Gotta support the team
The set is complete, the kids' jerseys arrived today, Brian Orakpo for Josh and a refresh of Clinton Portis for Will to go along with my Donovan McNabb and the three year old's non numbered jersey, these jerseys replace the ones they got in 2005, they have long grown out of those. Unfortunately I read the sizing wrong and these are a little big for eight year olds but what the heck, they will grow into them. Football Jersey Rule One does not apply until you can buy your own.
The boys will be christening their new jerseys in thrilling fashion, lifetime Eagles fan, season ticket holder and Curly R reader lurker Wilbert Montgomery has invited them to join us for our annual trek to Eagles Stadium, Sunday's game will be our 22nd of the past 23 Redskins-Eagles games, my twentieth straight rivalry game and my eleventh Redskins-Eagles game in Philadelphia.
Tonight I tried to tell them it is not going to be all fun and games wearing burgundy and gold to an Eagles game in Philadelphia, not least Donovan's return, not leaster a game for the Division lead, kids younger than Josh and Will have cursed me a blue streak in that city, usually in tandem with their fathers. They were not ready to hear it, tonight was a night to let them wallow in the joy of graduating to a ritual their father and godfather have executed since before they were born.
We will talk personal safety later.
Photo by me.
Thursday, September 30, 2010
Editor's note: Eagles week rolls on, tee minus three days until Donovan McNabb returns to Eagles Stadium. -Ben
So Sunday the Folsom family mounted a morning expedition in the rain to the National Zoo in Washington DC, I had my football picks safely in and the Redskins did not play the Rams until 4:15 pm so it was safe, we were out the door by 10:00 am with a projected return time of 1:00 pm parentheses so I could watch the early games close parentheses.
With not a lot of time and rain coming down we decided to go to the Amazonia exhibit, it is a house exhibit with giant water tanks you can tour from below, then wander through a synthetic Amazon jungle complete with monkeys and spoonbill birds above. Very cool, the wife and kids had been there many times, this was my first time in this exhibit. You should check it out.
As we wandered from the tank level through the jungle level, the guy you see above and his family was in front of us, it did not escape my notice that Eagles fan dude was sporting a Ricky Watters jersey.
I say again, a Ricky Watters jersey.
Ricky Watters jersey.
Back in 1992 I was living in Charlottesville Virginia working as a sound engineer, lifetime Eagles fan, season ticket holder and Curly R reader lurker Wilbert Montgomery was also in Charlottesville, working as a bartender and musician, at this point we had already been arguing about Eagles and Redskins for years, and we decided to start up a fantasy football league.
It was called the Garrett Football League, or the GFL, after the bar where Wilbert Montgomery worked. There were only five of us that participated, we had a late night draft, there were no draft magazines back in those days so were on our own. We established our own rule book and kept The Book on the shelf at the bar, your weekly lineups had to be in The Book before kickoff or you forfeited the week.
I was Commissioner and we agreed to use USA Today's box scores for the weekly tally, everyone submitted their own scores and the Commish double checked them, by the end of that season I had USA Today sports sections completely surrounding the trifold futon bed in my dingey little room on Broad Avenue.
There being only five of us we all had all star teams, Dan Marino, Jim Kelly, Steve Young, Emmitt Smith, Barry Foster, Thurman Thomas, Sterling Sharpe, Michael Irvin, Jerry Rice. As ever in fantasy football the difference was not the top line players, it was the lower round players, the gems you find in a draft.
For me in 1992 it was Ricky Watters. Ricky was in his second NFL season in 1992 after not playing a game in 1991, he burst onto the scene in San Francisco with 1,013 yards and nine touchdowns in fourteen games as a second year player, by far besting any of the second line tailbacks my fantasy opponents had, helping to propel me to a league victory in the one and only season of the GFL.
Ricky stayed with San Francisco for two more seasons and left as a three time Pro Bowler in his four years there, despite an alarming trend in his three seasons as a starter there: Each year, as his number of carries went up, his yards per carry went down, his fumbles per game went up and his scoring remained stagnant.
In the 1995 offseason, as the still new concept of NFL free agency was enriching the top players at a dizzying rate, Ricky left San Francisco, following his former defensive coordinator and new Eagles head coach Ray Rhodes to Philadelphia, signing a three year, 6.9 million dollar contract and supplanting Herschel Walker, Ricky was now the highest paid ball carrier in the game.
Things did not get off to a great start in Philadelphia, in his first game as an Eagle Ricky famously short armed a pass to avoid contact in an opening loss to the Buccaneers, when asked after the game about why he did not pull in the ball and take the hit, Ricky famously responded For who?! For what?!
Ricky stayed in Philadelphia altogether for three seasons, rushing for more than eleven hundred yards in each season, making two more Pro Bowls, in 1995 and 1996. Ricky became a free agent in the 1998 offseason, the Eagles did not negotiate with Ricky, preferring to let him walk, they had Charlie Garner up and coming and, consistent with Eagles' player practices today, did not want to pay league topping money at the tailback position, Ricky would have merited close to four million dollars a year by that point.
So he moved on to Seattle, signing a four year, thirteen million dollar deal with the Seahawks in the 1998 offseason, Ricky would rush for twelve hundred or more yards in each of the next three seasons, making Ricky the first, and still only as far as I can tell, player to rush for more than a thousand yards three times each with three different teams.
Ricky finished his NFL career with more than ten thousand yards rushing and is considered by the NFL itself as one of the top ten players not in the Hall of Fame, it is also widely agreed his arrogant attitude early in his career, punctuated by his For who For what outburst, is what is keeping him out of the Hall.
For my part I always thought it was in part memories of Ricky's dominant years on the ground that still infused Eagles fans two years after Ricky left, when fans booed the selection of Donovan McNabb over Ricky Williams, and partly why despite Dono's success in Philadelphia, fans and the media were never loyal to him and were so quick to turn on him: West coast offense shmest coast offense, Eagles fans want a ground pounder.
Back to my zoo trip, this guy in the photo is wearing a jersey that does not look like it is minimum thirteen years old, it is the new Eagles colors and logo that was introduced in 1996 and Ricky's last season in Philadelphia was 1997. So where does it come from?
Does dude only break it out on gameday, treat it well and wash it in Woolite? That would then disqualify him as a real Eagles fan.
Does he have some connection to Ricky? Hometown, friend, former teammate? I will give a pass if this is the case, that of course does make the jersey more of a conversation piece than a statement on team loyalty.
Is he just really a Ricky Watters fan? Seems a longshot, it was thirteen years ago and five NFC Championship appearances since this guy played for that team. If the guy wanted a classic Eagles player jersey there are many others to choose from.
If none of these is the case then we are forced to confront an ugly possibility: This guy went out of his way to buy a Ricky Watters jersey, and recently.
This is a clear violation of Football Jersey Rule Number One: Your jersey selection must have relevance.
Photo by me.
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Green and white?
It is Eagles week so all the sporting world is united about just how fucked up it is that quarterback Donovan McNabb will be returning to his former home stadium as a Redskin, to the place where he was the undisputed starter for eleven seasons, where he he led his team to five NFC Beast Division titles, five NFC Championship Games and one Super Bowl, to the place where he began his professional football career the same year that Andy Reid began his head coaching career, eleven long years before that same head coach thought so little of Dono that he had him traded to a Division rival.
So do not ask me how I missed this story last year, the story of something that would have made Donovan McNabb to the Redskins seem pedestrian:
Troy Aikman considered coming out of retirement to play for the Eagles in 2002.
