Monday, October 22, 2001


OK, Carolina’s coverage team completely blew coverage.

And sure, Biakabutuka went out with 7 minutes left to play.

And one could argue that Chris Weinke dissolved into an inept rookie before our eyes.

And yeah, Carolina had won only 1 game before Sunday.

And I don’t mean to overstate anything, but

THAT WAS THE GREATEST WIN IN REDSKINS HISTORY. That’s right, I said “in Redskins history.”

Now you’re probably thinking “how could this very lucky win over a less-than-marginal Panthers team even begin to compare with the Skins’ wins over the Cowboys in the 70s and 80s. And surely one if not all the Super Bowl wins eclipses yesterday’s 3-point victory.”

To that I say the following:

That was the greatest win in Redskins history because nobody, and I mean NOBODY expected, predicted, or imagined that the people who took the field yesterday were even slightly capable of what they accomplished. Even Marty “Hot Seat” Schottenheimer only hoped to be competitive. I saw no prognosticator even suggest that Washington could contain the mediocre Carolina offense. Even the fans didn’t believe: at the game, FedEx Field looked just over half-full. And some of those folks LEFT before the 4th quarter.

This was the greatest win because Tony Banks had thrown all of three passes over 20 yards in five games. For five games, Banks’ throws often skipped the ground or soared over receivers’ heads. And the balls that DID reach their intended targets were dropped. In one quarter, Banks suddenly became Joe Montana. He couldn’t miss, and the receivers had Stick-Um on their gloves.

This was the greatest win because this team looked so inept, so woeful, that at the start of the fourth quarter, the announcers joked that the Skins would have to score more points in one quarter than they had managed to in an entire game.

This was the greatest because Darrell “7 Tackles” Green, Stephen “Hot Potato” Davis and the “Bend But Don’t Break” defense gave Skins’ fans something we haven’t felt in months: hope. Sure, we still sink as a squad, but yesterday this team displayed Steel Curtain resiliency and heart. They never gave up, never surrendered—even though I figured them finished somewhere during the third quarter.

The Skins have been good, sometimes very good, but as far as I can remember they have never been a jaw-dropping surprise. Yesterday they were.

Offense still needs a lot of work, especially on consistency. I dunno what they put in the Gatorade 4th quarter, but it worked. Garndner, Westbrook, and the other no-name receivers remembered that their job is to RECEIVE the ball. Davis ran competently again, just shy of 100 yards for a second game. (And for a second straight game, if he’d held onto the ball, he would’ve had that 100th yard.) Tony Banks, for a couple minutes there, looked like the QB he was expected to be when drafted from college. His passes were crisp, on point, and perfectly timed. Who knew?

Defense did outstanding, even if Biakabutuka ran through them like butter for most of the game. Thank God for injuries. That Carolina got zero points from field position inside the 10 yard line is a stat any defense would be proud of. That they were in the red zone more than that and came away with 14 total points is phenomenal. Now if we can only keep teams from getting there…. Darrell Green had an outstanding game, and Arrington has proven to be a keeper (when he maintains focus), and a monster.

I think the Special Teams played. Don’t remember what they did.

Perhaps the best part about this win is that it demonstrated to Marty and the Family Schottenheimer that, when the moon is in its 3rd phase, and the planets align, that this offense can open up for big plays. That, folks, is a hope we haven’t known in a long, long time.

By the way, this is the hardest week, in recent memory, to rank the squad. The Skins did a lot wrong a long time. But winning sure cures a lot, don’t it?

DEFENSE: A (how’s that a turnaround from last week?)
Sp. TEAMS: C (by default)

Mr. Jones

PS Special message to Nolan, Ryan, Dominic, and other Baltimorons: Ravens, shmavens.

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