Monday, January 04, 2010

I Can Already Feel the Rope

See you at dawn

Takeaway Drill: Going out fighting and coming up short just like so many other times; could not even beat their backups; a familiar story with no blocking and critical mistakes from key players; Norval Turner ten years on looks like a pretty good coach.

Quick jump to

Monday Walkthrough :: Soapbox :: Chattering Class :: Omnibus Spotlights :: Recaps and Stats

Monday Walkthrough: Falling down, no blocking, mistakes from key players, wicked poor defense and still had a chance to win at the end? Credit that to the Chargers pulling their starters out of the game in the first quarter as the Chargers beat the Redskins 23-20 to end a long and ill provisioned march through hostile lands. When we wake up tomorrow expect we will have a new Redskins coach, or at least not this one.

The Chargers won the toss and elected to receive to start the first quarter, San Diego's first possession sees Phillip Rivers move the Chargers move easily through the air and not much on the ground, Fred Smoot misses an easy interception then Nate Kaeding kicks a 47 yard field goal to give the Chargers an early 3-0 lead. Washington gets the ball for the first time... a three and out. San Diego gets the ball for the second time, after nearly stopping the Chargers on a three and out Darren Sproles runs through a hole big enough to drive a truck through for twelve yards, San Diego wastes a timeout on third down then an incomplete, then an ugly fourth down shotput pass, two plays later Phillip Rivers finds Antonio Gates for twelve yards and the Chargers are up 10-0 on their first two possessions. The Redskins get the ball for the second time, Quinton Ganther gets two first downs, Santana Moss sees his first action in a first down, on third and eight pass protection breaks down and Jason hurries his pass and it is incomplete, Redskins take a penalty to move punter Hunter the Punter Smith back and they punt. The Chargers get the ball for the third time, Phillip Rivers is out and Billy Volek is in at quarterback, the first play of the drive is a fifty yard bomb to Malcolm Floyd over a badly burned DeAngelo Hall, two plays later on third and six London Fletcher misses a tackle that would have stopped the play short, it is a first down and that is where the first quarter ends with the Chargers leading 10-0. [Quarterly summaries: Washington Post :: ORB]

San Diego continues its third possession into the second quarter, without the Chargers starters they can only manage a 24 yard field goal and the Chargers extend their lead to 13-0. The Redskins get the ball for the third time, Antwaan Randle El catches his one pass for the day, Rock Cartwright, Santana Moss and Malcolm Kelly all make great plays, Todd Yoder finally caps the seventy yard drive as Todd Yoder catches a two yard touchdown pass to bring the Redskins back to 13-7 Chargers. San Diego gets the ball for the fourth time, it is a four and out and the Chargers are punting. Washington gets the ball for the fourth time, on first down Jason Campbell finds Malcolm Kelly on a seam route, Malcolm takes the ball 84 yards, almost scoring before falling on his dick, three plays later Jason Campbell runs playaction right to Mike Sellers for a three yard touchdown and the Redskins TAKE THE LEAD 14-13. The Chargers get the ball for the fifth time with less than one minute left in the half, a Darren Sproles run and that is it, the half ends with the Redskins leading 14-13. [Quarterly summaries: Washington Post :: ORB]

The Redskins get the ball to start the third quarter, Washington's fifth possession, it is a bad looking three and out, Redskins punt. The Chargers get the ball for the sixth time, their own three and out and the Charger look like they are down to the third team. The Redskins sixth possession sees Santana Moss and Marko Mitchell, Quinton Ganther and Fred Davis all move the ball forward, the offensive line cannot stop a small child from opening the fridge and Graham Gano kicks a 22 yard field goal and the Redskins extend their lead to 17-13. The Chargers get the ball for the seventh time, San Diego continues to look more and more like they are playing preseason ball as they three and out. Washington's seventh possession is like a wet cat trying to get away from you as the Redskins five and out, punt. The Chargers get the ball for the eighth time, on the third play of the drive, first and ten from midfield, Billy Volek went deep for receiver Craig Davis, it was intercepted by Rocky McIntosh, he appeared to fumble, or not, then Carlos Rogers picked up the so called fumble and it was Redskins ball. Washington got the ball for the eighth time and three and outed, punt. The Chargers got the ball for the ninth time, Kedric Golston sacked Billy Volek on first down and that is where the quarter ended with the Redskins leading 17-13. [Quarterly summaries: Washington Post :: ORB]

