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OFFENSE

The burgundy & gold offense is ranked in the bottom 4 by both the traditional metric and DVOA

Philadelphia Eagles v Washington Football Team Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images

It’s no mystery that the Washington Football Team offense hasn’t been good in 2020, but just how bad have they been?

Well, let’s look at some numbers.

Yards per game

The WFT ranks 30th out of 32 in yards per game at 292.7. Seattle is #1 at over 425 yards per game, and only the two New York teams (with a combined record of 1-13) are worse.

Amazingly, the Football Team is averaging more offensive yards per game than the 2019 Redskins did. Last year the team averaged just 274.7 yards per game — ranking them 31st in the league ahead of the Jets.

The two games with the highest offensive yardage this season were against the Ravens (342 yards) and the Cowboys (397 yards).

Also, while both of Washington’s wins have come at home this season (Eagles, Cowboys), the offense is producing more yards on the road (320.7 per game) than at home (271.8 yards per game). That may have something to do with turnovers, defensive scores and short fields.

Average field position

Washington ranks 14th in the NFL with an average field position at the 29.03 yard line.

In the opening week win against the Eagles, the Football Team offense was showered with incredibly good field position by the defensive players. Incredibly, six of those drives started on Philadelphia’s side of the field, at Philly’s 45, 20, 46, 48, 42, and 16. WFT also had a sixth drive that began at the WAS 43. On five of those drives, the Football Team scored 3 TDs and 2 field goals, missing one FG attempt on another. On the final Washington drive of the game — the one that started at the Philadelphia 16 yard line — the team could have added points to the scoreboard, but with a 10-point lead, Ron Rivera opted to just milk the clock and seal the win.

Versus the Cowboys last week, the offense had the following (I’ve excluded the kneel down to end the first half and the final drive in the 4th quarter when the team ran out the clock):

This isn’t the same bonanza that the offense enjoyed against Philly, but you can see the strong correlation between field position and scoring. Both drives that began inside the 25 ended with punts. All three touchdown drives started at the 37 yard line or beyond. The three drives that began between the 25 and 35 ended in a field goal, missed field goal, and a stop on 4th and 1.

The 2.5 yard improvement in field position versus the season average is pretty significant. It’s a truism that field position has a strong positive correlation with offensive scoring, so, with the Football Team ranked 14th out of 32, they are likely to be above average in points scored, right?

Points per game

Wrong.

It turns out that, just like yards per game, Seattle is #1 in scoring, Washington is 30th, followed by the Giants at 31 and the Jets at 32.

Washington is averaging just 19 points per game after averaging an incredible 16.6 points per game in 2019. It will come as no surprise to learn that the two victories this season came on the only two occasions that the Football Team scored over 20 points. Had they scored on the 2-point conversion attempt to end the game against the Giants in Week 6, they would’ve been 3 for 3.

There’s really no good news here. The Washington offense has scored over 20 points twice, and less than 20 points four times — all losses. Those four games saw the team put up 19, 17, 15, and 10 points. That’s not gonna win many games.

Could this horrid offensive output be explained by the strength of the defenses it faced?

As it turns out, there seems to be a pretty strong correlation there.

The Football Team played three top-10 defenses, scoring 17 points or less in those three games, with an average of 14 points per game.

They played 3 teams in the bottom-11, and scored 20 or more points against each, with an average score of 24 points per game, or a touchdown more on average than against the three top defenses.

Of course, the Giants are a middle-of-the-road defense, and the Football Team put up their 2020 median score against them.

So, what are the defensive ranks of our next four opponents?

Well, we know two of those — the Giants and the Cowboys — but let’s look at the other two, the Bengals and Lions.

They happen to be 20th & 21st, just ahead of the Eagles.

Philly gives up an average of 28 points per game (WFT scored 27 against them).

Cincy & Detroit are giving up an average of 27.7 and 27.5 ppg, respectively.

(The Giants give up 24.9 and Dallas 34.7)

Passing yards & rushing yards per game

Washington ranks 29th in passing yards per game at 192.6.

Haskins averaged more passing yards per game than Kyle Allen has, though Allen’s per-completion average is higher.

