A 23 yarder? Are you shitting me?
Takeaway Drill: A third blown lead in three games, a team trying really hard to get a bad name on defense and a good one on offense; these Saints ain't all that; a season moves from depressing to angering.
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Monday Walkthrough: Another monumental letdown from a team that is getting better on one side of the ball and worse on the other, the Saints come to Washington and escape with a 33-30 victory to drop the Redskins to 3-9 and a three game losing streak, the new playcalling regime is now 1-5.
The Saints got the ball to start the first quarter, New Orleans' first possession almost ends with a Fred Smoot interception but Fred gets a case of the Carloses and drops it, New Orleans miraculously cannot score on their first drive and punt. Washington gets the ball for the first time, two Saints penalties move the ball to the New Orleans 34, blow me down but the Redskins can move the ball, Jason Campbell is picking up blitzes, receivers are catching the ball and the third tier tailback can run, in third and goal from the New Orleans eight yard line after a timeout Jason Campbell finds Fred Davis for a touchdown, Redskins take an early 7-0 lead. The Saints get the ball for the second time, on third and one from the Saints 39 Kedric Golston is in the Saints backfield stopping the run and the Saints are punting. Washington's second possession, wait, someone stop me before I kill again, the Redskins are MOVING THE BALL, they stall on the New Orleans thirteen and kick a 32 yard field goal to move Washington's lead to 10-0. New Orleans gets the ball for the third time, the Saints move the ball eleven yards on five plays with great Redskins defense and that is the end of the quarter, Washington leads 10-0. [Quarterly summaries: Washington Post :: Real Redskins :: ORB (Official Redskins Blog)]
New Orleans continues its third drive into the second quarter, Drew Brees connects with Jeremy Shockey for almost a touchdown, Jeremy pushed off and that is pass interference against the Saints, New Orleans must struggle for every yard, they stall at the Washington sixteen and kick a 34 yard field goal to make the game 10-3 Redskins. Washington's third possession is three straight runs and a punt. The Saints' fourth possession, it seems like they want to go long on every play, it pays off eventually as Drew Brees finds Marques Colston deep for a 40 yard touchdown, Saints tie the game at 10-10. The Redskins get the ball for the fourth time, Jason Campbell finds Santana Moss twice before completing a nine play, 78 yard drive with a five yard touchdown pass to Devin Thomas, Washington regains the lead 17-10. The Saints get the ball for the fifth time it is a three and out that crosses the two minute warning, they punt... and rookie cornerback Kevin Barnes lets the punt fall on him, the Saints recover and get the ball. New Orleans ill gotten sixth possession starts in Redskins territory, moves thirteen yards before LaRon Landry soars through the line and sacks Drew Brees, moving the Saints out of field goal range, on third and 26 from midfield Kareem Moore falls over Jeremy Shockey, who may or may not love cocky, and intercepts the ball, as Kareem is moving left during the return Saints receiver Robert Meachem strips Kareem of the ball and runs it 44 yards for the touchdown and the Saints tie the game at 17-17 on a bizarre play. The Redskins get the ball once more, their fifth possession, a one play kneeldown by Jason Campbell and that is the end of the half with the game tied 17-17. [Quarterly summaries: Washington Post :: Real Redskins :: ORB (Official Redskins Blog)]
Washington gets the ball to start the third quarter, Washington's sixth possession, ten plays all on ball control and short gains, Shaun Suisham connects from 28 yards to put the Redskins ahead 20-17. The Saints seventh possession is a blessed four and over, New Orleans chose to go for it on fourth and one from the Washington 43, Albert Haynesworth was in the backfield and stopped the play two yards short. Washington takes over at midfield, the Redskins seventh drive, Devin Thomas pulls down a 40 yard pass on first down then three plays later a thirteen yard touchdown as the Redskins push their lead to 27-17. The Saints get the ball for the eighth time, it takes five minutes to go 64 yards before kicking a 27 yard field goal to bring the game back to 27-20 Redskins. Washington's eighth possession starts with five hard fought plays, to put the Redskins on their own 44, on third and eleven Jason Campbell finds Antwaan Randle El down to the New Orleans twelve yard line for 44 yards, and there is where the quarter ends with the Redskins leading 27-20. [Quarterly summaries: Washington Post :: Real Redskins :: ORB (Official Redskins Blog)]
