Redskins

Redskins Team Grades: Shanahan’s Poor Decision Leads To Loss Against Cowboys

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LANDOVER, MD - DECEMBER 22: Head coach Mike Shanahan of the Washington Redskins reacts on the sideline after a play in the second half during an NFL game against the Dallas Cowboys at FedExField on December 22, 2013 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)

Head coach Mike Shanahan of the Washington Redskins reacts on the sideline after a play in the second half during an NFL game against the Dallas Cowboys (Credit, Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)

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By Kevin Ross II

The burgundy and gold held a nine-point lead in the fourth quarter, and a win against the hated team from Dallas seemed possible. But then Tony Romo completed third down after third down, and the Cowboy comeback was on. With a little over a minute to play, Romo escaped out of the pocket to find a wide open DeMarco Murray in the flat. Murray scampered into the end zone to give Dallas the lead for good, as the Cowboys stole a victory from Washington by the final score of 24 to 23.

After a heartbreaking defeat, this is how the Redskins grade out, on an all too familiar Misery Monday.

Mike Shanahan’s Grade: D

Coach Shanahan proved that he still has the ear of his locker room, as the team was prepared and ready to compete against the Dallas Cowboys. But Shanahan failed his team late in the third quarter following an Alfred Morris four-yard touchdown run which gave Washington a 19-14 lead. If you follow the two point conversion chart, it says that if the lead is by five points, then you go for two. Shanahan, however, elected to kick the extra point which gave his team a 20-14 lead.

This proved to be an ill-advised decision as it makes little sense to extend the lead to six points. A missed two point conversion would have kept the score at 19-14, which means if Dallas scores a touchdown, a field goal for Washington would still win the game. Meaning, a missed two point conversion has minimal effect on a team that is winning by five.

In similar situations this week, the Detroit Lions and Arizona Cardinals were both up by five in their perspective matchups. Both teams leading by five quickly expanded the lead to seven by converting the two point attempt.

There is no excuse for Shanahan not going for two with his team up by five. With the Redskins losing by a single point, this coaching whiff proved to be a game changing mistake.

Pierre Garcon’s Grade: A

Wide receiver Pierre Garcon was the player of the game for Washington, as he posted 11 receptions for 144 yards and a touchdown. The 11 receptions was a career high for Garcon and it gave him 107 receptions on the season. Garcon now holds the Redskins record for most receptions in a season, as he broke the previous mark of 106 produced by Hall of Famer Art Monk during the 1984 season.

Garcon has been everything that Washington hoped he would be when they took a chance on him as a free agent and signed him to what appeared to be an astronomical contract. However, you can now make the argument that Garcon has actually outperformed his deal, and will likely be selected to his first Pro Bowl. Garcon, along with Alfred Morris, Jordan Reed, and Robert Griffin III are the building blocks for Washington’s offense for years to come.

Hall of Famer Art Monk, spoke about Garcon’s record-breaking accomplishment, following the loss to Dallas,

“I’m excited for him. It’s an opportunity that doesn’t come along very often, so whenever you have an opportunity to set a record with the NFL or a team, it’s a great opportunity. Having set the record myself, I understand how exciting it is, so I’m excited for him. Records are meant to be broken. I didn’t expect to have it as long as I had it, but I’m glad the pressure is off of me now. He has the opportunity to step forward and get all the praise and the glory for it.”

For more Redskins news and updates, visit Redskins Central.

Kevin Ross is a freelance writer covering all things Washington Redskins. His work can be found on Examiner.com.

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