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Washington Redskins Stat of the Week: Penalties

The Redskins lost their 2015 season opener for a lot of reasons, but they were especially hindered by their own mistakes.

Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Tuesday, sports fans.

The Washington Redskins are 0-1, as most predicted would be the case, but you already knew that. Though 17-10 loss wasn't nearly as bad as it could have been, the postgame news has been mighty grim: Duke Ihenacho and DeSean Jackson will each miss extended time, and Chris Culliver has been suspended for Week 2. Still, the game could have gone much worse, and it's important to take the positives you can get out of a game like that.

One area that was not so positive was the penalty department, which will provide us with today's Stat of the Week.

The Redskins committed 11 penalties for 88 yards compared to the Miami Dolphins' six for 39 yards.

By my count, this is what each of those penalties were:

  • Four holdings penalties — Jordan Reed, Ty Nsekhe and Derek Carrier were each flagged for one, and Morgan Moses was flagged for one that was declined.
  • Three pass interferences — Pierre Garcon and Reed both got flagged for offensive pass interference, and Keenan Robinson got caught for defensive pass interference.
  • Two false starts — Trent Williams and Moses each jumped too early one time.
  • One roughing the passer — Chris Baker got whistled once.
  • One illegal use of hands — Chris Culliver was flagged once but it was declined.
  • One delay of game — Kirk Cousins was too late with the snap once.
  • One illegal formation — This was just called on the team as a whole, but it was declined.
  • One "personal foul" — Moses was penalized once for this, but the referee's microphone went out at the moment and I have yet to see an actual description of the penalty.

That's 14 penalties in total, including those that were declined. There is always some rust to shake off in Week 1, but that's way too many flags for a team that has so many other problems to address. I touched on this issue in the preseason, though I specifically focused on holding penalties in that post, and Sunday was yet another shitshow in the penalties department.

There were some especially difficult infractions for Washington to overcome, such as the offensive pass interference by Garcon that negated his 14-yard catch on 3rd-and-8. He pushed off, which is how he was able to create so much separation, but if he hadn't pushed off, he still might have managed some positive yardage. Instead, the Redskins were forced into a 3rd-and-18 from their own 12-yard line, which resulted in a Cousins interception.

The roughing the passer came on an 11-yard gain by the Dolphins, and Baker's hit tacked on an additional 15 yards. Just like that, Miami went from 1st-and-10 on their own 47 to 1st-and-10 on the Washington 27. This was a huge boost to the Dolphins offense, which was in the middle of a two-minute drill to close out the first half. Barely a minute later, Miami scored its first touchdown.

Or how about the four penalties that Washington piled up in one drive, including three in a row? Moses opened the drive with a false start on first down. A few minutes later, the Redskins had worked their way downfield and were facing a 3rd-and-5 on the Miami 23. Cousins couldn't get the snap off in time, so it became 3rd-and-10. Then Reed got pegged for offensive pass interference and it was 3rd-and-19. Nsekhe was whistled for holding on the next third-down try, which backed the Redskins up to 3rd-and-29 from the Miami 47. That's 24 yards worth of penalties in a row that pushed them way out of field goal range and forced a punt; the Dolphins scored a field goal on their ensuing possession.

If the Redskins had played smart, clean football, they would have stood a much better chance at earning the Week 1 upset. They still probably would have lost, mind you, but they would have been in a better position if they hadn't kept shooting themselves in the foot.

Until next time, sports fans.