That's what I'm talking about
Takeaway Drill: When you play Redskins football with Redskins football players you get what you got today, a cast of banged up rejects that saves the day, so in other words The Goonies; man that defensive secondary sucks.
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Monday Walkthrough: With nothing to lose, nothing to prove and heaping scorn from the public, the Redskins play the kind of football that wins football games, beating the visiting Denver Broncos 27-17 to move to 3-6. Whatever got into the playcalling bureaucracy worked and those guys should take note, the running game drives the Redskins in this or any era. The Broncos continue their reversal of fortune, keeping their parallels with the 2008 Redskins for another week.
The Broncos got the ball to start the first quarter, Denver's first possession starts with a 28 yard run by tailback Knowshon Moreno, after two nowhere plays Kyle Orton finds Brandon Marshall on an embarrassing third and eleven, just embarrassing Carlos Rogers and LaRon Landry for a touchdown and the Redskins once again open with a deficit as the Broncos go up 7-0 to start the game. The Redskins get the ball for the first time and open with a run by Ladell Betts, in for Clinton Portis, Fred Davis and Rock Cartwright also help move the chains, the Redskins move down the field on twelve plays over 78 yards, ending with a two yard touchdown pass to tight end Todd Yoder and the game is tied 7-7. Denver gets the ball for the second time in good field position thanks to a terrible Shaun Suisham kickoff, on second and one in Redskins territory, former Eagle Correll Buckhalter is hit form behind Lorenzo Alexander aka Scarface and drops the ball, Reed Doughty falls on it is Redskins ball. Washington's second drive turns out three and out and they are punting. Denver's third drive is a one play drive as LaRon Landry makes a bad move, allowing Brandon Marshall a 75 yard path to the end zone, Denver goes up 14-7. Washington's third possession is saved by Antwaan Randle El on third and fifteen over Champ Bailey, the drive stalls three plays later and the Redskins are punting, The Broncos get the ball for the fourth time and run one running play and that is it, the first quarter ends with the Broncos leading 14-7. [Quarterly reports: Washington Post]
Denver continues their fourth drive into the second quarter, Rocky McIntosh introduces himself to Brandon Marshall and Kyle Orton overthrow Eddie Royal by inches to prevent another long Denver touchdown, and the Broncos are punting. The Redskins get the ball for the fourth time, a miserable three and out, Washington's second in a row. The Broncos fifth drive almost ends after one play as DeAngelo Hall nearly intercepts the latest deep pass by Kyle Orton, two plays later Denver is three and out. Washington's fifth possession moves fourteen yards on six plays before Shaun Suisham sets up for a 53 yard field goal, the Redskins execute some trickery on fourth and twenty as punter Hunter the Punter tosses a 35 yard touchdown pass to fullback Mike Sellers and the score is tied 14-14 (op. cit.). The Broncos sixth possession is long, moving 82 yards on 16 plays in six and a half minutes, Denver kicks a 24 yard field goal to go up 17-14. The Broncos kick off with six seconds left and there is no return and that is where the half ends with the Broncos leading 17-14. [Quarterly reports: Washington Post]
Washington got the ball to start the third quarter, the Redskins sixth possession is a four and out, Fred Davis makes a good catch and run and outside linebacker Elvis Dumervil finally gets hold of Jason Campbell for a sack and the Redskins are punting. Denver gets the ball for the seventh time, Chris Simms comes out at quarterback, we hear that Kyle Orton's return is doubtful with two ankles, the drive is eight plays over three minutes but only moves twenty yards and the Broncos are punting. Washington's seventh possession starts with two strong Ladell Betts runs, soon it is third and seven near midfield and Devin Thomas saves the drive, three plays later it is fourth and one from the Denver 31, within range of a tying field goal, Jim Zorn chooses to go for it and it fails on a Rock Cartwright run to the right, Denver ball. Luckily for Redskins fans, Denver's eighth drive is a three and out. Washington's eighth drive starts deep in Redskins territory, Ladell, Ladell, Ladell, throw in one run to Quinton Ganther and that is it for the third quarter, it ends with the Broncos leading 17-14. [Quarterly reports: Washington Post]
