- The Washington Times - Sunday, November 8, 2015

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Washington Redskins coach Jay Gruden has remained committed to the running game as the focal point of the offense.

Since the rushing attack began struggling in Week 3, Gruden has reiterated each week that the team needs to find a way to get it going. After each game, Gruden is asked the same question and is yet to find the answer.

The Redskins struggled again in Sunday’s 27-10 loss to the New England Patriots, rushing for just 37 yards on 15 carries. In the last four games, Washington has gained 142 yards on the ground.

Rookie Matt Jones rushed 11 times for 27 yards and fumbled in the third quarter. Alfred Morris rushed four times for 10 yards. Jones’ fumble happened on his third carry of the third quarter.

“We’ve just got to keep working on it,” Gruden said. “We just didn’t have many opportunities to get drives going, and when we did, we failed to continue the drives, so we couldn’t Alfred going. It’s been four weeks in a row that I’ve said the same thing up here: We have got to get Alfred going, and we have to get Matt Jones going.”

Part of the problem is exactly what Gruden said: The Redskins have often fallen behind early and have to abandon the run.


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Morris also struggled to make sense of why the run game has not been able to get going.

“I don’t exactly know what to say about that,” Morris said. “We haven’t had an answer since what, the third week of the season as to why the run game hasn’t been working. It just hasn’t.”

Patriots surprise with onside kick

Word that an onside kick was coming had not spread through the Patriots‘ sideline.

“They surprised me,” Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski said.

It was less the surprise than execution which made the move successful for New England. After going up, 7-0, in the first quarter, the Patriots attempted an onside kick. The ball bounced right at Redskins wide receiver Ryan Grant. He bobbled it, the Patriots roared toward him and recovered.

“I fell on top of it, but it bounced off my thigh, came out,” Grant said. “It happens. Football.”

New England did not turn the kick into points. A fumble at the Redskins‘ 37-yard line spoiled what was an otherwise efficient drive.

“I mean, I don’t know what else you can do,” Gruden said. “He’s just got to recover it. The ball bouncing weird — that’s why they call it a pigskin, I guess. Ryan, normally, he was in position. It wasn’t like he was surprised or anything like that. He just didn’t recover it.”

Redskins force two turnovers

Keenan Robinson’s second interception of the season was also Tom Brady’s second.

In the first quarter, the Redskins‘ inside linebacker cut underneath wide receiver Julian Edelman to snag the rare Brady error. Robinson return the interception 44 yards before being tackled by Brady, who then spent a few seconds on his knees with the front of his helmet on the ground. Brady had missed other throws during the quarter, leaving him frustrated.

Robinson’s 44-yard interception return was the longest by a Redskins linebacker since 2004.

Cornerback Will Blackmon also forced a fumble in the first quarter. Despite being plus-two in turnovers in the first quarter, the Redskins trailed, 14-0, at the end of the first.

The turnovers were the first of the season for the Patriots at Gillette Stadium.

Jackson returns, Kerrigan plays with cast

The Redskins had two of their three starting cornerbacks return against the Patriots.

Cornerback Bashaud Breeland, who was limited in practice all week because of a right hamstring injury, said after the game he felt “pretty good.”
Chris Culliver, who has missed the last three games because of a left knee injury, was also active.

Wide receiver DeSean Jackson returned to the lineup for the first time since tearing his left hamstring in the season opener. He had three catches for 15 yards.

Cornerback DeAngelo Hall (sprained toe on right foot), center Kory Lichtensteiger (pinched nerve) and nose tackle Terrance Knighton (headaches) were inactive, and tight end Anthony McCoy, quarterback Robert Griffin III, wide receiver Rashad Ross and defensive end Frank Kearse were also scratched.

Outside linebacker Ryan Kerrigan, who had surgery on his broken right hand on Oct. 26, was active and played with a cast.

Gruden: ‘No major injuries’

Every Redskins player who left the game was able to return. Robinson experienced a stinger, center Josh LeRibeus was cut on the forehead after losing his helmet during a play, and nose tackle Chris Baker (chest) and free safety Dashon Goldson (hamstring) each played after taking a break. … With 3,151 receiving yards, wide receiver Pierre Garçon moved past Roy Jefferson for 12th-most receiving yards in team history. … At the end of their game, the Redskins remained one of only three teams to have not allowed a 300-yard passer this season, joining the Minnesota Vikings and Denver Broncos. Brady threw for 299 yards.

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