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A Whole Lot Of Redskins Take Responsibility For The Loss

Posted by Matt Terl on September 19, 2010 – 10:13 pm

Someone in the postgame locker room asked me which one play most turned this game, and I found myself completely stumped. Not because there was any shortage of disappointing plays, but because it seems impossible to point at any one of them for causing the loss.

If the offense can punch in either of the early red zone possessions, maybe the game’s not even close. If Graham Gano hits either of his two missed field goals, maybe the fourth quarter goes very differently. If Trent Williams doesn’t go down, if Joey Galloway can just reach that long pass from Donovan McNabb, if, if, if. It’s a pointless exercise, and — in the case of this game — a deeply frustrating one.

That said, there are a few guys who are going to have fingers pointed at them by fans and commentators alike for contributing to the loss, and — to their credit — they all seemed to be standing up and taking responsibility in the locker room. In fact, everyone was rushing to take responsibility. “We just didn’t make plays,” DeAngelo Hall said. “The plays were sitting right there for us to make, and we didn’t make ’em.”

“There are always plays where you feel like, man, if I just did this differently, maybe the outcome would’ve been different for us,” London Fletcher said.

But neither of those guys was being pointed to as someone who gave up a crucial play.

Chris Horton, for example, came in for LaRon Landry in overtime, jumped offsides, and seemed to be specifically targeted on the play that put the Texans in field goal position. And he took responsibility for that.

“It’s one of those things where when I’m the game in a crucial situation, I gotta be smarter,” Horton said. “I’ve just gotta be smart. I’ve gotta watch the ball. I’ve gotta know, given the situation, what’s goin’ on.”

And Reed Doughty was frank about Andre Johnson’s game-tying fourth-down touchdown catch, which came (as you can see above) right over Doughty’s head.

“You’ve gotta make a play,” Doughty said. “It was one of those things where there’s nothing the coach can tell you — you know, ‘Box him out!’ — whatever it is, you’ve just gotta make the play. And I thought I hit it out and l looked up and he had the ball.”
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Clinton Portis Calls His Block 'Just Hustling'

Posted by Matt Terl on September 19, 2010 – 9:23 pm

Clinton Portis talked about a lot of things from the podium after this evening’s game.

He summarized the game thusly: “We just came up short.”

He summarized the running game’s struggles like this: “You just gotta be patient.”

He pointed out that running vs. passing isn’t the most important thing: “Find a way to win games, whether we’re throwing or running.”

He was blunt about out one of the major underlying causes of the loss today: “We just gotta capitalize in the red zone. We’re moving the ball up and down the field.”

He offered the classic athlete explanation of dealing with a tough loss: “The same way we had to forget about Dallas after we won, we gotta forget about Houston.”

And he expounded on that last one with this zen-like observation. “We can’t play the game again, we can’t add time on the clock, so tomorrow it’s on to our next game.”

But what I was most interested in was his explanation of this play, his remarkable block downfield to help Fred Davis nearly get to the end zone.

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Trent Williams Discusses His Injury

Posted by Matt Terl on September 19, 2010 – 9:00 pm

Of all the unfortunate images from this game — Andre Johnson catching that touchdown; the field goal going wide right; the near-miss overthrow of Joey Galloway — the one above has the most devastating long-term potential: it’s rookie first-round draft choice Trent Williams being helped off the field after suffering a knee and toe injury in the fourth quarter of the game.

Williams spoke to a media horde after the game, not moving smoothly and clearly with one stiff leg, and willing but not eager to talk. Because many of his responses were terse and frustrated (for obvious reasons), I’ve just gone ahead and transcribed the whole media session, or at least as much of it as was audible on my recording.

One of the things that was not audible was the first question, but Williams’ answer comes through clearly:

“Yeah,” he says, “somebody landed on it wrong.”

Q: What did you feel when it happened?


Q: You didn’t feel a pop or anything?


Q: Knee injury: how does it feel now?


Q: Is it just your knee, or is it something else?

“My knee and my toe.”

Q: Oh, it’s your toe, not your ankle?


Q: Any idea how long it might be?

“I have no idea.”

