco: 21 total (7th in the NFL), lead by LB Aldon Smith (6.5)

Interceptions:

Washington: 6 (21st in NFL), lead by LB London Fletcher (2)
San Francisco: 9 (7th in the NFL), lead by CB Carlos Rogers (3).

Advantage: Push. San Francisco might allow a few more yards through the air, but they get after the quarterback and intercept the opposing passer at a better clip than Washington does.

Total Defense:

Total Yards per game:

Washington: 343.6 (14th in the NFL)
San Francisco: 329.1 (10th in the NFL)

Points Allowed:

Washington: 19.9 per game (7th in the NFL)
San Francisco: 15.3 per game (1st in the NFL)

Turnover Ratio:

Washington: -6 (27th in the NFL)
San Francisco: +10 (2nd in the NFL)

Advantage: San Francisco. Face it, the 49ers Defense is just playing better than the Redskins defense overall. In the six games the 49ers have won this season, their opponent has not scored more than two touchdowns. In five of their seven games, they’ve given up less than 20 points (including 10 or less points in three of their last five games).

Bottom Line:

Watching this game will probably be incredibly frustrating for Redskins fans, because the 49ers are winning in the way that us Redskins fans have desperately yearned for: running the ball down the opponents throats, keeping them out of the endzone, and taking the football away from them.

If Redskins fans are hoping this is the week that the offense comes to life, they might not want to hold their breath. Judging by the stats coming into this game, John Beck is going to get virtually no help from his running game on Sunday. The Redskins are already in the bottom seven in the NFL in running the football (averaging less than 96 yards per game on the ground), and they’ll essentially trying to run against a brick wall. The 49ers will absolutely sell out to stop the run, knowing that Beck won’t have time to throw nor the weapons downfield to beat them. Seriously, if you’re the 49ers, why wouldnt you blitz Beck every play? His receivers are too young and raw to really recognize the blitz and make route adjustments accordingly, the entire left side of the offensive line will have backups playing, and it’s painfully apparent that Beck is nowhere near comfortable commanding this offense yet.

If the Redskins win, it looks like it’s going to have to be an ugly one, with the defense shutting down Frank Gore (he accounts for over 45% of the 49ers offensive touches), getting a takeaway or two, and maybe even having to put the ball in the endzone themselves.

This preview was cross-posted on RedskinsGab.com

Yesterday’s Loss? Just Life as a Redskins fan

I’ve said this many times before, and I’ll probably say it many times again: the more things change for the Redskins – with their never-ending revolving door of big name head coaches, highly touted coordinators, washed up quarterbacks, high-priced free agent acquisitions, and wasted draft picks – the more things stay the same.

During yesterday’s loss to Tampa Bay, the last four minutes of the game basically summed up life as a Redskins fan: a day late, a dollar short, and all out of luck.

Let’s break it down, act by act:

Act I: An all-too-familiar refrain: the Redskins jump out to an early lead over Tampa, nurse this lead through most of the second half, only to blow this lead late in the fourth quarter. Like clockwork, the Redskins get burned on Josh Freeman’s 41 yard touchdown pass to Kellen Winslow with less than four minutes left to go in the game. The Redskins get burned on an all-out blitz, leaving Kareem Moore to cover two guys running wide open deep down the field.

If you’ve been paying attention for the past decade plus, you know exactly what’s going to happen next: the inevitable comeback attempt falling short of the mark. Even as Donovan McNabb took the field on the Redskins last drive to try and maneuver the team towards a game-tying touchdown, you had to have the feeling that something was going to go wrong. That’s just your luck being a Redskins fan: you hope for the best, but you fully expect the worst.  They’d either run out of time, run out of downs (oh, the forthcoming irony), or throw yet another game-ending interception.

Act II: On the ensuing (and ultimately doomed) comeback attempt, we get the Santana Moss “non-catch.” In a situation where the referees are supposed to let the play fully transpire on the field instead of making a judgment call that could ultimately decide the game’s outcome, the refs claim that McNabb’s pass hit the ground and Moss didn’t catch the ball.

Let’s examine the facts here: Moss may not have caught the ball 100% cleanly, but there’s not a single shred of conclusive evidence which shows that the ball hit the ground. If the refs had done their job by swallowing their whistles and let the players decide the outcome on the field, then the Redskins would have had the ball deep inside the Buccaneers territory after Moss’ catch-and-run (no Bucs defender touched him after he “caught” the pass).

