Second half is whole problem

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They know it’s happening too often, and they know it has cost them too many games.

But the Washington Redskins have no idea why they have struggled in the second half this season. They have been outscored 86-52, have averaged 19 fewer yards of offense and have given up more big plays, all the while squandering three halftime leads.

As the Redskins prepared to return to action Sunday against Dallas, whose 122 second-half points are third most in the NFL, they searched for explanations.

Receiver Brandon Lloyd: “Hey, if I had an answer, I wouldn’t be afraid to talk about it because I’m honest. But I really don’t know.”

Tight end Mike Sellers: “If we did know, it’d be fixed.”

Defensive end Phillip Daniels: “I don’t know why it’s happening, but now it’s about everybody coming together after halftime.”

The Redskins’ 34-point differential is the sixth worst in the league. Are the Redskins being out-adjusted during the 12-minute halftime?

“That could be, and it’s something you could make a case for, but I would hope that’s not the case,” coach Joe Gibbs said. “Certainly everything we’re doing leads to our second half. The [problem after halftime] is a fact, and it’s something we’ve looked at.”

Second-half excellency was a Gibbs trademark during his first 14 seasons with the Redskins. The team outscored its opponents by an average of 177.4-149.9 a season in the second half and overtime. Only three times has a Gibbs-coached Redskins team been outscored in the second half and overtime for a season.

This season, the Redskins are on pace to be outscored 197-119.

“One thing we’ve prided ourselves on here is playing well in the second half,” Gibbs said.

But like a lot of things this season, a 2005 strength hasn’t carried over. The Redskins had three come-from-behind wins last season and outscored opponents 176-152 in the second half.

Already this year, the Redskins have blown the three halftime leads, equaling their 2005 total.

“We have to play a whole game,” right tackle Jon Jansen said. “The concentration goes from penalties to lining up right to running the play right to finishing a ballgame. That’s all part of concentration.”

Offensively, the Redskins average 172.4 yards and 12.6 points in the first half but only 153.3 points and 7.4 points in the second half. They also have 19 “big plays” — runs of 10-plus yards or passes of 20-plus yards — in the second half, six less than in the first half.

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