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The Touchdown Was Not Scored On Fifth Down

Posted by Matt Terl on December 12, 2010 – 6:08 pm

There can sometimes be a weird disconnect between what people in the pressbox notice and what people watching at home notice. The TV broadcast will highlight something — say, a shouting match on the sidelines, or a random player standing isolated by himself while his position group appears to have a meeting nearby — that can go entirely unnoticed by the assembled media.

That wasn’t the case with the Redskins final drive of today’s game: the FOX tv coverage and the people keeping stats in the pressbox all seemed pretty sure that the almost-kinda-sorta tying touchdown took place on fifth down. (Or, to be more accurate, a second fourth down.)

That wasn’t the case. It was a fourth-down conversion, not a fifth-down conversion, and the confusion stemmed from a couple of specific events. Read more »

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Hunter Smith Takes The Blame For The Final PAT

Posted by Matt Terl on December 12, 2010 – 5:02 pm

Saying that today was “rough” for Redskins kicker Graham Gano is a catastrophic bit of understatement. Gano missed two makeable field goals — a 34 yarder banged clear off the left upright and a 24 yarder wide left — and didn’t even get the chance to attempt the final PAT, which led to the painful moment above.

Gano has only been in the NFL for two seasons, but he knows perfectly well that a game like this can cost a kicker his job — and, in fact, that a game like this did just that to a Redskins kicker last year. “I wouldn’t be surprised,” Gano said. “I’ve seen it happen before. That’s what happened to me last year — that’s how I got here. I definitely wouldn’t be surprised. But I’m just as confident as ever. It’s my second year kicking in the NFL and I think I’ll be here for a long time.”

Fortunately for Gano (at least for the moment), his head coach seems to agree, saying that he wouldn’t be bringing in tryout kickers this week. “He has been very consistent for us in practice,” Mike Shanahan said. “He’s young and I think he has a great future. Hopefully, he can put this behind him and when he gets in the same situation he’ll put it through the uprights.”

But there are other people who might be concerned as well: Read more »

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Redskins vs. Buccaneers – Fourth Quarter Thoughts

Posted by Matt Terl on December 12, 2010 – 4:00 pm

Well, that was the rare finish where how bizarre it was overwhelmed how frustrating it was. After giving up the lead in depressingly typical fashion — an uncalled hold on Brian Orakpo keeps him from the quarterback and a long touchdown pass later the Redskins are trailing 17-10 — the Redskins drove the length of the field and scored what seemed like the game-tying touchdown on what appeared to nearly everyone in the pressbox to be a fifth down (or, more accurately, a second fourth down).

But that argument is rendered irrelevant before it can even start, because Nick Sundberg‘s snap on the PAT is high, Hunter Smith can’t get the ball down, and Graham Gano is injured in the ensuing scrum. Smith couldn’t convert the onside kick, and that was game over in the most confusing and depressing way yet.

Heading down to the locker room to see if it was as confusing for the guys on the field as it was for the folks in the pressbox. I’ll have more shortly. In the meantime, here’s Hog Santa to bring some holiday cheer to this otherwise depressing afternoon.

Read more »

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Redskins vs. Buccaneers – Third Quarter Reactions

Posted by Matt Terl on December 12, 2010 – 3:05 pm

Well, it wouldn’t be your 2010 Washington Redskins if every quarter of the game were rainbows and puppy dogs, right? So instead we come out of the third quarter with the Redskins clinging to a 1 point lead, having put up just 15 total yards in the third quarter.

That 15 yards sets no notable records, and — unlike, say, Ryan Torain‘s first half performance or a decent day from Trent Williams — does not create a whole lot of reasons for optimism moving forward. The tone of the quarter was set on the opening kick, which bounced off of Chris Wilson after being kicked away from Brandon Banks and gave the Bucs the opening possession of the quarter.

In fact, the main thought I was stuck with as the third quarter developed was how frustrated I would’ve been if I were rooting for the Buccaneers. They were at least moving the ball a little bit, with one 44-yard drive lasting almost five and a half minutes. And yet they walk away with just two field goals, still trailing by one. Of course, if the Redskins have another quarter of just 15 yards or so, I don’t expect that Bucs fans will wind up with much to be frustrated about.