It all started today when I got an email from lifetime Eagles fan, season ticket holder and Curly R reader/lurker Wilbert Montgomery, my game partner with whom I have been to 21 of the past 22 Eagles-Redskins games, a streak dating back to Donovan McNabb's rookie year of 1999, exclaiming surprise that neither of us had ever heard this, with a link to a piece on Matt Mosely's ESPN NFC Beast blog titled No closure for Donovan McNabb in Philly.
Waaay down in paragraph thirteen of seventeen is this doozy:
As a brief sidebar, Reid once attempted to lure Aikman out of retirement when McNabb was injured early in his career. Aikman gave it some serious thought, but ultimately declined. If you think it was hard adjusting to McNabb in burgundy and gold, how do you think Aikman would have looked in green and white?
So odd I found this that I had to go back and do the research, sure enough there it was, back on 1 November 2009, less than a year ago, Troy Aikman was interviewed by Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times and told the story. Google tells me that within three days both the USA Today and Philly.com, the online home of both the Philadelphia Inquirer and Philadelphia Daily News, had picked up the story. I do not recall reading this in the Washington Post online or in the paper.
It was the famous Donovan McNabb Plays with a Broken Ankle game on 17 November 2002, midway into Donovan's fourth season, Dono twisted his ankle on the third play of the game and broke it, then stayed in the game and went on to tie a career mark with four touchdown passes and lead the Eagles to a 38-14 victory over the Cardinals to move the Eagles to 7-3, ultimately in 2002 the Eagles went on to lose the NFC Championship at home, in Veterans Stadium no less, to the Buccaneers.
According to Troy's story, he was in the booth that day doing color analysis on the 49ers at Chargers game all the way across the country when a production assistant passed him a note to return a call at halftime. Troy did, it was Andy Reid, ready with a pitch to lure Troy out of retirement for the rest of the season, Donovan's injury was projected to keep him out six to eight weeks and ended up kept him out the final six regular season games, after a bye week Dono returned for both postseason games.
Apparently Troy seriously considered it before ultimately deciding his post LaVar Arrington life as a broadcaster was safer than heading back under center, he declined coach Reid's offer, thus robbing Redskins fans of the limitless joy derived from taunting Cowboys fans forced to watch their golden boy playing for the other team. Possible failure as an Eagle would have been icing on the cake for Redskins fans.
The chronology works if we look at the timing of the games, Arizona at Philadelphia was at 1:00 pm and San Francisco at San Diego was at 4:00 pm. Donovan makes it through the whole game and is x-rayed immediately following the game, Andy Reid considers his options in Koy Detmer and AJ Feeley and makes the call to FOX to track down Troy before halftime.
I really wish this had happened.
Troy Aikman from here via here.
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Monday, September 27, 2010
Looks good in burgundy and gold
After some unnecessary delays in the ordering process, mainly having to do with outfitting new jerseys for my eight year old sons who have outgrown their Clinton Portis and LaVar Arrington jerseys from 2005, we finally decided their new jerseys will be Clinton Portis and Brian Orakpo, my number five Donovan McNabb jersey arrived today.
After never wearing a football jersey in my life before the 2005 Redskins-Buccaneers playoff game, I have worn number 89 Santana Moss every gameday the past four seasons. With Dono coming to Washington there was never a question about whether I would change.
I will be christening this jersey on a fitting gameday, this Sunday lifetime Eagles fan, season ticket holder and Curly R reader/lurker Wilbert Montgomery and I travel to Philadelphia for our 22nd rivalry game in the past 23, this will be my twentieth straight(!) Eagles-Redskins game, our streak of games goes back to the 1999 season, Donovan McNabb's rookie year.
Photo by me.
The Coming Out, The Torching, The Trial By Fire, pick your aphorism
Takeaway Drill: A pretty weak performance; down two scores before the first pee break; overwhelmed by an overwhelmed rookie; taking out their best player is supposed to slow them down; we've seen this bit before.
Quick jump to
Monday Walkthrough: The Redskins play timid, look like a team afraid to win, make lots of individual mistakes and fail to capitalize when the Rams' best player is off the field, lose 30-16 in Saint Louis, Washington drops to 1-2. Sam Bradford certainly looks like a quarterback capable of throwing to open receivers. A frustrating and predictable letdown game.
The Rams elect to receive to start the first quarter, Saint Louis' first possession starts at their 40 yard line when Graham Gano's kick goes out of bounds, riding tailback Steven Jackson and including the Rams going for it on fourth and one, Kareem Moore whiffs on Steven on a run off right tackle, Steven darts 42 yards through open field to score, extra point good and the Rams take an early 7-0 lead. The Redskins get the ball for the first time, first two plays are passes, a crackback penalty on Santana Moss leads to a first and 25, on the next play Santana fumbles, the ball is recovered and returned almost to the goal line. Saint Louis gets the ball for the second time, inside the Redskins five yard line, on second down Sam Bradford rolls right and finds tight end Daniel Fells in the back of the end zone for a score, extra point is good and the Rams push their early lead to 14-0. Washington gets the ball for the second time, a run for nowhere on first down, a false start on Stephon Heyer on second down, false start on Artis Hicks on third down, Graham Gano's punt is blocked and the Rams take over near the Redskins 25 yard line. Graham Gano punting, wait what? The Rams' third possession is one play as Kareem Moore tips and then intercepts Sam Bradford's pass intended for Daniel Fells, there was a penalty on that play though it was against the Rams and the Redskins get a do over. The Redskins third possession starts at their own fifteen, Clinton Portis finally gets two good runs, 34 yards on two plays, two incompletes on solid defense and the Redskins drive is killed and they are punting. Saint Louis gets the ball for the fourth time, a three and out with good Redskins defense. Washington's fourth possession starts with another good Clinton Portis run, Donovan McNabb is forced to use a timeout to prevent a delay of game, back from the timeout cornerback Bradley Fletcher badly interferes with tight end Fred Davis way downfield and the Redskins have the ball at the Rams fourteen, two more plays and that is where the quarter ends with the Rams leading 14-0.
The Redskins continue their fourth possession into the second quarter, Oshiomogho Atogwe nearly intercepts Donovan's pass, a holding penalty on Jammal Brown stalls this drive, Graham Gano sets up for a 29 yard field goal, it is good and the Redskins cut the Rams lead to 14-3. The Rams' fifth possession never happens, on the kickoff following the field goal Reed Doughty hits rookie receiver Mardy Gilyard, fumble and Lorenzo Alexander collects the ball, Redskins have it back. Washington's fifth possession is a one play drive as Donovan McNabb finds Santana Moss 21 yards into the end zone, rolling right and throwing across his body off his back foot, extra point is good and the Redskins cut the Rams lead to to 14-10. The Rams get another chance at a fifth possession, Saint Louis struggles to get any momentum going, Kedric Golston and Brian Orakpo team up on consecutive downs to end this possession, punt. The Redskins get the ball for the sixth time, tailback Ryan Torain busts a run for 36 yards on first down, then three yards on the next play… then minus one on the next, Donovan McNabb breaks the pocket and scrambles for 26 yards, Ryan Torain has another good run, the offense then commits a delay of game to push back to third and nine from the Rams thirteen, Chris Cooley cannot get the first down, Graham Gano sets up for a 24 yard field goal and it is good, the Redskins have now pulled to within one point, 14-13 Rams. Saint Louis gets the ball for the sixth time, a questionable pass interference penalty on Carlos Rogers gets things going for the Rams, this is a long drive that features a number of small but steady gains, a Redskins fumble recovery is overturned on review, the Rams use fifteen plays and more than seven minutes of the clock to get to the Redskins one yard line, four attempts inside the Washington five yard line and Saint Louis gets nothing, they set up for a 21 yard field goal, barely an extra point, on the snap in comes Phillip Daniels through the line and BLOCKS the kick, the Rams get nothing. Washington gets the ball back at their twenty, the Redskins seventh possession is a one play kneel down by Donovan McNabb, and the half ends to boos from the home crowd as the Rams lead 14-13.
