If you were looking for reasons why the Redskins went 5-11 in 2011 to 10-6 and NFC East champs last year you don’t have to look too far past their turnover ratio. In 2011 they were awful, giving the ball away 35 times and taking it away 21 times, a minue-14 differential that was 30th in the league. They turned the ball over at least once every single game.

The 2012 Redskins flipped that ratio the other way around. Their turnover differential was plus-17.

The improvement came on both sides of the equation. They recovered 10 fumbles and intercepted 21 passes; their total of 31 takeaways was tied for fourth in the NFL. The Redskins were remarkable in terms of holding on to the ball, giving it away just 14 times. That not only was the best in that category in NFL in 2012, it was the fewest turnovers in team history and only five teams in NFL history have had fewer turnovers in a season.

Again, it doesn’t require much research to figure out why the Redskins had so few turnovers. Rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III attempted 393 passes and threw just five interceptions. He is one of only six players in NFL history to throw at least 375 passes in a season with five or fewer interceptions and the only rookie ever to do so. The previous season Rex Grossman and John Beck threw a combined 24 interceptions.

When it came to fumbles, it looks like the Redskins just had some good fortune. They put the ball one the ground 26 times last year compared to 25 in 2011. But they lost just six of them while in 2011 the other team pounced on 11.

Griffin seemed to maintain his magic touch even when he fumbled. Twice during the season he lost the ball only to see one of his wide receivers recover for a touchdown. Pierre Garçon recovered a Griffin fumble in the end zone in Week 4 and Josh Morgan plucked another one out of the air and scampered 13 yards for a score against the Giants in Week 13.

On the takeaway side of the ledger most of the improvement came on interceptions, particularly from linebackers. In 2011 the Redskins’ linebackers had three interceptions. Last year London Fletcher led the team with five, while Rob Jackson had four and Ryan Kerrigan had one.