Friday, October 06, 2006

He's Gone! Moss is Gone! (24th Viewing)

Gentle readers, in light of my inability to watch much of the Skins/Jaguars original broadcast, allow me to present to you the analysis of a gentlemen I call Herbs. He's one of those fanatic, dress-like-an-idiot-on-gameday diehards who outfit their unwitting infant sons in burgundy and gold. When the Redskins lose, he is unapproachable by family. Herbs has been known to get into juvenile, finger-pointing shouting matches with drunk Dallas fans.

He is my brother, and I couldn't be more proud. In an email to me this week, he offered these thoughts on Sunday's win:

The ‘skins are now #3 in total offense for the NFL. They are #4 in time of possession in the NFL. Now if that ain’t a sign of good things to come…

Total offense shows that Al Saunder’s offense is starting to click, especially when you consider how lackluster the first two games were, and how that probably dragged their stats down. I have the OT period on TIVO, and have watched it no less than 5 times this week, and seeing Santana catch that pass, and hearing the crowd ramp up to a deafening roar as he started sprinting down the sidelines, still gives me goosebumps. In all likelihood, our offensive prayers have been answered. Now, if Gregg Williams can get the defense, currently middle-o-the-pack 15th, motivated (and still have a shot of taking over as the ‘skins head coach when Gibbs does Retirement #2), we will look a lot like the Bears do now. And be a Super Bowl contender by December. You heard it here first – as long as Portis is healthy, Brunell is healthy, and we have a minimum of two of our receivers excelling (between Moss, Randle El, Lloyd, and Cooley – we’ve got a glut, I think David Patten is the new coordinator of the Redskin cheerleaders), I can’t see why we can’t contend for the big game.

I will admit that, since Monday, I've seen Moss' touchdown no less than 10 times. I finally caught the overtime on the ten minute NFL On Demand recap, and got to enjoy Larry Michaels screaming "He's gone! He's gone! He's gone!" until I had my fill.

By the way, has anyone determined why Sam Huff is still on the broadcast team? I respect that the's a Redskin legend, but he exclaimed that #47 Chris Cooley was hurt trying to make a tackle on defense (it was really #41 Curry Burns); and then he almost ruined the moment of Moss' winning score by saying "that's his second one!" when everyone who watched the last three hours of football knew it was his third. His wisdom on a long Jaguars touchdown pass was summed up with "you live by the blitz, you die by the blitz." Thanks for the insight, Sam. Does he have blackmail pictures of Dan Snyder shining Jerry Jones' shoes or something?

I recorded the NFL Network Replay of the game and was pretty impressed: it's the entire game, minus timeouts and worthless plays, straight from the network broadcast. Plus you get insightful, postgame conference nuggets from the players and coaches after big plays. I immediately fast forwarded to the overtime period and watched Santana's catch and run three or four times there, basking in the hysteria of the crowd as they realized that Moss had broken free of the double team and was headed for glory.

And then, when it was rebroadcast in the middle of Thursday afternoon, I watched it again. And again. It was just that great a moment. If ever there was a moment when the stadium police should have allowed fans to run onto the field, like a high school beating its homecoming rival, that was it. "Oh my! Down go the goalposts!" Dick Enberg would say...

That said, the Redskins have some issues which they had best address come Sunday in their NFC East battle with Sabado Gigante. Principally I'd be concerned about the defense. Herbs is right--the offense is clicking enough that they should be able to adjust their attack to whatever the Giants D allows. But nearly every team this season has been able to beat the defense to convert critical 3rd downs, and what's worse, do so with big plays. Defensive coach Gregg Williams seemed satisfied with Sunday's performance, excusing the long Jaguars gains with "we sometimes played too aggressively." I'll agree. Shawn Taylor was an absolute monster on the field, making his presence known with teeth-rattling hits to Jacksonville receivers. But he can also take horrible pursuit angles, as he did on Maurice Jones-Drew's long touchdown scamper. Meanwhile, cornerback Kenny Wright sometimes looks like the second coming of Ade Jimoh, getting burned on curl routes near the sidelines.

So if I'm gameplanning against Washington, I'd prepare for safety blitzes up the middle from Archuletta or Taylor with dump off screens to Barber. If I'm the Redskins, I would fake my blitzes early, then attempt delayed blitzes, then in the third quarter, return to the standard attack.
But this should be a great game, as most NFC East battles tend to be. The other East game should be good, too, but contains 87% more drama with the T.O./Philadelphia reunion. With the Giants, Eagles, Skins and Cowchips being so evenly matched, the only way to ascend to the crown is to win your divisional road games. Here's to hoping Washington can pull it off.

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