Sunday, November 29, 2009

Staying Medium is alive!

I just powered up my new computer (the old one is dead and frankly unmourned), so Staying Medium should be getting back on schedule pretty quickly. Sorry to go dark for so long.

So here's the deal:

I was only able to complete the first quarter of the Dallas review before my late computer had its disaster. What I think I'll do is re-watch the Dallas game once on NFL Rewind (I don't have it on my TiVo) and instead of doing the full breakdown I will just put up some summarizing thoughts but without the full play breakdowns. This is for two reasons: I am eager to get started on the Eagles' game, and my new computer is a netbook and Rewind on this small screen Rewind will be an even more problematic way to look at plays in the customary level of detail.

Thanks for your patience with the tech difficulties. I expect to have new material going up soon, so keep checking back.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Tech problems continue

Sorry. Working on it.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Some rather un-medium technical difficulties

So my computer had a total meltdown tonight, and the prognosis is still questionable. Obviously this has significantly delayed the game review, but I will get the rest of the Dallas game up as soon as technology and my holiday travel schedule permit. Sorry for the delay.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Redskins @ Dallas, 1st quarter review

Despite the tempting suggestion from a Texas-based Redskins fan on my Sunday night post, I decided to bite the bullet and relive this game. As always, the original play by play is taken directly from the NFL Game Book with my commentary added in its own font.

And by the way, I don't know why this PBP is so much more detailed than usual - this scorer took it upon himself to describe much more about the play than I'm accustomed to seeing.

1st Quarter

S.Suisham kicks 67 yards from WAS 30 to DAL 3. F.Jones to DAL 35 for 32 yards (S.Suisham; R.Cartwright).

Dallas Cowboys at 15:00, (1st play from scrimmage 14:52)

1-10-DAL 35 (14:52) M.Barber left end to DAL 40 for 5 yards (L.Fletcher).

The LT and C double team Golston, and Carter at RDE is cut by the fullback. The pulling LG takes out Smoot. The WR, who lines up tight on the left side, holds his own surprisingly well against Orakpo and slows him down just enough for Barber to make the corner.

2-5-DAL 40 (14:18) T.Romo pass short right to J.Witten to DAL 40 for no gain (H.Blades). Pass complete off play action and roll right.

3-5-DAL 40 (13:32) (Shotgun) T.Romo pass incomplete short middle to J.Witten. Pass incomplete at the Dallas 45.

Orakpo and an unidentified DB blitz from the offensive left. The LT fans out to control Orakpo. The RB picks up the DB well, but the collision occurs close enough to Romo it makes him jumpy and the throw sails high, bouncing off Witten’s fingertips. Fletcher mistimes his leap and is already on the way back down when the ball gets to him, so he can’t bring down the interception.

4-5-DAL 40 (13:26) (Punt formation) M.McBriar punts 44 yards to WAS 16, Center-L.Ladouceur, fair catch by A.Randle El.

Washington Redskins at 13:18

1-10-WAS 16 (13:18) L.Betts left tackle to WAS 17 for 1 yard (I.Olshansky; D.Ware).

Levi Jones slips through the line to take out an ILB, leaving Dockery and Fred Davis to take on the DE and OLB (on the line as part of the 3-4 defense). But neither one can hold their man, and both defenders shed off them to fill the hole. If Betts had been able to make it through the line he may have had a good gain – Levi and Rabach each squared up a ILB effectively and Devin Thomas puts a very solid block on the safety who was right in Betts’ intended running lane.

2-9-WAS 17 (12:40) J.Campbell pass short left to S.Moss pushed ob at WAS 25 for 8 yards (M.Jenkins).

3-1-WAS 25 (12:26) L.Betts up the middle to WAS 25 for no gain (B.James; K.Brooking).

Dallas is anticipating a run up the middle and the LBs storm the interior running lanes immediately (a play action would have killed them here). Rabach and Rinehart handle the linemen in front of them to open a bit of a hole, but don’t get enough push to cut off the angles of the ILBs who stuff Betts.

4-1-WAS 25 (11:45) (Punt formation) H.Smith punts 41 yards to DAL 34, Center-E.Albright. P.Crayton to DAL 47for 13 yards (J.Tryon). Return middle of the field.

Dallas Cowboys at 11:31

1-10-DAL 47 (11:31) M.Barber left guard to WAS 44 for 9 yards (F.Smoot).

The LG and LT fight Golston and our RDE to the outside; the RG and C combine to knock Griffin to the ground and open a big lane. Rocky fills it and takes on the lead FB, but even though he knocks the FB back Barber is able to cut inside him. The C sheds off his block on Golston and lays a major hit on London, knocking him out of the running lane.

2-1-WAS 44 (10:54) F.Jones left tackle to WAS 40 for 4 yards (B.Orakpo).

Cowboys line up with twins TEs left. One TE blocks Orakpo (SLB) to the outside, the other TE stands up our RDE (Carter?) and Golston is trapped on the inside when the LG immediately crashed down on him. The LT goes straight to London and takes him out of the play, and the FB easily stuffs Rocky to keep the lane open.

1-10-WAS 40 (10:17) F.Jones right end to WAS 32 for 8 yards (C.Griffin; L.Fletcher).

2-2-WAS 32 (9:29) M.Barber right tackle to WAS 24 for 8 yards (L.Fletcher; R.Doughty).

Run is designed to go around left end but Griffin gets penetration on the C’s left shoulder and cuts off Barber’s route to the corner. But when he cuts it back to the right Jarmon and Rocky have both overpursued and get hung up on blockers, so Barber can easily cut behind them.

1-10-WAS 24 (8:48) M.Barber left tackle to WAS 16 for 8 yards (F.Smoot; L.Landry).

C and LG double team Golston to seal him to the inside; LT successfully seals Carter outside. Witten and a WR are both flexed to the left and get good blocks on Orakpo and HB Blades, while the FB clears out Fletcher again.

2-2-WAS 16 (8:07) M.Barber right tackle to WAS 12 for 4 yards (L.Fletcher). FUMBLES (L.Fletcher), touched at WAS 11, RECOVERED by WAS-D.Hall at WAS 17. D.Hall to WAS 24 for 7 yards (T.Romo). WASD.
Hall was injured during the play. His return is Questionable. Hall has a right knee contusion.

Carter, Montgomery, Golston, and Rocky all let themselves get sealed to the offensive left by the Cowboys linemen. Philip Daniels (LDE) gets stood up by a WR, believe it or not, and although he sheds the block to fill the rushing lane he gets there off balance and Barber knocks him over backwards. Fletcher leads with his elbow on the tackle and manages to punch the ball out. DeAngelo Hall picks up the ball on the run and was close to an easy touchdown, but Romo’s dive just manages to trip him up. Hall and Romo are both down after the play, Romo for taking Hall’s knee to his back and Hall apparently for taking Romo’s back to his knee.

Washington Redskins at 7:58

1-10-WAS 24 (7:58) PENALTY on WAS-S.Heyer, False Start, 5 yards, enforced at WAS 24 - No Play.

1-15-WAS 19 (7:58) L.Betts up the middle to WAS 21 for 2 yards (G.Sensabaugh; J.Ratliff).

Rabach, Rinehart, and Sellers (who motioned to RTE) block out to create a seal, but Heyer is supposed to slip past and take out the ILB, but he can’t get there in time.

2-13-WAS 21 (7:23) J.Campbell pass incomplete short right to M.Sellers. Pass incomplete off play action; Brooking closest defender.

It’s a play-action bootleg, but DeMarcus Ware comes clean off the edge and comes straight at Campbell, forcing him to throw it away. Sellers started out at RTE, and I assume he was supposed to at least chip Ware a little before going into his flat route.

3-13-WAS 21 (7:16) J.Campbell pass deep right to D.Thomas to WAS 47 for 26 yards (P.Watkins). Pass complete after avoiding rush by Ware.

