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Fourth Quarter Turn Of Fortunes

Posted by Brian Tinsman on November 27, 2011 – 8:07 pm

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For a team that previously lost six straight, nothing comes easy, as was the case this afternoon in Seattle.  The important thing is that the Redskins were good when it counted, and it was a total team victory.  Here’s the breakdown:

On Offense:

On the one hand, the Redskins put up 416 yards of total offense, their highest showing since Week 2, and the second highest of the season.  The offensive line opened up holes for running back Roy Helu, and kept Rex Grossman upright for most of the game.  Helu showed that his 146-yard game against the 49ers wasn’t a fluke, going over 100 yards for the first time today, with 162 total yards and his first NFL touchdown.  The Redskins receivers managed to get open when it really mattered, and Santana Moss returned to his clutch ways.  Anthony Armstrong, who had five receptions for 47 yards all season, finally came down with a game-changing catch for 50 yards and a touchdown in the fourth quarter.  He was this week’s incarnation of Donte Stallworth, and proved that the storyline of this season is “the next man up.”  The offense clicked in the first and fourth quarters, and that was the difference in this game.

On Defense:

This wasn’t the defense’s best game, but they limited the damage and settled down in the second half.  They yielded only 250 yards of total offense for the Seahawks, including just 144 yards through the air.  They may not have had the sacks or turnovers that they were looking for, but they didn’t give up the big play either, and they played well in all facets of the game.

On Special Teams:

Clearly, this was a tough day for kickers, and that’s not just limited to Graham Gano.  Sav Rocca was charged with his first touchback of the season, the second-to-last punter in the league to put one in the end zone.  On a happy note, he also added to his punts inside the 20 and averaged 44.5 yards on the day.

As for Gano, he made things interesting (1 blocked FG, 1 blocked PAT, kickoff out of bounds), but he iced the game when it counted (fourth quarter FG).  His two blocked kicks nearly came home to roost, but his last kick put the Redskins up by six and forced the Seahawks to aim for the end zone.  This has been a tough eight days for Gano, and it will be interesting to see how the coaching staff gauges his performance.  Head coach Mike Shanahan said this week that the pressure was on for Gano, and his performance today was important.  Which matters more: conditions or performance?


At the end of the day, the Redskins managed to escape their first seven-game losing streak in more than a decade, and they did it in the worst possible conditions.  It shows great resolve to fly six hours into one of the most hostile environments in the NFL, play a team with a better record and momentum, play in the rain and wind and cold, play from behind–and come out on top.  From the opening kickoff, it was clear that this was a game that the Redskins should win.  Regardless of whether they’re a better team every week, they won on this given Sunday, and it was important that they come away from this colossal road trip with a win.

Now the monkey is off their backs, and the questions of leadership and character can settle back to a dull roar.  The plane ride back to Washington will be a long one, but a good one, as players can finally breathe a sigh of relief.  As easy as it is to settle into a slump, this team needs to look to build on the positive momentum this week.  This was a good team win, but there are enough issues to resolve before the Jets next week.

Hopefully, today is the start of a new streak.

So long from Seattle, with Washington in the win column: Redskins 23, Seahawks 17.

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Who Is Your MVR(edskin)?

Posted by Brian Tinsman on November 27, 2011 – 7:17 pm

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[Editor’s Note: Now is no time to jinx the Redskins current situation.  So this will be my blandest MVR post to date.]

The Redskins have battled hard this afternoon and find themselves in a position to be pleased with the results after the game.  As the Couch Potato Head Coach, who would you elect as your MVR(edskin)?

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Third Quarter Thoughts

Posted by Brian Tinsman on November 27, 2011 – 6:35 pm

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After a first half full of offensive utility, it was a third quarter of offensive futility, with both sides failing to capitalize on opportunities.

They may not have been golden, but they were there.

First Seahawks kicker Steven Hauschka missed a field goal in one of the worst end zones in football.  If you look at the goalpost ribbons in the south end zone, they barely move.  The ribbons in the north end zone will gust in any and all directions in any given minute of time.  The flags atop the “Hawks Nest” end zone seating have officially shifted from blowing steadily northwest, to blowing northeast.  This likely explains the Hauschka kick, which was pushed wide right with the wind.

The ensuing prime field position was squandered immediately by a downfield interception at the 20-yard line, which essentially amounted to a Redskins punt.  This was followed by a Seattle punt and a Washington punt, before the Seahawks were finally able to piece something together in the form of a field goal.

The Redskins’ personnel decision to keep two fullbacks and three tight ends on the active roster is continuing to pay dividends, as fullback Darrel Young went back into the locker room to have a possible head injury examined.  His return is questionable.  In his place, the Redskins have turned to old reliable Mike Sellers, as well as tight end Logan Paulsen, who has been involved in a lot of two tight end sets this afternoon.

The Redskins need a spark going into the fourth quarter.  Can we have another honorary coin flip?  Redskins trail by three: Washington 7, Seattle 10.

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Halftime Review From Seattle

Posted by Brian Tinsman on November 27, 2011 – 5:38 pm

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This was a strange first half of football, with the Redskins firmly controlling this game, for better and for worse.  Here are the two teams, by the numbers:

Redskins: 36 total plays, 14 first downs, 233 total yards, touchdown, 45 yards in penalties.  Time of possession, 19:42.

Seahawks: 25 total plays, 7 first downs, 120 yards, touchdown, 21 yards in penalties. Time of possession, 10:18.

The Redskins have played well so far–better than most expected–but they should actually have a lead going into halftime.  Unfortunately, through penalties and a blocked field goal, the Redskins dominant performance has been stymied by themselves, thus far.

