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Redskins Worked Over, In Overtime

Posted by Brian Tinsman on November 20, 2011 – 7:38 pm

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[Editor’s Note: This game will teach me to write leads before the end of the game.]

This was a rivalry game that was too big for 60 minutes.  Instead, it needed 69:21 exhibition of some of the best football that the Redskins played all year.  And long after the clock struck zero, this team kept fighting.

It just wasn’t quite enough.

In the post-game locker room, Redskins defensive end Adam Carriker described football as a game of inches.  Appropriately, a few inches here and a few inches there were the difference in the score at the end of the game.

Players said that head coach Mike Shanahan told his team that this was a game that they deserved to win, and compared to the team that got shut out in Toronto three weeks ago, he’s right.  Compared to the Redskins teams that took the field against the Cowboys (part one), Eagles, Panthers, 49ers, Dolphins,  or even the Rams, this was a team that deserved to win.

But they didn’t quite pull it off.

This was a team that rose to the occasion today, finding significant success in all facets of the game.  Quarterback Rex Grossman executed on offense, and put together four scoring drives–three ending in Grossman touchdowns.  Returner Brandon Banks built on the sparks he’s put together in recent weeks, burning the Cowboys for 190 yards on seven returns.  Punter Sav Rocca took over sole possession of the league lead in punts downed inside the 20, and has yet to yield a touchback on the season.  Jabar Gaffney was open more than 7-11, and hauled in seven receptions for 115 yards and a touchdown.  Donte Stallworth, who spent the fourth quarter of the Dolphins game grocery shopping, took over the fourth quarter today with four receptions for 51 yards and the game-tying touchdown.  Outside linebacker Ryan Kerrigan is exactly what the Redskins were looking for in the pass rush department, and has been an overwhelming success in his rookie campaign.

But it wasn’t quite enough.

The fact is that the Redskins played better today than they have at any point since the beginning of the season, and far out-paced their expectations for the day.  This was a team that none of the major NFL analysts called to win the game (zero).  This was a Redskins team that was 0-4 in their last four, going up against a team that was 3-1.  This is a team that after five-straight losses, could have quit.

But they didn’t.  They responded to a rivalry atmosphere and nearly pulled off the upset.

There are two approaches to the outcome of this game, and it boils down to whether the person is fixated on results vs. progress.  On the one hand, they lost, and a loss is a loss.  On the other hand, this is a team that was nearly dead in the water a few weeks ago, and has turned in their best total team effort in two months.  Clearly, this team is a work in progress, but with as many moving parts as they’ve had due to injury and ineffectiveness, this team finally appears to be headed in the right direction.

Where they go from here, remains to be seen.  After a short week of practice, we’ll see how this team responds in Seattle.

So long from FedExField, where the Cowboys pulled out the overtime win: Washington 24, Dallas 27.

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Who Is Your MVR(edskin)?

Posted by Brian Tinsman on November 20, 2011 – 5:00 pm

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Like any great rivalry game, this one looks like it’s going to come down to the wire.  At the 2-minute warning, who is your most valuable Redskins contributor, to this point?

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Third Quarter Thoughts

Posted by Brian Tinsman on November 20, 2011 – 4:22 pm

What if the Redskins threw a sack party and everyone was invited?

In the last thirty minutes of football, the Redskins have managed to fell Tony Romo four times, by a quartet of defenders.  Rookie Chris Neild and Ryan Kerrigan began the trend in the first half, with veterans Stephen Bowen and London Fletcher followed suit.  Like the first two, Bowen’s was a coverage sack, chasing Romo down after a long game of cat and mouse in the Cowboys backfield.

Fletcher made quick work of Romo’s protection, and followed his sack up with the best sack dance of the day.  That’s the veteran presence at work.

On the day, there are six different Redskins that have rushed the football, with only five receivers of passes.  The Redskins trail in time of possession.  They are losing the turnover battle at minus-one.

But they lead in the one category that matters, and that’s on the score board.  It may be unorthodox, but it’s working so far.

Washington ahead going into the final frame: Redskins 17, Cowboys 10.

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Second Quarter Super Salutations

Posted by Brian Tinsman on November 20, 2011 – 3:47 pm

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Tony Romo, meet our rookie super heroes.  The one with the beard is called “The Pocono Punisher,” and No. 91 is “Captain America.”

The Redskins defense is sending pressure from all directions on Tony Romo, but credit the secondary for allowing the defense to get two coverage sacks in the second quarter.  The first one came from the interior, as Neild mauled Cowboys center Phil Costa en route to his first sack since his breakout two-sack performance against the Giants in Week 1.

Neild now has six-times as many sacks against division opponents as outside linebacker Brian Orakpo.  He also has 10-times the facial hair.

Meanwhile, Kerrigan’s front side sack of Romo came against rookie sensation Tyron Smith.  This was a match-up to watch coming to the game, and it’s a match-up that Kerrigan got the best of.   He has taken over the team-lead in sacks with six, surpassing Orakpo’s 5.5.

Redskins punter Sav Rocca is blowing Cowboys Mat McBriar away in the battle of “Thunder Down Under.”  So far McBriar has  he’s rattled off four punts with a 50-yard average, including a a 64-yard belter inside the 20.  Crikey!  As I type this, both he and Tampa Bay’s Michael Koenen also has one punt inside the 20, meaning that the two remained deadlocked for the league lead with 19.