Levi Jones respects Ware’s speed to the outside, so Ware is able to beat him inside with only a glancing blow. Ware has a clean shot, but Campbell escapes by spinning away and then making a cut to avoid a DE. Campbell is running forward full speed when he throws and is very close to crossing the line of scrimmage, but he shortens a stride by a matter of inches when he sees Thomas has once again gotten himself open to bail Jason out of an emergency. Very nice play by Jason to keep his awareness while running for his life.

1-10-WAS 47 (6:31) L.Betts right tackle to WAS 49 for 2 yards (B.James).

Sellers (at RTE) and Heyer fail to hold the edge, forcing Betts to cut back inside and into the teeth of the defense. Betts is planting his foot to cut as he gets wrapped up around his neck and pulled backwards, so the leg is immobilized and the ACL and MCL snap. Hello, Rock.

2-8-WAS 49 (5:48) (Shotgun) J.Campbell pass incomplete short left to S.Moss (M.Jenkins). Quick out; incomplete at the Dallas 45.

3-8-WAS 49 (5:48) (Shotgun) PENALTY on WAS-S.Heyer, False Start, 5 yards, enforced at WAS 49 - No Play.

That’s two, Stephon. I can't be too mad at him though, DeMarcus Ware really is scary.

3-13-WAS 44 (5:42) (Shotgun) J.Campbell pass short right to R.Cartwright to WAS 45 for 1 yard (A.Spencer;O.Scandrick). Screen pass.

4-12-WAS 45 (5:09) (Punt formation) H.Smith punts 43 yards to DAL 12, Center-E.Albright, fair catch by P.Crayton.

Dallas Cowboys at 5:03

1-10-DAL 12 (5:03) F.Jones up the middle to DAL 17 for 5 yards (R.McIntosh).

The C and RG put Cornelius Griffin on his back, and the draw play is run right where he used to be.

2-5-DAL 17 (4:19) T.Romo pass short right to M.Bennett to DAL 24 for 7 yards (L.Fletcher) [R.McIntosh]. Pass complete on roll right and heavy pressure.

Rocky comes in clean between LT and LG and is a half second from burying Romo when he gets the throw out.

1-10-DAL 24 (3:40) F.Jones left end to DAL 31 for 7 yards (F.Smoot; L.Landry).

2-3-DAL 31 (3:02) F.Jones right guard to DAL 33 for 2 yards (B.Orakpo).

Cowboys line up with a full house backfield, and both FBs lead to the right. Orakpo is at LDE and gets hung up on one of them, but after Jones is past him he sheds off and takes him down from behind.

3-1-DAL 33 (2:20) M.Barber up the middle to DAL 35 for 2 yards (J.Jarmon).

Instant penetration by Jarmon from RDE and he gets a hit in the backfield, but Barber is a very strong runner and manages to stay up just long enough to get the first down.

1-10-DAL 35 (1:38) T.Romo pass incomplete short left to R.Williams (A.Montgomery). Pass tipped at the line of scrimmage by Montgomery.

Montgomery gets a hand up to tip the ball, and it falls right into Rocky’s hands for what should have been a ridiculously easy interception.

2-10-DAL 35 (1:32) M.Barber left end to DAL 39 for 4 yards (L.Fletcher).

3-6-DAL 39 (:47) (Shotgun) T.Romo pass incomplete short middle to J.Witten. Pass incomplete on slant. Betts of Washington is out with a knee injury.

4-6-DAL 39 (:42) (Punt formation) M.McBriar punts 43 yards to WAS 18, Center-L.Ladouceur. S.Moss to WAS 28for 10 yards (S.Hurd).

Good return – Santana made cuts but made sure he was always headed upfield.

Washington Redskins at 0:28

1-10-WAS 28 (:28) J.Campbell sacked at WAS 22 for -6 yards (K.Brooking).
PENALTY on DAL-T.Newman, Illegal Contact, 5 yards, enforced at WAS 28 - No Play.

Rock sees the ILB blitzing up the middle but dives at his feet instead of delivering a proper block. Rock misses, and when he sees his man clobbering Campbell he pounds his fist on the ground. He knows what he did…

1-10-WAS 33 (:10) R.Cartwright right tackle to WAS 35 for 2 yards (D.Ware).

Sellers is at RTE and can’t keep Ware to the outside.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Deep breaths...

London Fletcher, when asked in a radio interview about the players' reaction to this loss: "Just... hurting."

Some initial thoughts, all of which are subject to revision when I do the game review:

- It's very hard to feel good about anything after a loss to Dallas. But I would say that this team went on the road against a division opponent with superior talent, and fought like hell for the whole game - and outplayed them for most of it. A few weeks ago, who would have thought that the Redskins would even be competitive in this game? To some extent this game can be seen as progress - Dallas limped away with a victory that they really didn't deserve. Does that make losing in this fashion any easier? Not really.

- I'm not inclined to be too hard on Suisham. A 50 yarder is a low probability kick by nature, so you can't criticize him too much for missing it. And the 39 yarder was his first miss of the year. You shouldn't need to count on your kicker to score all of your points in a game.

- Devin Thomas is looking more and more like he is becoming our top receiver. Jason Campbell is seeking him out.

- Fred Davis, to, is all growed up and has become a reliable option.

- Obviously the line did not perform up to last week's level. I'll have to look at things more closely in the game reviews to have specific opinions. I would point out that Dallas has a very good front seven, but then so did Denver. Of course the line, I think, is still alot better than it was. If we still had Heyer at LT and Williams at RT the Redskins may have been shut out.

- Is it just me, or did Rock Cartwright smell an opportunity to demonstrate he can be a real running back and play like a mad man?

- The defense deserves a lot of credit. Romo looked shellshocked for much of the game. They pretty much shut down an explosive offense for all but one drive. Unfortunately, Dallas got that drive just when they needed it - and it was just enough.

- This was not only a tough loss but also a mass-casualty event. My understanding is that Betts has a torn MCL and Rinehart broke his leg. Rinehart is nothing special, but he certainly played better than Will Montgomery.

- Despite being under much more pressure, I feel like Campbell played quite a bit better than last week. Not that well, mind you, but better than last week. Some would argue - reasonably - that a 6 point performance speaks for itself. We'll see if I'm harder on Jason once I review some plays.

- If you prefer your soul-crushing to be quantified, check out the Win Probability Graph. You will note that the Redskins peaked with a 93% chance of victory at 8:38 left to go in the game. It's a pretty steep drop after that.

Now if you'll excuse me, I think I'll go lie face down on my bed for a few more hours.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Taking stock of a big win

You can read the detailed breakdown of the Broncos game here:

1st quarter
2nd quarter
3rd quarter

This is, obviously, a huge win. A month from now, this game will be seen as either a brief glimmer of false hope, or of a turning point that led to a half season of respectable football. We won't really know which it is until we see if the Redskins can put on a second solid performance against Dallas tomorrow. But for now, I want to share my thoughts on what we witnessed last week.

First, I'm going to bring us down a little (you know the title of the blog, right?):

- Jason Campbell, in my opinion, played very poorly. He missed wide open receivers, he tended to panic at the first sign of pressure (even when there was none), and lost his pocket presence on a regular basis. The sacks that were allowed in the second half were on Jason, not the line. He really seems to be regressing to me – he used to be a reliable enough guy, just without the ability to win a game by himself.

I’m worried the experience of constantly running for his life this whole season has broken him. I used to argue (much like reader Bobisimo did in a recent comment) that Campbell was good enough to never hold your team back if everyone else did their jobs. But now that there is reason to believe the Redskins might finally be putting it together, I find myself worrying that it might go for naught due to inadequate QB play.

- The defensive line, while admittedly playing against a very good O-line, got very little pressure when the Broncos had a competent QB on the field. They looked better in the second half, but a lot of that was a result of Chris Simms’ indecisiveness. If Kyle Orton had played the full game, I give the Redskins at best a 50-50 chance of winning.