Washington continued its eighth drive into the fourth quarter, and they continue to run the ball, after a twelve play 89 yard drive featuring eight runs and four passes they stall and Shaun Suisham kicks a 40 yard field goal to tie the game at 17-17. Denver gets the ball for the ninth time, they can move the ball, on first and ten from midfield Chris Simms drops back on a playaction and tosses fifty yards in the air for Brandon Marshall, DeAngelo Hall intercepts it in the end zone and returns it 25 yards before bizarrely lateraling the ball to LaRon Landry who almost drops it but does not, Redskins ball. Washington's ninth possession starts with 4:20 left in the game, it is a relentless series of runs, toss in a great play by Devin Thomas and it is first and goal Washington, Ladell, Ladell, Ladell and touchdown, Redskins take a lead and move to ten points above their season scoring average, 24-17 Redskins. Denver gets the ball for the tenth time, Albert Haynesworth comes back onto the field before limping back off, a four and over as the Broncos turn the ball over on downs, Redskins ball. Washington's tenth and final possession of the game starts deep in Denver territory, three Ladell Betts runs then a Shaun Suisham 35 yard field goal to put the Redskins up for good, 27-17. The Broncos got the ball one more time, their eleventh time, four down territory including a Brian Orakpo sack and that's the game, Redskins win 27-17 on the backs of two areas that have not been strong lately, running and running. [Quarterly reports: Washington Post]
Soapbox: How is it possible that after this game the Redskins have the number one pass defense in the league through ten weeks of the 2009 season? On the opening drive of the game quarterback Kyle Orton, who is now 0-3 against the Redskins, cornerback Carlos Rogers bit badly on a double move by receiver Brandon Marshall, allowing a 40 yard touchdown pass, a mistake that got Carlos benched for the day.
Two Broncos possessions later they did it again when safety LaRon Landry attacked the wrong route, leaving Brandon wide open for another score. In the second quarter it took safety Kareem Moore illegally holding receiver Eddie Royal to prevent him from catching a wide open pass, the penalty was not called, and on the following Denver drive Brandon Marshall appeared to be open deep down the right side, cornerback DeAngelo Hall got there and nearly intercepted it.
Move on to the second half after Kyle Orton was out of the game with twisted ankles and replacement Chris Simms tried that shit and DeAngelo intercepted it in the end zone, Chris did not have a good day. So the pass defense, and the pass rush (op. cit.) got progressively better throughout the day but come on guys, letting the opponent score so easily so early twice just makes it that much harder for the offense. If I were Kyle Orton I would be pretty pissed, what with getting hurt on the last play of the first half.
And that brings to the real news from this game and that is that the Redskins found an offense, it only took five different starting combinations on the offensive line and tailback second string Ladell Betts to get the start but it was there, it was shades of December 2006 without the fumbles. Ladell had 26 carries for 114 yards, throw in Rock Cartwright and newcomer Quinton Ganther and the Redskins ran 38 times for 159 yards, they held the ball for eleven minutes longer than the Broncos and Jason Campbell kept it simple, no interceptions and no fumbles.
I would caution Redskins fans against getting too caught up in any hype around the quote arrival unquote of the Redskins' offense, this was one game and we need to see more consistency before we forget how bad the team has looked so often this season.
I will say this though, if we really want to make this season about the playcalling and who gets to do it, yesterday's game was a good example of the kind of football that a) works, and b) that Redskins fans want to see.
I will also say it is ok at this point, I am officially declaring rookie defensive endbacker Brian Orakpo awesome. He and defensive end Andre Carter are ginning up quite the sack competion each had one and a half in yesterday's game, giving Andre eight for the year and Brian seven. I think we are fully realizing the Albert Haynesworth Benefit.
Chattering Class: Dan Dan the Sports Bog Man writes about the mysterious and inconguent rescinding of the wholly bullshit ban on signs at Redskins Stadium, in case you missed this story the team decided three hours before kickoff yesterday that signs were going to be ok after all, as long as they were not profane. Of course the ban in the first place was not about profanity but about fans getting poked in the head, but it was not really about that either, man the guys that run this team are a real bunch of bozos.
