Washington Redskins: Gut Check Time for a Battered Team
Before the Washington Redskins took the field in Nashville, Tenn. to play the Titans, they were already down two key players: safety LaRon Landry and cornerback Carlos Rogers.
With those two key players injured and a porous 'Skins defense having to face Vince Young, Chris Johnson and Randy Moss, I thought the Redskins (especially after last Monday night) had zero chance at winning.
The Redskins would go on to lose seven more players including running backs Clinton Portis and Chad Simpson, linebackers Lorenzo Alexander and Rocky Macintosh and a host of others across the offensive line.
The latter caused great concern given the fact that the starting bunch has done a terrible job at pass protection, as well as run blocking.
All of this could have easily spelled doom for the Redskins, but like the remaining three quarters of the Monday Night Football game, the players didn't give up.
They played hard and when the game was on the line in their first possession of overtime they didn't let the pressure get to them, like the Titans did, and drove down the field to give Graham Gano a chance at redemption.
A chance he didn't squander.
In regards to the offensive line, it may appear that Will Montgomery might be a better center than Casey Rabach and even though Stephen Heyer has played tackle all his life, he actually might be a better guard (which isn't hard to do given that he's terrible at tackle).
5-5 Where does the team finish?
By being forced to play linemen out of position, the Redskins may have found the offensive line to carry them the rest of the way.
Granted this is only one game, but the Titans are one of the better defensive teams in the league and they came after the Redskins with different blitz packages almost every down and this patchwork quilt of a line held true.
McNabb was only sacked twice yesterday which must have felt good and the Redskins out-rushed the Titans' Chris Johnson.
The Redskins defense once again took the "bend, but not break" position only allowing three field goals (the only touchdown for the Titans coming on a punt return with a questionable missed block in the back).
However, I'd like to see the 'Skins get off the field without giving up any points. After all, the offense doesn't light up the scoreboard, so giving up any points is eventually going to come back to bite the team in the butt.
Now onto the Bad and Good.
The field. I haven't seen a field (without the aide of weather) look so bad. Now, the Redskins were slipping more than the Titans, but on several plays the Titans went down without assistance as well.
Special teams. The 'Skins allowed a punt return for a touchdown and Gram Gano missed from 51 (not a gimme) and from 47 which could have won the game for the team. All-in-all, the special teams looked special, but not in a good way. I'm not sure if Gano will be around much longer. He's now 19-26 on field goals.
Injuries. At the start of the game the 'Skins were down two starters, by game's end they were down a total of nine players with seven of them being starters.
Tackling. The tackling in the secondary on both teams was abysmal. Both teams gave up big second-effort runs when ball carries who should have been stopped on first contact weren't. Kareem Moore being one of them after a big completion by the Titans turned into a 52-yard play when Moore tried to give a knockout blow instead of making a fundamentally sound tackle.
Blocking. The patchwork line did a fantastic job keeping McNabb upright and creating holes for Kelian Williams. This line looked like night and day from what we've seen earlier in the season. Hopefully, this configuration stays this way.
McNabb. In spite of an ill-advised interception near the end of the first half, McNabb looked really sharp out there. He went 30-50 for 358 passing yards with a touchdown strike to Santana Moss. Also, he seems to have mastered the terminology, as well as being fit enough to run the two-minute drill.
Galloway. Joey Galloway didn't have a lights-out game, but from what we've seen of him this season but he made some big catches, especially at the end of the first half making a big catch with three seconds left and getting out of bounds.
DeAngelo Hall. Hall was on Randy Moss for most of the game and Moss has zero catches. Can't ask for more out of your corner.
Gano. I know he was under the bad section as well, but the fact that he missed the field goal at the end of the game and came back to kick the game-winner in overtime from one yard further. I have to give him his due as well. A lot of kickers, when missing a field goal like he did, would be on shaky ground when coming back in. He manned-up and made the kick, so good job there.
The Backup. The second-string guys who came in to the game played their hearts out. Like I said, in a game where the team was devastated by injury and could have just laid down, they didn't.
Gold Pants. Now I still prefer the white on burgundy uniforms, but I don't know, there is something about the burgundy helmet, white jerseys and gold pants with the retro socks that look sharp.
One last thing before I go, a lot of people are talking about different scenarios to get the Redskins into the playoffs given that seven teams have better records.
The 'Skins can't worry about who needs to lose to what teams. All they should be worrying about are the teams they have to play.
All they can do is take care of their games, if they do that, they'll have a chance.
There you have loyal reader, my take on a big win for the Redskins. Enjoy this week because on Sunday we welcome the desperate Vikings to FedEx Field.
If Brett Favre starts, the 'Skins should wear the yellow helmets, white jerseys and yellow pants. If his two games against the Packers have taught us anything, it's that he still gets confused when he sees a yellow helmet and thinks that's where the ball should go. Hall might be able to break the record he tied earlier this season if that's the case.
Until next time, follow me on Twitter (@jomac006) for more Redskins.
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