'Skins' stats don't add up

Pro Football

October 18, 2005|By EDWARD LEE | EDWARD LEE,SUN REPORTER

ASHBURN, Va. -- On paper, the Washington Redskins should be standing with the Indianapolis Colts as the only undefeated teams in the NFL.

Instead, Washington is 3-2, one game behind the NFC East-leading Dallas Cowboys and on a two-game slide with Sunday's 28-21 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.

The numbers seem to support the Redskins, who have the league's fifth-ranked defense and seventh-ranked offense - joining Dallas as the only teams with their offense and defense in the top 10.

In their losses to Kansas City and the Denver Broncos, Washington posted better combined numbers than the opposition in first downs (54-29), total yards (845-531) and time of possession (66:09-53:51).

"It's definitely frustrating because you come out of a game thinking, `Hey, we felt we were better than those guys,' and statistically, we were," said linebacker Marcus Washington. "But the only statistic that counts is the win-loss column, and when you've got that `L' sitting up there, you start thinking, `Maybe we weren't better than those guys.' They were better that day."

The problem has been in two areas: a negative takeaway-giveaway differential and too many big plays.

After five games, Washington ranks second-to-last in the league with a minus-eight takeaway-giveaway differential. The defense's two forced turnovers also rank second-to-last, and the unit has collected none in the past four games.

The usually stout defense has also surrendered five touchdown plays of 30 yards or more and seven touchdown drives of at least 60 yards.

In the first five games last season, the Redskins had a minus-five differential and had given up one touchdown play of 30 yards or more and four touchdown drives of at least 60 yards.

"We're not used to people breaking a big play on us," said coach Joe Gibbs. "I think we're doing some real good things, but we're doing enough things to keep us from winning football games."

Despite Washington's ranking last in sacks, Gibbs did not budge from his two-week-old assertion that linebacker LaVar Arrington will play when the defensive coaches say so.

"I think it's the same as I said last week," Gibbs said. "We've got probably one of the most senior and knowledgeable defensive staffs in all of football. It's their responsibility to play the people that they think do the best for us, and at whatever point LaVar is in that situation, he'll play."

Gibbs chose to vent after learning that several media outlets had said that the Redskins should defeat 1-4 San Francisco on Sunday.

"That's a ridiculous thing to say," Gibbs said. "So I hope everybody kind of understands that and realizes that everybody out there can beat us. It's ridiculous to state it in some way that you know it's going to be on somebody's bulletin board. It's one thing to say you're a favorite. It's another thing to make light of another football team in the NFL. That's a ridiculous way to state something. Sometimes you wonder what's the motivation for it. Help the other team? I don't know. You tell me."

edward.lee@baltsun.com

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