The Redskins get the ball to start the third quarter, Washington's eighth possession, Donovan McNabb goes long to Santana Moss for 56 yards down the right sideline, tack on a fifteen yard horse collar and the Redskins have the ball inside the Rams ten, two runs later they stall and Graham Gano kicks a 21 yard field goal to put the Redskins ahead for the first time, 16-14. The Rams' seventh possession is a struggle to midfield, another long Rams drive in drips and drabs, eleven plays and 74 yards later Kenneth Darby runs through a big hole in the middle for twelve yards and the touchdown, extra point good and the Rams retake the lead 21-16. Washington's ninth possession features one good pass to Clinton Portis, the rest is pretty much weak as the Redskins five and out, punt. Saint Louis gets the ball for the eighth time, a hard fought drive that goes down to fourth and short, the Rams end up with a three and out and punt. The Redskins' tenth possession is a return to the all passing offense, three incompletes and the Redskins are punting, this drive looks like Washington is trying to get back to what worked against Houston and it did not work. The Rams get the ball for the ninth time, Sam Bradford manages to find as he has all day an open receiver, a final running play and the quarter ends with the Rams leading 21-16.
Saint Louis continues their ninth possession into the fourth quarter, Kenneth Darby continues his best Steven Jackson impression and bulls for a first down, then seven more to Darby, this guy can run consistently against Washington, finally the Rams stall at the Redskins nineteen, Josh Brown sets up for a 37 yard field goal, it is good and the Rams extend their lead to 24-16, an eight point lead with less then twelve minutes left in the game. Washington's eleventh possession starts with a first down crossing pattern to Santana Moss nullified by a holding on left tackle Stephon Heyer, Santana gets some of that back then Donovan is sacked by defensive end James Hall, Santana is short on his third down catch and the Redskins are punting. Danny Amendola puts the Rams at midfield to start Saint Louis' tenth possession, three runs to fourth and inches, the Rams go for it, get it, then DeAngelo Hall falls down on the next play to give up a 30 yard run, finally Washington's defense stiffens inside the Redskins fifteen and the Rams stall, Josh Brown sets up for a 29 yard field goal, it is good and the Rams extend their lead to 27-16. The Redskins get the ball for the twelfth time, Chris Cooley gets things started with a sixteen yard gain, a non fumble is challenged and upheld, then left guard Kory Lichtensteiger gets called for a false start, now we are at first and fifteen with under four minutes left in the game, cornerback Bradley Fletcher pulls in the next pass on an interception intended for Santana Moss on the left sideline, Rams ball. On the turnover the Rams get the ball for the eleventh and final time with under four minutes left in the game and leading by eleven, Mark Clayton moves the chains, the Rams stall there but are already in field goal range, Josh Brown sets up for a 36 yard attempt, up and good and the Rams extend their lead to fourteen points, 30-16, with less than two minutes left in the game. Washington starts their thirteenth and final drive with no timeouts and down two touchdowns, Roydell Williams and Chris Cooley catch passes and make good gains but it is too little too late time runs out and the game is over, the Rams win 30-16 to drop the Redskins to 1-2, and they looked pretty bad today.
Soapbox: Death by a thousand cuts and a bad defensive plan. The Rams capitalized on some individual mistakes, safety Kareem Moore whiffing on tailback Steven Jackson for the 42 yard touchdown run in the first quarter, a rare Santana Moss fumble that led directly to another score.
While attempting to play the base 3-4 defense, the Redskins gave up short and intermediate yardage plays when the Rams showed the only long plays they could manage were when Redskins players made mistakes. Third down continues to be a big problem for the Redskins defense.
Where is the phyiscal play? Sam Bradford may have a huge upside, for right now he proved he can hit wide open receivers ten to fifteen yards downfield; there was no jam at the line. And why the hell is Andre Carter out following anyone in pass coverage? Know your freaking personnel.
The Redskins played not to give up the big play against a team that had not previously showed it was capable of making big plays. Poor planning.
On offense, I was left with the feeling that the team abandoned the run too soon, after rolling up 115 yards on the ground in the first half the team managed one yards on five rushes in the second half. And what is up with Clinton Portis taking a dive? Since when doe any player except a quarterback fall on purpose?
Adding injury to insult, punter Josh Bidwell injured himself in warmups and was not available to punt, instead kicker Graham Gano did the job, he was ok, here we go again with the sea of punters coming through Ashburn. Could we possibly see punter Hunter the Punter Smith?
Department of Boasting: After falling down and letting backup tailback Kenneth Darby go 33 yards, cornerback DeAngelo Hall proved why I want to cover their best receiver kinds of comments are best kept in the locker room as he appeared to cover the sideline instead of the receiver, letting Mark Clayton, the Rams top pass catcher make a first down on third and twenty when a tackle at the point of the catch would have put Saint Louis five yards short. Mark is a plenty good receiver to be sure, let ye remember that Mark was cast off from the Ravens when they acquired Anquan Boldin and TJ Houshmandzadeh.
The Redskins always seem open to these types of games, maybe it is from overlooking a team, maybe these things just happen, let us go ahead and add today's game to the following list of right game wrong execution games:
2006 game six (link one / two): The Tennessee Titans were 0-5, could not stop anyone on the ground and their running game did not have enough power to pull a greased string through a rat's ass. Verdict? Travis Henry has 178 yards rushing, Clinton Portis less than 60, Titans win in 25-22 in Washington.
(We forgive about everything in 2007, including the game eleven double timeout debacle against the Bills)
In 2008 there were two of these games, game six against the Rams, it was head coach and current Redskins defensive coordinator Jim Haslett's first game as interim head coach, coming in 0-4 to Washington the Rams beat the 4-1 Redskins 19-17 as Washington turned the ball over for the first, second and third times of the season and left guard Pete Kendall picked up a fumble and thought he was a fucking tailback. Later in the season my road trip to Cincinnati was ruined when the Redskins, still clinging to slim playoff hopes, lost to the 1-11-1 Bengals in a game fourteen marked by Clinton Portis insulting head coach Jim Zorn in the week leading up to the game, a complete inability to execute any kind of offense and a goal line fumble by fullback Mike Sellers, the Bengals were already up 17-0 in that game before Washington even managed a first down.
Last season in 2009, in game three same this week's game, Washington gave the gift of hope to a Lions team that had not won a game since the 2007 season, a span of nineteen games, when Matthew Stafford, another rookie quarterback exploited a Redskins team that seemed unprepared for even the worst team in the league, like this game the opponent's top rusher, Kevin Smith, was knocked from the game, a series of game management errors, poor planning and individual errors, led the Lions to a 19-14 victory in Detroit.
But I'm not bitter about any of this.
Chattering Class: Tracee Hamilton at the Washington Post writes about the Redskins sad humiliation by team they should have beaten easily and wonders why the offense is still a work in progress after all this genius time since January. One converted third down and oh for three in the red zone will not cut it in Washington.
Tom Boswell, also at the Post, notes that all the bad teams seem to have a good day against the Redskins, no matter the year and wonders if the all the years of unearned media attention have made this team structurally soft.
Rounding out the Post coverage, Sally Jenkins just thinks the Redskins are soft, that whatever the team has to work with this season that nothing will fix getting pushed around in the short term, notable is the trend that the Redskins lose fight in second halves.
Omnibus: Broadcasters: Dick Stockton, Charles Davis and Jim Mora the Younger, Charles and Jim are practically amateur, how did this game get such lousy broadcasters? It was really amateur hour up in here when the booth lost Jim Mora's mic and could not get it back until 8:48 left first quarter.
