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Fourth Quarter Frustrations

Posted by Brian Tinsman on December 24, 2011 – 5:44 pm

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The Redskins found out the hard way that sometimes knocking out the starter isn’t the answer to beating a team.  Where Adrian Peterson is an athletic stud who can slash and dash, Toby Gerhart is more of the ground and pound bowling ball.

For the second consecutive year, Gerhart was the Vikings’ leading rusher against the Redskins, going over 100 yards in the second half alone.

Where quarterback Christian Ponder was a passer with some elusiveness and the ability to run, Joe Webb was a runner who attempted only five second half passes.

Unfortunately, half of them were for touchdowns, and he finished with a perfect 158.3 quarterback passer rating.

When a team loses their top playmakers on offense, it’s usually a disadvantage.  But in this case, it cast the Redskins defense into the unknown of facing players they didn’t prepare for.  The Redskins’ defense contained Peterson and Ponder in the first half, having good anticipation of the Vikings’ game plan.  Once their replacements entered the game, it was a different ball of wax.

“It was disappointing because that wasn’t us out there,” said linebacker Ryan Kerrigan after the game.  “We feel like we have the capability to be one of the top defenses in the league, and to allow 240 rushing yards is disappointing.”

After last week’s win in New York, the Redskins looked to be pushing for a late-season surge.  Even today, there were plenty of things to be proud of.

Roy Helu was out for today’s game, but Evan Royster rushed for 132 yards on 19 carries, good for second in the NFL after the 1 p.m. games.  This was also the first time in Redskins history that two rookies running backs managed 100-yard games in the same season.

Jabar Gaffney eclipsed 900 yards receiving on the season for the first time in his career, and added another touchdown and “Landover Leap.”  He needs only 81 yards to crack 1,000 yards this season, and his next touchdown will be his career-high sixth in a season.

Kicker Graham Gano, who was on the toastiest of hot seats only a month ago, has put the kicking game on ice with his fourth-consecutive perfect game of placekicking.  Despite his leg strength, his lack of touchbacks this season looks to be a product of kicking the ball higher for added hang time.  All-in-all, this has been quite a rebound for the young kicker.

Because of the Saturday game, the players will now have three days off for the first time since the bye week, with which to rest and recuperate before getting ready for Philadelphia.  Despite a disappointing record, the Redskins have played each of their division opponents well this season, and beat the Eagles on the road last year.  Given their record on the road and their level of play against division opponents, I wouldn’t discount their ability to play some of their best football next week.

For the last time this season, so long from FedExField, as the Redskins lose a tough one: Minnesota 33, Washington 26.

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Who Is Your MVR(edskin)?

Posted by Brian Tinsman on December 24, 2011 – 3:57 pm

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Now at the 2-minute warning, it looks like the Redskins will need a Christmas Miracle for the win.  But, with some of the individual performances in the books for the Redskins, it’s time to pick a top contributor.  What say you, Coach Couch Potato:

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Third Quarter Thoughts

Posted by Brian Tinsman on December 24, 2011 – 3:24 pm

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At the time of Adrian Peterson and Christian Ponder’s respective exits from the game, the Vikings lost their team’s top passer and the team’s top two rushers.

The Vikings responded by finding the next two top rushers in quarterback Joe Webb and Toby Gerhart.  Webb was the beneficiary of Gerhart’s relaxed approach to the end zone, which ended in a fumble inside the 10-yard line.  I sang his praises after the first quarter, but Josh Wilson has exploded for the Redskins in recent weeks, and he was the one defender who was able to make a play on Gerhart, chasing him down from behind.

Knowing that Gerhart wasn’t aware of him and wasn’t protecting the ball, he went for the fumble and got it.  Teammates DeAngelo Hall and DeJon Gomes made a heads-up effort to recover the fumble, but it just barely went out of bounds.  Good awareness, good communication, and fantastic effort, refusing to give up on what would otherwise be a runaway touchdown.

On the ensuing kickoff, Brandon Banks followed his blocks to the tune of 43 yards, very nearly breaking it to paydirt.  Credit his blockers for springing him, especially Niles Paul who has the speed to stay in front of Banks, and the ferocity to be a lead blocker.

Paul has been a little bit of everything for the Redskins in his first season, performing ably as a receiver, returner, running back, goal line tight end, and special teams beast.  He has the talent to one day blossom into a purely offensive player, but he has the selfless approach to the game that this team needs now.

Vikings kicker Ryan Longwell had a career rate of 600-for-608 on extra points and 74 percent on kicks of 40-49 yards, coming into today.  He’s missed one of each today, proving that history is not an indicator of future success.  He is a dome kicker now, but he kicked for most of his career in the frozen tundra of Green Bay, so he should be capable of anything.

However, his four missing points have kept this game at a three-point Vikings advantage.

With one quarter to go, running back Evan Royster is on the cusp of his first career 100-yard game in his first-career start.

Redskins need to answer back in the final frame: Washington 20, Minnesota 23.

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Halftime Report From FedExField

Posted by Brian Tinsman on December 24, 2011 – 2:28 pm

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In the last two weeks Darrel Young has gone from an unsung hero in the blocking game, to being a weapon and playmaker on offense.  On the Redskins touchdown drive early in the second quarter, Young caught two passes for 33 yards.  At the time, he was the team’s top receiver, and it was Young’s top receiving day, ever.

