Philadelphia Eagles—Washington Redskins Notes
If you didn't know the standings of the teams coming into the game, you'd have thought that the Eagles were the team with the terrible record.
An onside kick, going for it on fourth down twice in the first 12 minutes of game play, two QB draw plays with the backup...it didn't exactly scream out confidence in your personnel. Or that Cap'n Andy was expecting anything but a 60-minute hairpull, despite the Redskins being, well, terrible. And he got exactly what he expected.
Fox pointed out how everyone was playing the run on a third and one QB draw by Michael Vick. In other words, Washington has actually watched the tape of the 2009 Philadelphia Eagles.
In regard to Redskins QB Jason Campbell, I've just never been scared of a QB who reads plays off a wristband. It looks like a little kid who hasn't studied for a test.
How you keep a bad team around: do not defend third down, and make the opponent's touchdowns downright easy. I had hopes of the defense gelling in the stretch run, like they've done many times before in the Reid Era, but it's overstating the case to think they looked like that today. Once the offense turned the tide, perhaps. But they'll need more than that to win playoff games.
Fox cited the Redskins' injuries, and yes, they've been decimated. But it's kind of telling that so many games are lost to bad franchises. You see this a lot in the NBA; guys that find the training room more interesting than the field in a lost year. If it walks like a dog and barks like a dog, and routinely blows fourth quarter leads...
Did you have 10 minutes left in the second quarter for Sav Rocca's first terrible punt of the day in your pool? I had the time right, but the wrong quarter. It's so hard to win that bet. And thanks to Eldra Buckley for a remarkably dumb 15 yard penalty to make that one more memorable. It takes a team wide effort to look like a worse team than the Redskins.
Don't forget that Campbell to Eagles CB Asante Samuel, with two picks in the late going in the second quarter, is your margin of victory today. Yes, Washington is really bad.
With nine seconds left in the half, the Redskins recovered a squib kick and gave themselves a chance at the Hail Mary, but couldn't keep Trent Cole from a speed sack of Campbell. Is there a more dispiriting play for an offense than a sack against prevent coverage? I say no. Or, at least, hope so.
Of course Redskins TE Fred Davis registered his longest career catch and an eventual touchdown today. Can we please draft for this next year, Capn Andy? We finally got that No. 1 WR problem taken care of. Hope springs eternal for a stud LB.
Down to a terrible team with the defense taking third downs off, Fox's Darryl Johnston talked about how the crowd wasn't into the game. Well, when you give up eight of 10 third down conversions, and your laundry is playing its annual inexplicably awful game against the division's poor stepchild, it's not exactly a good thing to watch. Honest. And if I had a dollar for all of the missed tackles today, the blogging would be very lucrative indeed.
Notable: TE Brent Celek not making the play on three straight catchable balls. What is, "What a young and inconsistent offensive team does, Alex?"
Did you enjoy Johnston's mouth job for the Skins offensive line before their fourth false start penalty, followed by a holding call that prevented a first down? I know I did.
After yet another drop by Celek, McNabb was hit while throwing to set up a pick, and we're well in the range of this game being over. Utterly maddening, but at least Washington was too paranoid of turnovers to get the killshot touchdown. Hey, there are coaches that are worse than whatever is managing the Skins these days!
Does any announcing team praise players for moments in plays that are wiped out by penalty more than Fox? Perhaps head trauma is contagious.
McNabb finally stopped throwing it to Celek, and the result was three straight throws to the surprisingly emerging Avant, two of which netted 68 yards. Unfortunately, that also led to Avant being on the ground. Man, I hate Redskins games.
Vick on a rollout missed Celek by a mile, and I'm pretty sure that Eagle Fan has had just about enough of Vick by now. McCoy then took over for a screen, run, and first, followed by a huge hole for Weaver to get it to the one. Eldra Buckley is the short yardage back of the week that isn't Leonard Weaver, and two straight plays get a big fat nothing.
The utterly unsurprising play action to Celek failed, and yes, Eagle Fan, you have seen this movie before; thankfully, a Skins penalty kept this from being fourth down. I want to play poker with Andy Reid. I'm pretty sure I could get a read on him. Or that he'd keep asking the table what hands are the best.
Finally, Green tried Buckley off to the side, and the left side executed for six. An utterly maddening timeout to discuss the two-point conversion call followed, because the team clearly couldn't think ahead for a wildly important play call, but Shady McCoy refused to let that happen with a fantastic play for the conversion on a shuffle pass.
Just unreal balance there, play of the day. If he doesn't make it, maybe Green still wins this game, but I'm not sure; it brought the Mo Men Tum in a big way.
Good kickoff coverage continued the wave, and after a ridiculously easy deep out, the defense got a stop. The offense then did everything but win it by taking four minutes off the clock and setting up the chip shot field goal. Notable on the drive were a number of strong runs from McCoy and Weaver, then a fantastic sideline fly to Maclin; there is no doubt in my mind that Donovan's playing some of his best ball ever right now.
On a third and five, he throws a perfect dart to Maclin that moved the chains, ate three Washington timeouts, and got the ball in close, and he also had the presence of mind to slide on a failed rollout to keep the clock moving. Akers converted to give them the lead, 27-24, with 1:48 left.
After an outstanding kickoff from Akers, and coverage from Moises Fokou, the Skins started at their own 16 with 104 seconds left and no timeouts. Heavy pressure on Campbell forced an incomplete on first, as Cole continued to own his matchup.
Davis was open on a deep slant on second and ten, but couldn't bring it in. A blitz doesn't quite get there on third and ten, but a saving tackle forced a fourth down, and the Skins inexplicably seemed to forget that they needed a yard to keep the game alive.
The refs turned a blind eye to a possible roughing the passer call, mostly, one suspects, because they were too offended by the stupidity to give them another chance, and that was that. 27-24, Green.
As with any escape win, especially at home, it's hard to feel too great about the game, if for no other reason then there was a disturbing amount of things that need to get better, and shouldn't look like that in late November. Vick, Rocca, Celek, Trotter, and Reid all had big lapses in this game that would have just killed them against a good team.
But a win is a win is a win, Redskin Fan continues to have Big Misery, and they are still in contention for the division and wildcard. There's also the fact that their QB is playing some of the best football of his life, and so long as that's true, they've got a puncher's chance, especially if the skill players make plays. Moving on...
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