Uniform watch: A one game return to a more traditional look, the white jersey paired with the burgundy pants, my favorite home combination since I was in high school.
Almost was: Rams head coach Steve Spagnuolo nearly became the Redskins head coach in 2008, unless you believe coach Spagnuolo was simply gaming the Giants for a bigger contract, it was coach Spagnuolo that first set shadow general manager Vinny Cerrato and owner Dan Snyder down the path to promoting Jim Zorn to head coach. Thanks a lot Spags.
Pregame stats: Redskins have lost ten of last eleven road games; Rams have lost 27 of their past 28 games period.
Albert Haynesworth did not start, Maake Kemoeatu did; safety Kareem Moore is back in the lineup with his first start of the season. Albert was in by the fifth play of the game.
Plus Internets list: LaRon Landry with a big hit for a loss in the Rams first possession; Reed Doughty atoning for his give up of a touchdown to Andre Johnson last week by causing a special teams fumble, Washington recovered and scored on the next play; Kedric Golston for pressuring Sam Bradford on second down in the Rams fifth possession, then to Brian Orakpo on the next play, chasing down Bradford from the back side for a sack to end that possession; Ryan Torain and Mike Sellers for teaming up on the Redskins sixth possession, Mike for a lane opening block and Ryan for taking it 36 yards; Kareem Moore in the Rams seventh possession, Sam Bradford's pass to Brandon Gibson is broken up by a flying Kareem who lays the hit and knocks out the ball.
Gaffes list: Kareem Moore, whiffing on Steven Jackson in the Rams first possession, Steven was free and clear for a TD on that play; Santana Moss in the Redskins first possession, a crackback block that put the Redskins at first and 25 in their own territory, Santana then fumbled on the next play and gave the Rams the ball inside the Redskins five; Phillip Buchanon on the punt return to start the Redskins tenth possession, a weak muff that is only saved by the proximity of the sideline; Stephon Heyer in the Redskins eleventh possession, fourth quarter, for committing a holding penalty to put Washington in first and twenty when the penalty nullified a fourteen yard Santana Moss gain; DeAngelo Hall falling on his ass in front of Mark Clayton in the Rams tenth possession, fourth quarter, that gave up a 30 yard run to the Redskins eleven.
Advertising notes: Great new tagline for Budweiser, Grab Some Buds, drug humor lol.
Stephon Heyer came out at left tackle, Trent Williams could not make the start with his knee and toe, hoping to learn more about this. Kory Lichtensteiger came in at left guard in the Redskins second possession.
8:48 left first quarter and the Redskins are already down 14-0. Awesome. That Redskins second possession is an epic disaster with two false starts and a blocked punt, this was also where we learned punter Josh Bidwell was injured in pregame warmups so kicker Graham Gano, a college punter, was in on emergency duty.
The football gods obviously were angered by the Rams pummeling of the Redskins in that second possession for on the first play of the next Saint Louis drive Kareem Moore intercepted the pass and the ball went back to Washington, I love it when the football gods reverse fortunes on consecutive plays.
Through a quarter and a half the Redskins are winning the time of possession battle by over six minutes, 115 total rushing yards by the Redskins on eleven carries.
Steven Jackson came out of the game and was seen on a trainer's table during the Rams sixth drive, second quarter, later reported that Steven has a groin injury and his return is questionable.
This is important: The Rams had the ball over a minute inside the Redskins one yard line, six plays before the field goal try, thanks to Phillip Daniels crashing the line, Saint Louis gets NAHTHING.
Working titles for this gamewrap: Welcome Back Kareem Moore; Return of the One Play Drive; Ten Points Thirteen Seconds Apart; It WAS the Fumble; Seriously? The Rams?; Oh It's THAT Game Again.
Second half opens with Steven Jackson still in uniform but not in the game.
Nice shot in the Rams' seventh possession, third quarter, of head coach Steve Spagnuolo wiping his nose on his shirt sleeve.
The Rams score on their seventh possession, third quarter, was only Saint Louis' second third quarter touchdown in the last nineteen games. Pretty bad and the Redskins have a tendency to play their way into these milestones don't they?
At the start of the fourth quarter it seems as though the Redskins cannot stop the Rams, Washington is not giving up long plays but they cannot stop this offense, tick tock in the running game as Saint Louis seems to be getting four or five yards consistently off the run.
Nice work bringing in Mike Pereira, the former NFL head of officiating, on the Chris Cooley non fumble challenge in the Redskins twelfth possession, fourth quarter, he lends some credibility to FOX on these matters.
How depressing to see the Redskins get picked apart one play at a time, the Rams had few big plays but were able consistently to move the chains. After last week thinking the Texans pass offense was simply better than the Redskins pass defense, I need to re think all this, Washington's defense was weak overall in this game.
The Mastermind: Some yelling by head coach Mike Shanahan, now 1-2 as Redskins head coach, interesting story about multiple and or inaccurate submissions of the inactives list, leaving the team normally inactive linebacker Perry Riley active and utility offensive line substitute Will Montgomery inactive. Whose fault is that?
Number Five: Quarterback Donovan McNabb was respectable, nineteen of 32 for 236 yards, a touchdown and his first interception as a Redskin, seven Redskins players caught passes though the reliance on receiver Santana Moss and tight end Chris Cooley is going to limit this team in the long run. Dono did have a great 26 yard scramble on third and eight to preserve the drive that ultimately led to Washington getting back within a point after surrendering two touchdowns early.
Silver and Back: Rookie left tackle Trent Williams was inactive for the game, his knee and toe still not ready to get back to action, this left Stephon Heyer to start at left tackle, for all the knocks on Stephon, he anchored the left side in the Redskins best first half of rushing so far this season.
Albert the Butthurt: Defensive nose end Albert Haynesworth did not start... but he did play right? His in the list of substitutions (PDF), though his name does not appear in the play by play and was not credited with a tackle. Anyone?
Washington Post recap, photo gallery. NFL recap, box score, full play by play, Gamebook (PDF), photos, video highlights.
Next up, The Streak continues as lifetime Eagles fan, season ticket holder and Curly R reader/lurker Wilbert Montgomery and I travel to Philadelphia for our 22nd of the past 23 Redskins-Eagles games, this will be my twentieth straight rivalry game played in any venue and my eleventh trip to the City of Brotherly Love to see the Redskins play since 1999. Oh and Donovan McNabb returns to play the team he led to seven playoff appearances, five NFC Beast Division titles, five NFC Championships and a Super Bowl appearance in eleven years. Yeah this ought to be good.
Sam Bradford: Getty Images from here. Donovan McNabb in his last game against the Redskins as an Eagle: Reuters Pictures from here.
Sunday, September 26, 2010
The Story So Far: In the week following the Redskins seventeen point second half collapse against the Texans, there was quite the wringing of hands and gnashing of teeth, was it adjustments or lack thereof? Is it the talent level? Is the Texans offense just that good?
Monday star cornerback DeAngelo Hall announced he would be covering the opponent's top receiver on each play for the rest of the season, no matter where that player lined up and no matter what defensive coordinator Jim Haslett or head coach Mike Shanahan had to say about it, calling it his defense.
While many coaches may have admonished a player for speaking out of turn and making what could be interpreted as derogatory remarks about team business, both coaches instead used DeAngelo's remarks as an opportunity to say, uh yeah the defense does belong to the players and they wished every player was feeling as accountable as DeAngelo.
Well played coaches, let us see how this works out this week and in the coming games.
