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Redskins vs. Eagles – Fourth Quarter Reactions

Posted by Matt Terl on November 15, 2010 – 11:57 pm

Here are the good things I can think about from this game, as I prepare to head down to what will no doubt be a seriously self-loathing locker room:

  • It’s over.
  • Keiland Williams did pretty well for himself after being pressed into service, 16 carries for 89 yards and 2 touchdowns, plus 4 receptions for 50 yards and a touchdown.
  • The Redskins managed to decrease the deficit from the end of the third quarter to the final gun, losing by 31 after trailing by 38.

That’s about it, really. Under any circumstances, this was a horrific loss. With two weeks to prepare and the theoretical emotional boost of Donovan McNabb‘s contract extension in play, this was nothing short of a catastrophe.

More once I’ve talked to some of the players involved in it…. Read more »

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Redskins vs. Eagles – Third Quarter Reactions

Posted by Matt Terl on November 15, 2010 – 11:20 pm

Sure, the picture of LeSean McCoy doing the John Wall dance is from the first quarter of this game, but it’s as good an image of epic fail as any.

Somehow, some way, this evening keeps getting worse. The Redskins opened the second half exactly as they had to, driving down and scoring a touchdown, and it just didn’t matter. The Eagles actually fumbled the ensuing kickoff, and that didn’t matter either — Byron Westbrook couldn’t get a firm grip, and the ball bounced back to the Eagles.

And from there it was more of the same: Michael Vick looking like one of the all-time greats at quarterback, driving his team down the field for a touchdown — a touchdown, it should be noted, on a play during which he had nearly EIGHT full seconds to choose his receiver.

On the following drive, something else we hadn’t seen yet today: a Redskins turnover leading directly to Eagles points (rather than needing the Philadelphia offense to contribute). Donovan McNabb had a pass picked off for a fairly easy touchdown, which is how you get to 59-21 at the end of the third.

Meaning, in case you’re scoring at home, that the deficit has somehow gotten worse every single quarter, no matter how much the Redskins have scored.

This really is a complete debacle. Read more »

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Redskins vs. Eagles – Second Quarter Reactions

Posted by Matt Terl on November 15, 2010 – 10:22 pm

Signs it’s been a bad half of football:

  • Giving up 17 points in a quarter is a sign of improvement.
  • Despite scoring two touchdowns in the second quarter, you now trail by MORE than you did after the first half.
  • Your only fully healthy running back has 21 rushing yards on 7 carries.
  • Your starting right tackle has limped to the locker room.
  • Your Pro Bowl tight end has limped off the field.
  • Your number one wide receiver has just 1 catch for 5 yards.
  • Your touchdowns have been scored by your backup fullback and your third(?) string running back.
  • The opposing quarterback has completed 14-of-18 passes for 3 touchdowns AND rushed for 66 yards and 2 MORE touchdowns.

I could go on — the opposing team ties their franchise record for points in a half AND you tie your record for points allowed in a half, for example — but you get the idea. Despite a couple of big plays, and despite the fact that McNabb has looked sharper at points during this game than at most others during his Redskins tenure, this has been nothing but a disaster for the hometeam.

The Redskins will receive the ball to start the third trailing 45-14. Read more »

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Redskins vs. Eagles – First Quarter Reactions

Posted by Matt Terl on November 15, 2010 – 9:30 pm

There really isn’t much to be said after a display like that. The Redskins had trouble getting their offense going and finished the quarter with just 23 yards and no points. Which is bad, no doubt.

But it’s made much, much worse by the fact that the Eagles put up the most first quarter points by a visiting team in NFL history, with 28. They racked up 280 yards. Michael Vick was 8-for-8 for 181 yards and 2 touchdowns.

This was a catastrophe by any measure, as bad as first quarters get. About the most sympathetic thing I can say is that now I know how Broncos fans felt during that remarkable second quarter of Super Bowl XXII.

And the day really did start out well. The Redskins looked intense in pregame warmups. There was pushing and shoving before the kickoff that led to the Redskins defense getting seriously amped up. And then Michael Vick completed an 88 yard touchdown pass to DeSean Jackson on the first play of the game, and it never once felt like the Redskins had a chance to do anything. At all. Forget scoring — they didn’t even seem able to move the ball.