Tom Boswell also at the Washington Post is not exactly impressed by a win over a team that was on a two game losing streak and that lost its quarterback before halftime, but that said is impressed that the team won with substitutes and trickery. Tom also suggests perhaps when tailback Clinton Portis returns from his concussion that the team should split carries between Clinton and Ladell Betts to keep them both healthier. I suppose that could be a good idea, I think there is too much water under the Clinton Portis bridge and that story is done in Washington, Redskins fans do not respect divas, like their players to practice and have soured on Clinton Portis, at this point I do not want him to have John Riggins' franchise rushing record.
Mike Wise at the Washington Post will not go so far as playoffs but does see signs of a team playing with confidence and trust in each other, he wonders if these guys do not think maybe they can still win most of their remaining games. He also has a humorous and sad but true quick rundown of many of the humiliations so far this season.
Omnibus: Broadcasters: CBS, Greg Gumbel and Dan Dierdorf, nice to see you Dan, I always through you got jobbed in the Monday Night Football travesty that saw that broadcast go from Dennis Miller to Tony Kornheiser. Later as the game wore on I came to the realization that Dan Dierdorf is not the same color man he was a decade ago, he was sloppy on replays and his analysis too often was like, then the player made a bad move. Dan, we want to hear the names and the breakdown.
Uniform watch: The team was wearing the traditional road uniform of burgundy jerseys and white pants, I still hate that uniform.
To end the Bronco's first drive, Carlos Rogers and LaRon Landry once again botched up the coverage, from the Washington 40 yard line on third and eleven, Brandon Marshall got behind Carlos and LaRon did not provide over the top coverage, it was a huge fucking ugly busted play and it was also the first time Denver had scored a touchdown on their opening drive, the Redskins this season have a way of making everyone feel special. Carlos bit hook line and sinker on a stutter and go, he sucks.
Great statistic during the Redskins first drive: Redskins have been outscored 52-10 in the all first quarters this season.
Another configuration to the offensive line, with Stephon Heyer moving back to right tackle to replace Mike Williams and Levi Jones moving in to left tackle. Chad Rinehart would appear to be getting a pity start from Joe Bugel at right guard over Will Montgomery. My impression may change during this game, I am going into it with the basic belief that Will and Chad are both interchangeably bad.
The Redskins are scrapping like crazy on this first drive, Ladell Betts, Fred Davis, Antwaan Randle El, Rock Cartwright, they all figured in, and Levi Jones looks like he can play. To this point.
Nice head's up play be defensive specialist Lorenzo Alexander to whack from behind and knock the ball out of Correll Buckhalter's hands and for Reed Doughty to just fall on it. Too bad the Redskins couldn't do shit with the turnover and three and outed.
The boobirds first came out on Shaun Suisham's botched kickoff but that does not really count, they were out for the first time for real on the second long touchdown pass to Brandon Marshall, DeAngelo Hall played a weak zone but the real fault on that play was safety LaRon Landry, he came up to jump the route, emptying his zone and leaving Brandon a straight path to the end zone.
In the Broncos fourth drive, only safety Kareem Moore illegally holding receiver Eddie Royal prevented another loooooong Denver touchdown. In Denver's fifth drive, it looked like the Redskins had made some adjustments, Kyle Orton went long to Eddie Royal, DeAngelo Hall was right there and nearly intercepted it.
Tailback Quinton Ganther made his Redskins debut, his first play was a run from nowhere, his second was a great backfield pass block and his third was an over the middle catch that ended with Quentin standing up former Eagles safety Brian Dawkins, knocking his helmet off at the point of contact. Welcome to Washington Quentin.
