Game 8: Chargers @ Redskins
Time is running out, can the Redskins bounce back against San Diego? Give us your take at the DCPRO reddit page
CBS has the doubleheader this week with nearly the entire nation getting the Pittsburgh Steelers @ the New England Patriots in the second game. Ravens fans don’t despair, as always, teams are shown in their home market, so Baltimore and Cleveland will get to see them take on the Browns. It appears we get Philadelphia @ Oakland @ 4pm on FOX. As for your Burgundy and Gold? You are in luck if you live in the Mid-Atlantic or Southern California! Most of the rest of the nation will be getting Kansas City @ Buffalo @ 1pm.
Temperatures in the mid-50′s with winds gusting to 20 miles per hour is the forecast for the Redskins annual Homecoming weekend as the San Diego Chargers come to town. Doug Williams, Timmy Smith and Ricky Sanders from the XXII Super Bowl champions will be joined by more than 100 other alumni as the franchise celebrates the 25 year anniversary of the title.
San Diego, led by first year Head Coach Mike McCoy is coming off a bye week, but were 24-6 winners over Jacksonville in week seven. San Diego is led by quarterback Phillip Rivers who is enjoying a fine season, completing 184-of-249 passes (a sizzling 74 %) for 2,132 yards, 15 touchdowns with only five interceptions. Fourth-year running back Ryan Mathews leads the Chargers’ rushing attack with 110 carries for 446 yards and one rushing touchdown, but is coming off back to back 100 yard performances. Future Hall of fame tight end Antonio Gates leads all Chargers with 42 receptions for 497 yards and two receiving touchdowns. The San Diego offense has really been clicking of late, but their defense may have been the biggest factor to three wins in their last four outings. The unit is in the midst of a franchise record tying eleven straight quarters without allowing an offensive touchdown, something that hasn’t been done since 1977. Over their last four games, coordinator John Pagano’s group ranks among the NFL’s top five in both yards and points allowed per game.
At 2-5, the Redskins are coming off a disappointing 45-21 blowout loss at Denver, a game they once led 21-7. Quarterback Robert Griffin III banged his knee up against the Broncos, but has been practicing and appears ready to go. On the season, RG3 has completed 158 of 268 passes (59.0%) for 1,878 yards, nine touchdowns, while throwing eight interceptions. Washington has made an effort to get Griffin back involved in the running game and he is second on the team in rushing with 240 yards, averaging 5.6 yards per carry. The ‘Skins leading rusher is Alfred Morris with 565 yards on the ground on 108 carries (5.2 yard average) and four touchdowns. Roy Helu couldn’t get going at Mile High after having a break out game with three touchdowns the previous week in the win over the Bears. The passing game continues to lean on Pierre Garcon, who has 47 catches for 512 yards and two touchdowns. Defensively, the Redskins get safety Brandon Meriweather back after a one game suspension and safety Reed Doughty who also missed the Denver game appears to have recovered from his concussion. Defensive end Stephen Bowen torn a PCL against Chicago and has also had shoulder issues, but has played through it all and is listed as probable.
A season ago, the Redskins went on an miraculous run to win the NFC East and are hoping to return to winning ways with three of the next four opponents following San Diego sporting losing records. Washington leads the series all-time 6-3, but Chargers have won last three, including 23-20 in San Diego on 1.3.10 and are hoping to maintain their current hold on the top wild card spot in the AFC.
Off the field, save one small deal, the NFL was quiet as the trading deadline passed this week. The Redskins were actively shopping tight end Fred Davis, but either no teams were interested or the offers were not to their liking. Revelations this week by the USC product that he and teammates often fall asleep during team meetings, probably didn’t help. The emergence of rookie tight end Jordan Reed certainly was a factor in the team’s decision to try and move Davis and he has provided another productive option for quarterback Robert Griffin III. The Redskins may be combing the waiver wire and continuing to juggle the lineup as the search for an option to take the pressure off Pierre Garcon continues. Perry Riley leads the defense in tackles, followed by fellow inside linebacker London Fletcher, but head coach Mike Shanahan is looking for improved play from Brian Orakpo. Coach Shanahan addressed the Washington media following the Redskins Thursday afternoon practice.
As we look at the connections between the two teams and players who have played on both teams, Washington may have a bit of a secret weapon on Sunday. Redskins front office executive A.J. Smith joined the team in January and has a connection of his own, learning under legendary former Redskins coach George Allen in the USFL. Perhaps more importantly, Smith was the Chargers General Manager for ten years (2003-2012). Smith knows the San Diego personnel well, having acquired 17 players still with the team. Some very valuable “intel”, the should not be underestimated.