Q: You know what happens from here? Are you gonna get some tests or…?

“Yeah, I’ll get some MRI on it, I’m pretty sure.” [NOTE: Head coach Mike Shanahan confirmed this in his own address to the media.]

Q: When would you expect that you’ll know?

“I don’t know. It’s my first time dealing with this.”

Q: Did they give you an initial ACL test out there?

“Mm hmm.”

Q: Did you pass?

“Mm hmm.”

Q: How frustrating is it?

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Redskins v. Texans – Overtime Reactions

Posted by Matt Terl on September 19, 2010 – 7:39 pm

There’s not a lot to react to in a depressing, fall-from-ahead loss like that other than to say it wasn’t good.

We learned just how important a couple of Redskins players are the hard way: because of what happened when they left the field. LaRon Landry left the field and the Texans immediately threw at Chris Horton; Trent Williams left the field and the gameplan changed completely, and not for the better. Donovan McNabb remained impressive, but those stats seem a lot less significant in defeat than they did with a 17 point lead.

There’s not even the opportunity to complain about the NFL’s overtime rules, because both teams had the ball and both teams had chances to win.

This was a bad loss by any reckoning; the focus now has to be on hoping Trent Williams isn’t hurt too badly. I’m off to the locker room for what I’m sure will be lots of light-hearted cheer, and I’ll be back to convey those sentiments to you. Read more »

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Redskins v. Texans – Fourth Quarter Reactions

Posted by Matt Terl on September 19, 2010 – 7:15 pm

There’s been a lot to like about this game, yes, but none of it in the fourth quarter. The Redskins have given up 17 straight points and are headed to overtime in a game that they really should’ve won. Any number of plays could’ve changed the game, but the blocked field goal in the fourth quarter looms largest.

Oh, and rookie offensive tackle Trent Williams left the game with an injury. Other than that, oh, just tons to like. Read more »

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Redskins v. Texans – Third Quarter Reactions

Posted by Matt Terl on September 19, 2010 – 6:14 pm

When the Redskins traded for Donovan McNabb, there was a lot of talk about what a franchise QB means to a team, and about what a difference he would make, and how Washington hadn’t seen a QB like this since — depending on who you asked — Joe Theismann, or Sonny Jurgensen, or Sammy Baugh, or ever.

Through the preseason and one regular season game, that wasn’t something that we’d really gotten to see. But during this third quarter, after the Texans drove down for a field goal on their opening drive, McNabb managed to demonstrate EXACTLY what people were talking about.

In the course of the drive, McNabb went 5-of-6 for 94 yards, culminating in a 22 yard touchdown pass to Chris Cooley. But it wasn’t just the numbers; we’ve seen quarterbacks do that here before, although not frequently. It was the way McNabb fit the the ball into tight spaces, the chances he took, and the confidence he displayed.

On a 3rd-and-10 play to Anthony Armstrong, McNabb threw what looked like an impossible ball, something I can’t remember seeing from anyone wearing burgundy and gold since 1991 at best. It kept the drive alive, led inevitably to the touchdown … and was a play that simply wouldn’t have been made at any other time in recent memory.

That said, the Texans are still very much alive. A ten point lead over this offense is virtually nothing — I’m not exaggerating when I say that I would’ve felt at least six times happier if the Texans first touchdown of this half had been pushed back by one play to the start of the fourth quarter.

Despite all the positive signs and terrific stats, this may yet be a nailbiter. Read more »

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Redskins v. Texans – Second Quarter Reactions

Posted by Matt Terl on September 19, 2010 – 5:34 pm

Well, my vaguely doom-and-gloom-y tone at the end of the last quarter looked like wise caution when the Texans scored a touchdown on the first play of the second quarter. Because, see, the Redskins had settled for two field goals, so just that one touchdown gave the Texans the lead. And you could feel the sense of here-we-go-again from the fans, the folks in the press box, the people on Twitter, and so on.

The offense was good, the feeling seemed to be, but not quite good enough. Not good enough to convert red zone opportunities, not high-powered enough to score on a young, fast defense.

