Monday, December 15, 2003

WEEK 15: Bad? No, this was far, far worse…

I had considered a creative introduction to this week’s review; something poking fun at Saddam “Shaggy” Hussein, voicing my annoyance at those “I can’t taste my beer!” commercials, or perhaps even a celebratory Beyonce limerick for her Grammy Award nominations. But let’s be honest: I’d just be stalling. Let’s get right to the pain.
Another Dallas/Washington game, another cringe inducing experience. The Washington Redskins have crashed to 5-9, following a loss Sunday at home to the Dallas Cowchips. The score was 27-0, but the game was much, much worse than the score indicates. How bad was it?

…Tim “Tool Time” Hasselbeck attempted twenty-six passes. Only six of those were completed to Washington players. He completed four to Dallas. Let me say that again: Hasselbeck almost completed as many passes to them as to us. There was a tipped ball or two during play, but if Tim wasn’t throwing passes into the chests of Dallas players, he was sailing balls over everybody’s heads.

…Laveranues “Laveranues”Coles, 7th leading receiver in the NFL, produced negative one yards of offense on the day and had less catches (none!) than rookie Dallas cornerback Terence Newman. Newman’s three interceptions tied a Cowchip franchise record—which hadn’t been touched since the 1980s.

…Washington had not been shut out by the Cowgirls in thirty-two years. Let’s say it this way: I wasn’t alive the last time this nonsense happened. Most of the people reading this review didn’t exist, either. Why has it been so long since it’s happened? Because previous Redskin teams knew how to put up a fight and walk off the field with dignity. I do, however, recall the last time the Skins were shut out. That was a decade ago versus the New York Jets.

…Not to put too fine a point on this, but Tim “Colorblind” Hasselbeck ‘s final quarterback rating was 0.0. That’s not a mistype. He finished with nothing. If Hasselbeck had simply dropped back and thrown the football into the ground on every one of his twenty-six attempts, he would have earned a 39.6 rating. And we would have scored the same amount of points. Washington’s Bryan Barker finished with a better passer rating. He is the Redskins’ punter.

…Troy “Can we play the Skins again?” Hambrick enjoyed almost 200 yards of offense all by himself. He had 33 rushes for 187 yards. It was like watching Buffalo’s Travis Henry all over again: average running back breaks out of slump and has career day against Washington’s run defense.

Boy we can make Dallas look good.

The Redskins played with no code, no honor, and I doubt God was watching after the first quarter. On paper, the Skins had all the motivation necessary to play spoiler and pull off the upset: at home/could split with Dallas/bad weather/knock Dallas out of the playoffs/Dallas on the slide. Any of those factors should have energized the team to fight with vigor on Sunday. Apparently, Coach Superior and Company weren’t able to rally the troops to even look like they cared. Granted, the defense held the Dallas offense down most of the first half, limiting them to 14 points. But without any offensive support, the defense collapsed like a house of cards in the remaining 30 minutes. I clearly recall shouting “we may never score!” during the 3rd quarter.

The worst part of any Dallas win is having to put up with Cowchip fans. My cousin Angie decided that the middle of the 4th quarter was a sufficient time to call and point out that the Redskins stink. Another coworker greeted my arrival at work with “Man, what happened?!? And Hambrick’s a bum!” Worst of all, I lost a bet to another coworker for two Arizona Iced Teas. Shame on each and every one of you.

Thank you, dear Redskins, for the promise of yet another mediocre season of professional football. My prayer back in November was that this team would at least make the remaining games interesting enough to watch. At this rate, I’ll be copying and pasting Washington Post recaps instead of writing reviews.

I am proud to announce that this week’s grading is simple, unbiased, and unanimous.

OFFENSE: Z- (Thanks for being the Dallas defense’s practice squad.)
DEFENSE: Z- (Troy Hambrick. Troy Hambrick?!?)
Sp.TEAMS: Z- (Morton this year: 1 fumble, 1 touchdown return.)
COACHES: Z- (Y’all don’t care. Admit it.)

Next Up: The Chicago Bears face us in Chicago. The Bears have an improving defense, and they’ve played better than us in the last six weeks. They should beat Washington because, frankly, we stink. However, I’m picking us to win by four, 20-16.

Monday, December 08, 2003

WEEK 14: How ‘bout them Cowboys?

Many thanks, good people, for the festive wishes. It is because of the recent holidays that the Redskins Review has been absent. (OK, I admit that I didn’t watch the last two games.) I spent much of the weekend in Lansdowne, VA at a men's retreat for my church. The topic was becoming healthy, wealthy and wise. Not a bad way to spend a birthday... And no, Speed, I'm not coming over to shovel. By the time I finally got home to clear off my car, it was last night around 10PM. 45 minutes and four frozen toes later, my car's still sitting at home. I think I'll let nature take its course.

Speaking of inert objects, allow me to announce that the Dallas Cowchips continue their season's gravitational decent into "fightin' for a playoff spot" with a big 36-10 loss to the Philly Eagles. Cowchip fans have been proclaiming "Ten wins this year! Nobody expected it! Tuna! Tuna! Tuuuunaaa!" since week seven. Funny, they still haven't gotten to ten. Dallas' record (8-5) has more padding that a 36DD Calista Flockhart. They’ve gone 3-4 after starting 5-1. They still haven't beaten a good team (yeah, the slipped by Carolina) and don't win big games. Let that be a lesson, kids: birthday wishes CAN come true...

In other news, it appears that the Baltimore Ravens may possibly win their division and very well could enter the playoffs this season, contrary to popular opinion. (OK, Wes and I said so.) Therefore Wes and I could, to some degree of probability, be buying wings and curly fries for Dominic. Shoot.

I’m man enough to admit that I was far more interested in Bengal/Raven battle for first place than the Redskin/Giant scramble for Least in the East. What I saw Sunday was a Baltimore defense and offensive line displaying proficiency at or near the top in the league. Jamal “Give me the Browns” Lewis is a great runner, sure, but he’s very little without the consistently stellar blocking of his front guys. I watched Lewis break 15-yard runs, but those were usually after being untouched for five yards or needing to beat one defender before reaching the secondary. Lewis gets his props, but let’s give credit where it’s due.

Since this is a Redskin review, I should mention that Washington did best the New York Football Giants on Sunday. I am usually hesitant to fully quote other writers for my own opinion, but allow me to sum up my commentary of the 20-7 win via the words of Washington Post writer Mark Maske: “Bruce Smith made it a memorable day when he broke the NFL's career sacks record with a fourth-quarter takedown of Giants backup quarterback Jesse Palmer. But mostly, it was an afternoon of forgettable football between two teams suffering through highly disappointing seasons.” Thank you, Mr. Maske, for making this portion of the review very, very easy.

Next week we’ll delve into Washington’s Burning Questions. F’instance, should they keep Champ Bailey? What positions should they draft in? Should they lose the rest of their games to improve their draft position? Can Washington possibly play spoiler and keep Dallas out of the playoffs?

Next Up: The Dallas Cowgirls skip merrily into Washington. Oh, there is little sweeter than kicking a Dallas team when they’re down. A win against Dallas drops them to 8-6, in a fight with Green Bay, Seattle and (gasp!) maybe New Orleans for a wild card spot. Time to drop the hammer, Redskins! Skins win, 17-13.