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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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A Redskins’ Tour Of The Pacific Northwest

Posted by Brian Tinsman on November 26, 2011 – 6:35 pm

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Welcome to Seattle, Wash., the land of Starbucks, Nirvana, and the Space Needle.  I’ve even heard that people are occasionally sleepless here, although I didn’t have that problem last night.

The best part of flying into town early is that there’s actually time to see the city where the Redskins will play, which is nice break for the players and yours truly.  This morning, I took a step away from my laptop and walked around the downtown waterfront area of town.

The best part of my travels, is that I was never very far from Redskins fans.  I stopped by the world-famous Pike Place Fish Co., where they throw the fish back and forth across the counter.  Here’s some footage:

But the best part of the fish market, is that lifelong Redskins fan “Ray Ray” Nix works there, selling fish and startling strangers by moving one of the fish and growling.  He said that he’s been a Redskins fan his whole life, despite never setting foot in DC, mesmerized as a child by the likes of Gibbs, Riggins and Monk.  He also works part time at CenturyLink Field, and predicts a low-scoring seven-point victory for the Burgundy and Gold tomorrow:
Read more »

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Wilson On Seattle, Seattle On Wilson

Posted by Brian Tinsman on November 26, 2011 – 10:45 am

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Wilson on Seattle:

Although his off-season signing with Washington brought him home, Redskins cornerback Josh Wilson returns to his ‘home away from home’ in Seattle this weekend.

Wilson, a second round draft pick to the Seahawks in 2007, sat down with “The John Thompson Show” on ESPN 980 to discuss his time in Seattle.  The first thing he discussed was the absurd volume of the fabled 12th man at Qwest Field/CenturyLink Field:

“It definitely gets you going,” Wilson said.  “As a defensive player, that’s when we got the bulk of [the noise].  It was almost just as tough as a defensive player to be able to communicate as it was for the offense.  But there’s nothing like making a big play as a defensive player there, because you’re gonna hear a stadium roar.”

The same can be said for special occasions on offense.  Last year in the playoffs, when the Seahawks (7-9) hosted the Saints (11-5) at Qwest Field, the Seahawks managed one of the greatest upsets in NFL playoffs history.  The memorable play from that game was a 67-yard touchdown run by Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch: Read more »

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Behind Enemy Lines With Pete Carroll

Posted by Brian Tinsman on November 25, 2011 – 4:41 pm

Before Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll began his second at-bat as an NFL coach in 2010, he was a dynastic college head coach at USC.  While he was in sunny Southern California, he recruited and developed Toledo, Ohio product Fred Davis.

During his time with the Redskins, Davis has capitalized on limited opportunity, showing his vast potential with feast-or-famine regularity.  In his conference call with the Washington media on Wednesday, Carroll explained how he absolutely knew that Davis would be a stud:

“When we were recruiting him, we thought he was a No. 1 draft pick,” he said.  “When we saw him and looked at his potential, that’s why we went after him.  Really, when we recruit guys out-of-state, in those days, that was our criteria.  Freddy was like that.”

At the end of his college career, Davis actually ended up going early in the second round, but Carroll didn’t sound disappointed by his lofty projections of young Freddy D.   Read more »

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Darrel Young’s Blog: We Will Get Better

Posted by Brian Tinsman on November 25, 2011 – 3:11 pm

Redskins fullback Darrel Young has been a real success story over the last two years, making the transition from a FCS linebacker to above-average NFL fullback.

His emergence on the field has led to his emergence in the locker room, and the inevitable emergence in the media.  Following Sunday’s loss to the Cowboys, he took to Twitter to promote his personal blog on his personal Web site, to talk directly to the fans:


And what he had to say was pretty profound.  It started with a look back at the disappointment of last Sunday’s game:

These past few weeks have been very frustrating. We have been so close but haven’t been able to finish. We have the talent among the players, knowledge among the coaches, and the system has worked under coach Shanahan.

Losing a division game to the Cowboys was more than just a loss. The meaning and feeling behind that game is far more than just a football game. It is one of the oldest rivalries and most historical rivalries in the game of football.

This touches on an important feeling in the locker room over the last few weeks: focus vs. frustration.  No one has been angrier at the fate of this team than the players.  No amount of fan ire or media criticism can make that feeling worse.

But rather than watching a locker room splinter into offense vs. defense or petty warring factions, this team has turned inward and leaned on each another.  Together, they’ve worked to tune out criticisms and fill in for injuries, trying to recapture the success they experienced early in the season.

Could last week’s near-miss serve as the spark this team needs? Read more »

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