Tuesday the bomb dropped on tailback Larry Johnson, he was cut from the team, ostensibly because the team needed to create a roster spot for someone that can contribute on special teams, in reality Larry was let go because he has nothing left and the ten yard field reversal loss to open the fourth quarter of the Texans game was the last straw. At the end of camp I wondered (here, here and here) why Larry made the team, with the exception of one good carry and one good reception in the fourth quarter of the third preseason game he showed me nothing. The team signed tailback and return specialist Chad Simpson in Larry's place, Chad was previously with the Colts.
There were ripples from this move beyond Chad and Larry, little receiver and punt returner Brandon Banks, something of a surprise making the roster, was released and tailback Ryan Torain, the guy I thought all along was the second best tailback on the team in preseason, was promoted from the practice squad to the roster, I expect we will see Ryan over Keiland Williams today and also that Brandon will be back on the practice squad.
Wednesday we started looking ahead to the lineup for the offensive line, rookie left tackle Trent Williams injured his knee and toe against the Texans, if he is not better this could set off a wholesale reshuffling of the line, follow the bouncing ball: Stephon Heyer is listed as the main backup for both tackle spots and right tackle Jammal Brown is a former Pro Bowler at left tackle when he was with New Orleans, Stephon is serviceable for short periods and Jammal is still coming back from an achilles injury that caused him to miss all of last season. No idea how the coaches should handle this, if they were to ask me I would keep Jammal at right tackle and start Stephon at left, Stephon has played that spot and Jammal needs to get comfortable with playing the right spot full time.
The line shuffling continues (op. cit.) at left guard and for reasons unknown, Derrick Dockery was the established starter since coming back to the Redskins in 2009, somehow Kory Lichtensteiger has risen to the verge of taking that spot, Derrick and Kory have been rotating during games, I confess I have not analyzed the performance well enough to know the difference, Kory was not in football in 2009 so let us try and figure this one out.
Sunday the Washington Post ran an enterprise profile piece on defensive coordinator Jim Haslett, who was coach of the Saints when Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans in 2005, I have read many accounts of the storm and know many people that live there and are from there and hearing that coach Haslett and his wife think of current Saints players and anyone that was not there at the time but claims some moral or spiritual legacy from Katrina as a bunch of phonies (my paraphrase) does not surprise me.
And when I heard the Redskins had traded for defensive end Adam Carriker back in April I remember my first thought was, wow we picked up a great player, turns out Adam was chased out of Saint Louis, bonus points for giving defensive end Phillip Daniels a run for strongest Redskin.
Curly R Aside: Is this guy an idiot or what? Albert Haynesworth gave an radio interview this week where he said his refusal to participate in offseason workouts was a principled stand, that just because he got a one hundred million dollar contract that the team could not tell Albert what to do because, man that's what slavery was. Further, Albert seems to think that the Redskins defensive scheme at the time he signed in 2009, a 4-3 under head coach Jim Zorn and coordinator Greg Blache, somehow was part of the contractual agreement between him and the team and that altering the scheme to a 3-4, no matter that Albert is now ok with the whole thing, was a violation of terms and thus releases Albert from having to take orders.
If I was Albert's agent I would advise him to stay off the radio.
Oppo Research: The Rams have won one game in the past 28 and under second year head coach Steve Spagnuolo have won that game, it is fair to say the Rams are a reclamation project.
The Rams are weak across the board with a battering ram tailback in Steven Jackson, a touted rookie quarterback in Sam Bradford and a sparkplug linebacker in James Laurinaitis. Although there are no gimmes in the NFL it is fair to say the Rams are still two years from the three year rebuilding project, which makes them dangerous, the Rams and Redskins have played three of the last four seasons and the Rams have won two of them.
Look out Redskins.
Trainer's Table: Strong safety Kareem Moore should be back in action from the knee injury he suffered in the second preseason game, for those that are new here, Kareem was a training camp standout and easily won the strong safety position amidst a collection of secondary players that included three strong safeties and Kareem. Many Redskins fans are hopeful the defensive backfield will improve, we still have not seen Kareem in full speed action yet, so let us not pin too many hopes on a guy that is still an unknown.
Receiver Anthony Armstrong and safety Chris Horton did not practice this week, Anthony with his ankle and Chris with his groin, they are highly questionable for the game.
Rookie left tackle Trent Williams, who injured his knee and toe last week in the Texans game, improved through the week, he practiced Friday and was expected to play (op. cit.), as written above in the Story So Far, if Trent cannot go we will likely see Stephon Heyer at left tackle, he practiced there in Trent's absence. Late word before the game is Trent is inactive.
Defensive nose end Albert Haynesworth was back this week practicing at full speed (ibid.), fully recovered from the *kaffkaff* ankle injury *kaffkaff* that kept him out of last week's game, more evidence that everyone is just playing games, games I do not understand.
A late addition to the injury list, like as in during pregame warmups, was punter Josh Bidwell, he hurt his hip, the same one that kept him out of football last season. Kicker Graham Gano is listed as the backup punter, Graham was a punter and kicker in college, and tight end Chris Cooley or backup quarterback Rex Grossman could serve as holder on kicks if Josh is out for the game. What is it with the Redskins and punters?
Gameplan: While there are no easy games in the NFL, this must be viewed as a winnable game where the Redskins should be able to execute the offense they want. In each of the first two games we have seen a critical component of a good football team emerge, in game one it was the defense, in game two it was the passing game, in game three it needs to be the running game, the Rams gave up 145 yards to Darren McFadden of the Raiders last week, Donovan McNabb is confident it is coming, Clinton Portis thinks there is no problem, so let us see it guys.
On defense, the team is still committed to its blitzing ways even though we saw last week what happens when a good quarterback faces the blitz, that is to say he finds an open receiver and if it is the right one, a receiver that is running right into the open spot created by the blitz. The Rams though are not the Texans, Sam Bradford may have an upside, the Redskins defense should be able to confuse and victimize Sam.
My Take in 60 Words or Less: We have seen the defense, we have seen the passing game, let us see some ground attack and put this one all together, Redskins fans need a win today.
Washington Examiner preview, broadcast coverage, local markets only, we will be treated to Dick Stockton, Charles Davis and Jim Mora in the booth. I have a bad feeling about that.
Enjoy the game, I will be watching this game from the safety and comfort of my Redskins chair at home.
This is a gameday open thread.
NFL helmet logos from here.
Thursday, September 23, 2010
Who needs a lead?
Danny Rouhier is out with his week two video, open letters to the Jason Campbell apologists, Redskins personnel staff and DeAngelo Hall, we also get an intimate and unscripted look at Danny's reaction to Sunday's collapse. Head over and subscribe to his video channel.
YouTube from here.
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
The worst part about this whole Ines Sainz affair is that Clinton Portis did not even know about the story when it came up in his paid radio spot. One thing decades of being a sports fan has taught me is that athletes are generally weak off the cuff, Clinton took that to a whole new level of douchebaggery.
And he still will not shut up about it.
As far as it appears sometimes that sports have evolved it is still mostly neanderthals in locker rooms. No wonder we still have not met an active gay pro athlete.
Clinton Portis: AP photo from here.
Monday, September 20, 2010
OMG HE'S SO HUGE
Takeaway Drill: No problems in the passing game, Donovan McNabb can still sling it and there are receivers on this team; a ground game still absent; a secondary gassed; a loss to a legitimate team.
Quick jump to
Monday Walkthrough: A strange paradox as the Redskins easily and often get to quarterback Matt Schaub yet he effortlessly completes pass after pass and the Redskins lose a seventeen point lead then the game, losing 30-27 to the Houston Texans to drop Washington to 1-1. We will take the two sides to the coin approach in the Soapbox.