The Redskins continue their eighth possession into the fourth quarter, the shorter field stymies Washington and Shaun Suisham kicks a 21 yard field goal to extend Washington's lead to 30-20. New Orleans' ninth possession, they seem to have no trouble moving the ball, in a strange symmetry to the last two games the Saints move easily down to the Washington ten yard line, Byron Westbrook stops Drew Brees' pass in the end zone and the Saints kick a 28 yard field goal to cut the Redskins lead to 30-23. Washington's ninth drive is all about the clock, ten plays and 55 yards, with a chance to seal the game out to two scores and... Shaun Suisham misses a 23 yard field goal. The Saints get the ball for the tenth time, in another deja vu, the Saints go 80 yards in 33 seconds, finishing with a 53 yard touchdown pass to Robert Meachem, safety LaRon Landry bit on a stutter move and left Robert wide open, Saints tie the game at 30-30. The Redskins get the ball for the tenth time, it looks as though there is plenty of time to drive, on first down at midfield Jonathan Vilma steps in front of Fred Davis and intercepts Jason Campbell's pass and it looks like the Redskins have decided to give it up. The Saints take over at their 46 yard line, New Orleans' eleventh possession, with two seconds left in regulation the Saints try a 58 yard field goal, Garrett Hartley's kick is short, Fred Smoot fields it and returns is, oh a few yards or so and that is the end of regulation with the game tied 30-30. [Quarterly summaries: Washington Post :: Real Redskins :: ORB (Official Redskins Blog)]
The Redskins won the overtime toss and elected to receive, Washington's eleventh possession, on second and five in Redskins territory, fullback Mike Sellers catches a pass from Jason Campbell and appears to fumble but Mike is whistled down, Saints coach Sean Payton challenges the play and after much sitting around the play is reversed and New Orleans is granted possession, their twelfth drive, on first down from 32 yards out the Saints set up for a field goal but choose to put the offense back on the field, of course they move easily to the goal line, the game is almost over on a replay then not then on an eighteen yard field goal but Jim Zorn called a timeout then the kick is up and good and the Saints complete the comeback to win, 33-30, they let this one get away. [Quarterly summaries: Washington Post :: Real Redkins :: ORB (Official Redskins Blog)]
Soapbox: This is really getting tiresome. They blew it. Again. They blew it. They fell apart. They were winning, they were beating an undefeated New Orleans Saints team, 7-0 then 10-0 then 10-3 then it was tied 10-10 then leading 17-10 then tied 17-17 then leading 20-17 then 27-17 then 27-20 then 30-20 then 30-23 then tied 30-30.
The first time the Redskins were losing was the instant the game was over. Before we assign blame for this loss, and I have specific assignments, let us review the overall work of the three phases of the game.
The good news here is the offense, it works. Jason Campbell was terrific (op. cit.), throwing for more than 350 yards with three touchdowns against one interception. Inside that passing game nine different guys caught passes, five of them catching three or more and the four guys catching four or more passes? All were receivers, meaning that Jason is actually and factually looking downfield and not relying on screen passes and dump outs to move the passing game. Devin Thomas? He played like a number one receiver (ibid.), catching seven passes for one hundred yards and two touchdowns. He threw in seven kickoff returns just to be sure you knew he was working hard. Suddenly we are not all in a wad over the offense anymore are we?
In the running game all three guys, Rock Cartwright, Quinton Ganther and Marcus Mason combined for 24 carries for 89 yards, a 3.7 yards per carry average, not terrific but not awful, it is pretty clear that the Redskins gameplan was to take it to the Saints in the air, Rock looked a lot better today than either of the last two weeks and that guy Quinton is a load, I wonder if the team is thinking about this guy as a mid season spare part or as a possible backfield player going forward.
The special teams, ah the special teams. Only two things to talk about here, the punt return fuckup with Kevin Barnes and the 23 yard missed field goal that would have pushed the Redskins lead to 33-23 with less than two minutes left in regulation. Long snapper Ethan Albright and holder punter Hunter the Punter Smith both manned up to try and take responsibility (op. cit.), the fault for this stuff always falls on the kicker.
The playcalling was good, the game management was good, as neighbor Paul noted during the game, it might appear that Jim Zorn has done a good job coaching this team as we have worked our way further and further down the roster.
So what were the problems tonight that led to this loss? Aside from the fact that Drew Brees (ibid.) and the Saints are good and a possible cajun voodoo curse, there were four problems, and we will break them down tomorrow, here they are: Kevin Barnes loses track of the punt, gets hit by the ball and turns it over; Mike Sellers fumbles the ball in overtime, I am about over Mike; the defense did what it seems to every week these days, give up a big play score and roll over at the end when an opponent is desperate for a score, LaRon Landry is the guilty party in both of these lapses, biting hard on receiver stutter moves, the thing that got Carlos Rogers benched three weeks ago; and Shaun Suisham missing what amounts to an extra point field goal, the Saints were then within one score instead of two.
Make that six of nine losses by less than a touchdown.
Chattering Class: Mike Wise at the Washington Post is just flabbergasted that this team that seemed deader than dead a month ago could go toe to toe with the best team in the league, that all that bad shit could happen to the Redskins, that even losing it on a missed chip shot field goal, that it even happened.
