Thursday, November 29, 2007

Blogger Deathsport: Week Thirteen Picks

Football is supposed to be just a diversion

Wednesday update: Curly R scored 8-8, good for a tie for first. Weekly results here.

Blogger Deathsport rolls on with week thirteen. Check Post Game Heroes, CommonPrejudice, Common Prejudice, Skin Patrol and TexSkins for their picks.

GB @ DAL (-7)
Pick: Cowboys. Packers finally play a defense that will punish them.
Results: Cowboys. The future for the Packers looks good with Aaron Rodgers.

Pick: Browns. They will likely betray me.
Results: Cardinals. And they did.

SF @ CAR (-3)
Pick: Panthers. Even a 40 year old quarterback can get it up now and then.
Results: Panthers. Whew the 49ers are weeeeeeeeeeeak.

DEN (-3.5) @ OAK
Pick: Broncos. Oakland stinks.
Results: Raiders. All I have to say is damn.

JAX @ IND (-6.5)
Pick: Colts. Although I could be wrong.
Results: Jaguars. Damn kids.

NYJ @ MIA (-1)
Pick: Dolphins. I think this is their week.
Results: Jets. Wrong again.

DET @ MIN (-4)
Pick: Vikings. Going to be a close game methinks.
Results: Vikings. And not even a little close.

TB @ NO (-3.5)
Pick: Saints. No Jeff Garcia, no Tampa Bay.
Results: Buccaneers. Attack of the McCowns.

NYG (-1.5) @ CHI
Pick: Bears. I'm going all emo.
Results: Giants. So close.

SEA @ PHI (-3)
Pick: Seahawks. Who knows.
Results: Seahawks. Always strange for me to see the Eagles be bad.

CIN @ PIT (-7)
Pick: Steelers. Cincinnati is flailing.
Results: Steelers. This was an entertaining game.

SD (-6) @ KC
Pick: Chargers. There is no spoon.
Results: Chargers. Nope no spoon here.

ATL @ STL (-6)
Pick: Rams. I think the Falcons get worse.
Results: Rams. Bobby Petrino is the luckiest man in the league.

HOU @ TEN (-4)
Pick: Titans. Just because I think it's
Results: Titans. As it turned out it was totally

BUF @ WAS (-5.5)
Pick: Redskins. I mean really, this week everyone will pick the Redskins.
Results: Bills. Joe Gibbs pulls a Chris Webber.

NE (-20) @ BAL
Pick: Patriots. Baltimore is dying.
Results: Ravens. Two weeks in a row, two large lines and I lost them both.

Results tallied Tuesday.

Sean Taylor laying wood as a Hurricane, signed picture from here.

Blogger Deathsport: Week Twelve Results

We have a winner

Blogger Deathsport: NFL Pick'em wraps for week twelve with a winner:

1. Post Game Heroes with 12 wins and 4 losses. Closing the gap...

2. Curly R at 10-6. I can has stay frist plase kthxbye.

3. Skin Patrol at 9-7. Mucho bettero.

T-4. TexSkins at 6-10. Like walking into a lightpole.

T-4. CommonPrejudice Thurs, Sun at 6-10. Gawt fyahd fum Mass Prawsessah up route 128.

By rule the other bloggers must post a Post Game Heroes brag post. TexSkins has two and Curly R has one brag post in reserve to be posted at their discretion.

Season records through twelve weeks. I am still winning:

1. (1) Curly R: 90-75-11 or 54.5% with two weekly wins.
2. (2) Post Game Heroes: 89-76-11 or 53.9% with three weekly wins.
3. (2) TexSkins: 83-82-11 or 50.3% with two weekly wins.
4. (4) CommonPrejudice: 77-88-11 or 46.7% with one weekly win.
5. (5) Skin Patrol: 63-75-9 or 45.6% with no weekly wins.

Pushes are excluded from percentage as they can neither be won nor lost, picks for today's game are out, rest are due tomorrow.

Bragging rights from here.

Three Parts of the Story Change


Three things came out of the Miami police presser subsequent Washington Post piece that merit mention in the context of the night Sean Taylor was shot and the reporting of that night.

First, original reporting in the Washington Time indicated Monday

someone in Taylor's house heard intruders attempting to pry open the rear door of the house. Taylor apparently went to investigate, and a female in the house then heard a shot.

Yesterday's WaPo piece linked at the top reported

the intruder or intruders kicked in the bedroom door Monday morning and fired twice, striking Taylor -- who had grabbed a machete from under the bed -- in the femoral artery while his high school sweetheart, Jackie Garcia, cowered on the bed with their 18-month-old daughter.

So which is it, were they all in the same room or not?

Second, the police have indicated there is no evidence Sean's home phone line was cut. Tuesday the WaPo reported the line had been cut and that the fiancee was forced to use her mobile phone to call 911, which delayed paramedic arrival time.

Yesterday's piece linked at the top reports that the fiancee quote had difficulty using the home phone unquote. Unless she's using a VOIP phone and teh internets waz down or her cordless battery was dead I don't know how you have a hard time using your own phone but then again I have never had the person I love bleeding out in front of me while trying to calm an 18 month old.

The police have indicated the 911 call was received approximately 15 minutes after the shooting. Why the long gap?

Third, WaPo reported on Tuesday per one of Sean's cousins that Sean's house had no alarm system. It would seem odd if not interesting that a wealthy man with questionable current and or former associates and with recent breakin(s) reported at his home would not make a phone call and get this taken care of.

Yesterday in the WaPo piece linked at the top says

"The home was equipped with a burglar alarm which was not turned on the night of the incident," Sharpstein said. "Sean did, however, put the hurricane shutters down on all windows. It's too little too late but I certainly would've told him to engage his alarm at all times at night and after the first burglary he probably should've had private security patrolling. This, of course, is hindsight."

Uh yeah that would have been good advice. I hope this was a case of wrong information getting out in the chaos of the reporting. All three of these things interest me because they concern either someone who was at the scene of the crime or the spokesperson for the deceased who has had no shortage of time in front of a microphone. These clarifications coming three days after the shooting is peculiar.

Clarification from here.

Really? So Soon? You Already Know That?

I'm no Columbo...

...but something doesn't sound right here. No I am not ready to wade into the war over what we can and cannot say about Sean Taylor's life and death and who can say it. I am still not ready to engage.

So this is not about the supposed presupposition that Sean must have been murdered by an old associate or an enemy or the guy he roughed up over the ATVs or some homey. Or some resentful sycophant turned murderer or some ex girlfriend or Ted Bundy or Tommy Vercetti.

The Miami police had a press conference late yesterday. They believe Sean was the victim of a random burglary and not targeted, in fact they believe there is

"no reason" to think the incident was anything other than an attempted burglary, one likely involving more than one intruder...There is nothing that indicates that this was something that involved Sean," Parker said. "We're more along the lines, or the thought process, that this was a random occurrence

Unless the cops are going straight out of the academy playbook and running a misdirection this seems odd. Perhaps they have significant evidence, maybe not, but either way I suppose by announcing this was a random act they believe perhaps the suspects will not flee or will get careless.

But something is not right. The Washington Times reports

"This kid was assassinated; it was a hit," said one longtime Taylor friend with ties to the National Football League. "With the knife beside the bedside, it was obvious they came looking for him."

Also we know in the breakin last week a kitchen knife (butcher? steak? paring?) was left on Sean's bed. Maybe careless burglar needed a blade to cut something open, maybe it was left there as a message. I wonder, were there prints on that knife?

A breakin so close to last week's is unrelated? You know I'm not Magnum PI but if one perp breaks in last week and mentions in conversation how easy it was and that other person decides to try it and oops finds Sean at home? I think that's related.

Sean's lawyer thinks the two breakins are related (op. cit.). He also thinks Sunday night's perpetrators did not think Sean was home. I wonder if they checked the driveway for cars.