Not a bad offensive performance for a former linebacker from an FBS college.

The drive was culminated in a short touchdown reception by receiver Donte’ Stallworth, who stretched the ball across the goal line before absorbing a savage hit.  He also negated a sack on the ensuing drive by converting a long third down with a nimble catch and run.

Stallworth has also been a bright spot for the Redskins down the stretch, providing sure hands on the field and quality leadership off of it.  Stallworth watched the Redskins-Dolphins game as a free agent before rejoining the team the following week.  He has two receptions for 24 yards today and 18 receptions for 266 yards and two touchdowns on the year.  He has 220 of his yards and both touchdowns since he rejoined the team.

Running back Evan Royster looked much more comfortable in the second quarter, rushing four times for 24 yards, increasing his game average to 5.9 yards per carry.  Not only has he found good yards after contact, he also played an instrumental role in picking up Stallworth’s long third down conversion by throwing a deep block.

The top defender in the first half has been one of the top defenders in the NFL this season–middle linebacker London Fletcher.  After falling behind early, he rallied his fellow defenders to get back on their horses and shut the Vikings out.  The Redskins–led by the NFL’s top tackler–haven’t yielded points to the Vikings since the 14:56 mark in the second quarter.

Brand new ballgame in the second half, as the Redskins brough it back to even: Washington 10, Minnesota 10.

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First Quarter Impressions

Posted by Brian Tinsman on December 24, 2011 – 1:48 pm

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Much like last week, the Redskins turned the ball over early, but not because of aggressive play call down the field.  Instead, it came via a breakdown in protection that led to a sack-fumble.  The defense had a stellar stand, yielding two yard, but the Vikings were already in field goal range.

Vikings kicker Ryan Longwell doesn’t miss those: 3-0.

Running back Evan Royster has been a capable replacement for Roy Helu in the running game, gaining 24 yards on five carries.  He looks strong to the hole and fast through it, but he isn’t quite the weapon so far in the passing game.  On a downfield pass attempt midway through the quarter, there was some sort of miscommunication between Royster and Rex Grossman.  On the play, Grossman went long with the pass and Royster curled back in.

Not sure who misread who, but it was a mistake that didn’t hurt the team.  Hopefully that good luck will continue while they work out the kinks–the offense needs these two players to produce.

The Redskins top player in the first quarter was cornerback Josh Wilson, who has been playing out of his mind the last two weeks.  Wilson has three tackles in the first quarter, a decent game statistic for him position.  He has also stopped, slowed and prevented plays that could have potentially broken for big gainers.

Redskins trailing early with the Viking driving: Washington 0, Minnesota 3.

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Army Extreme Team Paradrops Kickoff

Posted by Brian Tinsman on December 24, 2011 – 1:11 pm

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Shortly before kickoff, the Redskins faithful at FedExField were visited from above, by the Army Rangers ‘Extreme Team.’  Despite 10-20 mph winds, three paradroppers landed expertly at midfield, amid roars from the crowd.  This is the last of three to land: Read more »

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Players’ Thoughts As Kickoff Approaches

Posted by Brian Tinsman on December 24, 2011 – 1:02 pm

No matter what faith or creed you follow, it is Christmas Eve today, so a Merry Christmas Eve, one and all.  As the Redskins make their way onto the field through the tunnel, here are the thoughts that are on their minds and Twitter accounts:


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Atogwe Duels His Father-In-Law Today

Posted by Brian Tinsman on December 24, 2011 – 11:40 am

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The holidays are traditionally a time of family, faith and football.  For Redskins free safety Oshiomogho Atogwe, today’s game will features two-out-of-three: family and football.

Atogwe is the son-in-law of Hall Of Fame linebacker and Vikings linebacker coach Mike Singletary.  Atogwe sat down with the folks at Women Of the Washington Redskins (WOWRedskins.com) to discuss his anticipation of today’s game and how he’ll interact with his in-laws:

“He’s gonna be in the booth, so you won’t see anything,” he said.  “But it is going to be a heated competition.” Read more »

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Redskins Stay Very Active In Community

Posted by Brian Tinsman on December 24, 2011 – 10:34 am

Our good friend Kevin Ewoldt of Hogs Haven compiled the complete list of holiday initiatives in the community by the Redskins team and players.  Many of the links on the page link back to stories on the Redskins Blog, but it’s worth a gander.

This is one of the more active NFL teams in the community, and even with the influx of new players, the community spirit has flourished.  The Redskins have a storied tradition of being active in the community that they represent, and it’s good to see that maintained.

Happy Holidays everyone!

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Redskins Week 16 Madden ’12 Updates

Posted by Brian Tinsman on December 24, 2011 – 9:56 am

Good morning Redskins gamers, and welcome to virtual and actual gameday–here are your virtual Redskins’ updates.  For some of you, this has been a weekly update that you can apply to your own Madden franchise throughout the season.  For others of you, this is a preview of what Santa will be delivering later tonight.

I could reveal which of you will be getting the game, but that would ruin the surprise.

The Redskins have had one of the most active rosters in the league for the second half of the season, which has been consistently reflected with the virtual Redskins as well.

Check out the full list of Redskins roster moves and alterations this week: Read more »

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