The Redskins’ failures on third down were a major storyline entering last Sunday’s victory over Minnesota. They entered the game with an NFL-worst 23 percent conversion rate after converting only 1 of 9 third downs against Atlanta.
Washington responded by converting a season-high 50 percent (6 of 12) against Minnesota. After failing on their first four third downs, the Redskins converted 6 of their last 8, including a 76-yard run you might have heard about.
“I thought it was definitely our best week of the year,” offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan said. “We made some big plays. Robert had two third-downs that he scrambled on. I thought one of the plays in the game was just a simple third-and-4 when we were down 9-3 at the minus 16-yard line and ‘Tana (wide receiver Santana Moss) had a choice route that he hooked up in between two defenders and got things going and then we went down and got a touchdown. I think that was the difference.”
Washington heavily emphasized third downs during practices leading up to the Vikings game. That apparently carried over into the game.
“It’s just executing,” Shanahan said. “In Atlanta, we had two drops on third down. That takes you from 1-of-9 to 3-of-9, that’s a huge difference.”