- The secondary gave up two huge pass plays and there should have been a third but for an overthrow. Carlos Rogers was benched after the first one, but the fact that two more occurred indicates he wasn’t the only one at fault. If the entire secondary was consistently out of position, this seems to point to scheme/coaching problems.

- Taking away a trick special teams play after a drive was stopped, the offense still only scored 21 points. This is, at best, average. The fact that it feels like an offensive explosion just shows you how bad the Redskins have been lately.

- Aesthetically, I am a big fan of the power running game, and if sustainable it will give us the best chance of remaining competitive in the future. But its not the 1970s, and the reality is that you cannot have an effective NFL offense without a good passing game. As mentioned above, Campbell was unable to properly take advantage of the running attack. Even if we keep running well, if the passing game doesn’t improve then 21 points and some ball control just may be the offense’s ceiling. That is a pleasant upgrade over what we’ve witnessed so far, but still not enough to get you a lot of wins in the modern NFL.

And now some things that I think we can legitimately feel pretty good about:

- The performance of the offensive line was legitimate. They were going up against a very good front seven and physically dominated them. Moving back to RT, Stephon Heyer at least appeared acceptable. Rinehart had some bad plays, but he was clearly a vast upgrade over Will Montgomery. Even Rabach, who I have regularly blasted, held his own much better and made some very nice blocks. Dockery, who for much of this year has just made me miss Pete Kendall, turned out to still be a powerful blocker when not having to compensate for the weak tackle play next to him. And Levi Jones… I can’t understand how it took so long to sign this guy and get him on the field. The tackle play the Redskins have committed this year has been not just bad but simply unacceptable at this level of competition. The addition of Jones, and the consequent shuffling of positions, instantly made this offensive line legitimate. Mike Williams demonstrated instantly that he’s ineffective – so it’s a mystery why Levi wasn’t signed the moment Chris Samuels went down (or even earlier).

- The run game success was also helped by good blocking from non-linemen, notably Fred Davis and Antwaan Randle-El. And when Mike Sellers was lined up at TE next to Dockery and Jones, the Broncos simply couldn’t stop us.

- With all the talk of improved blocking, I don’t want to take anything away from Ladell Betts. He ran hard and with excellent vision, working his way through some very slim holes.

- And no one can say the offense did this against a weak opponent. Football Outsiders' DVOA rankings had the Denver defense as 3rd best in the league coming into this game. The Redskins knocked them all the way down to 8th.

- We’ve always heard that Devin Thomas has enormous physical talent, but we just had to take people’s word on it. But in this game he showed that he really is an amazing athlete. Also, he has demonstrated a talent to notice when Jason is in distress and scrambling and to break off his route and get to where he needs to be for Jason to salvage the play. And we saw him block a little bit today (occasionally) – if he could get consistent about that we might have a real player on our hands.

- Outside of the three big screw-ups that led to wide open Broncos receivers in the 1st quarter, the secondary smothered almost everything. This was critical, since the pass rush was generally lacking.

Redskins vs. Broncos, 4th quarter review

1st quarter review
2nd quarter
3rd quarter

Finally done with the TiVo. I have to take a break for some real-life stuff, but check back in a fewhours as I intend to post a final evaluation of this game.

4th Quarter

Washington Redskins continued.

2-9-WAS 35 (15:00) (Shotgun) J.Campbell pass short middle to M.Kelly to DEN 47 for 18 yards (R.Hill).

1-10-DEN 47 (14:24) L.Betts left tackle to DEN 29 for 18 yards (T.Law).

Not much of a hole is opened up initially. Sellers get his guy to the outside but Dockery fails to seal the interior linemen in and is pushed back into Betts’ running lane. Chad Rinehart pulls from RG and is meant to be a lead blocker, but the DL over him keeps him engaged and he can’t make it over in time. With little help, Betts gets the credit for making it through the collapsing running lane with vision and quickness. But once he does Levi, Rabach, and Heyer have each completely neutralized a LB to open up the big gain. The last 6 or 8 yards of the run are secured by very solid downfield blocks by Kelly and Randle-El.

1-10-DEN 29 (13:41) R.Cartwright up the middle to DEN 25 for 4 yards (L.Smith, D.Williams).

2-6-DEN 25 (13:00) R.Cartwright right end to DEN 15 for 10 yards (T.Law, B.Dawkins).

The offensive line wins the battle to seal the Broncos front four to the inside. The corner is won when Sellers takes on the first play-side LB drives him way outside, and Randle-El (out of the slot) blocks the nickel back well.

1-10-DEN 15 (12:15) (Shotgun) J.Campbell scrambles left end pushed ob at DEN 13 for 2 yards (W.Woodyard).

Campbell continues to look uncomfortable in the pocket. He freezes once he hits the top of his drop, evidently looking deep. He doesn’t notice that the tackles are slowly being pushed back into him until its too late to step up in the pocket (he would have had a better escape route to the right but lets it close) and he is flushed to the left.

2-8-DEN 13 (12:08) L.Betts left end to DEN 13 for no gain (W.Woodyard).

Levi Jones is supposed to get to the second level and take out the LB who eventually tackles Betts, but he gets tied up in the traffic of Dockery and Sellers blocking DLs on either side of him and, I believe, trips over someone's feet and lets the LB escape.

3-8-DEN 13 (11:24) (Shotgun) J.Campbell pass short left to R.Cartwright to DEN 12 for 1 yard (D.Williams,

Campbell loses pocket presence again. Campell senses outside pressure that Levi and Heyer actually have under control. He doesn’t step up into the pocket so much as he lunges there in a state of panic, and despite having enough room to resume a passing stance he moves to far up and runs up on the interior linemen. At that point he has a lot of running room to his right but doesn’t see it, and instead makes a very awkward and off-balance dumpoff throw to Rock.

4-7-DEN 12 (10:43) S.Suisham 30 yard field goal is GOOD, Center-E.Albright, Holder-H.Smith.

DEN 17 WAS 17, 13 plays, 79 yards, 7:15 drive, 4:20 elapsed

S.Suisham kicks 68 yards from WAS 30 to DEN 2, out of bounds.


Denver Broncos at 10:40

1-10-DEN 40 (10:40) K.Moreno right tackle to DEN 43 for 3 yards (A.Carter). WAS-A.Haynesworth was injured during the play. His return is Questionable.

2-7-DEN 43 (10:03) K.Moreno left end to WAS 46 for 11 yards (R.Doughty).

Fletcher and Orkapo (RDE) fight for the corner but let the LT an TE take them a little too far upfield and Moreno is able to cut inside them. The LG fights off Kedric Golston to keep him from filling the hole, and the C is able to square up Rocky McIntosh to cut off his pursuit.

1-10-WAS 46 (9:21) C.Simms pass deep middle intended for B.Marshall INTERCEPTED by D.Hall at WAS -3.
D.Hall to WAS 27 for 30 yards. Lateral to L.Landry to WAS 40 for 13 yards (D.Graham).

A convincing play action fools the front seven and basically neutralizes any pass rush. Simms has plenty of time but simply makes a short and inaccurate throw. It is to Hall’s credit that he had the presence to make the pick, but it was a gift opportunity from a QB who was playing terribly. The lateral is pointless, and Landry almost drops it and gives the ball right back.

Washington Redskins at 8:57

1-10-WAS 40 (8:57) J.Campbell sacked at WAS 38 for -2 yards (E.Dumervil).

The initial blitz is defeated. Sellers is in the FB position and picks up the blitzing nickel back, and Betts puts a solid chip on an incoming LB that allows the linemen time to take care of him. A decent pocket is formed, but Campbell once again seems to assume he’s under pressure and steps so that he puts himself into the middle of all the traffic. Dumervil had initially been fought off by Levi but manages to shed off him to the inside once Campbell puts himself in his sights.