San Diego continues its ninth possession into the fourth quarter, mainly on a long play to Michael Bennett the Chargers move down the field and kick a 45 yard field goal to bring the Chargers back to 17-16 Redskins. Washington's ninth possession sees the Redskins actually able to pass block, though if this is because of San Diego playing backups that would disappoint, Marcus Mason makes an appearance for seventeen yards, an awkward slide, a fumbled snap and the Redskins are at third and one from the San Diego three, Quinton Ganther cannot get the first down, Jim Zorn sends the offense back on the field and Derrick Dockery commits a false start penalty, the Redskins send the field goal unit out which is what they should have done in the first place, Graham Gano kicks a 25 yard field goal to put the Redskins up by four points, 20-16. The Chargers get the ball for the tenth time, Billy Volek can move San Diego, not nearly as well as Phillip Rivers obviously, on first and ten with less than two minuted remaining in the game Justin Tryon nearly intercepts the ball but cannot pull it in, three plays later Billy Volek finds receiver Craig Davis at the goal line, Kareem Moore makes another great flying stop to force a goal line play, Michael Bennett is short on first and goal, on second and goal Billy Volek finds a wide open fullback Mike Tolbert in the right flat, it looked like Rocky McIntosh blew the coverage and the Chargers take the lead 23-20. Washington gets the ball for the tenth and final time with 35 seconds left in the game and no timeouts, a festival of flailing and a long incomplete on fourth down. The Chargers get the ball for the eleventh and final time with four seconds left in the game, one kneeldown from victory formation and that is that, the Redskins lose the final game of the 2009 season and the last game of Jim Zorn's Washington career 23-20. [Quarterly summaries: Washington Post :: ORB]


Soapbox: Th-th-th-that's all folks, the season ended where it began with the Redskins playing a good team and losing, except for the season opening game one against the Giants was the Redskins had not yet played five straight winless teams, had not broken the Lions winless streak, had not benched Jason Campbell, had not hired another set of eyes. Had not stripped the head coach of playcalling duties, had not discussed who was in place to serve as interim. The shadow general manager had not resigned and a new actual general manager had not been hired. And that week one New York team did not sit its starters in the first quarter.

Things started in a familiar fashion when the Redskins gave up a touchdown and field goal on San Diego's first three drives, the defense looked dreadful against the pass, just happy to give up anything Phillip Rivers and Billy Volek tossed up. Short and long, the Chargers receivers were open all night, it was mostly due to overthrows the prevented this from being a Denver game kind of night.

But then just as fast as the Redskins got down they came back, Washington responded in the second quarter with another patented short Todd Yoder touchdown catch, then after Malcolm Kelly's 84 yard catch and run a Mike Sellers TD catch and then pow the Redskins were winning at halftime.

And for a while it looked like the Redskins might win, as the Chargers gradually pulled more and more of first their starters, then their second team then their third team, the Redskins offensive line looked like it began to get a rhythm, what it was actually was was the level of competition sinking to where the Redskins could finally compete.

I was somewhat impressed with Malcolm Kelly tonight, the yardage does not tell the story as he had 84 of his 109 yards on one play, that had as much to do with Jason Campbell not having time to find deeper routes.

There is not much else to say about this game on the field, the offensive line was abysmal, I caught Stephon Heyer standing around while Jason got sacked and the pass blocking by backfield backs was spotty at best. If I were Jason Campbell I would be happy the season was over.

The running game was a big fat zero, Marcus Mason looks like a better back for this offense than Quinton Ganther, mainly because Marcus is niftier meaning he is better at dancing through a line that is collapsing. Together Marcus and Quinton may make one good NFL back and may hold the place into next season for a name brand tailback.