Also, I have come to understand that the fiancee and perhaps even a nanny live or stay in the house so do we know the circumstances around last week's breakin? Was anybody home? Does anybody actually live there full time? This piece on neighborhood reaction indicates that Sean's mother, long divorced from his father, lists the house as her permanent address and one of the rooms rifled by the burglars was listed as the bedroom of Sean's sister Sasha. Who really lives there?

Sean's friend and former University of Miami and current Arizona Cardinals cornerback Antrel Rolle

said Wednesday that Taylor had told him he was afraid every time he returned to the [Miami] area...

"This was not the first incident," Rolle told reporters in Arizona. "They've been targeting him for three years now."

Rolle, who said he had not spoken to Taylor in a while, did not offer any specifics, but added, "Sean, he had a large group of friends, and he no longer hung out with those friends, so you never know where this came from.
(op. cit.)

Antrel may not be Jim Rockford but something is amiss here. The burglars kicked open the bedroom door and shot him? It seems to me that if the burglars thought the house would be empty then they would have taken off when they heard noises. As it was there is nothing that appears missing from the house.

Also the WaPo piece (op. cit.) mentions two pieces of information that merit their own post, to follow immediately: 1) the phone line was not cut, fiancee Jackie Garcia had a 'hard time' operating the home phone and 2) the house does have an alarm system but it was not turned on. These two pieces of information contradict earlier reporting and it may be innocent in all the chaos but...odd.

Sean Taylor's home, police investigation underway: Wilfredo Lee / AP photo from here.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The Gushing Must Have Been Horrific

So fragile is human life

As the war over what people get to say about Sean Taylor's life and death begins to heat up and you know I will weigh in when I am ready, one of the interesting things I have learned about is the interstate highway system that is the body's arteries. It's been a long time since biology and since I don't watch ER or Grey's Anatomy* or the oogy real world shit on Discovery Health I have little external exposure to basic things like what is going on inside my body.

Sean was shot in the upper leg and the bullet severed the femoral artery and the more I read about the body's trucking system the more amazing it seems to me that he survived to be airlifted in the first place much less seven hours in emergency and surgical care.

Right behind the belly button the abdominal aorta splits into two iliac arteries which each split again into internal and external iliac arteries. Once the external passes through the inguinal ligament it becomes the femoral artery. It is about the size of your index finger or larger and blood is rushing through it with every heartbeat.

Your trunk, your midsection is the strongest part of the body, after all we walk, sit and stand upright, but the upper legs are the most powerful part of the body. They must maintain balance and support the direct weight of the upper body and form the stroke for walking, running and lifting motions.

And commensurate with that responsibility is an attendant consumption of body resources. Giant veins and arteries surging up and down the legs, coursing along the most solid bones and through the densest muscles in the body.

When that artery is severed, so high in the leg where it is thickest, it gushes. It can gush up to ten feet. While the heart is pumping the hardest right after this injury the body can lose 20 percent or more of its blood volume in less than ten minutes.

At first the heart pumps harder, not understanding there is a leak and trying to get blood to the extremities. But then the heart realizes there is a serious problem and starts to beat slower to conserve, vessels in the extremities shrink to constrict blood flow and body temperature starts to fall. It is now that organ failure and brain damage become serious risks.

Miami police have indicated the 911 call from Sean's house was received approximately 15 minutes after the shooting (op. cit.). This means he may have suffered significant irreparable brain or organ damage even before the first responders arrived.


Early in Monday's coverage right after we learned it was a femoral injury I read a comment somewhere by someone that asked if a previous commenter had ever seen the movie Black Hawk Down. I went back and watched the scene where the Rangers attempt to save Cpl Smith's life from a severed femoral. It is a gruesome scene to watch.

Gruesome especially because it is such a difficult injury to treat. It is surrounded by dense muscle as well as other blood vessels, the femoral vein return shuttle being one of them. In the scene in the movie the Rangers attempt to reach up into Smith's leg and grab the artery to pinch it off. But it is slick with gore and once severed it sproings up into the abdomen like a pull down window shade when you jerk it. Even in a surgical environment it is physically difficult to operate and with the time factor working against them...

Sean was in perfect physical condition so his at rest heart rate would have been slower than average due to efficiency and his blood volume would have been larger to accommodate a physique maintained by high activity.

These two factors without doubt reduced the impact this injury would have had upon my or the average body, prolonged his life and allowed the medical teams the most time to try and save him.

* Manrules dictate the following circumstances exempt one from being considered a 'viewer:' it does not count if you are merely in the room while the wife watches; it does not count if you watch it to get out of the doghouse; it does not count if you watch to facilitate an ulterior motive such as sex or getting out to play Guitar Hero III with the boys; when in doubt feign ignorance, you know George is going to dump that bitch Izzie and get back with Torres anyway.

Field memorial to Sean Taylor at Redskins Park from here. Femoral artery diagram from here.

No Shit

Oh hi

There is so much to report on, there is more to come tonight as major print outlets publish their Remembering Sean Taylor pieces. I am still nowhere near ready to start talking about football again but like the team I will have to be there by the weekend.

In the meantime I wanted to share a piece from the masters of the obvious at Fox Sports, headline:

Redskins not likely to find another Taylor

The Redskins defense had come together strategically. 2004 was adrenalin alone, a bunch of guys coming together in the first year and being professionals. 2005 validated the scheme as the defense remained dominant. 2006 was hubris, Gregg Williams thought he had solved the complex calculation that is NFL defense and it showed. Sean looked out of place, the linebackers froze on every play, the corners gave too much cushion.

2007 learned from the mistakes of 2006 without forgetting the lessons of 2005. Sean was a solid free safety and his presence affected every opponent that touched the ball. Even with LaRon Landry an excellent if raw strong safety and Reed Doughty going to be a workable free safety the Redskins will weaken in defense as opponents realize there is no coverage/closing/tackling threat in the deep defensive backfield, at least not of the same caliber.

It's early and it's still all raw. Football does not go away and that does not disrespect Sean. Reed and LaRon, make us proud.

Sean Taylor reintroducing himself to Reggie Brown on Monday Night Football, game two, 17 September 2007, Chris McGrath / Getty Images from here.

Immortality the Hard Way

A collection of tributes

The number of tributes is incredible, I wanted to link up to three post that have aggregated a few of them and if you need more just go to Google blog search and enter Sean Taylor or you could just click here.

The Redskin Report
Hogs Haven
Sporting News Sporting Blog

There are others, readers feel free to link them up in comments.

Sean Taylor: Jamie Squire / Getty Images from here.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

RIP Sean Taylor

Sean Taylor, 1983-2007

Sean Michael Maurice Taylor, hardhitting Pro Bowl free safety of the Washington Redskins, one of the most feared tacklers in the National Football League, died last night from injuries caused by a gunshot wound to the upper leg.

The son of a south Florida police chief Sean was an exciting two way player in high school, playing running back, linebacker and defensive back who led Gulliver Prep in Miami to a Florida 2A state championship in 2000. He was the consensus top college recruit in the state of Florida and at least one publication had him as the number one skill position recruit in the nation.

At the University of Miami Sean was a standout defensive back on the Hurricanes' 2001 national championship team as a true freshman, led all Miami players in tackles in 2002 and in 2003 was consensus first team All-American, was named Big East Defensive Player of the Year and led the nation in interceptions per game.

Sean elected to give up his final year of NCAA eligibility to enter the NFL draft where the Washington Redskins selected him fifth overall in the 2004 NFL draft, choosing Sean over University of Miami teammate tight end Kellen Winslow Junior. Wearing number 36 for his rookie year Sean started 13 games, was second on the team in interceptions, and recorded 76 tackles, two forced fumbles and a sack on the number three defense in the league. By the end of his rookie season Sean was widely known as a fierce hitter.