But instead, the referees when ahead and made a completely subjective, and totally unprovable claim that the ball hit the ground.  Even after Mike Shanahan’s reluctant (and ultimately useless) challenge, the refs claimed that there wasn’t enough evidence to say that it was a completed pass. They essentially predetermined the outcome of that sequence of events under the following logic: “We think the ball hit the ground, even though we never saw it hit the ground, and the video doesn’t show it not hitting the ground. So we’re sticking with our guess that it hit the ground. Tough cookies.”

If that doesn’t sound like something that would only happen to the Redskins, then you clearly haven’t been paying attention.

Act III: In a shocking turn of events, instead of folding like a cheap tent in a heavy wind, the Redskins actually rebound from this gaffe and still somehow manage to march all the way down the field, positioning themselves just about six feet away from scoring a touchdown, with the ensuing extra point potentially tying the game (yep, more sweet irony). In just over three minutes, Donovan McNabb – a notoriously mediocre quarterback when running the two minute drill – goes 7 of 8 for 73 yards, down to the Tampa Bay two yard line.

But here’s where it gets interesting. McNabb’s last pass to Anthony Armstrong, on first and ten, was a “nine” yard completion that went from Tampa Bay’s twelve yard line to Tampa Bay’s two yard line. Consider the following:

A: When Armstrong went down after making the catch, it appeared that he was never touched. He alertly gets up and makes his way to the end zone, only to once again be thwarted by the referees calling him “down by contact.” Seriously, isn’t that why we have challenges and booth reviews? Aren’t NFL refs told, over and over, to let things happen on the field, so that they can go back and be reviewed if it’s an incorrect call? Inexcusable.

B: If Armstrong caught the pass and went ten yards on first and ten, isn’t it a first down? Apparently, it depends on who you ask. Armstrong never saw a referee signal first down after his catch. Fox’s game broadcast said it was second and one. The scoreboard said it was second and one. The Redskins believed it was second down.

Except he really did get a first down. Yep, that makes complete sense to me, too.

Act IV: As it forever will be known: “the 5th down.”

On what we thought was second down, McNabb attempts an awful fade pass to Roydell Williams, which falls incomplete. On what we thought was third down, Ryan Torain loses four yards. And on what we thought was fourth down, Fred Davis blows his chance to be a hero for the Redskins, letting a perfectly thrown pass bounce right off his chest and fall incomplete. We can slam McNabb all we want in DC, but that ball hit Davis right at the top of the six on the “86” on his uniform.

But hold on, there’s one more down. The Redskins get one more chance on fourth down. Again. And wouldn’t you know it, with one more chance, McNabb threads a bullet between two defenders, right between the numbers to Moss for a touchdown.

The Redskins are only a point away from redeeming their blown lead, and appear to have completed a fourth quarter comeback for the first time in lord knows how long. Seriously, can you think of the last time the Redskins came back to win the game – or even tie it – when they’re down by a touchdown with less than four minutes to go?

Act V: The culmination of this Shakespearean tragedy known as the 2010 Redskins. Only moments after the incredibly rare fourth quarter comeback drive, with the almost-automatic extra point left to officially make it a tie game, a high snap and wet football leads to a botched hold by Hunter “the punter” Smith. The ball fumbles away before Graham Gano ever gets a chance to attempt the kick, and it’s picked up by a Buccaneers defender to end the game.

It’s almost as if the Karma gods laid down their retribution on the Redskins, taking that very last point away from them after somewhat gifting them the phantom 5th down.  Or perhaps it was the system working to correct itself, after the glitch in the Matrix (the Redskins actually making a comeback).

Whatever it may be, it’s par for the course when it comes to the Redskins. All you can do is shake your head and try to laugh it off, fully knowing that the only way you can rationalize yet another punch to the collective stomach of the Burgundy and Gold faithful is by telling yourself:

“Only the Redskins…”

This article was written for and cross-posted on RedskinsGab.com

The Redskins revolving door of futility at receiver

Here’s a stat for you. Since the 2006 season, the Redskins are one of only three teams to have had exactly one player exceed 1,000 yards receiving (Santana Moss did in ‘07; the Chiefs and Seahawks are in the same boat). Sure, it could be worse – there are four teams who haven’t had anyone break a thousand yards receiving in that same span – but is that really the company we strive to be with? I mean, even the Bills, Lions, and Browns (three of the worst teams of this decade) have had more than one player break the 1k yard mark.