Redskins get the ball to start the first quarter, Donovan McNabb is six for six on Washington's first possession, Clinton Portis carries twice, there is little room, Graham Gano sets up for a 41 yard field goal, it is good and the Redskins take an early 3-0 lead. The Texans get the ball for the first time, the kickoff lands in the end zone but return man Steve Slaton stutter steps out of the end zone in a huge gaffe and Houston's offense starts inside its own one yard line, Matt Schaub works out of that jam on first down, two plays later LaRon Landry rushes Matt Schaub who tosses to tight end Owen Daniels, Calos Rogers steps in, bobbles the catch (of course) and intercepts that pass, Redskins ball. Washington gets the ball for the second time, Dono finds Chris Cooley for 35 yards to put Washington in scoring position, the running game goes nowhere and Graham Gano kicks a 27 yard field goal, it is good and the Redskins take a 6-0 lead. Houston's second possession moves to midfield in just three plays, the Texans move fairly easily to the Redskins five and that is where the quarter ends with the Redskins leading 6-0.
The second quarter opens with Houston continuing their second possession, on the first play of the quarter Matt Schaub connects with Jacobi Jones for a touchdown, and Houston takes the lead, 7-6. The Redskins' third possession starts with a deeeeeep 62 yard pass to Joey Galloway on a playaction with reverse fake, Mike Sellers and Santana Moss figure in near the goal line, on second and goal from the one, Clinton Portis takes it in for the score and the Redskins retake the lead 13-7. The Texans get the ball for the third time, Vonnie Holliday and Adam Carriker sack Matt Schaub on first down, two plays later Matt is rushing out of the pocket and the Texans are punting. Washington gets the ball for the fourth time, Santana makes a first down but three and out after that, Redskins punt. The Texans' fourth possession is a methodical movement down the field, LaRon rushes on a blitz third and nine from the Redskins 23, he and Lorenzo Alexander meet for the sack and Neil Rackers sets up for a 47 yard field goal which is wide right and the Redskins take over at their own 37 yard line. The Redskins get the all for the fifth time, Mike Sellers drops a long pass then on the next play tight end Fred Davis catches a long pass in stride for 62 yards to the Houston one yard line, two plays later Clinton Portis takes it in and the Redskins extend the lead to 20-7. Houston gets the ball for the fifth time with less than a minute and a half left in the half, they scramble and dodge for yards but get no serious gains, this drive essentially ends when LaRon Landry sacks Matt Schaub on second and six at midfield, with nine seconds left in the half Matt tosses a complete and the clock expires with the Redskins leading 20-7.
The Texans get the ball to start the third quarter, Houston's sixth drive starts on the Houston fifteen yard line, pretty methodical including Andre Johnson and a QB sneak, the Texans stall in Redskins territory, Neil Rackers kicks a 47 yard field goal and Houston draws to 20-10 Washington. Washington gets the ball for the sixth time, a block in the back on the return sets the Redskins back more than twenty yards, Joey Galloway catches a ball then Artis Hicks sends the team back five yards on a false start, Santana Moss bails the team out with a first down, Dono is sacked on the next play, Anthony Armstrong pulls in twenty yard catch on third and ten, two plays later Dono hooks up with Roydell Williams for 36 yards, Chris Cooley goes in for the score on the Redskins next play, a toss under pressure of Dono's back foot, extra point good and the Redskins stretch their lead to 27-10 on a nine play, 92 yard drive. Houston's seventh possession starts like most others, with good gains through the air, a Houston penalty and a Matt Schaub sack put the Texans in third and fifteen, a screen to Arian Foster gets the first down plus on a fifty yard play, Kevin Walter scores on the next play, extra point good to bring the Texans back to 27-17 Redskins, that is also the end of the third quarter. The Redskins seventh possession starts to open the fourth quarter, Larry Johnson loses ten yards, this drive is a three and out and looks bad. The Texans gets the ball for the eighth time, Kevin Walter catches one for 35 yards, not much more from there but they are in field goal range, Neil Rackers makes a 43 yard field goal and the Redskins lead is cut to 27-20. Washington gets the ball for the eighth time, Clinton Portis finds some room to run, then again, a false start ruins a third and one in scoring position, the third and six is almost picked off, Graham Gano lines up for a 29 yard attempt… and it's blocked! Score remains 27-20 and the Texans get the ball at their own sixteen yard line. Houston's ninth possession starts with a sack of Matt Schaub by London Fletcher, it gets no better from there as the Texans punt, a short one at that. The Redskins get the ball for the ninth time with just under five minutes left in regualtion, five yards to Mike Sellers, an eight yard loss on an end around to Santana Moss, a long incomplete in the end zone to Joey Galloway and the Redskins are punting. Houston gets the ball for the tenth time, a holding penalty takes Houston back nine yards to their 29 with just over three minutes in regulation, LaRon Landry and Reed Doughty collide going for the INT, London Fletcher in pass coverage on the next play, an incomplete, Andre Johnson catches his tenth pass of the day next, two plays later Matt Schaub's pass is broken up at the goal line and it is fourth and ten for the Texans, Matt scrambles, steps up in the pocket and slings it 34 yards to Andre Johnson who leaps to grab it, extra point good and the game is tied at 27-27. Washington gets the ball for the eleventh time with just over two minutes left in regualtion, two minute drill time for Donovan McNabb, a short gain then a sack by Mario Williams through Trent Williams who gets hurt, when play resumes, Santana Moss catches a twenty yard catch but it comes back on a holding call on Trent Williams' replacement Stephon Heyer, on third and thirty the Redskins toss a little screen to Santana and it is a three and out, punting a disastrous possession. The Texans eleventh possession starts with one minute left in regulation, non sense of urgency on the part of Houston, the Texans three and out, lining up to punt with three second left in regulation, former Redskins punter Matt Turk runs around and downs himself with no time on the clock as regulation expires with the game tied 27-27.
Texans win the toss and elect to receive to start overtime, their twelfth possession, great kick coverage as Houston starts at their own twelve yard line, Kevin Walter comes up big on first down, and second down, two run plays, Matt Schaub is almost sacked, Matt throws an incomplete on third and four at the Redskins 34 yard line, Houston takes an intentional delay of game penalty to give their punter some more room to kick and the Texans are punting. Washington's twelfth possession begins on their own twenty yard line, Donovan McNabb is sacked on first down, a late hit on Antonio Smith helps out Washington, Chris Cooley and Santana Moss have great catches, an incomplete to Santana Moss puts the Redskins at a 52 yard field goal attempt, Graham Gano lines up… and Gary Kubiak calls timeout an instant before the snap, icing the kicker, Graham misses the re do and the Texans get the ball at their own 42 yard line. Houston gets the ball for the thirteenth time, it starts with LaRon Landry knocking down Matt Schaub as he throws, with Chris Horton in for LaRon Landry, Chris commits an offsides penalty, a questionable Jacobi Jones catch sets up another 28 yard catch to some other guy, a little more stalling and Neil Rackers sets up and kicks a 35 yard field goal to win the game 30-27 Texans, the Redskins gave up a seventeen point lead.
Soapbox: Two sides to this coin as the Redskins drop to 1-1: Heads the Redskins go toe to toe with an elite AFC team, beat them down with solid defense and aggressive passing, and simply wear out at the end. Tails the Redskins catch a better team by surprise, fail to establish a clock eating run game then lose on a combination of exhaustion and individual mistakes.
Take your pick.
First let us look at the dark side, I always prefer bad news first: No running game. The Redskins managed eighteen yards on seventeen runs, the blockers do not seem to be breaking holes, Clinton Portis had one drive where he delivered and Larry Johnson, well I think we have seen enough of that (op. cit.). The closest thing the Redskins had in this game to a ground attack was the now ubiquitous receiver screen to Santana Moss then he darts around in traffic.