The following season in 2005 Sean switched to number 21 and in 15 games all of which were starts tallied 70 tackles on the number nine defense in the league. In the 7 January 2006 wildcard playoff game at Tampa Bay Sean scooped up a fumble by Buccaneers tailback Carnell Williams that had been fumbled again by Redskins linebacker Marcus Washington and ran it back 51 yards for a touchdown to help the Redskins win their first playoff game in six years, a game in which the Redskins offense could only muster 120 total yards.

As the 2006 Redskins defense sank to number 31 overall Sean led the team with 111 tackles while starting all 16 games and was named to his first and only Pro Bowl.

With the arrival of rookie LaRon Landry in 2007 Sean was able to move back to his natural position of free safety, ranging as a 'center field' defender and was able to affect the decision making of every opponent with the ball. Even after missing two games with a sprained knee Sean is as of this moment tied for third most interceptions in the league.

Sean was not without controversy. His run ins with the team, the league and the law included leaving the mandatory rookie summer orientation camp and a DUI arrest (both charges were later dropped) in 2004, two incidents, one alleged and one confirmed, of spitting on another player (he was ejected from the Tampa Bay playoff game), felony gun charges arising from an alleged theft of his property in Miami, not returning offseason phone calls from Hall of Fame coach Joe Gibbs and skipping minicamp, all in 2005 and being generally unreachable in the 2007 offseason. At times Sean seemed not to be entirely truthful with the team. All told Sean was fined more than 122 thousand dollars by the league.

Early Monday morning, 26 November 2007, approximately 1:30 am Sean was awakened to the sounds of an intruder or intruders in his Miami home where he had returned from Washington to attend to matters involving repeated breakins or breakin attempts. Sean was shot in his bedroom, the bullet severing the femoral artery in his leg, the assailant fled taking nothing, a cut phone line forced Sean's fiancee to call 911 on her mobile phone, Sean was airlifted to a Miami hospital where he underwent seven hours of surgery. Weak from trauma and loss of blood Sean died some time before 5:30 am on Tuesday 27 November 2007. Sean leaves behind a fiancee and an 18 month old daughter.

Sean Taylor was 24.

Wikipedia page. Washington Post.

Image of Sean Taylor leaving the field at Redskins Stadium for the last time on 11 November 2007, photo courtesy of Chris aka ctankcycles. Chris' excellent photography can be seen here.

Sean Taylor Has Died

Too much for one heart

After surviving seven hours of surgery Redskins safery Sean Taylor has died. The trauma to his body too great, the bleeding never could be stopped completely, he passed some time before 5am today. He leaves behind an 18 month old daughter and a fiancee. Sean Taylor was 24.

The police investigation will now be upgraded to a murder investigation.

Curly R full Sean Taylor obituary here.

Other coverage: Covering the Redskins, Hogs Haven, Redskins AOL Fanhouse mjd / Michael David Smith, The Redskin Report, Redskins Gab.

Sean Taylor: uncredited image from here.

Sean Taylor: Seven Hours of Surgery

He's stronger than I thought

Redskins safety Sean Taylor underwent seven hours of surgery last night and flatlined twice. There are still sketchy details but we know one thing: an intruder or intruders broke into his home in Florida where he was sleeping, presumably his fiancee and 18 month old daughter were in the house with him sometime after 1am Sunday night, he rose from his bed at the noise, he was shot in the leg, his femoral artery was severed, the assailant or assailants fled, he was rushed to a hospital and nearly died and he is not out of the woods yet.

He has responded to stimuli, squeezed hands and made facial expressions. There are no more surgeries planned for him but the doctors still have no idea if injuries extend from his wound to his brain or other organs from loss of blood or oxygen.

Owner Dan Snyder, Vinny Cerrato, former University of Miami teammate Clinton Portis, head trainer Bubba Tyer and maybe others took the Redskins jet to Miami yesterday. Prior to hearing news of the shooting the team was unaware Sean was in Miami, having been excused from the Tampa Bay game Sunday due to his knee injury.

No arrests have been made and the status of the investigation is unknown. The police report indicates there are signs of forced entry but apparently a breakin was reported at Sean's house on 18 November, when Sean would have been in Dallas traveling with the team but not playing, and the police have not yet determined whether the damage was caused last night or last week.

Sean's attorney seems insistent that this was a burglary but nothing was stolen. It seems more like an assault and there is disturbing evidence that this was a deliberate attack, if not thoroughly planned: when Sean's fiancee went to call 911 after Sean had been shot, the phone line was dead, it had been cut. She used her mobile phone.


Team reaction. Latest official team statement. Mike Wise on the difficulty of strong men dealing with problems that strength alone can't fix.

The Washington Post has put together a timeline of Sean's pro career, and in blog fashion it has links to the related WaPo stories.

Despite apparent repeated breakins or attempted breakins recently, Sean's house does not have a security alarm (op. cit.).

Michael Wilbon's online chat from yesterday, he has gotten some negative play, read it for yourself, he won't be the only one that thinks lifestyle and heritage played into this.

Sean's neighbors and neighborhood don't sound exactly rough and he is considered a good neighbor. His house is big but by no means flashy, or at least that is how it has been described. I have been to Miami but not this part of town.

Redskins fans held a vigil for Sean last night.

More on this story as it develops throughout the day.

Sean Taylor: Win McNamee / Getty Images image from here.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Breaking - Sean Taylor Shot in Florida


Update 10:50 pm: Last update for the day, LaCa is reporting that Sean was in surgery for seven hours and flatlined twice. Since then he has responded at least once, squeezing a doctor's hand Redskins Insider also has the police report, there were signs of forced entry but because there was a breakin reported on 18 November the police have yet been unable to determine which incident is responsible. Keep hoping happy thoughts, he is not out of the woods yet.

Update 5:45 pm: Over at the Washington Times they are linking to a report by Ryan O' Halloran that refers to intruders and to one from Miami channel 10 that indicates there were 'several' family members in the home, but this may simply be referring to Sean, the girlfriend and the baby.

Update 4:45 pm: The official statement from the team, also LaCa per Jake at The Sports Note it is not uncommon for injured players not to travel with the team, and I assume be at their out of town homes.

Update 4:15 pm: Per My Brain Says Rage and Redskins Insider, Sean is in a coma.

Update 4:00 pm: Hogs Haven has the latest update with hat tips to My Brain Says Rage and Mister Irrelevant, the most detailed account yet is here. Also following Redskins Insider and it is apparently touch and go for Sean. The Miami Herald piece indicates his property has been targeted before, as recently as last week.

Update 1:50 pm: Point taken, thanks to reader dave. I have taken down my initial comments reflecting incomplete information.

Update 1:30 pm: Yes, it was crass of me to put football out there this morning, I should have used discretion. Obviously once I learned this injury was life threatening I dialed it back. The only piece of reporting I had this morning at 10:30 am was that Sean was 'receiving treatment,' nothing about how serious the injury was. I regret the comments, my hope is that Sean will be ok.

Update 11:35 am: The Post just put up a longer piece here, it is short on detail.

Update 11:25 am: Chimpanzee Rage at Deuce of Davenport is reporting that Sean was shot in the groin area and that his femoral artery may have been severed, that's definitely bad and an easy way to lose a lot of blood. This story gets worse by the minute.

Update 10:45 am: Michael David Smith is following this story, now reports from ESPN that Sean Taylor is in critical condition, this is sounding not good and there is no information about circumstances or suspects.

Update 10:30 am: Michael David Smith at Redskins AOL Fanhouse has more, including a report that Sean Taylor is 'fighting for his life.' I leapt to football questions and I want to dial it back and just hope he is ok for now, we will talk football later.


