Tag Archives: Ryan Torain

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

Some Redskins Rambling – 8/5/10

A few notes as the Redskins have opened training camp:

* The following quote should warm any Redskins’ fan’s heart: “I know I’m here to do a certain job, and that’s to protect the blind side. If I go out there thinking about the bucks and not doing my job, I won’t be here long.” That quote is courtesy of Trent ‘Silverback’ Williams, who signed his deal before anyone else among the top 7 picks in the draft. I like him already. Given the revolving door of overpaid fat-cats that have came to and left Washington, having a Redskins’ player thinking about playing his position – instead of how fast he’s going to go and cash in his game check –  is amazingly refreshing

* The problem with today’s media is that if one person spouts an educated opinion with some reasonable facts backing it up, it gets repeated enough to where people start taking it for fact. With the Redskins, case in point for this would be the supposed “running back by committee” that Washington will be using with Clinton Portis, Larry Johnson, Willie Parker, Ryan Torain, and maybe even Brian Westbrook.

Let’s get a few things straight: Portis came into camp woefully uninspired last year, got his brains beat-in while he played in a a laughably inept offense, and suffered a nasty season-ending concussion midway through the season. With his bloated contract (thanks to some ridiculous back-loading from Vinny Cerrato), Portis had to have known that his days were numbered and he wouldn’t have a job much longer without any production to justify it. Add in the fact that he’s being reunited with a coach that he actually respects (and knows how to use Portis) in Mike Shanahan, and you get Portis coming into camp looking like the running back we saw in during the majority of the Gibbs II era.

As I’ve mentioned, Mike and Kyle Shanahan know that they’re not going to win games on the back of the passing game, so if Portis is playing well (and I predict he will), expect the coaches to lean on him heavily. I’m seeing over 1100 yards rushing and 7-9 TD’s for Portis this season.

As for as the rest of the running backs, I think Larry Johnson will be a change-of-pace back at best (if he even makes the team), and Willie Parker is a lock to get cut before the season begins. His performance has been dismal in camps so far, and for a player whose game was predicated on speed but has significantly slowed down over the year, does anyone really expect him to contribute? I’m going on the record as saying that Parker won’t even be on the team’s opening day roster.

If the Redskins do sign Westbrook (I think they’re the favorite), I think he immediately becomes the change-of-pace/3rd down back, leaving Johnson to fight for the last roster spot with Ryan Torain, a guy whom Shanahan originally drafted and thus has familiarity with his system. I could really see LJ getting cut in favor of Torain due to the fact that the latter could contribute on special teams, as the Redskins represent his last chance to stay in the league.

* A point from journalist wunderkind & Redskins beat reporter Grant Paulson made in a radio interview with Lavar & Dukes on 106.7 the fan the other day piqued my interest, probably moreso than your average Redskins fan:

The Redskins have been tinkering with the idea of lining up Tight Ends Chris Cooley or Fred Davis from the slot receiver position on offense, similar to the way the Indianapolis Colts have used Tight End Dallas Clark over the years. Clark has routinely lined up from the slot position because he’s a match-up nightmare for most defenses: he’s too fast for tight ends to cover, and too big for nickel corners to tackle in the open field.

I would make a wager that Shanahan has taken notice of this in his attempts to get the most out of a Redskins offense which is lacking consistency from the wide receiver position, and I think it could actually yield big returns. Cooley works the seams and the middle of the field as well as any Tight End in the league, and is relentless when fighting for yards after the catch. Davis is bigger than some of the outside linebackers in the league, yet he’s as fast as many receivers. Both are marginal blockers (even though he’s a bit smaller, Cooley is definitely the better blocker of the two), but can get the job done enough to where defenses can’t key in on a certain player lining up in certain positions on certain plays.

Getting both guys on the field shouldn’t be hard, either. The Redskins can either go three wide and one back, with a TE at the slot and on the line of scrimmage (like the Colts), or line in the Ace formation (Two wideouts, Two TE’s, one tailback) if they want to get Cooley and Davis on the field.

Not only would this allow the ‘Skins to get both Cooley and Davis on the field as options for the passing game, but it would give Portis the chance to play without a lead blocker, where he is most effective. Portis will be able to utilize his strength as a one-cut-and-go-type runner without having to wait for a pulling guard or fullback in front of him in either formation.

Tight Ends like Tony Gonzalez and Antonio Gates have thrived for years on offenses without a top 10 receiver because of their talent and their offense’s ability to put them in a situation to exploit match-ups down-field. I’d expect to see a lot of that from the Redskins in 2010.