Redskins newbie David Anderson had another big catch this week to set up the Rex Grossman rushing touchdown, and “served” the ball back to the officials like a waiter with a bottle of wine.  This man is the master of subtle celebrations.

The Grossman rushing touchdown was only the fourth of his career, and the first since he did it as a member of the Bears, against the Titans on Nov. 9, 2008.  This was the first Redskins touchdown in five quarters of football, and the first first-half touchdown since St. Louis in Week 4.

The roar from the crowd was actually a huge sigh of relief.

The follow-up Grossman-Gaffney touchdown was the icing on the first-half cake.  Yes, football games are 60 minutes long, but this is the first lead by a Redskins team since Week 4.  It’s been a long time since Redskins fans could cheer for their team coming off the field, and the boys in Burgundy and Gold got a standing ovation at halftime.

Redskins are ahead at the half: Washington 14, Dallas 10.

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First Quarter Considerations

Posted by Brian Tinsman on November 20, 2011 – 2:46 pm

Today is a good day to have your Redskins roster printed and at the ready.  In the first defensive stand, a 10-play drive by the Cowboys, the Redskins subbed in defensive linemen Chris Neild, Darrion Scott, and Kentwan Balmer.  Those are No.’s 95, 76, and 93, for those of you following at home.

It was a strange first drive for the Redskins, who used two running backs not named Roy Helu, Ryan Torain, or Tashard Choice.  Head coach Mike Shanahan said that Anthony Armstrong and Donte Stallworth should see some playing time this week–he just didn’t say where.

Today features a battle between Outback mates at the punter position, with both Sav Rocca and Mat McBriar hailing from Melbourne, Australia.  Both players have factored into today’s game, with a pair of punts a piece.  Rocca leads in head-to-head stats, averaging 47 yards-per-punt (44 for McBriar), and no touchbacks to McBriar’s one.  If the defense keeps playing this well, it could be a competition to keep an eye on.

But the best play of the quarter, was running back Tashard Choice’s 9-yard gainer for his first play as a Washington Redskins player.  No. 40 hit the hole, made contact, spun out of the lineman’s grasp, and trucked cornerback Terrence Newman.

Welcome to Washington, good sir.  Now lead your people to the end zone.

Redskins trail after 15: Dallas 7, Washington 0.

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Montell Jordan: This Is How We Do It

Posted by Brian Tinsman on November 20, 2011 – 2:07 pm

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Ladies and gentlemen, the king of mid-90’s R&B, Mr. Montell Jordan is in the house today, to catch one of the best rivalries in all of football.

And, by the way, he really is 6′ 8″.

Jordan, originally from Los Angeles, is an NFL fan at large, and has great memories of watching Redskins-Cowboys games with his father as a child.  Or, as he would say, “ever since [he] was a lower-case-G.”

Now, he stands on the sidelines with his own family, sharing in his own set of memories.

“I just remember with football, I equate it with spending time with my dad,” he said.  “Like me out with my sons.”

Of all rivalries in the NFL, he calls this one the best, historically and today.

“Oh man, c’mon, we’re in the same division, so without question,” he said.  “You have some of the nastiest, toughest defensive guys.”

As for the fans?  Well, they make the rivalry. Read more »

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Choice: ‘What A Story It’s Gonna Be’

Posted by Brian Tinsman on November 20, 2011 – 1:36 pm

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Redskins running back Tashard Choice has been looking forward to this Sunday’s matchup ever since his unceremonious release from the Cowboys several weeks ago.  His shoulder and hamstring are healthy, and he’ll be active this afternoon for the first time in Burgundy and Gold.

It also happens to be his birthday, and will be looking for a big present from his blockers today.  Happy birthday, Tashard!

He ran around the field during warm-up, and shared this little sound byte with the pregame show: Read more »

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Redskins Player Pregame Tweets

Posted by Brian Tinsman on November 20, 2011 – 1:15 pm

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Nothing beats a Redskins-Cowboys rivalry for football, and nothing beats this game for player excitement.  These are the last minute thoughts of the Redskins players as they take the field for warm-up:




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Niles Paul’s Little Problem In His Big Toe

Posted by Brian Tinsman on November 20, 2011 – 11:37 am

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After injuring his foot in Week 9 against the 49ers, rookie receiver Niles Paul has been officially ruled out for the last two weeks with turf toe.

As he explains it, it’s a painful sprain/strain/inflammation of the ligaments surrounding the big toe joint.

And like most injuries, it’s given him an appreciation for the smaller things in life, starting with his own foot.

“Let me start off by saying that, y’know, you never really appreciate how many things your big toe does,” he said.  “Until you hurt it and you can’t do those things anymore.  I’m a receiver and I come from an explosive standpoint, and it’s just like, when you try to push off and you try to explode, it’s very painful.”

“I’m trying to walk around normally on it so it can heal, and doing rehab.”

Toe rehab, that is.  I would never make light of another man’s injury, but Paul admits that he has in the past.

“Actually in college, the quarterback had turf toe, and he was out a couple games,” he said with a sheepish smile.  “I remember I was like, ‘What’s wrong with you?  It’s your big toe, man.  Why are you being a wussy here?'”

Limp a mile in another man’s shoes, and hindsight is 20/20. Read more »

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Cowboys Week Tailgate Anthem

Posted by Brian Tinsman on November 20, 2011 – 10:43 am

In honor of this week’s Cowboys rivalry game, local musical act Mambo Sauce put out a nostalgic track called “Redskins.”  It’s got a little bit for all generations of Redskins fans today, so turn it up and enjoy:

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