Not too many details but here is what the Washington Post is reporting:

Washington Redskins safety Sean Taylor was the victim of a shooting at his Florida home, according to a statement released Monday by the team.

The brief statement from the Redskins said Taylor was undergoing treatment at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Florida and that the Miami-Dade Police Department was investigating.

Taylor, 24, is in his fourth season with the Redskins. He leads the team with five interceptions but has missed the last two games with a knee injury.

I hope he and everyone else involved is ok.

Sean Taylor from here.

Can't Get Over Themselves

Losing it getting it back and then losing it now it might be gone

Takeaway drill: game mismanagement, check; wasted challenges, check; offensive butterfingers, check; second half adjustments, check; dominating both sides of the ball, check; one bad decision that probably cost the game, check.


Monday walkthrough: the Redskins lose 19-13 to the Buccaneers, commit many mistakes in a game they should have won handily if not at the last minute. This is a game that exemplified what is right and what is wrong with the 2007 Redskins. Four lost fumbles, two interceptions by Jason Campbell but also held the Buccaneers to no first downs and 15 total yards in the second half while scoring ten point and holding the ball for 25 of the second half's 30 minutes as the defense dominated, Tampa Bay could only muster one touchdown and four field goals.

The first quarter had a promising start with Cornelius Griffin hitting Tampa Bay quarterback Jeff Garcia hard, Jeff was clearly hurt but played on and the Buccaneers could only manage 20 yards before punting. Immediately on the Redskins' first play from scrimmage Phillip Buchanon dislodged the ball from Santana Moss giving Tampa Bay the ball at the Redskins 19. Three plays later Earnest Graham doing his best Earnest Byner impression scored.

No sooner had the Redskins gotten the ball back than Clinton Portis fumbled but with Bruce Gradkowski in at quarterback for Jeff Garcia the Buccaneers were only able to manage a field goal. The Redskins and Buccaneers then punted to end the quarter with Tampa Bay leading 10-0.

The Redskins started with the ball to open the second quarter and after two straight incompletes on 3rd and 10 from the Redskins 20 defensive end Greg White got around Chris Samuels and knocked the ball away as Jason Campbell was winding up to throw. The Buccaneers had the ball on the Redskins' 18 yard line but the defense held and Tampa Bay could only muster three points. The Redskins were still walking under ladders on the next possession when Clinton Portis fumbled the ball back to Tampa Bay but once again the defense held the Buccaneers to a field goal. The Redskins then managed a field goal on a short drive, both teams punted then the Buccaneers, on good field position from a three and out Redskins drive deep in their territory, managed a field goal to end the half, 19-3 Buccaneers at halftime.

The Redskins opened the third quarter in the no huddle offense and it paid off with a 39 yard Jason Campbell touchdown pass to Chris Cooley who made a nice juke move on his way to the end zone. The Buccaneers three and outed, then the Redskins drove all the way down to the Tampa Bay 4 yard line. Jason Campbell elected to give it to Clinton Portis on 4th and the length of the football and the team was stuffed and turned the ball over. The Buccaneers then three and outed, handing the ball to the Redskins at the end of the quarter, 19-10 Buccaneers.

The fourth quarter continued the Redskins' drive which ended in a field goal. Jeff Garcia came back into the game for Tampa Bay but could not manage a drive and the Buccaneers three and outed for the third consecutive drive. With 9:31 left in regulation and trailing six points the Redskins drove down to the Tampa Bay 32 where Ronde Barber (Wahoowa!) jumped a Santana Moss route and intercepted the ball. But the Buccaneers three and outed for the fourth time in a row, giving the ball back to the Redskins down six with 3:05 left in the game. As the failed 4th down conversion in the third quarter haunted them the Redskins went down the field 77 yards on nearly all passes before Brian Kelly intercepted a pass intended for Santana. Jeff Garcia knelt the clock down and it was game over, Buccaneers win 19-13.


Soapbox: it comes down to one playcall. Trailing 19-10 with 2:10 to play in the third quarter and facing a 4th and one from the Buccaneers 4 yard line the Redskins opt to go for it and set up the touchdown rather than take the field goal and the points. Washington did not get the first down and turned the ball over.

As a result the Redskins became increasingly desperate on their fourth quarter drives, both of which ended in interceptions at field position, the Tampa Bay 32 and Tampa Bay 16 respectively, wherefrom the Redskins could have kicked field goals.

So if the Redskins play it conservatively and do not make the wrong decision to go for it trailing by only nine with a full quarter to go and instead kick the field goal they are trailing by six.

Then on the first drive in the fourth quarter instead of trying to force it for a score they are kicking a field goal to reduce the deficit to three.

And then on the second and final drive of the fourth quarter instead of trying to force it the Redskins are kicking a field goal to tie the game at the end of regulation, putting the ball back in Tampa Bay's hands on a day when the Redskins defense was dominating.

Bad decision Joe, when we were talking about being too conservative we were not talking about leaving points on the field, we were talking about the lack of creativity and the obvious playcalls.
When you are in a shootout with the Cowboys you have to loosen up the playcalling, you can't keep trading Dallas touchdowns for Washington field goals. But today, this was not the scenario for going for it on fourth. Should have taken the field goal.

Nota bene that Rich Tandler has already weighed in on this issue and will quarrel with this sentiment based on the theory that things may not have turned out that way. Lee Gibbons at The Redskin Report also puts the loss on the turnovers, not the playcall. I'd quibble with that based on the fact that the turnovers had already happened and Joe Gibbs should have been playing to recover and three points would have made better sense at that juncture in the game. Without them the ensuing Redskins drives got increasingly desperate.


Chattering class: after declaring the day before the game that it was win or season over Tom Boswell at the Washington Post thinks this one might be biggest nightmare yet, bigger than knocking Shaun Alexander out of the playoff game against the Seahawks and still losing, bigger than hanging with the Cowboys and losing. He also generally agrees with me that the failed 4th and one in the third quarter was the sand in the lotion.

Les Carpenter gets his obligatory front page A1 piece, I don't ever remember the Redskins being on the front page every week. His story is sandwiched between pieces on the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the District of Columbia and giant crowds welcoming ousted PM Nawaz Sharif back to Pakistan.

Mike Wise says Joe Gibbs gambled on 4th down...and lost and marvels that a team can recover from losing four fumbles and still be that close (the INTs were later in the game). Like last week against the Cowboys when it is that close you have to win it. Period.

Ryan O'Halloran at the Washington Times calls them Team Just About, it fits and here are his team grades, post game keys. Dan Daly at the same outlet says the Redskins snoozed through their emotional alarms until the second half.


Omnibus: seriously guys, six turnovers? The Redskins' first five possessions went like this: fumble fumble punt fumble fumble.

The team got all the bugaboos out up front. The second drive went like this: flase start penalty on Santana Moss, Jason Campbell timeout forced by not getting the play in, then Clinton Portis fumble. Then in the second quarter the team wasted a challenge and therefore also a timeout on a play that was an obvious Jason Campbell fumble. It is this shit that drives football fans crazy.

Antwaan Randle El left the game in the first quarter with a hamstring flareup and did not return (op. cit.). He was replaced on punt returns with Keenan McCardell who was awful in returns but excellent catching passes.

And speaking of catching passes it was refreshing to see that with Antwaan out and Santana not as effective as normal that Keenan and Reche Caldwell got involved. Keenan had six catches and Reche had five, his first five of the season after leading the Patriots in receptions last season.

The team managed 100 rushing yards despite looking weak all day, Clinton had a couple of flashes but the longest runs came from Ladell Betts late in the game.

Jason was calm and in control, the guy is evolving into a great passer before our eyes. He passed for 300 yards for the second straight week, a feat he had yet to accomplish.

Stephon Heyer played well at right tackle despite coming off the stomach flu (op. cit.). I think this guy is a keeper, he needs some work but he is someone that can help this line get younger and better and is affordable (for now).