Tom Boswell also at the Washington post writes that is game perfectly epitomized everything that is good and bad, right and wrong with the 2009 Washington Redskins, that only this team could take it to the mighty Saints and then beat themselves, he also highlights the five gaffes the team committed to lose the game, each cost the team points and any one of them not happening would likely have sealed the game for the Redskins.
Omnibus: Broadcasters: Sam Rosen and Tim Ryan, I like this crew and Tim is one half of the best show on Sirius NFL Radio, that being Moving the Chains with Pat Kirwan.
Uniform watch: The Redskins are wearing the traditional road uniform of burgundy jersey and white pants, I hate that combination.
As expected, DeAngelo Hall was out. This is a bummer.
The field was soft from the rain and snows yesterday, this favors whom? Whomever can get a running game. Which the Redskins have not had consistently.
FRED SMOOT CATCH THOSE INTERCEPTIONS!!!
OMG stop teh presses the Redskins drove down the field and scored on their first drive, which was pretty good looking and aided by two big Saints penalties.
At this point the Redskins are leading 10-0, I usually have had more to say at this point but I am pretty much speechless watching the Redskins win both sides of the ball.
Saints third possession first quarter, on the first play Byron Westbrook had a chance to stop it short of a first down and missed the tackle. On the next play 36 year old Phillip Daniels busts through to drop Pierre Thomas for a loss. Good defense today.
Three plays later, same New Orleans drive, rookie cornerback Kevin Barnes upside downs Reggie Bush, nice play.
For the most part, through a quarter and change, the Redskins defense is playing very well and wrapping up ball carriers on first contact.
Yes that was London Fletcher racing downfield with Devery Henderson in the Saints fourth possession, second quarter, Drew Brees went deep and London and LaRon Landry were in coverage, LaRon almost intercepted it. Two plays later Marques Colston scored on a 40 yard touchdown, LaRon bit on a double move no doubt leaving Carlos Rogers on the sidelines saying hey don't look at me.
The Redskins fifth possession, second quarter, was nine plays, 78 yards, ending with a Devin Thomas touchdown catch, all nine plays on that drive were passes and Jason Campbell was seven of nine on that drive.
The Saints sixth possession, second quarter, started on a Redskins turnover when rookie cornerback Kevin Barnes let the Saints punt following their fifth possession after a three and out and ended on a Redskins turnover when Kareem Moore intercepted Drew Brees on third and 26 then was stripped by Saints receiver Robert Meachem who ran it in for a touchdown. Never seen anything quite like that.
There was a Mark Brunell sighting in this game, he is the holder for Saints kicker Garrett Hartley. They actually called his name in the broadcast.
The broadcast keeps annoyingly cutting in and out, this stadium must have awful infrastructure.
The game tying fourth quarter touchdown pass from Drew Brees, Saints tenth drive fourth quarter, LaRon Landry bit for the second time on a stutter move by a receiver. LaRon is basically responsible for this loss.
Shooter: Quarterback Jason Campbell had statistically the best day of his career, if the passer rating system is meaningful to you he had a 111.9, higher than Drew Brees' 102.3 for this game (op. cit.) and well up over his season average after playing the last two games under his 2009 average. Jason was 30 of 42 for 367 yards, three touchdowns and one interception, a somewhat costly interception, the game was tied with less than a minute left in regulation and the Redskins were on the New Orleans side of midfield and driving for the winning field goal. I saw a Jason Campbell that has come to grips with the conditions and limitations around him and simply tries to maximize on every play.
Fat Contract Albert: Nice to have defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth back, it is so obvious how different the Redskins are when he is not in the game, Albert was a factor today, he had a pass block in the second quarter though his biggest play of the day was stopping Saints tailback Mike Bell on fourth and inches at the end of the Saints seventh drive in the third quarter, the Saints at that point were down by three points.
OH CRAPPO: Like teammate Albert Haynesworth, rookie hybrid defensive endbacker Brian Orakpo had a quiet line in the box score, only two tackles, but one of them was a key stop of Saints tailback Reggie Bush on third and one during the Saints fifth possession, second quarter, this was the play that forced the punt that Kevin Barnes lost and allowed New Orleans to claim.
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 road trip to the Oakland Raiders, the team that we all thought was the west coast Redskins, they made a bold move to bench JaMarcus Russell and go with Bruce Gradkowski at quarterback, Redskins fans know Bruce from Tampa Bay and a point shaving investigation from when Bruce was in college at the University of Toledo, you heard it here first, if you are a betting type, take the under.
Shaun Suisham realizing he just pissed off a bunch of Redskins fans: Nick Waas / AP Photo from here. Raiders general partner Al Davis: Getty Images from here.