Read more »

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Redskins vs. Buccaneers – Second Quarter Reactions

Posted by Matt Terl on December 12, 2010 – 2:16 pm

In a turn of events so unfamiliar that I don’t even know how to deal with it, the second quarter was good in all the same ways as the first quarter. Although Ryan Torain hasn’t kept up the pace for an eventual 400+ rushing yards, he has continued to impress. His 158 rushing yards in the first half is the most in the NFL since Tiki Barber had 171 against the Redskins in 2005.

The 272 total yards is the most first-half yardage the Redskins have had since they played Houston in 2006. The team looks, frankly, better than they have at any point this season. And it’s coming from some interesting people.

Kory Lichtensteiger has made a number of terrific downfield blocks — which is exactly what we kept hearing that he would excel at, but which we haven’t actually SEEN all that much. Keiland Williams is no Ryan Torain, but he has 4 carries for 16 yards and 2 catches for 36 yards. DeAngelo Hall is having his traditional boom-or-bust game, best summed up in the play on which he missed a tackle that let LeGarette Blount start a long run, then ran Blount down, forced the fumble, recovered the fumble, and returned the fumble — sparking a drive that led to the Redskins’ only touchdown.

And therein lies the main worry: the Redskins should be leading by AT LEAST 16-3. Graham Gano has missed a field goal in each quarter of the game so far, and some bizarre clock mismanagement forced the team to settle for a field goal at the end of the half instead of being able to try for the touchdown. (And, it should probably be mentioned, Gano made that 25 yarder much more exciting than it needed to be.)

So the good stuff from the first quarter recurred, but so did the main problem: the Redskins aren’t making the most of their opportunities — and that’s never something that yields positive results. Still: it’s a halftime lead. Feels like it’s been forever since I’ve seen one of those. Read more »

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Redskins vs. Buccaneers – First Quarter Reactions

Posted by Matt Terl on December 12, 2010 – 1:33 pm

The score is 0-0. The Redskins passing game is … patchy at best. The rain is coming down pretty heavily, and there are an awful lot of empty seats. And yet — at least from the dry confines of the press box — there’s one thing very much worth watching: Ryan Torain, who has returned from a hamstring injury to demonstrate just how good he can be.

At the end of the first quarter alone, Torain has rushed for 121 yards. Official records for this kind of thing are only available back to 1991, but this is the first Redskins RB to rush for 100 yards in the first quarter since then. (Some people think Gerald Riggs did it against the Eagles back in 1989, but I haven’t yet been able to confirm.)

The last running back to rush for 121 in the first quarter of a game was Tiki Barber in 2005, and the last running back to rush for MORE than that amount in the first quarter was Marshall Faulk back in 2001. So Torain looks pretty good, and you have to give the much-maligned offensive line credit for their run blocking as well.

But it hasn’t amounted to anything on the scoreboard (unless your scoreboard charts missed field goals), and all the fun stats in the world aren’t as valuable as, you know, actual points. Read more »

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Redskins vs. Buccaneers: Redskins Inactives

Posted by Matt Terl on December 12, 2010 – 11:53 am

In case you missed the news yesterday, the Redskins signed rookie offensive lineman Erik Cook from the practice squad to their active roster yesterday, filling the spot vacated by the suspension of Albert Haynesworth. Cook was a seventh round pick in the 2010 draft, a center/guard guy out of New Mexico.

Here are two easy ways to tell that the photo of Cook above comes from preseason:

1) The Redskins are wearing white jerseys; today’s uniform against the Bucs is the burgundy jerseys over the white pants.

2) Cook is wearing a uniform. Despite being signed to the active roster, he’s one of the inactive players today. It’s a circumstance that’s a little strange, but not nearly as strange as when the guy who used to have Cook’s roster spot was inactive a week ago today.

Also on the inactive list, unfortunately, are LaRon Landry and Carlos Rogers. Both had been at least briefly hopeful of playing this week, but it’s not to be. If the Redskins lose today, you have to suspect that at least one of those guys will be a candidate for injured reserve.

Here’s the complete list: Read more »

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