Monday, November 07, 2005

The Fumble Beat

Since Redskins fumble recoveries are my storyline of the month I simply must respond to Thomas Boswell's column. Boswell hinges his column on the premise that Washington beat the Eagles on lucky fumble recoveries. Huh?! I guess he hasn't kept up with my work on the subject. ;)

The Skins were a bit luckier than usual Sunday night. In a close and sloppy game they were just lucky enough to win, but they still recovered less than 50% of the game's fumbles--just 2 of 5. If they'd recovered at their normal rate this season they would almost certainly have lost as each fumble was a potential game turner. Let's review.

The Eagles fumbled out of bounds twice, once each inside their 30 and 20 yard lines. That's an almost guaranteed 3 points if Washingon recovers either one.

The Redskins fumbled three times, once each inside the Eagles 30 and 20 yard lines, and once inside their own 40. They recovered two of these. The first recovery was inside their own 40 and prevented a probable Eagles field goal. After the second recovery they scored an immediate touchdown. The one that got away prevented a probable Washington field goal.

On those five fumbles hinged (conservatively) 19 points. If Washington recovers them all they win by 16 points instead of 7. On the other hand, had the Skins lost all five as they did in New York a week ago, Philly ekes out a 3-6 point win.

The game wasn't pretty. I'd like to see improvement in a few areas--like the 2.7 yard-per-carry rushing average. But in context the season is going well. Halfway through Washington has played just one team with a losing record and a handful of division leaders and runners up. Despite this and the poor fumble luck they're a solid 5-3.

The road ahead doesn't look much easier with just two more sub-.500 opponents on the calendar. But after so many years as the NFC East doormat, it's certainly nice to be in the thick of things again!

Other Washington Post Redskins stories: Beating the Bully. Credit to the H-backs. Not Half Bad.

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