San Diego (4-3)
Passing: Phillip Rivers – 184-249, 2132 yds, 15 tds
Rushing: Ryan Mathews – 110 car, 446 yds, 1 td
Receiving: Antonio Gates – 42 rec, 497 yds, 2 tds
CHARGERS team offense — (4) overall, (15) run, (6) pass
CHARGERS team defense — (23) overall, (16) vs.run, (26) vs.pass
Passing: Robert Griffin III – 158-268, 1878 yds, 9 tds
Rushing: Alfred Morris – 108 car, 565 yds, 4 tds
Receiving: Pierre Garcon – 47 rec, 512 yds, 2 tds
REDSKINS team offense — (7) overall, (6) run, (10) pass
REDSKINS team defense — (29) overall, (30) vs.run, (27) vs.pass
Eddie Royal WR – (Toe) Did Not Practice Wed or Thu
Mike Remmers T – (Ankle) Did Not Practice Wed or Thu
Donald Butler LB – (Groin) Did Not Practice Wed or Thu
Chad Rinehart G – (Toe) Limited Practice Wed and Thu
Jose Gumbs S – (Ankle) Did Not Practice on Wed, Limited on Thu
Pierre Garcon WR – (Calf) Limited Practice on Wed
Stephen Bowen DE – (Shoulder, Knee) Practicing Fully
Reed Doughty S – (Concussion) Practicing Fully
Robert Griffin QB – (Knee) Practicing Fully
Leonard Hankerson WR – (Foot) Practicing Fully
Chris Neild DT – (Calf) Practicing Fully
Logan Paulsen TE – (Knee) Practicing Fully
Chris Thompson RB – (Shoulder) Practicing Fully
CHARGERS: QB PHILIP RIVERS has 3 400-yard pass games in 2013, most in NFL. Has completed 20+ passes while completing at least 80 pct. of pass att. in 3 games this season, tying for most such games in season in NFL history (BRETT FAVRE in ’09; DREW BREES in ’11). In 4 road games in ’13, has completed 113 of 145 passes (77.9 pct.) for 1,299 yards with 7 TDs vs. 3 INTs & 111.5 rating. Is 1-0 as starter vs. Was. with 101.8 rating…RB RYAN MATHEWS aims for 3rd in row with 100+ rush yards (102, 110). SD is 6-1 when he has 100+ rush yards. RB DANNY WOODHEAD has 40 rec. in ’13, 2nd-most among NFL RBs…Since entering NFL in 2003, TE ANTONIO GATES has 85 TD catches, most among NFL TEs. Gates (497) needs 3 rec. yards to reach 500 for 11th consecutive season…WR EDDIE ROYAL has career-best 6 TD rec. in ’13. Rookie WR KEENAN ALLEN is averaging 96.3 rec. yards per game in past 3…CB MARCUS GILCHRIST posted 1st INT of season vs. Jax…S ERIC WEDDLE leads team with 42 tackles…DE COREY LIUGET tied career-high with 2 sacks last game…REDSKINS: Since 2012, QB ROBERT GRIFFIN III is only player in NFL with 90+ rating (93) & 1,000+ rush yards (1,055). Redskins are 8-2 when Griffin has 100+ rating…Since Week 12 of 2012, RB ALFRED MORRIS is averaging 100.7 rush yards per game, 2nd best in NFL. Has 12 rush TDs in that span, tied for most in NFL. RB ROY HELU, JR. had career-high 3 rush TDs in last home game…Rookie TE JORDAN REED has 17 catches for 224 yards (112 per game) & TD in past 2. WR PIERRE GARÇON has 5+ catches in all 7 games in 2013. WR LEONARD HANKERSON had TD catch last week. WR SANTANA MOSS has 3 career TDs vs. SD (incl. playoffs): 2 rec. TDs (47 & 22 yards) & 52-yard PR-TD…CB DE ANGELO HALL had 2 INTs last week, incl. 26-yard INT-TD. LB RYAN KERRIGAN has 8.5 sacks & 4 FFs in past 9. Since entering NFL in 2011, is only player in NFL with 20+ sacks (22.5) & 2+ INT-TDs (2). LB BRIAN ORAKPO has 10.5 sacks in 13 games vs. AFC. LB LONDON FLETCHER has played in 247 consecutive games. LB PERRY RILEY, JR. leads team with 61 tackles. Fletcher ranks 2nd with 52 tackles.
Looking ahead to week 10 in the NFL. A quick turnaround for Washington as the Redskins are featured in this week’s Thursday Night special on the NFL Network against the Vikings in Minnesota. The Chargers have an AFC West meeting with the Denver Broncos in San Diego.
Tom Blaz is a co-owner of the DCPRO Sports Report. You may follow Tom on twitter @AubieTom