OK my head is kind of swimming right now. I'm not exactly thinking coherently at the moment, but I'm going to try to record some of my reactions, in no particular order:
- Three weeks in a row that we have outplayed more talented opponents and let them slip away. This team is so much better than in the first half of the season, and because of the way the schedule was arranged we jsut can't quite convert it into wins. Please don't bother me of loser-talk, I know that moral victories aren't good enough, but after Dallas, the Eagles, and the Saints all barely escaped with hard-earned wins, I feel so much better about the state of this team and our prospects for next year. This team, I think, is currently at an 8-8 or 9-7 level of quality - but of course they didn't get there until after losing all of their "easy" games in the first half of the year.
- The commentators didn't mention this, and maybe I'm missing something, but why did the Redskins run a play before the two minute warning? Unless I'm confused about the clock situation at that point they could have let it run to two minutes, then run a running play and take :40 seconds off of Drew Brees' window of opportunity. If my memory isn't failing me, this was an appalling bit of clock management. UPDATE: I just went back and checked and I was totally wrong about this. The previous play ended with :42 seconds before the two minute warning. As I was watching it I had it in my head that we had more play clock available and was screaming at them to let it go.
- LaRon Landry has been killing us all year and needs to be benched or moved to strong safety. It's not like we don't have options -Smoot, Kareem Moore, or Reed Doughty could all fill the position adequately.
- Other than Landry I think the secondary played quite well.
- Zero sacks allowed. Nice job by the offensive line, obviously, but there were also a lot of great blitz pickups by the running backs.
- Devin Thomas is now clearly our #1 wide receiver. The Redskins' late season turnaround (in performance, not wins) is largely about him and Fred Davis.
- The mistakes (missed field goal, Sellers' fumble, Campbell's pick) weren't quite enough to kill us. The bad luck (a shanked punt hitting Kevin Barnes, Kareem Moore getting stripped on the interception return) wasn't quite enough to kill us. But the mistakes and bad luck combined were just enough to let this game slip away.
- The defensive line was outstanding - Brees was under threat in the pocket constantly and the Saints' running game was shut down entirely.
- I'm trying to be angry at Shaun Suisham but all I can manage right now is to feel sorry for him.
- Here's the Win Probability Graph from Advanced NFL Stats. Another quantified gut-punch. The Redskins topped out at a 99% chance of victory.
- I can't take too much more of this.
UPDATE: It turns out Real Redskins was basically real-time blogging the game, so go here if you want a very thorough overview of what transpired.