2-12-WAS 38 (8:30) L.Betts left tackle to WAS 49 for 11 yards (D.Williams).

The playside ILB misreads Betts’s initial step and makes a move to the outside, allowing himself to be taken out of the running lane and trapped on the wrong side of the wall that Rabach, Dockery and Levi form against their DLs. Rinehart is carried backwards and almost closes off the running lane, but Betts again shows great burst to slip through the hole before it collapses. Good blocking from Marko Mitchell to keep his DB out of the play.

3-1-WAS 49 (7:48) R.Cartwright up the middle to 50 for 1 yard (V.Holliday).

1-10-50 (7:09) L.Betts left end to DEN 48 for 2 yards (K.Peterson).

Levi for some reason lets the DE slide off him and goes to block an incoming safety, but there is no one to compensate and the DE makes the play.

2-8-DEN 48 (6:34) J.Campbell pass short middle to A.Randle El to DEN 39 for 9 yards (B.Dawkins).

A LB blitzes up the middle and Betts picks him up but is unable to stop him, so Campbell throws off his back foot under heavy pressure (but its real pressure this time, not just in his head) to beat the blitz.

1-10-DEN 39 (5:56) R.Cartwright up the middle to DEN 36 for 3 yards (M.Thomas, B.Dawkins).

2-7-DEN 36 (5:19) L.Betts up the middle to DEN 32 for 4 yards (B.Dawkins, D.Williams).
Timeout #1 by DEN at 04:37.

3-3-DEN 32 (4:37) J.Campbell pass short right to D.Thomas to DEN 5 for 27 yards (T.Law).

Thomas is wide to the right with Randle-El in the slot on the same side. Quick hitch to Thomas, who makes two impressive athletic moves to beat a CB and a ILB who immediately close on him. Randle-El runs a slant to pull the nickel back to the inside, then makes a good block to keep him there and open up the downfield yardage. Randle-El then comes off him and manages to get back downfield and in front of Thomas to take out a second DB who was right in Thomas’ path. Thomas cuts inside that block, spins to put a defender on the ground, and is finally chased down at the 5. A truly extraordinary athletic display by Thomas, and a less-noticed but also impressive bit of solid high-effort football from Randle-El to assist him. A two man show.

1-5-DEN 5 (3:48) L.Betts right tackle to DEN 3 for 2 yards (A.Davis).

The Broncos blitz all their LBs up the middle, so even though the line surges ahead with some power they are unable to open a proper running lane.

2-3-DEN 3 (3:05) L.Betts left guard to DEN 1 for 2 yards (R.Fields).
Timeout #2 by DEN at 02:49.

The Broncos are obviously anticipating the power running plays here and are throwing everyone into run defense. Nonetheless, the line carrying the battle forward towards the end zone, and in this situation and in a straight-up physical battle against a defense that knows what’s coming, these 2 yard runs are pretty impressive.

3-1-DEN 1 (2:49) L.Betts left end for 1 yard, TOUCHDOWN.

Levi and Sellers (LTE) blow the Broncos off the line a drive into the endzone. Yoder is lead blocking from the FB spot. However, instead of leading to the edge he turns inside and attacks the men Sellers and Levi have already beaten. This mean that Brian Dawkins comes clean off the corner, gets low, and makes a textbook tackle attempt that should have prevented Betts from exploiting the space gained by his blockers. But Betts anticpates the contact and manages to slip just inside while maintaining his forward momentum to blast through the tackle and lunge into the end zone.

S.Suisham extra point is GOOD, Center-E.Albright, Holder-H.Smith.

DEN 17 WAS 24, 11 plays, 60 yards, 6:13 drive, 12:16 elapsed

S.Suisham kicks 73 yards from WAS 30 to DEN -3. E.Royal to DEN 27 for 30 yards (B.Westbrook, R.Doughty).

Denver Broncos at 2:44, (1st play from scrimmage 2:36)

1-10-DEN 27 (2:36) (Shotgun) C.Simms pass incomplete short middle to D.Graham [A.Carter].

Carter beats the RT to the inside and hits Simms in the back (Simms is a lefty) as he throws.

2-10-DEN 27 (2:32) (Shotgun) C.Simms pass incomplete short middle to K.Moreno [A.Haynesworth].

Haynesworth is back in and rushes from RDE. When Simms can’t find anyone open and steps up in the pocket, Haynesworth comes off the tackle and comes back inside around three Broncos linemen and Simms again takes a big hit as he throws.

3-10-DEN 27 (2:27) (Shotgun) C.Simms pass incomplete deep middle to B.Marshall (R.Doughty) [A.Carter].
Haynesworth was injured during the play.

Carter takes a big chip from FB that slows him down, but still manages to fight past the RT and put pressure on Simms. Doughty is right in front of Marshall and leaps for the high pass, deflecting it into the air.

4-10-DEN 27 (2:20) (Shotgun) C.Simms pass incomplete short left to B.Marshall.

Simms has a pocket this time but waits for deep routes to develop and by the time someone comes open Cornelius Griffin has fought through his block and is able to reach an arm out and land a blow on Simms’ back, which I believe leads to the pass sailing high and out of bounds.

Washington Redskins at 2:14

1-10-DEN 27 (2:14) L.Betts left tackle to DEN 26 for 1 yard (A.Davis, R.Fields).
Timeout #3 by DEN at 02:08.

Ah, clock killing. My favorite part of football (when we’re the ones doing it).

2-9-DEN 26 (2:08) L.Betts left tackle to DEN 26 for no gain (R.Hill, E.Dumervil).

Two-Minute Warning

3-9-DEN 26 (2:00) L.Betts right tackle to DEN 18 for 8 yards (B.Dawkins).
Timeout #1 by WAS at 01:15.

Redskins let the clock run down as far as possible then call the timeout so they don’t need to rush the field goal.

4-1-DEN 18 (1:15) S.Suisham 35 yard field goal is GOOD, Center-E.Albright, Holder-H.Smith.

DEN 17 WAS 27, 4 plays, 9 yards, 1:04 drive, 13:50 elapsed

S.Suisham kicks 54 yards from WAS 30 to DEN 16. E.Royal to DEN 26 for 10 yards (C.Wilson).

Denver Broncos at 1:10, (1st play from scrimmage 1:06)

1-10-DEN 26 (1:06) (Shotgun) C.Simms sacked at DEN 22 for -4 yards (A.Carter).

Simms steps up in the pocket and sees a man open, but Orakpo, rushing from LB, has pushed back a G and manages to get in Simms’ face with his hand in the air. This forces Simms to pull the ball back down and Carter catches him from behind.

2-14-DEN 22 (:37) (No Huddle, Shotgun) C.Simms pass short middle to K.Moreno pushed ob at DEN 29 for 7 yards (D.Hall).

3-7-DEN 29 (:29) (No Huddle, Shotgun) C.Simms sacked at DEN 19 for -10 yards (B.Orakpo).

Orakpo blitzes up the middle and beats the RG with moves rather than power.

4-17-DEN 19 (:03) (No Huddle, Shotgun) C.Simms pass incomplete deep middle to D.Graham.

Graham was open and the pass hit him in the hands, but he knew he had defenders closing in on him and got alligator arms.

That’s game. Check in in a few hours because I want to put up some conclusions about this game and what it means.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Redskins vs. Broncos, 3rd quarter review

1st quarter review
2nd quarter review

3rd Quarter

M.Prater kicks 70 yards from DEN 30 to end zone, Touchback.

Washington Redskins at 15:00

1-10-WAS 20 (15:00) J.Campbell pass short middle to F.Davis to WAS 30 for 10 yards (L.Smith, C.Bailey).

1-10-WAS 30 (14:24) L.Betts right end to WAS 30 for no gain (B.Dawkins, C.Bailey). DEN-D.Williams was injured during the play.