Department of Trickery: In the Redskins fifth possession, second quarter, the Redskins lined up for a 53 yard field goal on fourth and twenty, Jason Campbell had been called for an intentional grounding two plays earlier, as the teams lined up the Redskins shifted formations, the holder, punter Hunter the Punter Smith stepped back into what looked like punt formation, the Broncos responded by falling back into punt return formation. Fullback Mike Sellers split wide, when the ball was snapped Hunter did not punt the ball, he cocked and started looking to pass the ball to a receiver, Mike Sellers was wide open 35 yards down the field, touchdown Redskins. As we learned in the switch to Sherman Lewis calling plays, head coach Jim Zorn still has dominion over fourth down calls, this was clearly coach Zorn not only calling a good play, but giving everyone a great reminder he is still here. The big error on that play on the part of the Broncos was not to call timeout immediately when they saw Hunter Smith back up and Mike Sellers move out wide.
Bad stat: The broadcasters told us in the second half that the Redskins are the only team in the NFL not to draft an offensive lineman in either the first or second rounds of the draft since 2001. The results of this fact speak for themselves.
The Redskins seventh possession, third quarter, ended with a failed fourth and one deep in Denver territory, Washington could have gone for the tying field goal and instead tried for the first down, it failed, someone needs to go back and see how many times the Redskins have failed on fourth and one this season.
The Redskins eighth possession started with three Ladell Betts runs, all for positive yards and for those of us watching the game together on Shed TV, we were so excited to see a good running game, I wonder if we are seeing a backfield controversy, I think even Rock Cartwright is running harder than Clinton Portis.
During the Broncos ninth drive, fourth quarter, Albert Haynesworth went down hard on first down, he needed help to get off the field. To be determined.
That's what I'm talking bout: In the Redskins ninth possession, fourth quarter, Rock Cartwright and Ladell Betts carried the drive up until third and three at the Denver 32 yard line, Jason Campbell tossed a receiver screen to Devin Thomas who makes three men miss, that play was a lot closer to what we were expecting to see from Devin Thomas and I hope it gives him a quote spark unquote.
First time with more than 17 points in 11 home games. ACK!
All is well in the end and it was done on the backs of the Redskins running backs, 35 carries between Ladell Betts and Rock Cartwright for 155 yards, against only 26 passing plays for Jason Campbell. The story is so obvious it writes itself.
Shooter: Quarterback Jason Campbell broke one hundred in passer rating for the second time this season, overall played the kind of game Redskins fans like, 17 of 26 for 193 yards and one touchdown, Jason spread the balls around in this game, completing passes to ten different receivers (op. cit.). Jason took a couple of shots downfield but only connected on one deep pass, to Antwaan Randle El in the first quarter, would have like to see some more deep shots and completions, that said this is the kind of game Jason Campbell is capable of having regularly with a solid offensive line and running game. We do not need Peyton.
Fat Contract Albert: Defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth had a quiet statistical line, continues to be a giant force improving all those around him, Broncos tailback Knowshon Moreno had almost a hundred yards rushing but the team could never get into a running rhythm. Albert had a crucial pass batdown at the end of the half in the Broncos sixth drive, it helped to stall Denver near the Washington goal line and force a field goal that would only put the Redskins down by three points.
OH CRAPPO: The Redskins outstanding rookie hybrid defensive endbacker Brian Orakpo must at this point be on the short list for NFL Rookie of the year, he continues to impress and this game was no exception, Brian had the catch him from behind hit on Kyle Orton at the end of the first half, Kyle did not return to the game. Brian also teamed up with Washington's other quarterback bane Andre Carter for a drive ending sack in the third quarter and scored a solo sack of Chris Simms on the Broncos final drive, with those one point five sacks yesterday Brian now has seven sacks through nine games and becomes the all time sackinest rookie in Redskins history, breaking the team rookie record of six sacks held by Dean Hamel from 1985 and Andre Collins from 1990.
Washington Post recap, photo gallery. NFL recap, box score, full play by play, photos, video highlights.
Other recaps: Mark Newgent at Redskins Examiner
Next up, a trip to Big D to play the Cowboys, last week I would have told you this game could be a blowout, now... hope?
Ladell Betts celebrating his fourth quarter touchdown: Gerald Herbert / AP photo from here. Johnny Jolly getting to know Tony Romo: Getty Images from here.