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Fourth Quarter Reflections

Posted by Brian Tinsman on November 6, 2011 – 6:59 pm

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Perhaps the answer to today’s loss can be found many moons ago in the Week 5 loss to the Eagles.

As you’ll recall, the Redskins were flying high out of the bye week, while the Eagles were on life support, traveling on the road to battle the healthy Redskins.

Five injured starters and 60 minutes later, nose tackle Barry Cofield was asked whether it was just one tally in the loss column or an indicator of future performance.  The conclusion that he came to at the time, was, “Well, we’ll just have to see.”

After today’s game, his answer sounds more ominous than optimistic.

The Redskins ended up with decent numbers, but stats don’t feel very good after today’s loss.

Cofield talked after the game again today, and revisited his words from Week 5.

“It’s hard to look back,” he said.  “Any losing streak, it can creep into the locker room and create negativity.  Honestly at this point, I feel like you do have to break the bad momentum.  At this point, when you’ve lost this many games in a row, a win is big.  It’s not about just that day.  A win can change the entire outlook on the season.”

At this point, that’s exactly what this team needs.  After starting out 3-1 in the first quarter of the season, the Redskins have dropped each of their last four games to round out the first half at 3-5.  Next up, the Redskins are staring down a Miami Dolphins that drubbed the Chiefs to the tune of 31-3, today.

After the game, Cofield articulated the only way that the team was going to beat the streak on the road.

“We can’t let it be a snowball effect, and we can’t let the negativity creep in,” he said.  “You have to make sure that when you take that field every day, that you have the best intentions.  You wanna go out there and win, and you realize that one win in this league can change a lot.”

“Once we get a win, we can finally exhale a sigh of relief.”

And the citizens of Redskins Nation feel the same pain.  At this point, the optimism of the preseason seems like a very long time ago.

Just how much difference did Chris Cooley, Santana Moss, Tim Hightower and Kory Lichtensteiger make?  There’s a difference between causality and coincidence, but the Redskins haven’t won since they departed.  Whether it’s production or leadership, the team just hasn’t produced since they left.

But there isn’t a single player in the locker room, willing to use that excuse.

“You’ve gotta win,” Cofield concluded.  “One win can cure a lot.  One win may not get you to the top of the division, but it can bring some good feeling into the locker room.  We just need one win.”

One win beats the streak.

So long from FedExField, with the Redskins falling in a tough one: Washington 11, San Francisco 19.

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Who Is Your MVR(edskin)

Posted by Brian Tinsman on November 6, 2011 – 5:01 pm

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Win or lose, there are always players that perform well.  I promise.

Today seems to have a special teams flair:

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Third Quarter Thoughts

Posted by Brian Tinsman on November 6, 2011 – 4:22 pm

The headline for this post might be a little misleading, as there isn’t much to think about after the third quarter.

At this point, it’s a battle against the clock, as much as it is against the 49ers.  The Redskins need a spark on offense, and they need to stop Frank Gore on defense.

The Redskins defense did a good job at keeping the 49ers at bay, and have done so for the entire game.  The only touchdown that they have allowed came on an offensive turnover near the red zone.  Other than that, they’ve held the 49ers to three field goals of 34, 45, and 52 yards.  Unfortunately, kicker David Akers has delivered.

No matter how many times the Redskins offense appears to be on the verge of building some momentum, a key drop, penalty, or turnover seems to derail them.  It’s difficult to say what the problem is, but the 49ers defense is stifling the Redskins offense in the second half, and it’s come from all directions.  There is a sense of frustration that’s visible on the field, and the Redskins need big plays to shake the funk.

The Redskins need a turnover on defense or huge play on offense to get back, in this in the final frame.  This game isn’t over yet, but it’s a race against time for the Burgundy and Gold.

San Francisco adds three to go up 16-3 with the final quarter to play.

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Second Quarter Non Sequiturs

Posted by Brian Tinsman on November 6, 2011 – 3:35 pm

AP Imag

If the Redskins had been able to end the half at the 2-minute warning, it would be a much happier feeling in the locker room at halftime

Through the first 28 minutes of the first half, the Redskins have found a rhythm that fans haven’t seen since the first half of the Rams game, over a month ago.

From committing to the run, to improved coverage in the secondary, the Redskins did a lot of things right in the first half.  Here’s the highlights:

On offense: The Redskins are running the football with good success.  Roy Helu is a dual threat out of the backfield, and has taken the pressure off of John Beck to spark the offense.  In the first half, Helu has nine rushes for 40 yards, and an additional 30 through the air.  This makes him the team’s leading rusher and receiver.

Offensive guard Maurice Hurt has handled his assignment as starting left guard, holding 49ers defensive end Justin Smith at bay so far.  The entire line is back in a better rhythm after the return of left tackle Trent Williams.