Betts has a shot at the corner but Devin Thomas, who is in perfect position to put a real block on Brian Dawkins, instead decides to just slap at him as he runs by.

2-10-WAS 30 (14:06) (Shotgun) J.Campbell pass short left to S.Moss to WAS 33 for 3 yards (A.Goodman).

Screen pass. Levi Jones is unable to make it out in front of Santana to block, but I’m not sure I blame him. Santana is out wide, not in the slot, and that’s a long way for a big lineman to go in a very short time. It’s true that RBs and TEs typically catch screens in the same spot, but the the extra few seconds it takes them to get there from their original position buys the blockers some time. In this case, though, Santana took one step downfield and turned to Campbell, making this almost a hitch. Jones never had a chance.

3-7-WAS 33 (13:24) (Shotgun) J.Campbell sacked at WAS 28 for -5 yards (D.Reid, E.Dumervil).

This sack goes on Campbell. He stepped up into the pocket, hesitated (this was the point where the decision to run needed to be made), then reared to throw and was taken down from behind.

4-12-WAS 28 (13:00) H.Smith punts 44 yards to DEN 28, Center-E.Albright, fair catch by E.Royal.

Denver Broncos at 12:55

1-10-DEN 28 (12:55) K.Moreno right end to DEN 37 for 9 yards (D.Hall, R.McIntosh).

2-1-DEN 37 (12:14) K.Moreno right tackle to DEN 39 for 2 yards (A.Carter, R.Doughty).

1-10-DEN 39 (11:30) C.Simms pass incomplete short left to C.Buckhalter.

An easy dumpoff, but Simms felt pressure that was still a few second from him and rushed the throw.

2-10-DEN 39 (11:25) (Shotgun) C.Simms pass short left to J.Gaffney to DEN 47 for 8 yards (L.Fletcher, L.Landry).
PENALTY on DEN-E.Royal, Offensive Pass Interference, 10 yards, enforced at DEN 39 - No Play.

2-20-DEN 29 (11:00) K.Moreno right end to DEN 47 for 18 yards (J.Tryon, R.Doughty).

Andre Carter achieves penetration and should stuff the play for a loss, but Moreno puts a great move on him to break the tackle. Fletcher shoots the gap and has a shot at Moreno as he’s avoiding Carter, but Moreno shows great quickness to come out of that move and regain his speed to the corner. After he’s downfield Hall and Tryon each miss tackles.

3-2-DEN 47 (10:13) (Shotgun) C.Simms pass short right to B.Marshall to WAS 48 for 5 yards (D.Hall).

Redskins only rush three and try to flood the shallow zones with defenders, but someone forgets where he’s supposed to be and Marshall comes open too easily. I suspect Smoot, because he and Fletcher were both in the same place when the ball was thrown, and after the play Fletcher immediately goes over to talk to Smoot and points in Marhsall’s direction – possibly indicating the zone Smoot was meant to be covering.

1-10-WAS 48 (9:33) C.Simms pass incomplete short left to T.Scheffler.

Bootleg, but Carter recovers and pursues Simms to the outside. Simms has Scheffler in the flat for a short gain but panics and throws the ball away.

2-10-WAS 48 (9:27) (Shotgun) C.Simms pass incomplete short middle to J.Gaffney.

The pressure which causes Simmsh to rush is throw is really just the result of holding onto the ball for way, way too long.

3-10-WAS 48 (9:21) (Shotgun) C.Simms pass incomplete short left to B.Stokley.

Again the initial pass rush is stopped and Simms holds onto the ball so long that Rocky comes free to create pressure mostly because the RB blocking him gets tired.

4-10-WAS 48 (9:10) M.Berger punts 16 yards to WAS 32, Center-L.Paxton, out of bounds.

Washington Redskins at 9:03

1-10-WAS 32 (9:03) L.Betts up the middle to WAS 40 for 8 yards (B.Dawkins, A.Davis).

Sellers is at LTE and kicks his guy out, Levi Jones and Derrick Dockery blow through the line and Betts follows on their heels.

2-2-WAS 40 (8:33) L.Betts left end to DEN 49 for 11 yards (C.Bailey).

Sellers takes his guy to the outside again, and Betts cuts to Levi’s left to get to daylight. Betts may have gained more but Devin Thomas, rather than get inside his defender (Champ – remember that guy?) to seal him out, just gives him a head on shove and allows him to grab Betts from behind.

1-10-DEN 49 (7:59) J.Campbell sacked at WAS 44 for -7 yards (A.Davis). DEN-K.Peterson was injured during the

The blitz beats our protection design. Dumervil and one of the ILBs blitz from the offensive right, drawing Heyer to the outside and occupying Betts with the blitz pickup. The Broncose have another OLB threatening blitz on the opposite side, meaning all four of the remaining linemen are occupied accounting for him and the three DLs. That LB drops into pass coverage though, and Dockery is left blocking air as the second ILB comes in untouched for the sack. 3-4 defenses are fun are just plain fun.

2-17-WAS 44 (7:31) J.Campbell pass short middle to F.Davis to DEN 47 for 9 yards (D.Williams).

Nice timing between Campbell and Davis on the short route.

3-8-DEN 47 (6:55) (Shotgun) J.Campbell pass short right to D.Thomas pushed ob at DEN 37 for 10 yards (T.Law).

Campbell has a textbook pocket to step up into, but no one gets open. He moves to his right while keeping his eyes downfield, and just before he has to commit to running he sees that Devin Thomas has come (barely) free heading towards the sideline.

1-10-DEN 37 (6:18) R.Cartwright left end to DEN 31 for 6 yards (A.Davis).

Fred Davis seals his man outside, Levi and Dockery turn inside and form an absolute wall. Rabach goes to the second level and picks up and LB, but can’t hold the block long enough for Rock to slip by. In a development so extraordinary that it justified its own post, Devin Thomas comes inside from the slot, sees a DB who is in Rock’s running lane, and blocks him. Just like football players do! He probably gained Rock 4 extra yards.

2-4-DEN 31 (5:49) R.Cartwright up the middle to DEN 31 for no gain (A.Davis, V.Holliday).

The hole line gets push except for Chad Rinehart, who gets stuck and bottles up the play. That said, Rock hesitated in the backfield when he saw the blocking break down. A little decisiveness and a cut to either side may have gained at least a couple yards.

3-4-DEN 31 (5:06) (Shotgun) L.Betts right guard to DEN 28 for 3 yards (D.Williams, A.Smith).

Draw play.

4-1-DEN 28 (4:37) R.Cartwright right end to DEN 30 for -2 yards (B.Dawkins).
Penalty on WAS-M.Sellers, Offensive Holding, declined.

A LB squeezes between Rinehart and Heyer, and Sellers (the outermost of twin TEs right) is unable to seal another inside. There’s also no one else on the right side to block Dawkins, so Rock is chased down by three guys.

Denver Broncos at 4:31

1-10-DEN 31 (4:31) K.Moreno right end to DEN 32 for 1 yard (R.Doughty, K.Golston).

Doughty comes off the edge and takes on a tackle to hold the edge and force Moreno back inside. Wow. Someone buy Doughty a beer.

2-9-DEN 32 (3:54) C.Simms pass short left to T.Scheffler to DEN 33 for 1 yard (F.Smoot).

Smoot is all over the flat route and lays the hit immediately.

3-8-DEN 33 (3:12) (Shotgun) C.Simms sacked at DEN 26 for -7 yards (sack split by A.Carter and B.Orakpo).

Carter beats the LT the outside. Orakpo lines up in a traditional LB spot, rather than up on the line where our SLBs often play. He builds up a head of steam, slams into the LG, and blows him up to make the sack.

4-15-DEN 26 (3:08) M.Berger punts 65 yards to WAS 9, Center-L.Paxton, downed by DEN-D.Bruton.

