October 5, 2008

Redskins 23 - Eagles 17: Instant Analysis

Too bad Kornheiser is gone from The Post. This town is ready to fire up the bandwagon again.

When I first looked at the NFL Schedule when it came out in the spring, I wondered whose corn flakes Dan Snyder pissed in to draw the first five games that the Redskins drew. Three out of five divisional games on the road, opening up in the Meadowlands the same night the Giants got their Super Bowl rings, hosting the Cardinals and the Saints, two teams who aren't exactly pushovers. 2-3 was a distinct possibility in that stretch. 3-2 would've been more than acceptable.
Here we sit. 4-1, four straight wins. Wins on the road over Dallas and Philly. Zero turnovers (yes... ZERO) from Jason Campbell. Three points allowed in the fourth quarter all year long. Victories over the teams with the 3rd, 9th, 11th, and 27th-ranked defenses in the NFL show complete performances by our offense. More importantly and impressively, victories over the teams with the 2nd, 3rd, 5th, and 6th-ranked offenses in the NFL show dominating and punishing performances by our defense.
Today featured dominance over Philly for three quarters after falling behind 14-0. One of those scores was a bullshit punt return for a touchdown that should've been called back but the refs continued their 2008 run of incompetence in thinking that the Eagles #50 had been blocked in the back by the Redskins #50 (permissible) instead of vice-versa (impermissible). Zebras, I know it gets complicated when players wear the same numbers, so let's think in terms of pretty colors. Bright white jerseys = Philly, dark burgundy jerseys = Redskins. This was the same officiating crew that inexplicably called Randle El down by contact in the fourth quarter when Sheldon Brown dove for him and totally missed him. Hell, Randle El wouldn't have been down if it was two-hand touch football. Yet ten seconds later, the ref across the field from the alleged touch blew the play dead as Randle El was heading into the end zone. Nicely done, zebras.
What we're seeing is the result of streamlined play calling. No more Al Saunders communicating with Joe Gibbs communicating back to Saunders communicating to Campbell, getting the play into the huddle with eight seconds left on the play clock. Now, as soon as the play is dead, Zorn calls the play in, the 'Skins break the huddle with 15-20 seconds left on the play clock, enough time for Campbell to read the defense and figure out whether he needs to audible and who may be open. We're also seeing an incredibly balanced offensive attack, with our running and passing plays split almost 50-50.
Even more amazing was that today's defensive performance was rendered by a team without Jason Taylor, without Marcus Washington, and without Shawn Springs. Those aren't exactly bit players who were out. We relied upon Smoot, Landry, and Rogers heavily in the defensive backfield today, and all had huge games in man-to-man coverage, forcing the Eagles' hand into short yardage runs which were eaten up by our defensive line.
This team has proven that it cannot be counted out of a game, no matter how bleak the scenario. Campbell would kill you if you were his fantasy owner, but he manages to move the offense down the field, play smartly, and gain big yardage on first down, leaving the team in great position to not be facing second-and-long and third-and-long situations.
And Clinton Portis. Sheriff Gonna Getcha. Coach Janky Spanky. My oh my... he is putting the team on his back this year. I will eat some crow for saying that the 'Skins should've gotten their trade value for him and kept Betts around. Portis is the hardest-working 100+ yard carrier in the NFL.
Next four games before the bye...
Home vs. Rams
Home vs. Browns
Road vs. Lions
Home vs. Steelers (Monday night)
If the Redskins head into the bye at 7-2, with all three remaining divisional games at home, they'll be in great position for the playoffs. Their schedule after the bye is pretty brutal, but hey... at this point, who can doubt this team?

7 Responses:

James said...

It's been quite some time since i have watched the 'Skins come out in play like this. Jim Zorn has not only given this team a spark, but that spark woke up their heart. We have heart. Heart is what keeps your head up when you are down 14-0. Heart is what lets you win back to back road games in the b-East. "Experts" called us the bottom feeders of the East this year. Its too early to say now how this season will play out, and I'm not sure if you will agree, but we may need to get some pie crust out and start baking a crow pie for all of our critics.

"ben" said...

Now I'm excited. Exactly the time they fall apart.

That Detroit game is a lock, though. Wonder if I can get tickets?

Jeremy said...

Ben, I'd be shocked if you can't get tickets. Unless that was sarcasm on your part. In fact, Ben, I'd be very disappointed in you if you didn't get tickets.

As for our Michigan-Terps bet, things got a little more interesting this weekend.

big tuna said...

That was sarcasm. There is no way that game will be sold out. In fact, I don't know if Ben falls into the blackout zone but he may have to go to the game just to see it. We had to have a furniture company buy up 4000 tickets for the home opener then give them away if you bought a couch or table or chair.

"ben" said...

Jeremy, I'm on it.

Regarding Michigan vs. Maryland, don't forget that the Terps are already at 4 wins, and Michigan is at 2, dropping two home games.

I think Maryland is still way in the lead, here.

I may need to make it double or nothing when it comes time for the MD-UM basketball game. But I'm going to have to ask for the points.

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Violet said...


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