I had told you I would get the second half up Wednesday or Thursday, but ended up going to the Caps tonight so wasn't able to finish. But because I'm a man of my word I want to put something up tonight, so here's the third quarter (first half review went up Tuesday).
Redskins first possession
3-1-W32 – Draw to Betts. I was about to write about the good blocking that allowed this 7 yard run, but after watching it about 10 times I think the Panthers misplayed it. A DT slanted hard inside and made it easy for Williams to seal him there, opening a very large hole. Since there was no other defender taking his place I can only assume he failed in his gap responsibility. Meanwhile the MLB should have been able to fill that hole (especially since there was no lead blocker) but he bit hard on what was really a pretty modest counter action on the run before Betts broke to the right. Credit is due, however, to Antwan Randle El who ran a slant out of the slot and then turned to box out his defender and probably gained Betts a few more yards.
1-10-W40 – I don’t even know which blocking failure to start with. Let’s go left to right. Cooley is at left TE and is only able to give a weak arm slap as the DE races past him on the outside. D’Anthony Batiste starts outside to try to block Cooley’s man, but apparently forgets that Dockery is pulling to the right on the play so a DT easily storms through that gap. Rabach gets turned around trying to pick up that DT, so the other DT is actually pushing past Rabach’s back into the backfield. Mike Williams and Stephon Heyer manage to block the other DE and the blitzing MLB, but that leaves the WLB blitzing on the outside. Marcus Mason tries to pick him up just ole’s him. And remember Dockery pulling from the other side? Apparently the blitzing WLB was supposed to be his man, but Mason just gets in his way so Dockery can’t block anyone (Dockery gets in Mason’s face after the play). I’m having a hard time figuring out who screwed up on their own and who was prevented from doing their job due to the mistakes of others, but the end result is four Panthers on top of Jason Campbell.
3-13 – W38 – I think Heyer lacks confidence. He cheats way back, and even with a chip from Fred Davis he seems to be desperately sidestepping down the side of the pocket trying to keep pace with the DE. It appears that if he would attack the block he could seal the guy out, but instead he hangs back and waits to get beat. Campbell sidesteps the rusher and moves enough to find Davis on the drag route 3 yards past the line of scrimmage. Davis turns it upfield but is confronted by two defenders. He responds by leaping into the air, which might make sense if at that point he was 1 yard from the first down marker instead of 8. All he succeeds in doing is getting himself flipped over so he comes down headfirst and risks a spinal injury.
Panthers first possession
1-10-C25 – Delhomme runs a play action bootleg and throws to FB Brad Hoover in the flat. Rocky McIntosh is initially sucked inside by the play action, but in an impressive display of speed is able to recover to catch up to Hoover and cover him man-to-man has he goes to the outside. The ball is thrown behind Hoover and tipped into the air, and Rocky has a decent chance at an interception but can’t quite bring it down.
3-8-C27 – The pocket is gradually squeezed, but slow enough that Delhomme has time to get the ball out. The ball is thrown badly behind the open WR and bounces off his hands, and just happens to land in the grasp of DeAngelo Hall at the 45. Tryon and Doughty do a good job of forming a blocking convoy, and Orakpo gets a very key block downfield. Hall just has to split a couple defenders at the 5, but at that point Doughty has tripped over the last guy he blocked so Hall is dragged down and reaches the ball out to the 1 yard line. Hall kneels with his arms outstretched in celebration, and Carlos Rogers comes up behind him for some sort of congratulatory over-the-shoulder nipple rub that I guess you have to be a football guy to understand.
Redskins second possession
1-G-C1/2 – Out of a jumbo package Batiste and Davis get a good surge on the left side and allow Portis to go airborne for the score. Cooley [correction: actually Yoder], lined up to Davis' left, gives up the edge but Portis is so quick to the line it doesn’t matter.
Redskins 17, Carolina 2.
Panthers second possession
1-10-W40 (after a long kickoff return) – Carter is unblocked off the edge and deflects Delhomme’s attempt to throw a quick hitch. Chris Horton, who lined up a remarkable far distance from where the ball comes down, is able to dive with his arms outstretched and come painfully close to an interception.
1-10-W22 – H.B.Blades, in because Fletcher got hurt on the last play, overpursues the blocking and is fooled by the counter run when it comes back to offensive left. The LG easily gets out on Rocky, and the LT cut blocks Haynesworth to the ground. The resulting pileup also prevents Andre Carter from getting to the hole and Jonathan Stewart gains 5 yards.
1-10-W17 – Panthers form a good pocket, but Hayneworth gets free with a spin move, gets his hands up, and comes oh-so-close to batting the pass back into Delhomme’s face. But it just slips past his arm, and Delhomme gets a touchdown pass to the TE. Brian Orakpo had man coverage and was badly beat, which leads me to ask why a college DE who has played linebacker for 4 games in his life is entrusted with downfield coverage. Orakpo is a pass rusher and a damn good one. Use him that way.
Redskins 17, Carolina 9.
Redskins third possession
1-10-W30 – The middle of the line just bogs down into a mess, but the RDE rushes way outside and leaves a gaping hole to the offensive left, but Portis’ field vision deserts him and he dives right into the scrum for no gain.
1-10-C44 – Rabach and Dockery are both pushed back from the line, but Betts is stuffed in the backfield by a DE who first attacked Cooley head on and got him to set his feet, then redirected and beat him badly to the outside. At what point will Jim Zorn realize that Cooley is incapable of holding the edge on a running play, ever?
3-11-C45 – A DT gets penetration against Mike Williams as if Williams isn’t there. A back – I can’t make out whether its Portis or Betts - puts a great block on a blitzing LB, but that means no one is left to pick up the guy who beat Williams. Campbell does an admirable job of hanging in the pocket and despite not being able to step into his throw fires a bullet to Randle-El over the middle, who is able to turn it upfield for a first down. But – D’Anthony Batiste lined up too far off the line trying to give himself and advantage in pass pro, and huge, huge first down is taken away.
3-16-50 – Campbell initially has good protection, but as he looks downfield its clear no one is getting open. He steps up as the edges finally cave, then sees a hole to the left and leaves the pocket before seeing Fred Davis get free. Davis makes the catch and turns it upfield, but 4 yards from the first down line Davis again tries to leap over a defender and is again upended. Davis fumbles after crashing to the ground head first but it is clearly caused by the ground. That’s the second time this quarter Davis has tried to crush his own spine, which is deeply upsetting to me, color commentator Brian Billick, and no doubt Fred Davis’ mom.
4-3-C37 – Campbell tries a quick slant to Moss, but it’s batted down due to a very nice leap from a LB blitzing on the offensive left side.
Panthers third possession
2-6-C40 – Carter stunts to the inside, but all he succeeds in doing is getting himself gummed up in the middle. Orakpo rushes from the outside and soundly beats the RB who tries to pick him up, but his hit on Delhomme comes just after the ball leaves his hand. Steve Smith makes the catch at the Redskins 43.
[3rd quarter ends]
A question for you: Is it annoying when I post a single quarter rather than a full half? I do it for the sake of getting things up quicker, but they look like pretty brief posts. So would you rather get fragmentary reviews faster, or wait a bit longer and get a full half at a time? I'm new at this blog thing, so I certainly want to hear what you all would prefer to read. You can answer in the comments section or to firstname.lastname@example.org.