Washington Redskins at 2:55

1-10-WAS 9 (2:55) L.Betts up the middle to WAS 17 for 8 yards (B.Dawkins, A.Davis).

Beautiful beautiful beautiful. Rabach, Rinehart, Heyer, and Fred Davis form a wall to the right; Dockery, Levi, and Sellers form a wall to the left, and Betts has a wide open alley.

2-2-WAS 17 (2:20) J.Campbell pass short left to S.Moss to WAS 22 for 5 yards (A.Goodman).

1-10-WAS 22 (1:44) L.Betts left tackle to WAS 27 for 5 yards (V.Holliday).

Behind Levi and Dockery again. These two are starting to remind me of the Samuels-Pete Kendall tandem. October 2008 seems like so long ago – I’d almost forgotten what good blocking looked like.

2-5-WAS 27 (1:06) L.Betts up the middle to WAS 34 for 7 yards (B.Dawkins, A.Goodman).

Sellers is in the FB position and lead blocks. Rabach is overpowered and this blows up the designed run to the left. Seller throws himself into the scrum and powers ahead to create a few yards of running room for Betts. However, Betts displays some good vision and make a nice cut to the right to find some open field.

1-10-WAS 34 (:30) Q.Ganther left tackle to WAS 35 for 1 yard (A.Davis, R.Fields).

Levi and Dockery again dominate their side of the line, but Rinehart and Heyer get hung up on their linemen and a ILB achieves backside penetration between them.

Breaking News!

I'm only halfway through the 3rd quarter review, but I just saw something so remarkable I had to let you know right away.

On a 1st and 10 with 6:18 left in the quarter, Devin Thomas blocked somebody! He did it well, too - put a guy on the ground.

Call all your friends; a celebration is in order.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Some Redskins links while I work on the game review


I'm not sure I'm going to be able to complete the 3rd quarter review tonight, so I want to at least offer you some reading material to tide you over.

- First, don't expect to see Clinton Portis back any time soon. I recommend reading the Black and Blue Report in full - it's a great column - but given all the recent attention on the long-term effects of concussions on football players I found this detail distressing:

"Portis is still having blurry vision and other post-concussion syndromes, so
there's almost no chance that he'll be back this week. Sources tell me that
Portis' symptoms get worse with activity, so playing football and inevitably taking hits are well down the line."

No question it is necessary to err on the side of keeping him out longer.

UPDATE: Portis is out. Good. He's crazy enough already, we don't need him building up any more tau in his brain.

- Another one from FO - in this week's Walkthrough column Mike Tanier gave himself the task of finding something nice to say about every NFL team, which was understandably a challenge. Unsurprisingly, the Redskins item related to the defense:

Team: Washington Redskins

Something Nice: Redskins opponents complete just 58.7 percent of their passes.

Analysis: Broncos quarterbacks combined to go 14-of-31 last week, though the Redskins defense fared much better against Chris Simms (3-of-13) than Kyle Orton (11-of-18, two long touchdowns). Matt Ryan was 17-of-24, and Eagles quarterbacks
were 16-of-26, so there's a lot of Rams and Chiefs noise in the data. The
Redskins pass defense DVOA isn't very good (21st through Week 9) due to the
quality of opposition and the fact that they have just five interceptions, but
many of their per-play defensive numbers are surprisingly good.

I think we all were aware that the Redskins' defensive performance was at least partly enhanced by consistently weak opponents, but I'm surprised the opponent adjustments would drop their DVOA ranking to all the way below average. Although to be fair, the last two time the Redskins have faced decent offenses (Philadelphia and Denver) they have shown a disconcerting tendency to give up big plays. More on this in the wrap-up thoughts when I finish the game review.

- Going back to more traditional stats, Post Game Heroes makes a convincing case that Brian Orakpo deserves Rookie of the Year consideration. Based on observation rather than numbers, I would agree. If you didn't know Orakpo was a rookie, I don't think you'd ever know it from watching him play. Even his early problems in pass coverage seem less frequent - although that could be because the coaches are doing a better job of keeping him out of bad situations.

- I don't know anyone who was rooting for the Jay Cutler trade to come off last spring, but if you do send them this link. In short, Cutler has been placed in a situation where he has no protection behind a weak offensive line and no good receivers. Sound familiar? The lesson appears to be that with multiple more pressing flaws on your team, it doesn't make sense to invest major resources into upgrading at quarterback. Even given the extenuating circumstances this year, I have generally been disappointed in Campbell's performance. That said, I doubt that Cutler (and definitely not Mark Sanchez) would have racked up more wins to this point with Stephon Heyer and Mike Williams as his tackles.

- Dallas Week is great, but it used to be even better. We have a dart board at the office; I'm considering printing this out for use. I know its dated, but real hatred is timeless anyway.

- And finally, one non-Redskins-related link to one of the most fantastic passes I've ever seen thrown. Brilliant.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Defending Mike Sellers

Steinberg at the Sports Bog mentions that "a lot of fans have gotten over their previous infatuation with Mike Sellers, who might not qualify as `fan favorite' any more."

The shift in the public perception of Sellers was amazingly fast, and seems to all go back to the confrontation between Sellers and Portis in early October, which led to a lot of close examination of Sellers' performance. Shortly thereafter, in the Panthers game, Portis was tackled for a safety and color commentator Brian Billick excoriated Sellers. Here is my comment from that play, taken from the game review:

"Color commentator Brian Billick rips Mike Sellers on this play (on his note cards due to the Portis-Sellers spat from earlier in the week), saying the fullback’s responsibility on a goal line play is to punch a hole through the line rather than move laterally to try to get to the corner. But my read is that Sellers was never able to get forward momentum because Stephon Heyer was getting thrown backward into his face. If Sellers hadn’t dodged him and tried to get to the outside, I think Portis would have been flattened under Heyer’s and Sellers’ bodies and Peppers wouldn’t have even needed to tackle him."

And here is my comment from the play that led to Portis' well-publicized consternation:

"Jumbo package with Davis and Yoder on the right and Cooley on the left. We run left. Guess who gets beat to allow the defense to penetrate and stuff Portis. Cooley has always been known as a mediocre blocker, but I don’t remember him being quite this awful last year. Has he gotten worse? And why the hell would we run behind him in a power situation? Sellers was lead blocking, but Cooley’s failure neutralized Sellers by not giving him a gap to lead through."

Sellers' job is leading through the hole and taking out LBs - if the hole is never opened or if he has to dodge his own linemen to get there, there's not a whole lot Sellers can do. In my opinion Sellers is a very good fullback but not a perfect one - and I think I mentioned in one of my post-review wrap-ups without Sellers the Redskins might not have any running game at all.

Sellers has always been a little overrated by the Redskins fan base. But overrated doesn't mean he was lousy. He was, in general, a devastating lead blocker but was widely acknowledged to have a tendency to whiff on occasion. And yet the same fan base that once adored him unconditionally turned on him with a vengeance simply because Brian Billick told them to. Within a matter of days, Sellers was constantly being referenced as one of the primary culprits in the offense's collapse. Almost overnight he went from slightly overrated to horrendously underrated.

Maybe Sellers should have been more decisive at times this year - and maybe on the plays referenced above there was more he could have done to ensure a positive gain. But after Cooley I have a hard time finding a player on this offense who has performed more consistently, although if you look closesly enough you can find flaws in anyone's game.

Remember - just because someone says something on TV doesn't make it true. And even if it contains kernels of truth, it doesn't need to be immediately accepted as religious truth.

Redskins vs. Broncos, 2nd quarter review

Click here for the 1st quarter review.


Denver Broncos continued.

2-5-DEN 20 (15:00) K.Orton pass short right to T.Scheffler to DEN 27 for 7 yards (R.Doughty).

Doughty bites on the play action and is slow getting out to cover Scheffler in the flat.

