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Season Ends With 34-10 Loss to Eagles

Posted Jan 1, 2012

The Redskins finished with a 5-11 record, last place in the NFC East. On Sunday in Philly, they kept the game close for three quarters but the Eagles blew the game open with three fourth quarter TDs.


EAGLES 20, REDSKINS 10: SCORING SUMMARY
Team Quarter Play Score
Eagles 1 Henery 35-yard field goal Eagles 3-0
Eagles 2 Hall 7-yard pass from Vick (Henery kick) Eagles 10-0
Redskins 3 Helu 47-yard pass from Grossman (Gano kick) Eagles 10-7
Eagles 3 Henery 20-yard field goal Eagles 13-7
Redskins 4 Gano 27-yard field goal Eagles 13-10
Eagles 4 Jackson 62-yard pass from Vick (Henery kick) Eagles 20-10
Eagles 4 Celek 4-yard pass from Vick (Henery kick) Eagles 27-10
Eagles 4 Lewis 9-yard run (Henery kick) Eagles 34-10

Redskins.com’s Gary Fitzgerald takes a closer look at Sunday’s 34-10 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field:

FIRST IMPRESSIONS

Welcome to 2012. The New Year begins with a familiar Redskins refrain, a 34-10 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field.

The Redskins kept the game close for the first three quarters, but the Eagles blew the game open with three fourth quarter touchdowns. It was a dispiriting finish to a disappointing season.

And so the Redskins finish with a 5-11 record, last place in the NFC East for the fourth year in a row. In a league where the Detroit Lions and Cincinnati Bengals earned playoff berths, the Redskins' losing has to end at some point. Right?

Based on last year’s personnel moves, it appears the Redskins are headed in a positive direction. The team has some promising building blocks, from Roy Helu and Evan Royster on offense to Barry Cofield, Brian Orakpo and Ryan Kerrigan on defense. Right?

Another solid offseason of personnel moves – including a top 10 draft pick – and certainly the Redskins will contend for the postseason. Right?

So let the offseason begin. Let the free agent rumors commence. Let the draft day speculation swirl. It’s time for a little New Year’s optimism. Embrace it. After 5-11, you’ve earned it.

REVEALING MOMENT

The Redskins trailed early in the fourth quarter but had just narrowed the score to 13-10 on Graham Gano’s 27-yard field goal. A key defensive stop and perhaps the Redskins could drive downfield to take the lead. Instead, Eagles quarterback Michael Vick dropped back to pass and effortlessly threw deep – Adam Carriker was charging hard but was a step late on a potential sack. Wide receiver DeSean Jackson had a step on Josh Wilson running a deep crossing route. He pulled in the pass and out-raced Oshiomogho Atogwe to the end zone for a touchdown.

PLAY OF THE GAME

At the end of the first half, the Redskins let a scoring opportunity slip away as the field goal unit could not get set before time expired. Trailing 10-0, the offense came out in the second half with in impressive fashion. They converted a pair of third downs to advance into Eagles territory. On 2nd-and6 at the Eagles’ 47-yard line, Rex Grossman threw a perfectly designed screen pass to Roy Helu in the left flat. Helu weaved past tacklers and into open field. Despite a noticeable limp due to his lingering knee and toe injuries, Helu made it to the end zone for a 47-yard score.

PLAYER OF THE GAME

Brian Orakpo meant it when he said Michael Vick was next two weeks ago. He had recorded his first full NFC East sack on Eli Manning two weeks ago and then vowed to get Vick in the season finale. Orakpo accomplished that feat on the third play of the game, bursting around right tackle Todd Herremans and sacking Vick to end the Eagles’ opening drive. Late in the second quarter, Vick recorded another sack and this time stripped the ball loose. The fumble was recovered by Perry Riley and set up the offense deep in Eagles territory. (Orakpo’s efforts went in vain as the Redskins were unable to produce points off the drive.) Orakpo suffered a shoulder injury on his second sack and did not return to the game. He finished with a team-best nine sacks. Memo to Tony Romo in 2012: watch out for Orakpo.

