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Fourth Quarter Big Picture

Posted by Brian Tinsman on September 11, 2011 – 8:51 pm

AP Image

Welcome to Redskins football, version 2.011.

The football team out on the field tonight showed the ability to be successful in all facets of the game, even when things weren’t perfect.

Special teams missed on the only opportunity for a field goal tonight, but managed to stay perfect on extra points, with solid kick offs, returns, and punts.

The offense lacked an explosive running game, but managed to spread the ball around to the playmakers, and make plays out of the pocket.

The defense played blinked several times in the first half, and let the Giants offense march down the field for touchdowns.  But rookie outside linebacker Ryan Kerrigan started the second half off with the game winning pick-six.   Read more »

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Who Gets Your Game Ball?

Posted by Brian Tinsman on September 11, 2011 – 7:15 pm

The paid attendance this afternoon at FedExField was 80,121.

The Brian Orakpo blocked field goal in the fourth quarter was the first by a Redskins since Brandon Banks did it in October 17, 2010, against the Colts.

Now it’s your turn to pick your heroes of the day:

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Third Quarter Pontifications

Posted by Brian Tinsman on September 11, 2011 – 6:43 pm

Youth movements are much easier when your youth play like that in the third quarter.

Outside linebacker Ryan Kerrigan has been in the backfield all day, as the Giants line continues to shift to Orakpo.

Big mistake.

Kerrigan put points on the board in his first professional start, reading Eli Manning’s eyes, tipping the pass to himself, and running it back nine yards for a touchdown.

Who said the rookie end-turned-linebacker would struggle in coverage?

This is the first time that a Redskins rookie has returned an interception for a touchdown since Champ Bailey did so on October 17, 1999.  That return was for 51 yards, but who is counting?

Also playing big in his first NFL action, nose tackle Chris Neild recorded 1.5 sacks in the third frame.  The first play came on the next Giants possession after the Kerrigan interception, and his half sack closed out the quarter.  His job in this defense is to hold blocks on rushing downs, but he’s shown a good ability to shed his blocks on passing downs and collapse the pocket.

Very athletic moves for the big man, and he’s saved the Redskins the embarrassment of more infamous Manning-scramble-yards.

Tight end Fred Davis broke his Twitter silence earlier this week, and broke his playmaker silence on the field today.  He leads the Redskins with three receptions for 76 yards, and has accented each big grab with a big celebration.

It seems a little uncharacteristic for the soft-spoken tight end, but this game could be his long-awaited coming-out party.

The stadium rose to its collective feet in the third quarter and has been buzzing ever since.  Redskins are on top for the first time today, 21-14 going into the final frame.

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First Half Rehash

Posted by Brian Tinsman on September 11, 2011 – 5:53 pm

AP Image

When your kicker misses in his first chance, it might be best to delay his second.

That’s exactly what the Redskins did, going for it on fourth-and-five near midfield.  No guts, no glory, and the Santana Moss reception and conversion kept the drive alive.  A tremendously athletic grab by Anthony Armstrong (pictured above) at the goal line, set up a two-yard touchdown run by Tim Hightower.

Hightower was your pregame selection (65 percent) for the top newcomer to the Burgundy and Gold, and he has lived up to the distinction.  So far, he’s racked up 56 all-purpose yards, has a 4.2 yards-per-carry average, and his first touchdown as a Redskin.

Does anyone miss Vonnie Holliday?

Despite their reputation as a running game, the Giants are trying to tip this game with big plays through the air.  The Redskins limited the two-headed monster to 23 yards in the first quarter and 63 in the first half, forcing Eli Manning and Company to look to the aerial assault.  The Redskins pass defense has played well, but have benefited from a few timely drops.

Not turning my nose up at those, I’m just saying.

From a historical perspective, Chris Cooley’s second grab of the first half is one of the finest of his illustrious career.  The grab tied him with Jerry Smith for first all time for a Redskins tight end.  He moves into fifth all-time for the Redskins, and looked good moving around on his injured knee.

But if you were his friend, you would know not to doubt him.

The half wrapped up with a 6-yard pass to Armstrong for a touchdown, knotting the game up at 14.  Graham Gano’s ensuing kickoff went through the far uprights.

It turns out he’s just more comfortable from 75 yards than 39.

All-in-all, a good first half of football in the Nation’s Capital.

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First Quarter Thoughts

Posted by Brian Tinsman on September 11, 2011 – 5:07 pm

Rivalry games frequently come down to one or two big plays that make the difference.

One of those plays is already in the books.