Andre Carter got a sack to make an even 100 for his career.

There were no roster surprises as Mike Sellers, Todd Wade and James Thrash all sat.

Nine of the Redskins 11 games have been decided by one score or less and the Redskins are 4-5 in those games. Only mirror image games against the Patriots and Lions are the exceptions.

The media eats well at Buccaneers Stadium.


Area 51: the box score shows LaRon Landry leading the team with 5 tackles but anecdotally I did not see a standout individual effort by him, the entire defense played spectacularly with Reed Doughty doing a pretty good Sean Taylor impersonation. Sean Taylor was inactive again with his twisted knee and word today is that he was shot last night in his home in Miami and that he is in serious condition. Breaking news thread on this story here and look for more this week.

Freddie Your Cruise Director: Fred Smoot was credited with no tackles and it seemed as though he had a meh game. Shawn Springs did a great job covering his old Ohio State teammate Joey Galloway but that may have been as much Bruce Gradkowski's inability to get it to him as Shawn's coverage. Loveboat Freddie is in danger of losing this feature unless he steps up his play, talks some smack or screws things up, average players don't get regular features.

Washington Post recap, box score, play by play. NFL recap, box score, full play by play, Gamebook (PDF), photos.

Other recaps: Greg at Hog Heaven, David J. Warner at Redskins AOL Fanhouse, Skin Patrol at Hogs Haven, Stephen Rhodes at Redskins Gab, Bram at Covering the Redskins, Master4Caster at Running Redskins, the Fun Bunch. Rich Tandler on the playoffs, the Redskins red zone woes, Redskins fumbleitis, first quarter, second quarter, third quarter, fourth quarter.

Next up, the Buffalo Bills at Redskins Stadium, this team is trying to find an identity but if the Redskins are to keep the season alive they have to win it, don't worry, Jim Kelly is not starting for the Bills these days, he's just one of my all time faves at QB.

Joe Gibbs: Marc Serota / Getty Images from here. Jim Kelly, uncredited photo from here.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Game 11: Redskins (5-5) at Buccaneers (6-4)


The Washington Redskins travel to Tampa Bay for a 1pm game against the NFC South leading Buccaneers. This game amounts to a must win, the Redskins are playing .500 ball and need to win, badly.

The Redskins came out of the Cowboys game last week banged up and the secondary got torched for four touchdown passes. Safeties Reed Doughty and LaRon Landry were tested and failed but since Sean Taylor is still out with a twisted knee they will have to go again.

The good news is that the Buccaneers are not lighting it up like Dallas but Jeff Garcia has them with a two game lead in first place of the NFC South division and when Carnell Williams went down Michael Pittman stepped in and when he went down Earnest Graham stepped in and looks good. Tampa Bay's offense will challenge the Redskins.

And if the Tampa Bay offense will challenge the injury depleted Redskins defense then the Redskins offense will have some problems with the Tampa Bay defense. The Buccaneers are disciples of the true faith, the Tampa-2 variation of the Cover-2 (formerly known as the 2 deep zone) and rarely do the Buccaneers have the same kind of defensive breakdowns typical of Gregg Williams' defense. Last season when these two teams played it was Jason Campbell's first game as an NFL starter, now it is a year later and Jason Campbell is growing into the position, it will be on him to recognize what the Buccaneers defense is showing.

Curly R aside: [channeling Jim Mora] PLAYOFFS? PLAYOFFS!? How can you be talking Redskins playoffs. I don't care if they have tiebreakers on Arizona and Detroit, they have to win some games before we can start talking about playoffs.

Comings and goings: it's a new day so there must be a new receiver in the Redskins locker room. To go along with the other six receivers on the squad the Redskins signed Jason Campbell's old Auburn teammate Anthony Mix who is listed as a wide receiver but at 6-5 235 pounds seems a lot more like a tight end. Reserve offensive guard Rick DeMulling was released to make room for Anthony. Also receiver Burl Ives Toler who was a 2007 cut day victim, was re-signed to the practice squad then released from the practice squad then re-signed to the practice squad, was released from the practice squad. Also Jimmy Farris who was a 2006 cut day victim then brought back after the contract hit on Brandon Lloyd was released. Full Redskins transaction list here.

Hospital squad: right tackle Todd Wade may not go with his sprained left knee (op. cit.) so it may be undrafted rookie Stephon Heyer's first NFL start (op. cit.). Randy Thomas, who tore his right triceps in game two against the Eagles is back at practice but will not be playing for a few more weeks. Mike Sellers is hurt and may not go so the Redskins signed 37 year old former Redskin Brian Kozlowski (op. cit.) to go along with Anthony Mix to play at the fullback/H-back position. James Thrash (high ankle sprain) also probably will not play (op. cit.).


My take in 60 words or less: it's great to talk about progress and how there are positives even in a loss. But now it's win now or start thinking about next season. A loss put the Redskins at 5-6 and at least one if not two games out of the wild card. Also read this profile piece on Demetric Evans, he's turning into a good player and it has not been an easy road for him. And look out for the Pat Fischer and Ken Houston references here.


Washington Post preview, Redskins Gameday (PDF). Campbell's Corner is predictably worthless. The best thing this week about Jason Campbell was finding out that the cannon the Buccaneers fire from the pirate ship before the game freaked out an already on edge Jason last season before his first start (op. cit.).

Redskins roster, Buccaneers roster. Redskins projected starters, Buccaneers projected starters. Redskins injury report, Buccaneers injury report. Coverage map, this is a regional game, most of the nation will be watching the Vikings and Giants.

Other previews: Anthony Brown at Hog Heaven, Bram Weinstein at Covering the Redskins, Rich Tandler at Tandler's Redskins Blog, David J. Warner at Redskins AOL Fanhouse, dwagner at Riggo's Rag with bonus Riggo's Rag preview material.

Happy Birthday to head coach Joe Gibbs. He turns 67 today (op. cit.).

This is a gameday open thread.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thanksgiving Football Thread

I don't see a TV in this picture

A slow day in East Blogistan, a great big get together at my in laws' in Charlottesville with my parents and a huge cast of characters. I have football, a fridge full of beer and a bottle of Knob Creek, let the day begin.

0130: stagger home drunk on bourbon from neighbors house after playing Guitar Hero III on Xbox 360 for five hours. Quiver in bed with eyes closed for six hours.

0730: awakened by children, fall into shower, pack for trip. We will be leaving the kids with the in laws and staying in a hotel grown up style.

0845: depart for Charlottesville, one cup of coffee in me.

1045: arrive Charlottesville, child does not poop his pants.

1100: push children in rope swing at Camp Grammie until dehydration headache sets in.

1130: dart to gas station, fill up tank, buy beer and ice for party, sneak a bag pork rinds and a Fanta Strawberry.

1230: parents arrive Charlottesville, discuss Redskins season chances with original Redskins fan named Ben Folsom. Consensus is that it will be a tough road.

1245: start to riot, call for TV to be turned on.

1800: party's over, heading to hotel.

1830: vege.

2020: leave hotel for a bar with NFL Network because the fucking Hampton Inn does not have NFL Network.

2025: check movies playing at theater adjacent to hotel. Fred Claus, This Christmas, Bee Movie and American Gangster, nothing we can agree on, move on.

2040: arrive Corner, go to Orbit, the billiards bar where we watched the NFL Network game last year. Notice the Arizona State - USC game is on the big screen, relegating the IND-ATL NFL game to a small TV over bar. Despite near emptiness of bar on Thanksgiving night get ignored at both upstairs and downstairs bars. Leave without buying a drink.

2100: arrive Downtown Mall, walk length of Mall, note Hardware Store restaurant is now closed. Too bad, this is where my brother bribed the place so he could have graduation dinner in 1994 which he would not have had to do if he had planned ahead.

