The Redskins are through 5 games (31%) of their season and sit in first place in the NFC East at a respectable 3-2. Though the Redskins have a lot of positives to get excited about over their first 5 games, one troubling concern has been their inability to put up points in the 2nd half of games. That is something that has been consistent throughout the year and if it continues it could doom the Redskins promising season.
Through five games the Redskins have 11 total touchdowns and 10 field goals equating to 106 total points (a missed 2 point conversion in their only attempt is why it’s not 107 or 108). In the first half though that breaks down to 10 touchdowns and 4 field goals for 82 points versus 1 touchdown (and the missed two-point try) and 6 field goals for 24 points. That is a massive difference in scoring and looks even worse when given context to the league as a whole.
Based on points per game (in fairness this includes defensive/special teams points as well) the Redskins rank 24th in the league averaging 21.2 points per game. In the first half though the Redskins rank 6th in the league averaging 16.4 points per game. The 2nd half is a different story as the Redskins rank dead last 32nd in the league with a paltry 4.6 points per game.
That is something that needs to change if the Redskins hope to continue to contend for the division. Their offense is generally running great in the first half scoring at least 13 points in 4 of 5 games. While the overall first half scoring numbers is overweighted due to the 21 and 28 points in the Cardinals and Packers games respectively, that kind of 13 point consistency is a good sign. On the flip side the Redskins have never had more than 6 points in a 2nd half this season. That is extremely troubling that you can’t even manage a TD plus extra point worth of scoring in a single game this season.
Now in some fairness part of the reason for the lack of scoring has been game script induced. The Redskins got up to big leads in both the Cardinals and Packers game and took their foot off the gas more than they should have. Had those games been more competitive versus those questionable defenses, it’s likely the Redskins could have scored more if needed. Versus the Panthers the Redskins scored on two of their three full offensive drives in the 2nd half, but both they and the Panthers were using so much time on their drives they didn’t have the typically 5 or 6 drives you see in a half.
Now so far the only game that the lack of 2nd half scoring cost the Redskins was the Colts game. The Redskins were so far ahead versus the Packers and Cardinals that them playing flat in the 2nd half or taking their foot off the gas, wasn’t going to be a factor. Against the Saints they were so far behind, that they basically needed a perfect 2nd half to come back. The Colts game and the Panthers game are the two that are more troubling.
In the Colts game the Redskins were down 14-3 at halftime, so they needed their offense to step on the gas for the 2nd half and make-up for the one game of first half struggles. Unfortunately while they moved the ball decently, they could only manage two field goal drives versus the one Colts TD drive. What’s troubling is that the Redskins needed to score TDs and they just couldn’t do it.
It almost caught up with them in the Carolina game as well. Though it was a positive to score points on two of their three offensive drives in the second half, the Redskins lucked out in this game. Their first field goal was a 56 yard kick, which is not a high percentage kick. Had Hopkins missed that field goal this game and outcome would have looked a lot different. Most concerning though was their final drive where they had the chance to put the game away by scoring a TD and making it an 10 point lead, with 3 minutes to go. The Redskins did move the ball enough to eat up some time and kick a field goal forcing the Panthers to respond with a TD, but it almost came back to bite them. Cam Newton moved Carolina to inside the 20 with just under a minute and two timeouts remaining. Luckily the defense held and the Panthers didn’t attempt to extend the game with some questionable play calling, but it really never should have been in that situation.
It’s still definitely early in the year and it’s possible that this is an area where the Redskins normalize, but it’s a concerning early trend. The Redskins need to start finding a way to carry their offensive success of the first half into the 2nd half of games. If they do, this could be a playoff team and a solid contender in the NFC.