For the first five minutes of the game, the story line was about defense.  Both teams were creating pressure with the front four and five, forcing both quarterbacks to unload wobbly check-down passes.  But on 3rd-and-10, Giants quarterback stepped up in the pocket to avoid a blitzing Ryan Kerrigan, and had a wide-open Hakim Nicks down the field for a 68-yard bomb.

Cornerback Kevin Barnes and safety Reed Doughty got burned on the play, but a credit to them for not giving up on their responsibilities.  The Giants skated into the endzone two plays later, but effort on plays like that, matter.

On the next Washington possession, quarterback Rex Grossman hit Tim Hightower for a 10-yard gain.  This was Grossman’s 80th completed pass as a Redskin, and 600th career pass.

Pop the bubbly.

Special teams are yielding mixed results at the moment.  Unfortunately, kicker Graham Gano started 2011 with more of what plagued him in 2010: a missed 39-yard field goal.  Brandon Banks looks to be in mid-season form, giving the Redskins pretty good starting field position.

See you at the half.

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Players Brimming With Gametime Expectation

Posted by Brian Tinsman on September 11, 2011 – 4:35 pm

How excited are you for the return of the regular season?

Not as excited as the players, themselves.

Wide receiver Anthony Armstrong had some very American shoes specially made for today:

Read more »

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The Pregame Stadium Quick Hits

Posted by Brian Tinsman on September 11, 2011 – 4:02 pm

It’s been a long 252 days since the Redskins played a regular season game, and even longer than that since they squared off in a meaningful game.  The sun is shining, American flags are flying high, and the Redskins faithful are pouring in.

The Redskins and Giants have been cleared for the pregame festivities.  The gametime temperature is 86 degrees with winds out of the southeast at 6 mph.

Tim Hightower warmed up as a running back, but also took an opportunity to successfully boot a 50-yard field goal.


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Football Is Back In The Nation’s Capital

Posted by Brian Tinsman on September 11, 2011 – 4:00 pm

The beauty of a storied-franchise that stretches over eight decades is that the players who take the field carry on a legacy of success in the Burgundy and Gold.

This video will never get old:

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Redskins, H.O.F., Honor 9-11 Heroes

Posted by Christopher Mudd on September 11, 2011 – 3:11 pm

In the spirit of honoring and remembering those heroes who fought and still fight today to protect our country, the Pro Football Hall of Fame presents the “Pro Football and the American Spirit” exhibit at FedExField.

Pro Football Hall of Fame Vice President of Communications and Exhibits, Joe Horrigan was on hand at the exhibit to answer questions and give detailed information.

“The exhibit is a celebration of the NFL players who served during times of crisis during the wars: World War II, Korea,Vietnam, and theMiddle East,” Horrigan said. “The popular misconception is that players have not fulfilled their military duty in some instance.”

According to Horrigan, more than 1,200 NFL players put their careers on pause to join the armed forces. Twenty-one of those players lost their lives during World War II, and two lost their lives in the Vietnam War.

One player lost his life in the conflict in the Middle East: former Arizona Cardinals safety Pat Tillman.

Of the over 1,200 former players who have served for their country, three won the Congressional Medal of Honor, the highest form of recognition a soldier can receive.

The Washington Redskins organization has seen its fair share of players honorably serve their country. Thirty-five former Redskins players fought and served in the Korean War, and two in the Vietnam War.

“The stories we tell here are really a chronology of the participation not only of just the players, but of the NFL itself,” Horrigan said.

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Redskins-Giants At Second Glance

Posted by Brian Tinsman on September 11, 2011 – 2:30 pm

AP Image

Want to impress your friends with the pregame knowledge?  Take some notes:

  • The last time the Redskins took the field in regular season action, it was with the same quarterback, in the same stadium, against the same team.
  • It’s been 252 days since that game.  Of those days, 127 were consumed with the longest work-stoppage in league history.  That’s almost exactly half (50.38 percent).
  • The Redskins have nine rookies on the roster and 25 players with three years of NFL experience or less.
  • The average age of the roster this year is 25 years, 7 months old.
  • There are only four players left on the team born before 1980: Sav Rocca, Mike Sellers, Santana Moss, and London Fletcher.
  • During the September 11th attacks, the average age of the roster was 15 years, 7 months.  In most states, that’s a sophomore who has yet to get his driver’s license.
  • Altogether, there were 30 of the Redskins 53-man roster still in grade school on 9/11.  Of those, nine were still in middle school.

Besides age, there’s  also a very telling difference in attitude going into this game.  Check out some of the comments from the locker room after the last Giants matchup. Read more »

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