Monday, October 25, 2010

Week Seven: Cover Your Eyes

Washington 17, Chicago 14

It's funny how life tends to repeat itself. Six years ago, almost to the day, the Redskins played the Chicago Bears and I was unable to fully review the game due to various intrusions into my football watching. (Actually, it was shopping with family.) I worked around these annoyances by employing my then-ten-year-old sister in law to take notes on the game. With marginal results. Nonetheless, the Redskins won by three and a substantial Redskins Review was produced.

On Sunday, the Bears and Redskins met, and again this thing called "life" frustrated the reviewing process. (This time there was a confluence of a sore back, an unfulfilled promise to purchase a new pet, and Comcast's choice not to bother airing the game.) And once again I employed a ghost writer--this time a wee older--to take copious notes on the Redskins' performance. And wouldn't you know it: the Redskins won by three.

Here then, are my brother's notes on the Redskins' very, very sloppy win:

There was a period in time where I wondered who wanted the game less. Started with a pass from McNabb making the rookie mistake of throwing while being dragged down for a pick-6. He didn't look as good as he has earlier in the season.

Thank goodness for the second coming of John Riggins, aka Ryan Torain. He looked great for a lot of the game, when we chose to run. Orakpu is our star on defense, continuing to collapse the pocket, and it looked like the Mad Genius had learned nothing. That didn't last. Martz actually learned by the middle of the second quarter that the long ball was not to be, and went with 3 step drops and quick slant passes. The Redskin D had no answer to it. Thank goodness halftime came, as the defense continued to unravel.

Jay Cutler reverted back to a year ago in the second half. He was our 12th mam, throwing an INT after every miscue of ours. Hall's 4th pick (all 2nd half) was a pick-6 and the last score of the game, as athletic as the INT the Colts had at the end of our last game.

Torain earned his paycheck (as well as Clinton "wish-this-was-two-hand-touch" Portis' paycheck) by running hard and getting 1st downs at the end, where normally we would end up running into a wall 3 times and punting.

Our run game is slowly looking like a Shanahan team. Armstrong isn't quite a go-to receiver yet, with a crucial drop. Moss was blanketed, McNabb's true security outlet. Maybe that was why he didn't play well.

Top performers:
Torain - he should keep the starting job even when Portis is healthy.
Hall - gambled the whole game, and beat the house.

Coach of the game - whoever it is that's in charge of special teams. Never kicked to Hester, ALWAYS out of bounds. Net yardage looked bad (how DO those refs figure out where it really went out of bounds?), usually netting 20-ish yards, but the alternative........

I think Haynesworth has an allergy to leather oblong shapes - you'd see him on the field, but never near the ball.

Well said. A few notes of mine: I like the Ryan Torain/John Riggins reference. Last week I compared him to Stephen Davis, a downhill runner who could plow over defensive backs and had just enough agility to make a man miss. Riggins ran much like that, too, though I can't recall him ever juking a player. He did have that extra, magical gear in his youth that I hope Torain finds. His second 100-yard performance is a great sign.

Second, the Redskins were fortunate that Jay Cutler and his receivers were so awful. Credit DeAngelo Hall, whom I've called good, not great, for his record-matching day. But Chicago's receivers didn't finish routes, didn't come back for the ball, didn't, well, help their quarterback avoid looking horrific.

Third, DJ McNabb is the best quarterback the Redskins have had in recent memory. But he is, as my Pops said, "sporadically brilliant." That means that the rest of the time you're hoping he throws the ball higher than shoetops and doesn't launch deep passes into double coverage. That said, he's a rare quarterback who can avoid a blitzer for just the one second he needs to get off a pass. I'll take that over the Jason Campbell-Patrick Ramsey-Todd Collins statuesque passers who simply took hits from linebackers.

I'll forego the Scorecard this week, instead to pass this important note: this may be the only week when Redskins fans maybe, just maybe, might root for Dallas to win. They face the NFC East-leading Giants on Monday Night Football. A win for the Cowchips puts Washington in a tie for first place.

Photo credit: Johnathan Newton/Washington Post

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