The team is 25th in rushing yards per game at 100.1.

Here’s a look at the three running backs so far:

You can see that Gibson has the lion’s share of the carries and yards, so let’s look at his game-by-game stats to see if there’s any good news.

I don’t see any obvious trends here.

The big outlier is the long run of 40 yards against the Cowboys. If you remove that play, then his average per carry in Week 7 drops to 4.63, which is more in line with the other games he has played.

At this point, the game against the Cowboys could be an outlier — Dallas is ranked last in the league in rushing defense, giving up an average of almost 13 yards per game more than the 31st ranked defense.

Since you asked, Detroit is ranked 26th and Cincinnati is ranked 28th, giving up 131.8 and 133.7 yards per game, respectively. The Giants are ranked 8th at 105.0, so a down week for Gibson following the bye might not be much of a red flag.

The Browns, Rams and Ravens all rank in the top-10 in rush defense, meaning that 4 of Washington’s 7 opponents are top-10 rush defenses, and the Football Team lost to all of them.

Plays per game

One metric where the Washington offense isn’t really terrible is plays per game. They rank 17th overall at 64.1. In a bit of a surprise, Dallas is #1 at 73 plays per game, and unsurprisingly, the Giants bring up the rear at 57.7. (Philly is 7th at 67.7).

Yards per point

This is an efficiency measure, where lower is better.

Baltimore leads the league at 11.5, while the Jets are the worst at 21.8.

The Football Team is ranked 21st at 15.4.

Third down conversion percentage

We all know that the Redskins were last in the league in 3rd down conversion percentage in 2019 at 29.05%.

So far this season, they rank 27th at 38.14%, a notable improvement.

The trend, though, offers good news to Washington fans.

Over the past three games (Weeks 5-7) the Football Team ranks 14th, with a rate of 44.19%
and
in Week 7 the burgundy & gold offense ranked 6th, converting 60% of third down plays.

Fourth down conversion percentage

Of course, if you don’t get it on third down, there might be one more opportunity. Washington is ranked 16th in the league, but of course one of those 4th down failures came when they took a knee on 4th down against the Eagles rather than add to the score by kicking a field goal on the final drive.

DVOA

This is an advanced metric from Football Outsiders.

In short, it says what all the traditional stats say: the Football Team has been unproductive on offense in the first seven weeks of the season. They are ranked 29th, with a score of -22.7%. The Jets, of course, are last at -31.9% and the Chiefs are top rated at +25.1%.

Summary

Overall, the stats tell us exactly what our eyes did — the Washington Football Team is in the bottom three or four teams in offensive production by almost every measure.

They put up promising numbers in Week 7, but did so against the worst defense in the NFL.

They have played a trio of top-ten defenses and been held to just 14 points per game. The only success the offense has enjoyed, limited as it might have been, has come against defenses in the bottom third of the league.

The ray of sunshine on the horizon may be that three of the next four games come against teams currently ranked 20th, 21st and 32nd in the league in total defense, with only the Giants ranking in the top half of the league (but of course, the WFT defense and offense both rank slightly ahead of their NY Giants counterparts).

The opportunity exists for the offense to find some level of success in Weeks 9 to 12. It should be an interesting month of November.

Some positive news about the Washington offense and offensive players

Terry McLaurin

Kyle Allen

Time of possession

Corn Lucas

Antonio Gibson

(More about Dallas defense than Washington offense, but still...this is a 40 yard run)

Third down conversions

Poll

How man points per game will Washington average against the Giants, Lions and Bengals?

This poll is closed

  • 5%
    19 or less
    (26 votes)
  • 49%
    20-23
    (223 votes)
  • 42%
    24-27
    (192 votes)
  • 3%
    28 or more
    (14 votes)
455 votes total Vote Now

Poll

How many rushing yards per game will Antonio Gibson average against the Giants, Lions and Bengals?

This poll is closed

  • 0%
    Less than 40
    (2 votes)
  • 3%
    40-55
    (15 votes)
  • 15%
    56-65
    (65 votes)
  • 43%
    66-80
    (186 votes)
  • 37%
    more than 80
    (158 votes)
426 votes total Vote Now