1-10-DEN 27 (14:25) K.Moreno right end to DEN 26 for -1 yards (B.Orakpo, C.Griffin). Direct Snap to 27

2-11-DEN 26 (13:50) K.Orton pass short left to E.Royal to DEN 39 for 13 yards (L.Fletcher, A.Carter).
PENALTY on DEN-T.Scheffler, Offensive Pass Interference, 10 yards, enforced at DEN 26 - No Play.
Penalty on DEN-C.Kuper, Ineligible Downfield Pass, declined.

Play action gets the whole defense flowing to the offensive right, so Royal runs a quick comeback and has plenty of room to run.

2-21-DEN 16 (13:21) (Shotgun) K.Orton pass short left to B.Marshall to DEN 21 for 5 yards (R.McIntosh).

Timeout #1 by WAS at 12:40.

3-16-DEN 21 (12:38) (Shotgun) K.Orton pass incomplete deep right to E.Royal.

Andre Carter (at LDE) tries to stunt inside of Cornelius Griffin but the Broncos adjust and pick him up. Haynesworth tries to stunt to the outside oF Orakpo (RDE) but both end up getting ensnared among four Broncos blockers. Orton has all day in the pocket, and Eddie Royal is impossibly wide open due to yet another blown coverage. Redskins were very lucky this was overthrown.

4-16-DEN 21 (12:31) M.Berger punts 45 yards to WAS 34, Center-L.Paxton. S.Moss to WAS 34 for no gain (D.Bruton).

Washington Redskins at 12:23

1-10-WAS 34 (12:23) J.Campbell pass incomplete short right to A.Randle El (E.Dumervil).

2-10-WAS 34 (12:19) L.Betts left end to WAS 34 for no gain (K.Peterson, A.Davis).

The left side of the line (including Fred Davis) does its job and creates a hole, but Malcolm Kelly is too slow getting to the interior and fails to cut off Brian Dawkins from shooting the gap. Dawkins forces Betts to cut in the backfield, and by the time he recovers the Broncos line is able to make the stop.

3-10-WAS 34 (11:36) (Shotgun) J.Campbell pass short left to R.Cartwright to WAS 42 for 8 yards (R.Hill, D.Williams).

ROLB Dumervil badly beats Levi Jones to the outside, and Campbell is lucky to be able to get the screen pass out as he takes the hit. Rabach, and Dockery do an effective job of getting to the outside to set up the blocking, but Rinehart is a bit late (admittedly he has the farthest to go from RG) and he doesn’t have an angle to take out the DB who closes on Rock.

4-2-WAS 42 (11:06) H.Smith punts 27 yards to DEN 31, Center-E.Albright, downed by WAS-E.Albright.

Denver Broncos at 10:56

1-10-DEN 31 (10:56) K.Orton pass incomplete deep right to B.Marshall (D.Hall).

Excellent leap by DeAngelo Hall to fight for the ball, and he very nearly comes down with the interception.

2-10-DEN 31 (10:48) K.Moreno right guard to DEN 34 for 3 yards (L.Fletcher).

3-7-DEN 34 (10:13) (Shotgun) K.Moreno up the middle to DEN 31 for -3 yards (B.Orakpo).

Redskins line up with three linemen, but with Fletcher lined up directly over the LG. Haynesworth is at RDE and attacks to the outside, drawing away the LT. Fletcher makes a lunge at the LG, but then drops back into coverage and draws the LG with him. The C blocks right against Kedric Golston at DT. Orakpo shoots through the huge LG-C gap untouched to blow up the draw play.

4-10-DEN 31 (9:42) M.Berger punts 51 yards to WAS 18, Center-L.Paxton. S.Moss to WAS 26 for 8 yards (R.Ayers).
PENALTY on DEN-R.Ayers, Face Mask (15 Yards), 15 yards, enforced at WAS 26.

Washington Redskins at 9:30

1-10-WAS 41 (9:30) Q.Ganther up the middle to WAS 44 for 3 yards (V.Holliday, A.Davis).

2-7-WAS 44 (8:51) J.Campbell scrambles right end to DEN 43 for 13 yards (W.Woodyard).

The O-line stops the Broncos four linemen cold, and Rabach even pushes his guy back enough to cut off the route of a LB who tries to blitz up the middle. A DB blitzes off the (offensive) left edge and Quinten Ganther not only clobbers him, but sticks with him as Campbell scrambles to the right and seals him out all the way downfield. Santana gets credit for a good downfield block on this play, and Devin Thomas gets credit for a poor one – but at least he was trying to block, which is an improvement over last week.

1-10-DEN 43 (8:06) J.Campbell pass short middle to Q.Ganther to DEN 25 for 18 yards (B.Dawkins).

Good dumpoff by Campbell just as the pocket is caving in on him.

1-10-DEN 25 (7:29) Q.Ganther right end to DEN 25 for no gain (E.Dumervil).

Fred Davis is at RTE and can’t hold the edge – he gets pushed two yards into the backfieldd so Ganther has no chance to make the corner. On the other side Levi Jones blocks in on the RDE. He does it effectively, but this must be a mistake because there is no one to cut off the backside pursuit by ROLB Dumervil. Once Ganther runs into Davis’ back, Dumervil easily takes him down from behind.

2-10-DEN 25 (6:49) (Shotgun) J.Campbell pass incomplete short middle [E.Dumervil].
PENALTY on WAS-J.Campbell, Intentional Grounding, 10 yards, enforced at DEN 25.

Campbell initially has a pocket but he double pumps and uses up his time. By the time he pulls the ball down Dumervil has fought free of Levi and hits Campbell as he throws. I disagree strongly with the grounding call – Campbell had Yoder on the goal line and the hit made the ball fall well short.

3-20-DEN 35 (6:42) (Shotgun) J.Campbell pass incomplete short left to F.Davis.

Thrown high and behind Davis.

Timeout #2 by WAS at 06:39.
4-20-DEN 35 (6:39) (Field Goal formation) H.Smith pass deep left to M.Sellers for 35 yards, TOUCHDOWN. Field Goal formation
switched to Shotgun, direct snap to #3 (Smith)

Wow – well designed. The Broncos know this was a fake and adjust to all the shifting (especially since we called a timeout to give ourselves a second chance to get it right). But Todd Yoder motions from the far left to tight right, drawing the outermost defender with him. After the snap, Mike Sellers comes from the right side and finds his way around the left corner. No one is there to pick him up because he comes visible late and the remaining defenders have been drawn inside by slants form Shaun Suisham and Lorenzo Alexander. It is less surprising now that this worked even though we gave away the fake by calling the timeout. The play design counted on the fake being detected so the Broncos would follow the motion men and open up Sellers. One point for Danny Smith.

S.Suisham extra point is GOOD, Center-E.Albright, Holder-H.Smith.

DEN 14 WAS 14, 7 plays, 59 yards, 3:00 drive, 8:30 elapsed

S.Suisham kicks 55 yards from WAS 30 to DEN 15. L.Jordan to DEN 21 for 6 yards (L.Alexander).
PENALTY on DEN-J.Moss, Illegal Block Above the Waist, 10 yards, enforced at DEN 21.

Good God does Lorenzo Alexander ever lay a hit onto this poor kick returner.

Denver Broncos at 6:30, (1st play from scrimmage 6:26)

1-10-DEN 11 (6:26) K.Moreno right end to DEN 18 for 7 yards (R.McIntosh).

Great blocking by the TE Daniel Graham. He and the RT first blow Philip Daniels off the line, then Graham sheds off and keep Rocky from beating Moreno to the corner.

2-3-DEN 18 (5:53) K.Moreno right end to DEN 18 for no gain (A.Carter).

Haynesworth runs over the LG to almost blow up the play, but Moreno is quick to the outside. But Kedric Golston fights his way past the RG to force Moreno farther outside than he intended to go, so by the time he gets to the corner Andre Carter has fought free of the TE and can make the stop.