Also on the topic of offense, despite all that passing, all those yards and all those awesome catches, the Redskins were two for ten on third down, in two games that makes the Redskins five for 23 overall on third down. Average third down distance in this game: 11.5 yards, that is called moving backwards.
Continuing, a pass defense that just looked like swiss cheese, Matt Schaub was 38 of 52 for 497 yards, two Houston players caught eleven or more passes and each had 140 yards or more receiving, the Washington secondary was really exposed in this game, the Redskins could not gameplan for that passing offense and once safety LaRon Landry's body had finally had enough at the end of the game and Chris Horton came in and made two crucial mistakes to help end the game, revealing a problem with depth. At the free safety position, Reed Doughty is just a placeholder, here is to hoping free safety Kareem Moore lives up to billing once he returns from his knee injury. It was so bad that cornerback DeAngelo Hall announced after the game without prior clearance that he will be covering all opposing teams top wideouts from here on out, of course this is more of an aspirational goal.
Finally, special teams got a bloody nose today, tight end Fred Davis' lazy block on the Redskins third field goal attempt led directly to a block, of course the difference between overtime and a Redskins win was you guessed it, three points. Later in overtime kicker Graham Gano let himself get iced on a re kick of a 52 yard attempt, as others have told me a 52 yard field goal outdoors is not a chip shot so I should not be too hard on Graham, the way he lined up and knocked it through on the first attempt, it looks like mister I never get nervous was not actually too relaxed on the re kick (op. cit.), he was freaking out and pulled it right.
Now let us look at the bright side, Donovan McNabb can still light it up! At 28 of 38 for 426 yards, a touchdown and no interceptions the guy still has it and can carry a team, this was Dono's third most yards in a game in his entire career, a game that included two 62 yard completions and two others over fifty that were just off. And there are receivers on this team! Dono spread the ball to eight different players, four of them wearing receiver numbers. Santana Moss is still the workhorse with ten catches.
If the secondary is troublesome then at least the front seven are solid, six different players registered a half sack or more and the problem did not seem to be penetration, it was the goddamn Matt Schaub always had an option, man that is a well run offense. On the ground after gaining 231 yards against the Colts in week one, tailback Arian Foster ran nineteen times for 69 yards, under 3.7 yards per carry, Washington kept him in check.
And welcome back to the land of the living cornerback Carlos Rogers with your first interception since Jim Zorn's first season way back in 2008, a span of sixteen starts in seventeen possible games, of course Carlos had to deflect the pass, bobble it in the air and almost drop it before pulling it in.
All in all a very disappointing game if for no other reason than because it was so close to a win, a totally different and productive type of disappointment compared to that felt following a blowout loss.
Chattering Class: At the Washington Post, columnist Tracee Hamilton reminds us that the Redskins will be entertaining by their unpredictability alone, as a long suffering Redskins fan finally hopeful the adults are finally in charge I like to think the game experiences like this week and last week are the prep cooking for a feast eventually to come.
Also at the Post, Tom Boswell goes high enough in altitude to make a meta point: This is the type of loss that would have damaged the season of previous Redskins teams, and by that I do not spare Jim Zorn or Joe Gibbs. Tom also draws a parallel that I am sure we will hear more about as the months of this season wear on: Donovan McNabb is the closest thing to the second coming of Sonny Jurgenson this town will see in a long time.
Omnibus: Broadcasters: Ian Eagle and Dan Fouts, the CBS guys usually get at least one thing wrong when they cover an NFC team. One was Dan Fouts calling Santana Moss Santon- before catching himself.
Uniform Watch: The new established home uniform of burgundy jersey and gold pants, instant classic (new tradition?)
Albert Haynesworth, inactive, ankle (*kaff* *doggingit* *kaff*)
Plus internets list: LaRon Landry for rushing Matt Schaub into the bad pass, then Carlos Rogers for his first INT since 2008, of course Carlos had to bobble it and catch it twice; LaRon and Lorenzo Alexander for sacking Matt Schaub to end Houston's fourth drive, the Redskins would score on the next possession; LaRon for sacking Matt Schaub at midfield at the end of the half to help keep the Texans out of field goal range; Anthony Armstrong in the Redskins sixth possession, third quarter, bailing the team out on third and ten; Brian Orakpo in the Texans seventh possession, third quarter, coming around from the backside of the play and sacking Matt Schaub as Matt was running the other way toward the sideline, good ground speed by Brian.
Gaffes list: LaRon failed to cover his man on Houston's TD pass, second possession, second quarter, that left Carlos Rogers blocked and unable to make the play; Redskins sixth possession, third quarter, Mario Williams came through right tackle Jammal Brown to sack Dono; Larry Johnson losing ten yards reversing himself on the first play of the Redskins seventh drive, fourth quarter; Redskins eleventh possession, fourth quarter, Trent Williams gave up a huuuuge sack of Donovan by Mario Williams, Trent was injured and lay on the field; Fred Davis for a nonblock that led to the blocked field goal; Chris Horton getting sucked in on a hard count for an offsides, then two plays later getting burned over the middle for the pass that put the Texans in final scoring position.
Three plus possessions for the Redskins and this is an all passing affair, Washington scored its first positive rushing yard in the second quarter. Looks like it was not Andy Reid after all.
353 sellouts in Washington, the stat the broadcasters laid on us in the second quarter, 352 games, if we assume that is regular season games, works out to 44 years, taking us back to the late 1960s which sounds about right. Note there were non sellouts in the 1987 strike season, those are not counted by the league.
Nice stat: Donovan McNabb two passes of more than sixty yards in the first half.
Houston's first penalty came in the third quarter, when Andre Johnson stepped out of bounds then came back to catch the ball. Matt Schaub was sacked on the next play.
Andre Johnson leaving the field for the second time, this time in the fourth quarter. No reason given. Kevin Walter stepped up in Andre's place.
337 yards total offense through seven Washington possessions, 334 yards in the air, that means only three yards rushing to this point.
Working titles for gamewrap: Eagles Kind of Loss; The Passing Game Seems All Right; How Did They Go From Their End Zone to Us Losing in Five Minutes? And Then Things Fell Apart; Houston's Explosive Johnson.
Reed Doughty and LaRon Landry colliding in the Texans tenth possession, fourth quarter, both trying to go for the interception, they both come out of the game, the team is then forced to call the first of its three timeouts to get LaRon back in the game.
Interesting stat heading into overtime: The Texans were 0-6 overall in overtime. The Redskins were 19-12-1.
In overtime Dan Fouts referred to Houston's explosive Johnson.
In summary: The Redskins gave up a seventeen point lead in the second half, had a field goal blocked which would come back to haunt them, let the kicker get iced on a potential game winning field goal then with LaRon Landry out for the final drive the Texans drove down the field for the final score.
The Mastermind: Lots of great shots of head coach Mike Shanahan speaking sharply into his headset, gesturing authoritatively to assistants and simply seething. I like this guy.
Number Five: A career day, 28 of 38 for 426 yards, a touchdown and no interceptions for quarterback Donovan McNabb, in the aftermath of the Eagles trade of Dono to Washington and the pickle the Eagles are in right now with Michael Vick and Kevin Kolb, Andy Reid must feel pretty stupid about now.
Silver and Back: Rookie left tackle Trent Williams had a rough day against Pro Bowl defensive end Mario Williams, Mario had three sacks though only two of them were through Trent, then at the end of regulation Trent injured his knee and had to come out of the game, the sideline test showed no torn ligaments as did an MRI, we will know more about Trent's injury this week.
Albert the Butthurt: Defensive nose end Albert Haynesworth did not play, was not active, he hurt his widdle ankle and could not go, I think the team is trying to keep him off the field as they work a trade by the 19 October trading deadline.