On defense: Despite missing free safety Oshiomogho Atogwe, the secondary is holding up much better this week, holding Alex Smith to seven-for-12 for 88 yards and a touchdown.  The Redskins are getting pressure on Smith and forcing him out of the pocket, because they aren’t allowing the receivers to get open.  The pressure has only hit home once so far on the Ryan Kerrigan sack, but they’ve kept the 49ers passing game quiet, for the most part.

The 49ers were held without a third down conversion for the whole first half, with the 49ers missing on six opportunities.  Running back Frank Gore has seven rushes for 65 yards in the first half, but the defense has held him without a game-changing run.

On special teams: Punter Sav Rocca continues to amaze in the battle for field position, dropping another punt inside the 20, zero touchbacks, and a 47.5-yard average.  Some players have ups and downs, but Rocca has yet to disappoint in Washington.

Standing on the Redskins emblem at midfield, kicker Graham Gano absolutely crushed a 59-yard field goal to end the first half.  That’s the longest of his career by nine yards, and he’s put up the only Redskins points  of the day.  There are some that disagree with his post-kick point to the sky, but he can do hand springs and River dance after that boot.  I’m sure that even Rocca was impressed.

That was, of course, the good of the first half, but the Redskins have to play mistake-free football in the second half.  They’re winning the time of possession battle by about 40 seconds, but they need to win the turnover battle today as well.

The second half from Washington up next; 49ers on top, 13-3.

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First Quarter: Freshman Report

Posted by Brian Tinsman on November 6, 2011 – 2:43 pm

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Freshman! Freshman! Freshman!

The Redskins are starting three rookies on offense today–two for the first time–and none taken before the third round of April’s NFL Draft.  Receiver Leonard Hankerson will get his second consecutive start, after going inactive in the first six weeks.  Roy Helu will get a chance to jump start the Redskins running game, and Maurice Hurt will try his hand at left guard.

Hurt is the second seventh-round rookie to play this year (Chris Neild being the first), and one of three that are active for today’s game (Brandyn Thompson).  Last year’s seventh-rounder, receiver Terrence Austin has already worked his way into the offense.

On the first play from scrimmage, Helu made the most of his first NFL start and cut it up field for a 16-yard gain.  This is the second-longest run of his career, and he was one man away from breaking it the distance.

But it was another rookie, linebacker Ryan Kerrigan, that stole the show on the team’s first defensive stand.  On third-and-six from the San Fran 46-yard line, 49ers quarterback Alex Smith rolled out of the pocket and stared down linebacker Rocky McIntosh.  He never saw Kerrigan break free from his blockers, run completely across the field, and whisper sweet nothings in Smith’s earhole.

And then he hit him as hard as you’re legally allowed to hit an NFL quarterback, for a sack.  This is the third sack of his career, and his first since the St. Louis game on October 2.

Hankerson got involved at the end of the first quarter, catching a pass over the middle for a first down.  It wasn’t a clean catch, but he stuck with the play, and had the time to secure the pass before contact.  This is his second reception and second first down of his career.

The youngin’s are on a roll after the first quarter, with the game going back and forth early.  All’s quiet on the scoreboard, as the Redskins and 49ers are locked at zero after 15 minutes.

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Experts Taking The Redskins, Are…

Posted by Brian Tinsman on November 6, 2011 – 2:02 pm

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It’s a thin crowd of NFL experts taking the Redskins today.  Probably no need for introductions.

That’s what happens when a a 6-1 team goes up against a 3-4 team mired in a three-game slump.  But no NFL game has ever been played on paper, and the Redskins have an East Coast home-field advantage.  If this is a trap game for the 49ers, these are the experts that saw the Redskins setting the bait: Read more »

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Are You Ready For Some Football?

Posted by Brian Tinsman on November 6, 2011 – 1:55 pm

Hello Redskins Nation and welcome to FedExField.  The crowd is filled with Washington Burgundy and Gold, and San Francisco red and white.

If you squint, it’s all the same.

Gorgeous weather for football, as the kickoff temperature is 56 degrees, wins out of the SE at 7 mph.  It’s my job to inform you that there is also a 10 percent chance of rain.  Despite the ocean blue skies, I’d pack a poncho–just in case.

Redskins players are wearing Burgundy uniforms and gold pants.  More importantly, the Redskins Cheerleaders are wearing the Burgundy spandex with white belts and gold pom poms.  Just so you know who that is on your television.

The Redskins alumni have been welcomed onto the field, and everyone is in really good spirits.  If fans need to harken back to a happy time in Washington, they need only see Bobby Mitchell, Jeff Bostic, Gary Clark, Charlie Taylor and company waving to the crowds.

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Players All A-Twitter For Kickoff

Posted by Brian Tinsman on November 6, 2011 – 12:50 pm

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The fans have filed in and the sun is shining on the Redskins faithful at FedExField.  As players rush out of the tunnel, these are their final chronicled thoughts before kickoff:

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