WHAT WENT WRONG

-- Rex Grossman turned in an inconsistent performance in the Redskins’ season finale. He finished with 22-of-45 pass completions for 256 yards, one touchdown and one interception. The interception, his 20th of the season, was on a deep ball to Anthony Armstrong that was tipped into the air to safety Nate Allen.

-- By all accounts, Sav Rocca has had a strong season in his first year in Washington. His first punt in Philadelphia, where he played the previous five seasons, was his worst. His 22-yard effort set up the Eagles’ offense at the Redskins’ 47-yard line. Michael Vick tossed a 30-yard pass to tight end Brent Celek to get the Eagles in scoring range. It led to a 35-yard field goal by kicker Alex Henery.

-- The Redskins’ offense finally generated momentum midway through the second quarter and they advanced to the Eagles’ 18-yard line. Rex Grossman had to throw away the third-down pass to avoid a blitz. That led to a 36-yard field goal attempt by Graham Gano. The Redskins’ interior line was pushed back, though, and defensive lineman Derek Landri leaped up to block the kick. Gano was roughed up as he helped make the tackle, but he returned to the game.

-- The blocked kick proved to be a momentum-changer. The Eagles charged downfield on a 8-play, 65-yard drive, with Michael Vick completing three passes to wide receiver Jeremy Maclin on the drive. The drive was capped by a 7-yard touchdown pass from Vick to wide receiver Chad Hall, who caught the ball at the 2-yard line and appeared to be stopped short of the goal line. Perry Riley joined Hall on the attempted tackle, but the 5-foot-8 Chad Hall eventually fought off DeAngelo Hall and slipped underneath Riley to get into the end zone for the score.

-- With 35 seconds left in the first half, the Redskins were poised to score with a 1st-and-goal at the Eagles’ 4-yard line. Rex Grossman threw to Santana Moss in the end zone, but the pass was incomplete and Moss was visibly upset that interference wasn’t called on cornerback Joselio Hanson. He started barking at the referee, and the inexplicably took off his helmet. A flag was thrown, but was for Moss removing his helmet in the field of play. The 15-yard infraction pushed the offense back to the Eagles’ 19.

-- One play after Santana Moss’s untimely penalty, Rex Grossman threw a pass across the middle to Jabar Gaffney for an 8-yard gain. The Redskins had no time outs left, so with 8 seconds remaining in the half, the field goal unit raced onto the field. They were nearly lined up with 3 seconds left but it appeared several players, including long snapper Nick Sundberg, weren’t ready. Time ran out and the Redskins were left with no points in the first half.

-- Roy Helu scored a touchdown on an impressive 47-yard catch-and-run on a Rex Grossman screen pass, but Donte Stallworth was flagged for an excessive end zone celebration. Fortunately it didn’t set back the Redskins’ defense too much – the Eagles started the ensuing drive at the 27-yard line. Coupled with Santana Moss’s gaffe in the second quarter, it still highlighted a lack of discipline by the team.

-- Even after DeSean Jackson's 62-yard touchdown catch, the Redskins still had time to launch a comeback in the fourth quarter. The defense yielded a 6-play, 65-yard drive that included a 29-yard catch by Jeremy Maclin on a 3rd-and-5 play. Two plays later, Michael Vick threw a short pass to Brent Celek across the middle, who found just enough room to race into the end zone for a 4-yard touchdown. The score gave the Eagles a commanding 27-10 advantage. Running back Dion Lewis scored the game's final points with a 9-yard touchdown scamper late in the fourth quarter.

WHAT WENT RIGHT

-- Evan Royster started Sunday’s game at running back and alternated with Roy Helu. For the second game in a row, Royster led the offense in rushing, posting 113 yards on 20 carries, an impressive 5.7 yards-per-carry average. He also led the offense with five catches for 53 yards. Both Royster and Helu appear to excel in Mike Shanahan's one-cut zone blocking scheme.

