Monday, September 21, 2009

I Feel So Much Better Now

WTF dude

Note: this gamewrap is still in progress, final thoughts and links tonight. -Ben 9/22

Takeaway drill: Winning can look like losing, especially when paired with a critical season ending injury, red zone futility and weak playcalling; Steve Spagnuolo can still gameplan against Washington; Redskins fans are flat out of patience.


Monday walkthrough: The Washington Redskins coin a new term, winning futile as they hold off the St. Louis Rams 9-7 to move to 1-1. The offense shows how easily it can move between the twenties, then stalls get this, four times in the St. Louis red zone, producing only three field goals, something is definitely up with Washington's playcalling. To add injury to insult right guard Randy Thomas was lost for the season with a triceps injury for the second time in three seasons.

The Redskins took the ball to start the first quarter, Jason Campbell's first pass of the Redskins first possession was a good looking throw to Malcolm Kelly, it was broken up by cornerback Jonathan Wade, nothing doing on this drive and the Redskins are punting on a three and out. The Rams first drive starts with a completion over Carlos Rogers and ends four plays later with a punt. Washington gets the ball for the second time, and they are moving to the tune of the passing game, three completions in a row to Chris Cooley, Jason Campbell has to call a timeout near midfield and Jason comes right back to Chris, Jason looks good scrambling for a first down, then Clinton Portis reads his blocks well for another first down, two tough red zone runs and Jason Campbell's hard pass bounces off the hands of Devin Thomas, Redskins kick a 21 yard field goal and the Redskins score the first points, 3-0. St. Louis gets the ball for the second time, Cornelius Griffin penetrates the line on first down to hit Steven Jackson for a loss, on the next play Marc Bulger completes a pass to tailback Kenneth Darby, Rocky McIntosh hits him hard, his helmet dislodging the ball, Andre Carter comes up with it, Redskins ball... except Brian Orakpo gets called for a roughing the passer, still Rams ball and tack on fifteen yards, that's a shitter of a play. The Rams continue and can move the ball, Marc Bulger makes a good scramble, Rocky McIntosh nearly forces another fumble and the Rams lose their center to an ankle injury, the quarter ends at midfield with the Redskins leading 3-0.

The Rams continue their second drive to start the second quarter, on second and ten Cornelius Griffin and Andre Carter meet at the quarterback for a sack, nothing doing on third and sixteen and the Rams are punting. The Redskins get the ball back for the fourth time, Washington moves easily in a short period of time, a questionable noncall in the end zone leaves the Redskins at fourth and goal and Shaun Suisham kicks a 28 yard field goal to move the Redskins to a 6-0 lead. The Rams get the ball for the third time, they move all the way down the field, mainly on Steven Jackson's 62 yard run, after stopping Steven short on second and goal Marc Bulger throws a good fade to LaRon Robinson for a two yard touchdown, Rams now lead 7-6. Washington's fourth possession starts with Derrick Dockery's second false start penalty of the first half, another long drive for the Redskins, in St. Louis territory Santana Moss fumbles, it requires a booth review and the Rams get the for the fourth time. The Rams cannot move well and that's the half, 7-6 Rams.

The Rams get the ball to start the third quarter, (coming)

fourth quarter (coming)


Soapbox: If there is any such thing as a pisser of a win, this is it. The Rams were a stinker last year with two wins, one of which was over the Redskins, St. Louis totaled all of two wins last season and despite the presence of Steve Spagnuolo are off on the same pace this season.

Washington should have blown these cats out of the park and that is really the tale of fan frustration, the booing was totally called for. Redskins fans are for real out of patience. Winning close on low scores and winning ugly are no longer satisfactory, this team has a solid veteran core and every year they do not excel is a year lost in the careers of Chris Samuels, Clinton Portis, Santana Moss.

Every year the management makes questionable to downright awful football decisions, no one will ever dispute Albert Haynesworth or Brian Orakpo to Vinny Cerrato's face but dude come on, the Redskins had an elite defense last season and all the time and money this season was spent upgrading that unit, how is that working out now that the offense cannot play its way out of a paper bag and now a solid veteran expected to anchor the offensive line is gone for the season, with no one to speak of as backup.

Put it another way: Each new dollar spent on the defense this offseason is returning less than a dollar from the investment for the simple reason that there was little relative headroom for improvement. We can crosscut performance and Albert this or DeAngelo Hall that, the only stat that counts is how many points the opposing offense scores. So far through two games the Redskins' defense is performing a lot like last season's defense. So is the two hundred million in defensive expenditures yielding commensurate improvements? The answer is no for the simply reason that it could not.