Oh, and Ryan Torain apparently had his hamstring tighten up during pregame leaving Keiland Williams as the only healthy tailback.

Other than that, it’s been a celebration of football here at FedExField. Eagles lead 28-0. Read more »

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Mike Tirico And Ron Jaworski Explain How They Handle A Neverending Story

Posted by Matt Terl on November 15, 2010 – 6:01 pm

When I talked to Mike Tirico and Ron Jaworski at ESPN’s MNF Chalk Talk today, the big story around Donovan McNabb was something that happened more than two weeks ago, when the QB was pulled from the last two minutes of a game in Detroit. Since then, of course, things have changed and the big story around McNabb is something that happened maybe two hours ago, when he signed a contract extension with the Redskins.

But for purposes of this blog post, let’s all throw our minds back to an earlier time, a time when “how do you balance how much you talk about the Donovan McNabb stuff” was actually a reasonable question to ask.

Because that’s what I wanted to ask the guys about. This has been a story that’s run the gamut over the last two weeks, drawing attention from every national NFL commenter, raising cries of racism, bringing at least one call for the firing of the new head coach just eight games into his tenure, and generally being run into the ground in every conceivable way.

Now Tirico, Jaworski, and boothmate Jon Gruden are going to be expected to talk about it some more, and that seemed like a ridiculously awkward thing to balance, especially if you plan to also call a football game.

Tirico, of course, sees it in a much more positive way. “The beauty is, we have the evidence,” he told me. “If there’s been fourteen and a half days of conversation since the Detroit game, that conversation was ‘What’s gonna happen the next time he plays?’ Well, we have the three-and-a-half hours that will set up the next six days of conversation.” Read more »

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Looking Back At A Monday Night Game To Forget

Posted by Matt Terl on November 15, 2010 – 9:17 am

On September 16, 2002, I was at graduate school at the University of Colorado in Boulder. I didn’t have NFL Sunday Ticket yet, so it still felt like a pretty big deal to have the Redskins on national TV for the Monday Night Game. It was the beginning of the Steve Spurrier era — I’m not sure if two seasons constitutes an era, but that’s what we thought at the time — and the possibilities seemed limitless. We hosted some of my fellow grad students at our place for the game, and I mainly remember talking pregame trash with an Eagles fan by the unlikely name of Starlet.

If you didn’t know anything about the game and you were to look at the picture of Jacquez Green above, you might think that I was able to keep jawing throughout the game. That would not be precisely correct; Green’s second-quarter punt return touchdown represented the only Redskins points for the night.

By halftime, with the Redskins trailing 23-7, I wasn’t talking any more trash, and by the middle of the third quarter even Starlet had been overcome with pity; the whole gathering had fallen into a vaguely uncomfortable silence. The possibilities of the Steve Spurrier era no longer seemed so limitless, as SI.com’s Don Banks grimly recounted at the time:

“The most apparent realization produced by the Eagles’ blowout victory?” Banks wrote. “Offensive genius or not, Spurrier isn’t going to win many games with the likes of Matthews or Danny Wuerffel at quarterback. Not when there’s a Donovan McNabb in the other team’s pocket, and not when there’s a quality defense lined up against you.” And that wasn’t even the harshest criticism in Banks’ piece.

But the beatdown isn’t the main thing that folks remember about the game now. The only person who was on the Redskins roster in 2002 that’s still around to chat with is coaching intern Chris Samuels, and his primary memory of the game focuses on a moment in the fourth quarter when play was halted because, as the AP story explains, “police used pepper spray to break up a fight in the stands.”

“It wasn’t too long after the terrorist attacks on 9/11,” Samuels told me last week, “so it was pretty scary. I thought it was another attack or something like that. Everybody kinda panicked on the sideline.”

The gas got caught in the cooling fans on the Eagles’ sidelines and blown across their bench, causing several players and team staffers to become sick.

Samuels was the only then-Redskin who’s still around, but two current Redskins were on the Eagles sidelines at the time.

For Donovan McNabb, it’s not a game that stands out — just another win fairly early in his illustrious career — but he does remember the gas. Read more »

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