For the Redskins, whatever boiled over before the game needs to be moved to the back burner in the second half.  There has been more aggression during the play and more smack talk after the whistle than the two Redskins-Cowboys match-ups combined.  These two teams haven’t even played each other since 2008, and not many players remain from the 2005 and 2007 playoff games.

I understand that the Redskins have Josh Wilson’s back, but did I miss something?  Wilson seems to be only player who hasn’t lost his cool.  If things don’t settle down in the second half, the officials are going to become a factor, and nobody wants that.

With that being said, the Redskins have laid the groundwork for the rest of the game, with a good first half.  The defense is playing well, only giving up the touchdown on a short field.  The offense is playing well, having established the passing game against the wind, and getting Roy Helu involved early on the ground.  Through time of possession and momentum, the Redskins have also silenced the fabled 12th Man, keeping the crowd mostly out of the game.

In honor of the strange first half, let’s take a look at two strange plays that actually worked out in the Redskins’ favor:

1. Although Rex Grossman will be criticized for his illegal forward pass in the first quarter–which amounted to him throwing, receiving, and throwing the ball again–he actually did his team a favor with his gaffe.  Had he taken the tackle for a loss from the charging Seahawks lineman, the down and distance would have been approximately second-and-15.  Because he decided to throw the ball, he was penalized five yards and given a replay of down, amounting to a first-and-15.  A mistake?  Yes.  But a good mistake for the Redskins, in that situation.

2. Kicker Graham Gano is responsible for plus-eight points for the Redskins today, kicking the PAT on the first quarter touchdown, as well as making the saving tackle on the ensuing kickoff.  Whatever blocking scheme the Seahawks employed worked to perfection, opening up a hole big enough for a Panzer to drive through.  Fearlessly standing in between Seahawks returner Leon Washington and paydirt, was Redskins No. 4, who channeled his best Sav Rocca for a tackle.  It didn’t quite work, but he did stifle Washington long enough to allow Terrence Austin and Lorenzo Alexander to come in and clean it up.

It’s all knotted up at the halfway point in Seattle: Redskins 7, Seahawks 7.

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First Quarter Frustrations

Posted by Brian Tinsman on November 27, 2011 – 4:49 pm

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I’ve written frequently about the Redskins’ frustrations in the fourth quarter this year, but the tempers at CenturyLink Field boiled over before the Redskins and Seahawks could even flip the coin.  In an awkward moment for the girl serving as the honorary coin flipper, the players started jawing at each other, causing officials to cut off the microphones and intervene.  The party of captains was reduced to one from each team, and DeAngelo’s tails call produced a winner.

These teams may be 3-7 and 4-6 respectively, but no one can accuse them of not caring.  Given the especially chipper nature of the first 15 minutes of football, this could be the culmination of a lot of frustration finally coming to a head.

If receiver Donte’ Stallworth is getting involved in extra-curricular discussions in the first five minutes of the game, you know that the stove is on boil. Read more »

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Sean Taylor On The Minds Of Players

Posted by Brian Tinsman on November 27, 2011 – 4:19 pm

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As Redskins players take the field this afternoon, the four year memorial of the death of Redskins safety Sean Taylor is on their minds.  The most amazing part is that, considering the turnover of the Redskins roster since 2007, there aren’t many players left that actually played with Sean.  The overall feeling is still one of overwhelming respect and admiration, however:



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Redskins-Seahawks Is A Family Affair

Posted by Brian Tinsman on November 27, 2011 – 4:04 pm

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Redskins linebacker Rocky McIntosh may ask to cover No. 18 on the Seahawks today, or at least jam him off the line.  it turns out that their football rivalry goes way back to when they were kid–cousins growing up in Gaffney, SC.

After beginning his career as a member of the Minnesota Vikings, Rice joined the the Seahawks on a big contract this past offseason.  McIntosh said that he was looking forward to seeing his cousin, both before and during the game, but that Rice is probably “too big and important for him now.

Time to bring him back down to earth, Rocky. Read more »

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Not So Bold Predictions In Seattle

Posted by Brian Tinsman on November 27, 2011 – 3:43 pm

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Dropping six straight doesn’t inspire much confidence from critics.  In fact, it may not inspire much confidence from anyone outside of Redskins Park.

Here is the short list of pregame experts, prognosticators and haters, predicting that the Redskins will win: Read more »

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Kickoff Approaches On A Very Seattle Day

Posted by Brian Tinsman on November 27, 2011 – 3:27 pm

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The Redskins seem cool, calm and collected warming up today.

“Warming up” is an ironic phrase, considering the 52-degree weather, moderate rain and 13-20 mph winds whipping through CenturyLink Field.  These are certainly the most challenging weather conditions that the Redskins have faced, but aren’t anything that the Redskins haven’t game-planned for.

Redskins receiver Santana Moss is a sight for sore eyes, and warmed up for the first time since Carolina.  Before he went down, he was one of the team’s top receivers, coming up with big third and fourth down receptions.  He looked excited to be back out there with Grossman, pregame:

Two Redskins that had big weeks against Dallas–rookie linebacker Ryan Kerrigan and wide receiver Donte’ Stallworth–warmed up along the sidelines.  These are two of the most intense players during each week’s warm-up session.  Kerrigan in fast forward and Stallworth in rewind:

The Redskins running game will be key today, as the wind has continued to rip through the stadium.  Rex and the receivers looked good warming up, but the north end zone looms open and ominous.  It will be a tough day for kickers and receivers:

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