2115: enter Rapture, have one Stella Artois, see one of wife's Hollywood friend in town, he is worried about the writer's strike impacting his ability to work. Leave after one drink.

2200: enter Miller's, voted Charlottesville's most tobacco friendly bar for 2007 by Cville Weekly. Have one Baker's bourbon and send text messages out to all Wahoo friends re: UVA-VT football game Saturday, this game will determine which team from the Coastal division represents in the ACC Championship Game. Text of message is as follows: Lol i can has cavs win beeg juan? Depart bar after one drink.

2215: no other places on Downtown Mall are open. Depart for hotel, we are both sober.

2230: arrive hotel, watch inane TV, post evening activities to blog.

2243: set alarm for NO KIDS and sleep. Happy Thanksgiving!

Other Curly R Thanksgiving Football Threads: 2006 :: 2008 :: 2009 :: 2010

Charlie Brown and Snoopy from here.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Blogger Deathsport: Week Twelve Picks


Thursday update: Curly R scored 10-6, good for second place. Weekly results here.

Blogger Deathsport rolls on with week twelve picks. Picks for the three Thanksgiving Day games came out Thursday, the rest by Friday. Check Post Game Heroes, CommonPrejudice, CommonPrejudice, Skin Patrol and TexSkins for the others. And now the picks:

NYJ @ DAL (-14)
Pick: Cowboys. Can you be pissed after a win?
Result: Cowboys. Happy Thanksgiving now I beat the shit out of you.

GB (-3.5) @ DET
Pick: Packers. They are on a roll and not done yet.
Result: Packers. Looked closer at the time but I was in the zone.

IND (-11.5) @ ATL
Pick: Colts. Atlanta is up to their chin in quicksand.
Result: Colts. The hotel I stayed in did not get fucking NFL Network. Hey NFL Network quit being a bunch of cocks and get it out, games on a network that is not available everywhere on basic cable are not cool. Don't worry, I saw the game from three different bars, just me and my best gril.

SF @ ARZ (-10.5)
Pick: 49ers. That's not a line it's a joke.
Result: 49ers. One is a joke the other is a punchline.

DEN @ CHI (-1.5)
Pick: Broncos. When you realize they are a good team?
Result: Broncos. How do you like me now bitch.

HOU @ CLE (-3.5)
Pick: Texans. I think they are going to win three straight for the first time ever.
Result: Browns. I know a Browns blogger that thinks Derek Anderson is having a season never to be repeated, me I think he's cooler than Keanu Reeves.

BUF @ JAX (-8)
Pick: Bills. In a close game.
Result: Jaguars. In a not close game. Youch.

OAK @ KC (-5.5)
Pick: Chiefs. They roll, Warren Sapp gets stoned and says who cares.
Result: Raiders. Looks like Warren is one of those 'motivated' bakeheads.

PHI @ NE (-22)
Pick: Patriots. They are 9-1 against the spread, I can't deny this.
Result: Eagles. Wow, you go AJ Feeley.

NO (-3) @ CAR
Pick: Saints. When your best hope is Vinny Testaverde and he's hurt then you don't have much hope now do you.
Result: Saints. No you don't. Do you.

MIN @ NYG (-7)
Pick: Vikings. Taking the points.
Result: Vikings. Wow, big time, a team on the rise. Yeah, maybe. Right?

BAL @ SD (-9.5)
Pick: Ravens. Also taking these points.
Result: Chargers. My worst pick of the week.

SEA (-3) @ STL
Pick: Seahawks. Matt Hasselbeck's ribs are bruised but the whole Rams team is a bruise.
Result: Seahawks. The Rams are so close to 3-9 they can taste it.

WAS @ TB (-3)
Pick: Redskins. It's win or the season is done as far as I am concerned.
Result: Buccaneers. The season is done but for the wrong reason.

TEN (-1.5) @ CIN
Pick: Bengals. They look just good enough just often enough to fuck with you.
Result: Bengals. See what I mean?

MIA @ PIT (-16)
Pick: Dolphins. The Patriots the Steelers ain't.
Result: Dolphins. Haven't seen one of those since Jets @ Redskins 1993. Brian Mitchell: "I don't know what's going on." Rich Gannon: "I wish I had more answers."

I can has cheezburger from here.

Blogger Deathsport: Week Eleven Results

We have a winner

Blogger Deathsport: NFL Pick'em wraps for week eleven with a winner. The results brought to you by Diebold :

1. Hogs Haven:TexSkins with 10 wins, 4 losses and 2 pushes. Outstanding week.

T-2. Curly R at 8-6-2. It's all about the percentages.

T-2. CommonPrejudice at 8-6-2. An improvement.

4. Post Game Heroes at 6-8-2. My lead increases by two games [twirls mustache].

5. Hogs Haven:Skin Patrol once again was too important to make picks. Maybe dropping his Jag off at the dealership.

By rule the other bloggers must post a TexSkins brag post. TexSkins and Curly R both also have one brag post in reserve to be posted at their discretion.

Season records through eleven weeks. We now have a tie for second place, I am still winning:

1. (1) Curly R: 80-69-11 or 53.7% with two weekly wins
T-2. (2) Post Game Heroes: 77-72-11 or 51.6% with two weekly wins
T-2. (3) TexSkins: 77-72-11 or 51.6% with two weekly wins
4. (4) CommonPrejudice: 71-78-11 or 47.7% with one weekly win
5. (5) Skin Patrol: 54-68-9 or 44% weak with no wins

Pushes are excluded from percentage as they can neither be won nor lost, picks for today's games are out, rest are due Friday with Wednesday's lines.

Bragging rights from here.

Blog Shoutout: The Nosebleeds

I have Derek Anderson manlove. Brady Quinn lol.

Someday some way the Curly R blogroll will be resurrected, it will be bigger, badder and be integrated right into Adam Schein's brain. It will have natural language search, filter out ugly chicks and the top return will always be I Can Has Cheezburger.

But until then I will be giving shoutouts to non-Redskins blogs that link up to me as a way of saying thanks. Today's victim is The Nosebleeds NFL Blog, an NFL general blog with a slight (haha) Cleveland Browns slant (thenaturalmevs has Browns season tix up in you guessed it the nosebleeds).

Go check it out, the guy posts like a madman, already 46 posts for November. Like thenaturalmevs I will also be blogging my Thanksgiving Day experience, just like last year.

Computer monitor flying out the window from here.

If Dan Snyder Needs Five Bodyguards in Dallas...

Do you think they get together at the end?

Is this guy for real? Sunday at Cowboys Stadium Redskins owner Dan Snyder took the field two hours before gametime trailing five bodyguards as reported by the Washington Times' Ryan O'Halloran.

Two hours before kickoff, probably not enough time for the sniper to set up a clear shot. No word on whether Dan had bulletproof glass installed in his box, if he had a food taster or had midgets and children dressed up as body doubles walking around the stadium.

Anyway I think it's funny because Dallas fans I am sure loooooove Dan Snyder, after all the Redskins are 4-11 against the Cowboys since Dan took over with the Redskins only season sweep in that time coming in 2005 while over that same period the Cowboys have swept the Redskins four times. Yes I am sure Cowboys fans would like to sit down with Dan, give him a big hug and buy him a steak dinner.

I think Dan would have a greater need for bodyguards if he were to wander the stands at Redskins Stadium.

Kevin Costner as The Bodyguard from here.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Wrong and Wronger


After the game Sunday Rich Tandler, author of the superb Redskins from A to Z posted up in his blog that he is fed up with

Redskins fan[s] who can find all kinds of fault with a game that the Redskins win but refuse to acknowledge any positive aspects to a loss.