Washington Post recap, photo gallery. NFL recap, box score, full play by play, Gamebook (PDF), photos, video highlights.
Next up, the Redskins play their second straight 4pm game, in Saint Louis against the Rams, London Fletcher's former team, the home of prized rookie quarterback Sam Bradford and ultimate destination of almost Redskins head coach Steve Spagnuolo, the Redskins have played the Rams three of the past four seasons, including last season's boo inducing home win and 2006's overtime road debacle.
Matt Schaub: Screencap of CBS broadcast by neighbor Scott; Steve Spagnuolo AP photo from here.
Sunday, September 19, 2010
Out of the Box: A day game at last, the challenges of 2010 continue as the red hot Texans come to town for a football game, 4:00pm on CBS, can Houston really throw top drawer running and passing games at the Redskins?
Quick jump to
The Story So Far: After eking out a game one divisional victory for the new coach and the new quarterback, the Redskins stepped back and assessed their progress, so far the defense looks to be in midseason form and poised to be solid enough to give the offense room to grow, which it will have to do given that the team did not even generate 250 yards of total offense Sunday night.
Speaking of the defense, cornerback DeAngelo Hall, who forced then recovered Dallas tailback Tashard Choice's fumble, running it all the way back for the team's only touchdown, has had something of a mid career renaissance. After being a typical Hokie knucklehead and downright jerk as a pro in Atlanta and Oakland, and some questionable behavior with the Redskins last season, head coach Mike Shanahan had a sit down with DeAngelo and asked him to step it up, become a man and take a leadership role. To hear DeAngelo talk about it, he is taking this stuff seriously. Whether it sticks and or results in him continuing to be a leading playmaker remains to be seen, for the money the team paid DeAngelo and for the responsibility he has as the lead cornerback, I certainly hope it does.
So far that Trent Williams thing is working out pretty well would you not say? Even head coach Mike Shanahan says so. Count me in the Russell Okung camp back in April and count me thankful the Redskins did not go that way, after facing Terrell Suggs in preseason and DeMarcus Ware in his first professional game, rookie left tackle now moves right on to Pro Bowl defensive end Mario Williams.
The Albert Haynesworth saga continues, Albert claims that he was not distracted in last week's game by trade talks which presumes of course that a man that cares nothing about his team can be distracted. The NFL trade deadline for this season is 6 October. On Wednesday Albert hurt an ankle in practice and was ultimately not available for the game.
So it looks liek a good gamble for coach Shanahan to take the points off the board in last week's game, even though it did not pay off.
The last time these teams played was in 2006 and despite what the Washington Post reported last week, the Redskins actually won that game, Redskins Ladell Betts had a great day in place of Clinton Portis who was out with a dislocated shoulder, Houston defensive end Mario Williams was a rookie just learning the pro game and Redskins quarterback Mark Brunell tied an NFL record with 22 straight completions. This will be a different game.
Curly R Aside: As a guy that will be waltzing into Eagles Stadium on 3 October wearing a number five McNabb jersey in burgundy and gold, I feel it is appropriate to bring to the attention of Redskins fans the looming plight of our friends up the road in Philadelphia. With quarterback Kevin Kolb, the guy for whom head coach Andy Reid jettisoned Donovan McNabb, looking ineffective in game one before suffering a concussion, backup Michael Vick came in and looked pretty damn good, almost won the game for Philadelphia.
As you might expect, the city, its fans and football coverage were all in a START VICK spasm this week, there is no easy way out of this situation for Andy Reid. Redskins fans will recall Jeff Garcia stepping in after Dono tore his ACL in 2006 and leading the Eagles to six straight wins, at that point with Jeff already 36 years old there were calls for the team to go with Jeff as the starter of the future because... Jeff was a better fit for the offense than the guy that had been running it since 1999?
Now Kevin Kolb, the guy no fan trusts but were all behind as far as he could succeed, is likely not to play this week, giving Michael Vick, who said the team could have won week one if he had quarterbacked the whole game, another four quarters to set the city on fire with a controversy. Even lifetime Eagles fan, season ticket holder and Curly R reader/lurker Wilbert Montgomery is feeling uneasy, here is what he told me in an email yesterday:
I have a bad feeling that this is going to be a long year for the birds. They totally lost the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball on Sunday.LOL indeed, although his comment makes no mention of the quarterback situation in Philadelphia, the article Wilbert Montgomery linked me to does. Read it and be happy Redskins fans. By the way, at least one Eagles focused outlet has mentioned Jeff Garcia by name as a possibility to com back to the team.
Oppo Research: The Texans are no longer the pushover riding on the arm and dirty jersey of David Carr, and Mario Williams is no longer the subject of boos by a fanbase wishing the team had spent its 2006 draft pick on Reggie Bush or Vince Young. These Texans beat the Peyton Manning Colts handily with a ground attack led by second year undrafted tailback Arian Foster. Houston wants you to believe you can gameplan for Matt Shaub (Wahoowa!) and Andre Johnson and get the ground game, now if the Redskins plan for the ground game they will get the aerial attack, they are loaded. Did you know that Matt Schaub led the NFL last season in passing yards?
These teams are fairly well intertwined at the coaching level, Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan coached Texans head coach Gary Kubiak for a season in Denver, then coach Shanahan brought coach Kubiak with him to San Francisco, then back to Denver as offensive coordinator. Gary Kubiak once in Houston hired coach Shanahan's son Kyle Shanahan to be an offensive coach, later offensive coordinator, in all the Redskins raided Houston for three coaches, along with Kyle Shanahan Washington nabbed quarterbacks coach Matt LaFleur and strength and conditioning coach Ray Wright.
In terms of tactics for today's game, the Texans still run the basic offense Kyle Shanahan installed over the past two seasons, so both teams will have some idea of how the other will approach the offensive side of the game.
Trainer's Table: Safety Kareem Moore, who injured his knee in the second preseason game against Baltimore, is ahead of schedule on his rehabilitation, on Thursday he was back in pads for the first time since he was hurt, though Kareem was ruled out of this game on Friday in hopes he would be ready for game three at Saint Louis.
Defensive nose end Albert Haynesworth hurt his ankle on Wednesday (op. cit.), did not participate in any reps Thursday (op. cit.) but was back practicing on Friday (op. cit.), presumably meaning Albert would be available for the game today, he was listed as questionable Friday night, along with quarterback Donovan McNabb with his ankle, tailback Clinton Portis with his wrist and linebacker Perry Riley with his foot, though Albert's teammates expected him to play, he was a late addition to the inactives list and was replaced by defensive tackle Anthony Bryant.
Gameplan: No one does not think the offense will not get better, it is a matter of time not talent. On offense we will see the team continuing to work out the kinks, coach Shanahan appears to be establishing a rotation on the offensive line, with Kory Lichtensteigher spelling Derrick Dockery at left guard and Stephon Heyer taking snaps at right tackle in place of Jammal Brown. Is it for competition? Is it to keep his guys fresh? To expose the maximum number of guys to gameday conditions? Stay tuned.
The team needs another receiving option besides Santana Moss and Chris Cooley... but maybe not today. As far as the running game, keep banging.
On defense, unleash the hounds!
My Take in 60 Words or Less: Let the defense do its work and keep giving the offense chances, when the Redskins have the ball, be patient and stick to the plan.
Broadcast coverage, it is a CBS game and in the local markets only; SkinsCast weather, in the 80s, a pleasant but hot late summer game.
Enjoy the game, nice to have a day game for a change after five straight night games, I will be back over on ShedTV for the fifth week in a row, I love football on TV.
This is a gameday open thread.
NFL helmet logos from here.