Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Versus Saints, After Further Review

And when everyone turned to Carlos Rogers he said HEY MAN DON'T LOOK AT ME

One of the worst Redskins losses. Ever.

Yesterday's gut wrenching loss to the still undefeated New Orleans Saints will be remembered as one of the worst losses ever by this franchise. And it turned on five plays, here they are in importance from least destructive to most. You will note the Kareem Moore catch and release play is not in this list, that is a freak football play, Kareem should have wrapped the ball up, if this list was six plays long that would have made the list:

5. Kevin Barnes gets hit by the punt. Situation: At the end of the Saints sixth possession, second quarter, Redskins lead by seven, New Orleans punter Thomas Morestead boots a short kick, only 27 yards. Rookie cornerback Kevin Barnes does not have awareness of the ball, the kick is short of return man Antwaan Randle El, the ball it hits Kevin coming down and is recovered by New Orleans at the Washington 41.

Outcome: Saints score a touchdown to tie the game.

Why this play hurt so bad: Four plays after Kevin muffs the punt, safety LaRon Landry sacks Drew Brees out of field goal range giving New Orleans a third and 26 at midfield and it was looking as though Kevin Barnes' turnover would cause no harm. Then on the next play safety Kareem Moore intercepts Drew and we are cheering then Kareem is stripped of the ball by Saints receiver Robert Meachem who runs it in for a tying touchdown. The catch and release play was a problem to be sure, if Kevin had had better awareness the Saints would never have had that possession.

4. Mike Sellers fumbles. Situation: Washington won the overtime toss coin toss and took the ball, the Redskins eleventh possession, game tied 30-30, Washington moved sixteen yards on two plays to the Washington 36, on the third play of overtime, second and four, Jason Campbell passed short to fullback Mike Sellers on the right side, New Orleans cornerback Chris McAlister goes low on Mike, he flips forward, the ball comes out and the Chris picks it up. The play is whistled dead and Mike is ruled down by contact, the play would have been short of the first down setting up a third and one and a half or two, the replay assistant held the game and took a look at the play, eventually awarding possession to the Saints under new review rules that allow the recovering team to be awarded possession after review even if the play is whistled dead, New Orleans ball at the Washington 37 yard line.

Outcome: Saints kick a field goal to win the game in overtime.

Why this play hurt so bad: A fumble in overtime always hurts, this one put the ball in the hands of the number one offense in the league, needing less than a first down to get into field goal range. The Redskins defense was shattered after giving up scores on both of New Orleans' last fourth quarter drives and allowed the Saints to move easily all the way to the Washington one yard line where they wound up kicking the field goal on second down to win the game. Mike Sellers has been the target of ire from both teammates and fans since signing a new deal in training camp and has not always handled himself well this year, letting go of the ball is always a bad thing, putting it on the ground in overtime is Simply. Not. Acceptable.

3. LaRon Landry gives up a long touchdown on a receiver double move. Situation: Saints fourth possession, second quarter, Redskins up 10-3, on first and ten from the Washington forty yard line Saints receiver Marques Colston makes a stutter move to the outside and safety LaRon Landry bites on it, Marques straightens up and goes deep, Drew Brees steps up in the pocket and launches it downfield.

Outcome: Saints score on a forty yard touchdown pass to tie the game at 10-10.

Why this play hurt so bad: After going up two scores to 10-0, the Saints had scored three points on their third possession, New Orleans had clearly scouted Washington's tendency to give up big pass plays in zone coverage, Marques Colston did to LaRon Landry exactly what DeSean Jackson and Brandon Marshall did to Carlos Rogers, stuttering his route as LaRon was closing, when Marques kicked it upfield he was all alone. LaRon has been maddeningly on the south side of inconsistent this season, almost an exact replica of Sean Taylor's mostly awful 2006 and this particular play not only gave up a tying score, it also validated ongoing criticism that if you are patient enough you can always beat down the Washington defense for a big play.

2. LaRon Landry gives up a long touchdown on a receiver double move... again. Situation: Saints tenth possession, fourth quarter, Washington up 30-23, on first and ten from midfield Saints receiver Robert Meachem makes a stutter move ten yards downfield, fooling safety LaRon Landry for the second time, Robert is wide open and Drew Brees steps up in the pocket and tosses it to Robert in stride.

Outcome: Saints score a 53 yard touchdown to tie the game at 30-30.

Why this play hurt so bad: Coming on the possession after the Washington missed 23 yard field goal try (see below), this play allowed New Orleans to tie the game with less than a minute and a half left in regulation, LaRon challenged the route short, like Marques did to him in the second quarter Robert stuttered and played LaRon's momentum against him and got open for the 53 yard score, it showed that the Saints were scouting Washington's aforementioned tendency to give up big plays on defense and highlights Drew Brees' attention to that tendency and his awareness of the situation on that play. Instead of being up ten Washington was then tied, a ten point turnaround in the wrong direction and sadly solidifying further the notion that Washington's defense and their star first round draft pick safety are not that good and will give up the big play. I am sure I am not alone in wondering when and not if we are going to hear of LaRon Landry's benching considering Carlos Rogers did exactly the same thing over two games and had to sit his ass down.

1. Shaun Suisham misses what amounts to an extra point. Situation: Less than two minutes left in regulation, Redskins ninth possession, fourth quarter, on fourth and goal from the New Orleans four yard line Redskins kicker Shaun Suisham lines up for a chip shot 23 yard field goal to push the Redskins lead to ten points and put the percentages seriously against the Saints with less than two minutes in the game.

Outcome: Shaun misses what amounts to an extra point field goal attempt.

Why this play hurt so bad: Do I even need to answer this one? After playing a see-saw game all day but never trailing, the Redskins had a chance at the end of the game to put down, or at least make victory very improbable for the undefeated Saints, that 23 yard field goal would have put the Redskins up by ten points, at least two scores no matter how you look at it, New Orleans was out of timeouts, things would have been grim for the undefeated visiting team. Instead the Saints get a momentum boost then score a tying touchdown to push the game to overtime then Washington fumbles the game away.

Washington is bringing in kickers to try out today and they should, after missing two field goals against the Cowboys, either of which would have sealed that game then missing a freaking 23 yard try Sunday, Shaun Suisham is a dead man walking, if he is not beat out by whatever kickers are in off the street then his confidence is likely shot, along with deep pass defense we can write off the kicking game for 2009.

This whole thing fucking sucks.

LaRon Landry, and note the Oh No Not Again look on his face, chasing Robert Meachem after giving up another long scoring pass: Reuters Pictures from here.