The pass defense continues to look like it is paid by the opponent's playcaller, short medium and long routes are open. The idea of having Fred Smoot as a strong safety makes me laugh, and not in a happy way. There was one bright spot for the defense, safety Kareem Moore, based on tonight's game I will take Kareem over LaRon Landry at free safety.

Things shift for the Redskins starting tomorrow, while the organization does the obvious things, firing the coach, hiring a new one and stewarding the creation of a new coaching and football operations staff, time for Redskins fans to start thinking of this team top to bottom, who should stay and go, where the team should go next month in free agency, such as it is, and what prospects are available in the draft.

We need to keep the pressure on the team to do the right thing.


Chattering Class: We will bring you Redskins tastemaker reaction to this game in this space.


Omnibus: Broadcasters: Ron Pitts and John Lynch, I like John even if this is the end of the bench, check back to the game preview and see the broadcast coverage, there are maybe 400 people watching this game.

Uniform watch: The Redskins are wearing the traditional home uniform of white jerseys and burgundy pants.

As promised, Kareem Moore and Fred Smoot come out at safety, with Fred playing closer to the line. That is a mistake even if there is no one else to play the position. Put a frigging linebacker in there.

FRED! In the Chargers first possession Fred Smoot had a shot at a goal line interception, he bobbled it and dropped it. San Diego ultimately kicked a field goal. That's one.

Statbox: Redskins have given up at least 44 sacks both of Jim Zorn's years

Rough start: The Redskins started three and out and looking bad, poor hands on Fred Davis no where for Quinton Ganther to run, poor throw by Jason Campbell.

Come from behind: On first down in the Chargers second possession, Phillip Rivers threw a screen pass to his right, it was caught and Andre Carter caught the play from behind, then on second down Andre got up in Phillip's face and pressured the quarterback.

In the Chargers second possession, on third and one tight end Antonio Gates was wide open but Phillip Rivers mssed him, then on fourth down Phillip shotputted the ball on a slant, it was ugly but it worked. Gack.

Two San Diego drives, ten points, so far so good.

Two Redskins drives, zero points.

Finally found a way to get Malcolm Kelly open, toss him the ball on a lateral receiver screen. Jeesh.

Blowing it: On first and ten in the Redskins second possession, Fred Davis missed a really east blocking assignment on the right side, it led to Quinton Ganther getting hit for a four yard loss. The thing about that play is that Chris Cooley would not have given us any better. Two plays later Fred Davis committed a false start. That is three so far on Fred.

YouTube replay: In the Chargers third possession, first quarter, Billy Volek came in for Phillip Rivers and tossed a ball deep to Malcolm Floyd on first down, DeAngelo Hall was BADLY beat, they did give us a replay but in a sign that this game broadcast was way down FOX's priority list, the wide angle second deck replay camera looked like a grainy YouTube video.

Work on your production: In the Chargers third possession, second quarter, to highlight the San Diego starters coming out the camera cut to tight end Antonio Gates on the sideline sloppily eating sunflower seeds, drooling the shells into a paper cup, production dudes take note, whenever you see anyone eating just move to another camera.

Tip drill: In the Redskins third possession, second quarter on second and ten Jason gets harassed into a quick throw, Santana Moss on the left side leaps way higher than he should be able to tips the ball to himself.

Nice hit Kareem: In the Chargers fourth possession, second quarter, on third and four Billy Volek threw to K Osgood, Kareem Moore came up and literally hit K in midair, he came down out of bounds, Norval Turner challenged the play and it was upheld, it was a great flying hit.

He fell on his dick: In the Redskins fourth possession, second quarter, on first down Jason Campbell found Malcolm Kelly on a seam route, Malcolm juked and took the ball 84 yards, nearly scoring, he was caught from behind on the three yard line. Malcolm went out for the next play and the camera unwisely caught Malcolm on the sideline massaging hid cock and balls area with a pronounced grimace on his face, on replay he pretty clearly fell on his athletic cup.

During the halftime show, Will at FOX 5 in Washington reported according to an anonymously sourced AP report, head coach Jim Zorn will be fired tomorrow, Monday.