But something funny happened on the way to here-we-go-again: Donovan McNabb showed up at quarterback, hitting Joey Galloway deep for 62 yards. Four plays letter, Clinton Portis bulled his way into the end zone for a real-live offensive touchdown and it became clear that the Redskins actually COULD score touchdowns. Or ONE touchdown, anyhow.

Add in some swarming, attacking play from the defense — four different Redskins players have been involved in three different sacks — and ANOTHER 62-yard completion from McNabb, this one to Fred Davis, and suddenly the Redskins went into halftime with 20 points on the board. Everyone I talked to pregame — professional pundits and fans-in-the-crowd alike — agreed that the Redskins would need at least 21 one to win … but none of them seemed sure the team would get there at all, let alone by halftime.

This led to a laundry list of notes at halftime:

First time the Redskins have scored 20 points in a half since 2007
First time the Redskins scored on their first three possessions in 120 games
McNabb’s 239 yards were the most in a half for the Redskins in a first half since Mark Rypien’s 259 in 1991

And on and on and on.

There’s still two glaring problems, of course. The simplest is that the game is far from over, and this is a Houston offense that can score a lot. The second is the running game. Portis has two touchdowns on nine carries for 10 yards. That’s fine if you’re a specialist like Gerald Riggs was back in that 1991 season, but not ideal for the top running back on a 2010 team.

Still: 20-7 at the half makes it seem churlish to complain. Read more »

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Redskins v. Texans – First Quarter Reactions

Posted by Matt Terl on September 19, 2010 – 4:45 pm

The quarter ends with the Redskins leading the Texans 6-0, which sounds good in theory. But Houston’s right on the doorstep, and the Redskins six points should have been at least 10 if not 14. The offense has had the ball twice and both times has moved it successfully into the red zone, but both times the drives have stalled.

In fact there appear two major issues with the offense right now: converting red zone opportunities, and rushing the ball. At the end of the first quarter, Donovan McNabb is 7-for-8 for 90 yards, which is good. But the Redskins running backs have combined for a whopping ZERO yards thus far.

It’s tough to control the clock if you’re having trouble running the ball, and equally tough to keep the prolific Texans offense off the field. At some point the Redskins are going to have either find a running game, or abandon it all together. One of those hasn’t looked likely thus far; the other sounds like a terrible plan.

But if 6 is worse than 14 (it is), it’s also better than nothing. And, of course, it was nothing short of glorious to see Carlos Rogers actually intercept the ball after playing to his stereotype and bobbling it a few times.

Plenty to like here, but the running game thing is really worrying me. Read more »

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Redskins v. Houston Inactives

Posted by Matt Terl on September 19, 2010 – 3:07 pm

Here are the inactives for today’s game. One of these names seems like a bigger deal than the others, but I’ll let you make that determination yourself.

  • 3 John Beck (emergency third quarterback)
  • 16 Brandon Banks
  • 41 Kareem Moore
  • 56 Perry Riley
  • 63 Will Montgomery
  • 82 Logan Paulsen
  • 90 Jeremy Jarmon
  • 92 Albert Haynesworth

Haynesworth’s absence means that Anthony Bryant, a nose tackle, will be active, and I’m actually interested to see what he can do. He’s a more natural nose tackle than Haynesworth, and it’s at least conceivable that he might better suit Jim Haslett’s defense. Either way, we’re about to find out. Read more »

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Follow The Redskins On Foursquare

Posted by Matt Terl on September 19, 2010 – 12:47 pm

This AP image of FedExField has a pretty cool pedigree: it was snapped on Tuesday, September 14 from Air Force One as the President returned to nearby Andrews Air Force Base. That has nothing at all to do with foursquare, but I was looking for recent aerials of the stadium to illustrate this post and thought the note was worth making.

ANYHOW, foursquare: follow @redskinsdotcom on foursquare, and check in at FedExField or a Redskins bar to unlock the Redskins badge. You could win a pair of FREE Loge tickets and an opportunity to meet the GEICO Caveman. For details go to http://redsk.in/ag42Yc.

And if you’re still confused about what foursquare actually, you know, IS, here’s a video that explains things pretty well: Read more »

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