Midway through the second quarter, Evan Royster turned in an impressive run, taking a pitch and bursting up the middle behind solid blocking by Willie Smith and Maurice Hurt. He broke four tackles up-field, including cutting back in front of one defender, to pick up 28 yards. Later on the same drive, Royster caught a short pass and turned it into an 11-yard gain and converted a 3rd-and-2 with a 6-yard run.

-- With the Eagles nearing scoring range midway through the fourth quarter, Oshiomogho Atogwe intercepted Michael Vick’s deep pass, stepping in front of Brent Celek downfield for the pick. Atogwe quickly turned upfield and picked up 16 yards before tossing a lateral to DeAngelo Hall, who added 12 yards to give the Redskins’ offense another chance.

UNSUNG HERO

Along with Brian Orakpo’s strong game, Ryan Kerrigan wrapped up his rookie season with another solid performance. He nearly had a sack on Michael Vick in the second half, but the Eagles quarterback was able to throw the ball away in time. On another play, Kerrigan raced across field to tackle running back Ronnie Brown for a minimal gain. He recorded just two tackles on the stat sheet, but for the 16th game in a row, he played every defensive snap. That's a remarkable feat for any rookie.

QUOTE SHEET

-- “When you’re building a football team, you take a look at the positives and the guys that can help you next year. We had a chance [to win], we had a couple of opportunities, but you have got to make them [count].” -- head coach Mike Shanahan

-- "I don't want this feeling again." -- nose tackle Barry Cofield

-- "It’s extremely frustrating losing 11 ballgames, another game to a division opponent," -- linebacker London Fletcher

-- "It’s extremely frustrating losing 11 ballgames, another game to a division opponent," -- linebacker London Fletcher

STATS GEEK

Rex Grossman’s final numbers: a 57.9 completion percentage for 3,151 yards, 16 touchdowns and 20 interceptions. Rookie Roy Helu finished the 2011 campaign as the Redskins’ rushing leader with 640 yards and two touchdowns on 151 carries. Jabar Gaffney was the receptions leader with 68 grabs for 947 yards and five touchdowns. Brian Orakpo led the defense with nine sacks. DeAngelo Hall and Oshiomogho Atogwe tied for the team lead in interceptions with three apiece.

INJURY REPORT

-- Brian Orakpo's injury was reported by Mike Shanahan to be pectoral injury. He did not return to the game and was later seen in Redskins sweats on the sidelines.

-- Roy Helu saw limited action playing through knee and toe injuries. He still was able to turn in the Redskins' biggest play of the game, the 47-yard touchdown catch.

-- Evan Royster was slowed by a rib injury but played through it, according to Mike Shanahan.

WHO’S IN, WHO’S OUT

Jammal Brown did not suit up for the season finale due to a sore hip. Tyler Polumbus made his fourth start of the season – and third at right tackle – in Brown’s place. Rocky McIntosh was a surprise inactive for Sunday’s game. He heads into the offseason as a free agent, so it’s safe to wonder if the Redskins’ 2006 second-round pick has played his last game in the burgundy and gold. The Redskins’ complete list of inactives was as follows: Aldrick Robinson, McIntosh, Brown, Richard Quinn, David Anderson, Doug Worthington and Kentwan Balmer.

WHAT'S NEXT?

The Redskins' regular season comes to an end. Head coach Mike Shanahan conducts his year-end press conference from Redskins Park on Monday. Position coaches and players hold exit interviews in the days following the Eagles game. And then the long offseason begins. Team officials will chart a course to upgrade the roster in both free agency and the NFL Draft. By virtue of finishing in last place, the Redskins' 2012 opponents are as follows: home and away vs. NFC East, the four teams in the NFC South, the four teams in the AFC North, and the Minnesota Vikings at home and the St. Louis Rams on the road.

LAST WORD

It's another key offseason for the Redskins are they rebuild the team's foundation with youth. The Redskins' first order of business is to decide which free agents to keep. Rex Grossman, London Fletcher, LaRon Landry, Donte Stallworth, Tim Hightower and Fred Davis are among players expected to be free agents. The quarterback position is sure to be discussed all offseason leading up to free agency and the NFL Draft. (The Redskins pick sixth overall in the first round.)