He continues with

if you can’t see that in these last two games, even though the Redskins lost, that Jason Campbell has made tremendous strides and that Gibbs and Saunders are willing to put the game in his hands, well, you’re not watching the same games that I am. That development has the potential to have positive implications that stretch far beyond the negative consequences of the losses to the Eagles and Cowboys.

Go read the whole thing, and he even posted a follow up today responding to some of the comments on this post.

Wrong Rich. The Redskins are sucking and there is plenty to critique, plenty going wrong and too many areas are affected. I am a Redskins fan and I want to see the team do well, get back to winning Super Bowls if for no other reason than to shut those fucking Eagles fans up.

But the team is not heading in that direction. When the passing game works the defense wilts. When the defense does its job the playcalling is too conservative. No one can predict injuries and injuries are a fact of NFL life, you have to have quality backups. How come the Redskins tried out 100 receivers in the preseason and none of them is on the roster yet two receivers on the roster were not with the team in preseason? Who is making these decisions?

The current Redskins administration is in its fourth season, it has the fourth largest player payroll, anecdotally the Redskins have more coaches than any team, and likely pay more in coaching salaries than any team. Joe Gibbs and his brain trust have allegedly total control over player selection and the team spares no expense for nuthin.

What has that gotten me as a football fan? 26 wins and 32 losses in the regular season and one win and one loss in the playoffs. Below .500.

It's the fourth year. In the fourth year we should not be talking about football basics like getting the play in. Or game management issues with these wise old men of football, issues like conserving timeouts. The so called crispness factor is not always there.

It is not enough to acknowledge these problems as Joe Gibbs has at least twice this season, here and here. The acknowledgement without improvement is just admitting it's ok to be mediocre. As for the game last Sunday? Yayy the team went into the critical part of the fourth quarter with all three timeouts available. What are these guys, a bunch of five year olds that need constant reinforcement when tying shoes and using manners?

When a game is that close and I thought it would be a blowout you have to win it. There are no moral victories. The running game was terrible. The deep defense was terrible. So Jason Campbell had a great day, that's great, we need all the pieces to work on the same day.

Oh and the bit about the playoff standing if the Lions beat the Packers and the Redskins beat the Buccaneers? The Lions are a 6-4 team playing a first place team, they will be underdogs and the Redskins are a 5-5 team playing at a first place team, they will be underdogs.


Let's look at this another way. It's win now. Joe Gibbs signed up for five years but the team was built to peak no later than four years. The free agent class of 2004, Clinton Portis, Marcus Washington, Mark Brunell, Khary Campbell, Phillip Daniels, Shawn Springs, not all these guys will be back, maybe even most of them won't. Last year should have been the year.

Michael David Smith at Redskins AOL Fanhouse reports that the Redskins are already 19 and a half million dollars over the 2008 salary cap so next season when Clinton Portis' cap number rises to 8.9 million dollars, Shawn Springs' to 7.8 million and Marcus Washington's to 6.4 million how can they keep these key guys, allocate money to new contracts such as Sean Taylor's and sign all new players? The quality of the team is expected to level or get worse next year.

So the team Joe Gibbs built to win the Super Bowl is this team, this year, this season, these 16 games. Next year Joe will be playing with a different team. Does anyone think if the team can't win with four years of the same players that they will be able to win next year with different and cheaper players?

Uncredited image from here.

Monday, November 19, 2007

The Value of Sean Taylor

Get well get well soon we want you to get well

The Cowboys game came down to six plays and they were all in the second half. Four of them directly reflected the Redskins' weakness without Sean Taylor in center field.

It is not often that football fans get to see in the most literal sense what a player is worth. It is not uncommon for a unit to struggle without a key player but absences can be concealed with schemes and backup players often play well in limited duty when replacing stars.

That did not happen yesterday. The Cowboys already were a deep passing team and Terrell Owens and Tony Romo carved up the Redskins secondary like a honey baked ham.

Shorter Curly R: Sean Taylor is worth every dollar, it's time for the Redskins to tear up his contract and give him that beeg juan he was allegedly not whining about right after the team drafted LaRon Landry in April.

Refer to the play by play for more in context detail:

1. Rocky McIntosh's near interception, 3:51 left third quarter. Rocky jumped a Tony Romo route to Jason Witten and the play was ruled an INT. On review Rocky did not have possession when he hit the ground, ball back to Dallas.

2. On the very next play, 3:47 left third quarter, Reed Doughty committed a pass interference penalty that cost the team 51 yards. Reed never looked back as the ball come down on Patrick Crayton making it an obvious call. Missing Sean Taylor.

3. Three plays later, 2:16 left third quarter, Terrell Owens' second touchdown. London Fletcher got turned around in zone coverage on TO and Tony laid one in perfectly between nickel back Leigh Torrence and safety Reed Doughty. Missing Sean Taylor.

4. The next drive, 0:10 left third quarter, Jason Campbell's intentional grounding. Two plays earlier DeMarcus Ware was called for a questionable roughing the passer penalty but undiscouraged DeMarcus bulled through Chris Samuels on 2nd and 9 from the Cowboys 11 yard line, wrapped up Jason and as Jason was falling slung it out sidearm, it did not even get to the line of scrimmage, intentional grounding, 10 yards and loss of down. The distance to the goal line was doubled, Jason tried to get it all back on the next play and the team had to settle for a field goal.

5. Following drive, 11:39 left fourth quarter, TO's third touchdown. After a false start pushed Dallas back to the Washington 46 Andre Carter got good pressure on Tony from the side, he stepped up in the pocket and tossed it 40 yards in the air to Terrell Owens who had split safeties LaRon Landry and Reed Doughty right down the middle. Missing Sean Taylor.

6. Cowboys' next drive, 7:49 left fourth quarter, TO's fourth touchdown. After the Redskins traded another touchdown for a field goal on the fourth play of the drive Shawn Springs appeared to blow coverage or run a short zone, TO got between Shawn and safety Pierson Prioleau who was not providing enough cover on the sideline. Missing Sean Taylor.

Clearly there is no one on the Redskins roster that can replace Sean Taylor. Reed Doughty is a second year sixth round pick and after watching all last year and getting some playing time this year he was benched in the fourth quarter after getting beat like a drum and Pierson Prioleau is not physical enough and Vernon Fox is not fast enough.

Sean Taylor's rookie contract expires after next season. Give him the extension, let him get his money and do it now.

Image from here.

...This Close

Growing pains

Takeaway drill: the Redskins do not humilate themselves but do give up another halftime lead; Jason Campbell has a big day; the defense almost won it; the offense almost won it; this game came down to a just a few plays; another offensive lineman is hurt; DeMarcus Ware overwhelmed Chris Samuels; I love TO on my fantasy team.


Monday walkthrough: the Redskins lose to gracious hosts the Cowboys 28-23 in a game they could have won. Sean Taylor's absence hung over the team. Without him Tony Romo and Terrell Owens went long all day and the defense gave up plays deep.

Dallas got started in the first quarter with a drive to the Redskins 33 stalled and Nick Folk missed a 51 yard field. The Redskins responded to my wide eyed amazement by taking the excellent field position and moving down the field, scoring on 19 yard pass to Chris Cooley. On the following drive Cowboys center Andre Gurode botched his second snap sending the ball over Tony Romo's head. The ball bounced right into Tony's hands and as Cornelius Griffin was bearing down on him Tony tried to force the ball into Terrell Owens rather than throw it away. Shawn Springs and TO both went for the ball which popped into the air where London Fletcher pulled it down for an interception with an incredibly acrobatic leap. The Redskins however could not capitalize and punted, as did the Cowboys and the quarter ended 7-0 Redskins.