Anyone who follows the Redskins is well aware of the revolving door at quarterback this team has had in that same span (Mark Brunell, Jason Campbell, Todd Collins, then Campbell again, and now Donovan McNabb), but take a look at the revolving door of spectacularly craptacular receivers this team has started opposite of Moss, prior to the Shanahan regime: Brandon Lloyd, Keenan McCardell, Reche Caldwell, Antwaan Randle El, James Thrash, Devin Thomas, Malcolm Kelly. I’m going to go ahead and take a stab by saying that you wouldn’t run into any of them if you were vacationing in Hawaii around, say, early-to-mid February.

And four years later, what do we have to show for it? Three of those guys are retired, all but one of them are no longer on the team, and the lone “survivor” of that group (Kelly) is spending yet another season on injured reserve because his muscles and tendons are about as strong as a wet kleenex.

This year, it’s been nothing but more of the same. We’ve handed over the keys of the offense to Donovan McNabb, and asked him to “save the franchise” while throwing to Anthony Armstrong, Joey Galloway, and Roydell Williams. That’s like giving your 16 year old kid a brand new car with no gas in it, and then giving him a can full of turpentine to put in the gas tank.

To borrow a line from “Coming to America,” Joey Galloway is good… good and terrible. When the Redskins signed him during the summer, the majority of fans thought that he’d be nothing more than training camp fodder, or a Methuselah-like receiver who could impart some work ethic and professionalism on the young guys (namely Thomas and Kelly). In a best case scenario, he’d play in a preseason game or two before he’s mercifully released by the team.

So it’s absolutely shocking, appalling, and mortifying to see him on the regular season roster, let alone getting snaps, and definitely let alone starting for this team. To put it succinctly: he is utterly and completely devoid of use to this offense, and has no business being on an NFL roster. I get that he’s not starting anymore and that Armstrong is now the starter, but it’s still really hard to get excited about your receiving corps when your #2 receiver is a 5′11, 27 year old rookie who used to play in something called the “Intense Football League.”

And the sad thing is: what do Redskins fans have to look forward to? Moss is going to be another year older. Galloway turns 407 years old next season. Anthony Armstrong is a great story, but he’s nothing more than a #3 receiver at best . Roydell Williams isn’t even good enough to be a journeyman.

While Bruce Allen and Mike Shanahan did almost nothing to upgrade the current personnel we have at the position, the fact is that we can think none other than Vinny Cerrato for this alarming lack of talent.

Marinate on this for a second: in nine years of being the de facto General Manager of the Redskins, do you know that Cerrato has never drafted a wide receiver that has eclipsed 350 yards receiving in a single season? Are you really telling me that, in nearly a decade of running a billion dollar organization, he couldn’t find a single receiver that could contribute a measly 16 receiving yards per game? A monkey flinging it’s poop at a war room draft board could have done a better job than that.

Honestly, take a look around the NFL. How many teams can you say have unequivocally worse talent at wide receiver than the Redskins? St. Louis probably has the least talented group of receivers in the NFL right now, but past that? Maybe Carolina, Kansas City, and/or Oakland; that’s really about it. Cleveland has a lot of young and unproven talent, but at least they have talent to develop.

Heck, take a look at Tampa Bay. Over a two year span – where the majority of the time they were being skewered by the media – the Tampa Bay Buccaneers already have their answers at quarterback, #1 WR, and #2 WR for the future. They found a bell-cow running back, and already have a change-up running back on the roster. It’s been a freaking decade for the Redskins, and we still can’t say the same thing.

The Redskins desperately need an infusion of young talent if they expect any quarterback – be it McNabb or his eventual successor – to be productive. Yet once again, the Redskins are without draft picks in the 3rd or 4th round next year, thanks to the trades for McNabb and Jammal Brown. If the Redskins don’t use their first or second round picks on some combination of a quarterback and/or offensive linemen, I may throw my laptop across the room.

So where or how they’re going to get this young talent at receiver, we’re not really sure. But they sure as hell need it.

This article was written for and cross-posted on RedskinsGab.com