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Gibbs Seeks Answers to Turnover Troubles

The Redskins dominated the Kansas City Chiefs in total yards, first downs and time of possession, and yet still lost 28-21 at Arrowhead Stadium. Why?


On offense, the Redskins had three turnovers in the game. On defense, the Redskins were unable to force any turnovers.

"We've been turning the ball over and not getting any turnovers," head coach Joe Gibbs said. "That's not a winning formula."

Of the Redskins' three turnovers, two led to points for the Chiefs.

The first turnover came on a third down play in the first quarter. Brunell dropped back to pass and waited for a receiver to get open in the pocket. Chiefs' defensive end Jared Allen was pushed to the outside by Chris Samuels, but Allen managed to stick out his hand and knock the ball out of Brunell's hands.

Allen recovered the fumble and Kansas City took over possession of the ball.

For Brunell, what made the play all the more frustrating was that he felt he had an open receiver in the end zone.

"[Allen] got a hand on it as I was throwing it," Brunell said. "We had something open in the end zone. He made a great play. I should have gotten up more in the pocket and made that play. We would have had a touchdown on that play."

The Chiefs responded off that turnover by driving downfield and taking a 3-0 lead on a 20-yard field goal by Lawrence Tynes.

In the second quarter, Brunell was forced out of the pocket and ran up-field for three yards. Allen came in and poked the ball loose for another fumble.

Brunell blamed himself for the turnover.

"When I'm running like that, I have to tuck that ball in and make sure it's close to my body," he said. "If you don't do that, sooner or later, it's going to come out, and that's what happened."

This time, the turnover did not come back to haunt the Redskins, as Washington's defense stepped up and forced a 3-and-out.

Midway through the third quarter, the Redskins were driving in Kansas City's territory when the turnover bug bit them again.

Running back Rock Cartwright, giving Portis a breather, took a handoff on a sweep to the right. In the course of picking up three yards, the ball was poked loose from Cartwright's grasp by defensive end Carlos Hall.

The ball bounced toward the sideline. Chiefs' safety Sammy Knight scooped it up and followed blockers down the left sideline for a 78-yard touchdown. The score gave the Chiefs a 21-14 advantage at the time.

Cartwright was consoled by several teammates as he came off the field. As the offense's third-string running back, he doesn't get many chances to carry the ball. With Ladell Betts sidelined, Cartwright stepped up when Portis needed a breather.

"Rock's such a class guy," Brunell said. "He's such a hard-working guy and we all wanted to pick him up after that. There was no one person and there was no one play that cost us this game."

Added Gibbs: "Clinton's been playing his guts out right now and he was nicked some, too. We knew we had to play Rock. I thought he was going to have to play a bunch. I feel so bad for Rock, he's a great Redskin and a great guy. He's one of our most important players. He's a great special teams player."

The Redskins were able to overcome that turnover on the next drive, with the offense marching downfield for a game-tying touchdown.

But the Chiefs scored another touchdown in the fourth quarter to close out the scoring.

Gibbs knows that the offense and defense needs to turn around the turnover differential for the team to get back on the winning track.

For the season, the Redskins have turned the ball over 10 times and forced just two turnovers for a minus-8 turnover ratio.

Remarkably, the Redskins won their first three games despite losing the turnover battle each time. But that trend has continued in the team's two losses.

Gibbs intends to seek a solution this week in practice.

"I have to do some creative thinking about it," Gibbs said. "We emphasize a lot of stuff, including turnovers, in practice every week. Maybe there's a creative thing we haven't thought of to get our guys schooled up on it.

"We made too many mistakes today and we hurt ourselves with the turnovers. On the road against real good football team, you can't afford to do that."

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