The Redskins opened the second quarter with a 64 yard drive that ended with Shaun Suisham's missed 49 yard field goal, this drive featured a nifty piece of trickery with Jason Campbell tossing the option to Antwaan Randle El who cut it back inside and found Chris Cooley open for 19 yards. Dallas took the ball on their 40 yard line and took more than seven minutes to go 60 yards and score on a 4 yard pass to TO. On this drive Andre Gurode botched another snap but Tony recovered and threw a first down pass to TO then TO burned Shawn Springs for 23 yards to set up the score. The Redskins responded with an all passing hurry up drive with 1:08 left in the half and netted a 45 yard field goal to end the half Redskins up 10-7.

The third quarter got off to an ominous start when DeMarcus Ware, who had been challenging left tackle Chris Samuels all day, went wide and got a hand on Jason Campbell, causing him to fumble where it was recovered by Dallas' Chris Canty (Wahoowa!). There was no damage as the Cowboys then punted. After a Redskins punt on the next Cowboys drive Tony Romo was intercepted by Rocky McIntosh but Dallas challenged and Rocky did not have possession when hitting the ground. On the next play safety Reed Doughty who was subbing for Sean Taylor committed a 51 yard pass interference penalty on Patrick Crayton. Before Washington could get their balance TO got London Fletcher turned around and walked right between Reed Doughty and Leigh Torrence for a 31 yard TD catch. As they did in the second quarter the Redskins answered a TD with a field goal to end the third quarter which ended with Dallas leading 14-13.

The Cowboys started the fourth quarter with the ball and moved quickly on mostly passing. After a false start left them at 2nd and 13 at midfield once again Terrell Owens got open down the middle in the seam between LaRon Landry and Reed Doughty and caught a 46 yard touchdown. For the third time Washington then responded to a Dallas touchdown with a field goal to keep the game to five points. On Dallas' next possession it went run run run Terrell Owens 52 yard touchdown catch. TO got open in the seam between Shawn Springs and Pierson Prioleau and took it home. The Redskins now down 12 with 7:42 to play moved down the field on all passing no huddle and went 74 yards for a Santana Moss TD catch to move it back to a five point deficit. The Redskins defense miraculously held and Dallas then punted.

The Redskins got the ball back with 2:51 left in regulation and all three timeouts. Jason Campbell moved the team to the Dallas 19 yard line needing a touchdown and on 3rd and 10 Terence Newman stepped in front of Antwaan Randle El and intercepted the pass. Dallas ran three straight times before punting. The Redskins last gasp started on the Washington 30 yard line with 0:34 left in the game. Jason moved the team 20 yards with no timeout before the final hail mary was swatted out of bounds, game over Dallas wins 28-23.


Soapbox: count me amongst those Redskins fans that thought this might have been a thorough beating and I am proud of the team that it was not. That said the team's low expectations at this point are not something to be proud of.


As promised with the absence of Sean Taylor the Cowboys tested the Redskins deep and it worked with Tony and TO hooking up for 31, 46 and 52 yards. And a word for TO, the whole no one respects me thing is wearing thin. You are a star and you have found a place where no one gives a crap what you do off the field as Andy Reid and Bill Parcells did. Enjoy it and knock off the hurt look, it's ok to say I'm the man.

Jason Campbell is officially a keeper. With Santana Moss and Antwaan Randle El still gimpy from injuries, Keenan McCardell off the street and apparently no one else with an eighty number Jason kept the team alive and threw for more yards (348) than any Redskins quarterback since before Joe Gibbs came back, further back than four years, Patrick Ramsey in 2003 also with 348.

I know the offensive line is banged up and the right side needs extra blocking from the tight ends and fullback but please, a little help one time, DeMarcus Ware really abused Chris Samuels yesterday.

This game was not plagued with bad coaching and poor management, the Redskins looked like they knew what they were doing.

The game came down to six plays, these plays will be detailed and examined later today only on Curly R.

5-5 is not loveable.


Chattering class: I wonder if they will catch and change this typo from Jason La Canfora's Washington Post recap piece (op. cit., emphasis mine):

The conservative shackles were off, and he nearly matched Romo, one of the best passers in the league in just his second season as a starter. Campbell led a 74-play drive -- capped with a five-yard rocket to Moss in the end zone -- to get Washington to 28-23,..

Les Carpenter's obligatory front page A1 piece, mashed in between stories on the FBI hiding flaws in its ballistics testing for decades, how great news is not translating to great polling for president Bush and the Maryland legislature about to pass a 1.4 billion dollar tax increase.

Mike Wise lionizes Jason Campbell, as I have indicated he is a keeper and the Redskins can build around this guy. The Terence Newman interception late in the game was forgivable, it was not like the team was going to surprise anybody by passing in that situation, but we need to get the fumbling under control (see below). This is one are where Jason does bear a striking resemblance to Mark Rypien.

Tom Boswell is upbeat and reminds us there are three key road games coming up. In his view the loss yesterday was a hell of a lot better than the loss last week.


Omnibus: Jason fumbled again, he has more fumbles right now than anyone in the league except Jon Kitna and Philip Rivers but the mistake did not hurt the team, the defense held and forced Dallas to punt on the ensuing drive.

Todd Wade was hurt in the third quarter and did not return, a left knee sprain, more will be known tomorrow.

Santana Moss and Chris Cooley had big receiving days, Santana with nine catches for 121 yards and Chris with eight for 89. Santana had a highlight worthy catch late in the third quarter, pulling in a sideline route with with only his right hand, tucking it in before falling out of bouds. Although Jimmy Farris and Reche Caldwell got in the game neither caught a pass, only Santana, Antwaan Randle El and Keenan McCardell, but there were 21 balls caught by receivers, easily a season high for the Redskins.

Clinton Portis only had 12 carries and 36 yards. He looked good in the first half and kind of disappeared in the second.

Mike Sellers got an unlikely highlight moment in the second quarter when he took a short pass from Jason Campbell and then hurdled a diving Terence Newman who was going in for the low tackle.

Since returning in 2004, two and change seasons, the Redskins are 17-14 when leading at the half. This season the Redskins have lost games to the Giants, Packers, Eagles and now Cowboys. That stat was 86-11 for Joe Gibbs' first time with the team from 1981 to 1992.

Before the game Chris Mortensen at ESPN reported that some Redskins players were unhappy with the team because Dan Snyder blocked them from obtaining all the tickets they needed for friends and family in favor of giving team acquired tickets to Redskins sponsors. The team has denied this report (op. cit.) but I sure as shit believe the story. Also David Elfin at the Washington Times alludes to Dan Synder's entourage hogging all the parking passes away from the DC traveling media.

Shawn Springs did not have a great game but who can blame him. His father is about to die.


Area 51: Sean Taylor sat this game out with his twisted knee. LaRon Landry played well in his absence but the back of the Redskins coverage clearly suffers without Sean. LaRon had one great hit on Jason Witten in the fourth quarter. Jason Witten is larger than LaRon and LaRon put his shoulder on Jason Witten's ribs and introduced himself. LaRon also was burned on TO's second, third and fourth TD catches.

Freddie Your Cruise Director: Fred Smoot again played a solid game, the problems in the secondary were not with Loveboat Freddie but with the safeties. It is somewhat disconcerting just how many arm tackles by Shawn Springs and Loveboat Freddie are easily swatted away by opponents.

Washington Post recap, box score, play by play. NFL recap, box score, full play by play, Gamebook (PDF), photos.

Other recaps: Greg at Hog Heaven, The Redskin Report, Jason La Canfora at Redskins Insider, Redskins AOL Fanhouse, Bram Weinstein's Covering the Redskins, Riggo's Rag. Rich Tandler's quarterly game blog: 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th.

Next up, a trip to Tampa Bay where Jeff Garcia has the Buccaneers leading the NFC South and a really hot girlfriend because he's not gay and gay guys don't have hot girlfriends.

Jason Campbell: Ronald Martinez / Getty Images from here. Jeff Garcia and girlfriend Carmella DeCesare: uncredited photo from here.