Stick this in your pipe and smoke it: Ignoring and playing ad hoc with the offense is home, roosting.

There is another problem, the play calling. It really went downhill in the second half. The Clinton Portis halfback option in the third quarter, a totally inappropriate call, it was third down and the Rams were looking for

To be fair the news in this game was not all bad, the offensive line, even after the loss of right guard Randy Thomas, was able to pass block. Unfortunately there was no such good news with the run blocking, even though the team went for 125 yards on the ground, Jason Campbell ran for 28 yards of that, I do not think any of his seven runs was planned.

Jason Campbell had a great game, he spread the ball around, Malcolm Kelly in this game exceeded his entire output from the 2008 season. Chris Cooley had seven catches, including four on the Redskins second drive alone.

Bottom line: this kind of effort is going to result in 8-8 or maybe even 6-10.


Chattering class:


Omnibus: Broadcasters: Sam Rosen and Tim Ryan, this is a good team, I am partial to Tim Ryan on Sirius NFL Radio, often though I find him not as good on TV.

Uniform watch: For their home opener the Redskins don their preferred uniform combination of white jersey and burgundy pants.

On the Rams first drive, first quarter, Marc Bulger, who completed only one pass on that drive, set the Rams franchise record for completions, surpassing, are you ready for this, Jim Everett (ha! Bet you thought I was going to link to the Jim Rome interview)

Washington's second drive, first quarter, was well called and generally well executed. Down at the goal line Jim Zorn called two running plays in a row leaving a third and goal, the third down pass was a burner that went through the hands of Devin Thomas, the play appeared to show Clinton Portis open in the right side flat, Jason did not look in that direction.

The fumble-penalty on the Rams second drive, first quarter, was suspect though I can get behind the penalty. Marc Bulger completed a pass a second down pass to Kenneth Darby, Rocky McIntosh put his helmet right on the ball, dislodging it, Andre Carter came up with it. Sadly Brian Orakpo, and Kedric Golston, since they met at the quarterback at the same time, got called for roughing the passer, it seemed like a sketchy call, there was ultimately no downside as the Rams punted on that drive, however a turnover right there would have put the Redskins in outstanding field position. Love the energy from Brian and Kedric, need them to pay attention to the play.

Two plays later on that same drive, Phillip Daniels penetrated the backfield easily, forcing Marc Bulger into a bad pass. Then on the next play Steven Jackson lined up at receiver, Carlos Rogers lined up with a big cushion and Steven made the first down on a catch easily.

Same drive, St. Louis tailback Kenneth Darby fell on center Jason Brown's ankle, Jason would not return to the game, Jason was the one in August that talked shit about Albert Haynesworth and how the Rams were going to run no huddle to tire him out. Ironically right after Jason went out of the game, the Rams went no huddle.

Rocky McIntosh forced a second fumble on that drive, it was either recovered by St. Louis or Marc Bulger was down, either way it is great to see Rocky such a big part of a big play defense.

First drive of the second quarter, Tony Almeida looks at me and say, wow that really looks a west coast offense.

Welcome to the club Marcus Mason, Marcus got his first pro carries today.

Washington's XX possession, second quarter was a good looking drive, Mike Sellers, Malcolm Kelly, Clinton Portis, Chris Cooley and Santana Moss all caught passes.

That 62 yard Steven Jackson run, not good, he outrun everyone, if it were not for Donie Avery committing a block in the back it would have been a touchdown. Two problems there, one for letting Steven get through the line and the second for not being able to catch him. Chris Horton missed him at the line and LaRon Landry took a bad angle on the first break.
Two false start penalties by Derrick Dockery in the first half? That's bad.

The Santana Moss fumble in the second quarter, agreed that was a fumble, there was no mention by the broadcasters of the BLATANT facemask by Oshiomogho Atogwe on the tackle. It would seem equitable to me that if referees can reverse a fumble that was not called on the field, they should be able to call a penalty that was also missed.



Fat Contract Albert:



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

Other recaps:

Next up: The Detroit Lions, still winless since 2007, receiver Calvin Johnson is finally coming into his own, it does not really matter when your rookie quarterback has a 40 rating.

Jim Zorn: Pablo Martinez / AP photo from here. Matthew Stafford holding up a keg over some skank: uncredited image from here via here.