Working titles for gamewrap: Redskins Are on Clearance, He Fell on His Dick, Firing Squad, The Snyder-Allen Firing Squad, I Can Already Feel the Rope

Jason Campbell had a 140.0 passer rating in the first half.

To start the second half in Washington's fifth possession, Fred Davis missed another easy catch, that's four, on the next play Stephon Heyer let linebacker Marques Harris come in unblocked to sack Jason, Stephon we are done here.

Redskins seventh possession, third quarter, Fred Davis drops another easy pass, that's five buddy. Next play Fred came back and caught the ball for a first down on third and seven.

Saw a commercial for the first (ever? modern?) Pro Bowl BEFORE the Super Bowl, not sure if I am going to like this.

Should have challenged: Looked to us like on that Rocky McIntosh interception in the Chargers eighth possession, third quarters, when he was tackled he was down, Carlos Rogers picked up what looked like a fumble and returned it another twelve yards, the Chargers did not challenge it and the extra yards counted. Did not matter though, the Redskins three and outed.

In the Redskins ninth possession, fourth quarter, Jason Campbell almost slideded!! Seriously Jason, that move needs some work. Next play was a fumbled snap.

You need to be fired now: In the Redskins ninth possession, fourth quarter, the Redskins got down to third and one from the San Diego three yard line, Quinton Ganther cannot get the first down, he cannot, with five minutes left in the game Jim Zorn sends the offense back on the field to go for it on fourth down. This was a horrible football call, as to take the field goal would put the Redskins up by four points, requiring the Chargers to score a touchdown to take the lead. Not to make the fourth down would give San Diego the ball in poor field position, but needing only a field goal to take the lead. Luckily for the Redskins left guard Derrick Dockery false started and the Redskins settled for the field goal. Since we know that under the new playcalling triangle Jim Zorn is in charge of fourth down calls, we can lay that near bad call on coach Zorn, you need to be fired now.

Another flying stop: In the Chargers tenth drive, fourth quarter, receiver Craig Davis was about to go in for what would have been the go ahead score, safety Kareem Moore makes another flying stop with an assist from safety Fred Smoot.

Rocky McIntosh's blown goal line coverage, Justin Tryon's missed interception, Derrick Dockery's false start at the goal line and all of Fred Davis' gaffes today, these are the things that separate winners from losers.

I can already feel the rope: As the game ended and the camera caught Jim Zorn leaving the sideline after the game, he placed his right hand to his neck, look out here boss got a dead man walking.

The Redskins are losers. Good night 2009.


Shooter: Statistically quarterback Jason Campbell had a great game, 28 of 42 for 281 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions, and he did have one fumble, borne of poor pass protection. With no running game to speak of Jason had to carry the team himself, ten different players caught passes with five different players catching three or more. Jason finished the day with a 101.4 passer rating, his fifth game of the season with a passer rating over 100. I am telling you, this team could do a hell of a lot worse than to keep Jason Campbell at quarterback.

Fat Contract Albert: Defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth did not play. Was in San Diego for the game, on the sideline wearing a tee shirt. Albert missed four games this season. All in all a decent season for Albert, when in the game he showed what a difference he could make, then other times he got winded or just kind of sat there.

OH CRAPPO: Pro Bowl rookie hybrid defensive endbacker Brian Orakpo was credited with two tackles in the box score, Brian did not have a terrific game, he had one good play and one bad play in pass coverage. All in all a good season for Brian.


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

Other recaps: Mark Newgent at Redskins Examiner, Kevin Ewoldt and Ken Meringolo at Hogs Haven, Rico Fantastic at DC Landing Strip, Thumbs Up / Thumbs Down at DC Pro Sports Report.

Next up, nothing, the NFL Redskins 2009 season is over, whatever happens with a new coach, free agency, the draft and all the other intrigue that we have become accustomed to, whatever happens there will be no more Redskins football until August 2010. It has been a pleasure sharing these Sundays with you, thanks to Curly R readers for stopping by.

Curly R's offseason coverage of the Washington Redskins will continue.

Jim Zorn leaving the field: Droid phone screencap by neighbor Scott. Nothing from here via here.