3-3-DEN 18 (5:15) (Shotgun) K.Orton pass short middle to B.Stokley to DEN 33 for 15 yards (R.Doughty, J.Tryon).

Ineffective three man rush. Haynesworth is at RDE but gets stopped by a LG-LT double team. Griffin and Carter run a stunt but the three Broncos linemen on the right side adjust well and both are stopped cold.

1-10-DEN 33 (4:32) K.Moreno up the middle to DEN 43 for 10 yards (R.Doughty, R.McIntosh). WAS-R.Doughty was injured during the play.

1-10-DEN 43 (4:04) K.Moreno left end to DEN 45 for 2 yards (P.Daniels, K.Golston).

Andre Carte splits a double team to penetrate and force Moreno to start changing directions earlier than was planned.

2-8-DEN 45 (3:30) K.Orton pass short left to E.Royal to WAS 47 for 8 yards (K.Moore).

Quick slant. Smoot has Royal covered and tries to jump the route for the pick rather than just making the easy tackle.

1-10-WAS 47 (2:50) K.Orton pass incomplete short right to D.Graham.

2-10-WAS 47 (2:41) (Shotgun) K.Orton pass short right to E.Royal to WAS 34 for 13 yards (D.Hall).

1-10-WAS 34 (2:08) K.Moreno left end to WAS 33 for 1 yard (C.Griffin, A.Haynesworth).

Two-Minute Warning

2-9-WAS 33 (1:59) (Shotgun) K.Orton pass incomplete short right to K.Moreno.

3-9-WAS 33 (1:55) (Shotgun) K.Orton pass short middle to T.Scheffler to WAS 21 for 12 yards (R.Doughty).

Still not getting much out of the four man rush. Our linemen, including Haynesworth and Orakpo, are not winning the matchups.

1-10-WAS 21 (1:13) K.Orton pass incomplete deep left to B.Marshall (F.Smoot).

Between the play action and very solid blocking there is no pass rush to speak of, but the secondary has apparently gotten over their early communication issues and both Landry and Smoot have Marshall well covered in the end zone, forcing Orton to overthrow him to avoid the pick.

2-10-WAS 21 (1:07) (Shotgun) K.Orton pass short middle to B.Marshall to WAS 12 for 9 yards (R.McIntosh, F.Smoot).
Timeout #1 by DEN at 00:52.

3-1-WAS 12 (:51) Additional eligible receiver #71 B.Gorin reported in as eligible. K.Moreno right guard to WAS 10 for 2 yards (R.McIntosh).

Haynesworth and Golston both get penetration, but the run goes away from them to the offensive right, where Philip Daniel and Orakpo get blown off the line.

1-10-WAS 10 (:23) (Shotgun) K.Orton pass incomplete short middle to K.Moreno (A.Haynesworth).

2-10-WAS 10 (:20) K.Orton pass incomplete short middle to E.Royal.

Thrown away – again plenty of time but now the secondary is smothering everybody.

3-10-WAS 10 (:16) (Shotgun) K.Orton scrambles up the middle to WAS 7 for 3 yards (B.Orakpo).

Two man rush with Orakpo and Carter off the edges. Haynesworth is the only other lineman but he stays put (with three linemen on him) to guard against a scramble up the middle. Again no one can get open, and by the time Orton decides to run Orakpo is able to catch him from behind. And hurt him.

Timeout #2 by DEN at 00:07.

4-7-WAS 7 (:07) M.Prater 24 yard field goal is GOOD, Center-L.Paxton, Holder-M.Berger.

DEN 17 WAS 14, 18 plays, 82 yards, 6:25 drive, 14:55 elapsed

M.Prater kicks 62 yards from DEN 30 to WAS 8. R.Cartwright to WAS 36 for 28 yards (D.McBath).


Play by play info taken from the offical NFL Game Book.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Redskins vs. Broncos, 1st quarter review

As always, the play by play is taken from the official NFL game book and my commentary is added in its own font.

S.Suisham kicks 67 yards from WAS 30 to DEN 3. E.Royal to DEN 33 for 30 yards (K.Moore).

Byron Westbrook takes a pretty blatant block in the back on the return.

Denver Broncos at 15:00, (1st play from scrimmage 14:53)

1-10-DEN 33 (14:53) K.Moreno right end to WAS 39 for 28 yards (C.Rogers, A.Carter).

Good job sealing the edge by the RG and TE. Moreno is lead around the right side by the FB and the pulling RT. Doughty is streaking in but the RT takes him out. The FB doesn’t get a solid block on a second incoming (unidentified) DB, but forces him outside enough that he can’t make the tackle. The next man with a chance is London Fletcher, who eventually gets past a block but not until he is forced far enough outside that he can’t recover when Moreno cuts inside. On a side note, something goes wrong with the technology that puts that “1st and 10” arrow graphic on the field, because it seems to be given priority and all the players on the right side become silhouetted, so we have a bunch of ghostly figures playing football. Kind of spooky really, and possible evidence that FedEx was built on an ancient Indian burial ground (not a “redskin” burial ground, though – that would be racist).

1-10-WAS 39 (14:10) K.Moreno right end to WAS 40 for -1 yards (A.Carter, C.Griffin).

The RT is forced into the backfield by the disembodied head of Philip Daniels (still some on-field graphic problems), cutting off Moreno’s angle to the corner. Moreno thinks about cutting it outside, but he’s cut off by Orakpo who has unsurprisingly won his battle against the slot receiver. He is forced to make a second cut back to the inside, and by that point Andre Carter has shed off his block to stuff him.

2-11-WAS 40 (13:37) K.Orton pass short right to K.Moreno to WAS 40 for no gain (B.Orakpo).

3-11-WAS 40 (12:56) (Shotgun) K.Orton pass deep left to B.Marshall for 40 yards, TOUCHDOWN

Redskins blitz two off the edge – Landry from the offensive left and Rocky McIntosh from the right. The TE successfully runs Landry upfield, then when it looks like Landry might recover and threaten Orton from behind the TE simply grabs him by the collar and yanks him backwards, which is apparently legal these days. Rocky is picked up solidly by the RB, and the linemen easily handle the two rushing DEs – boths DTs drop into pass coverage to compensate for the blitzers. Carlos Rogers, as you already know, bites horribly on a fake cut by Marshall.

M.Prater extra point is GOOD, Center-L.Paxton, Holder-M.Berger.

DEN 7 WAS 0, 4 plays, 67 yards, 2:13 drive, 2:13 elapsed

M.Prater kicks 70 yards from DEN 30 to WAS 0. R.Cartwright to WAS 22 for 22 yards (M.Haggan).

Washington Redskins at 12:47, (1st play from scrimmage 12:42)

1-10-WAS 22 (12:42) L.Betts right end to WAS 24 for 2 yards (R.Fields, K.Peterson).

Betts runs into Casey Rabach’s back, because Rabach has been carried by the DT right into the running lane.

2-8-WAS 24 (12:05) J.Campbell pass short right to F.Davis to WAS 31 for 7 yards (D.Williams).

Three step drop, and Campbell knows where he’s going as soon as he hits that third step and gets the ball out immediately, all West Coast offense-like.

3-1-WAS 31 (11:21) (Shotgun) R.Cartwright up the middle to WAS 33 for 2 yards (B.Dawkins).

The interior line blocks this play well and gets some push, but its Randle-El (or whatever coach designed the play) that deserves credit for the first down. ARE motions from the left slot to the right, where he becomes the innermost of three WRs. A LB follows him to the slot to man him up, and is baited further outside when ARE pretends to set up for a quick hitch. This missing LB would should have been plugging Rock’s running lane.

1-10-WAS 33 (10:45) (Shotgun) J.Campbell pass incomplete short right to D.Thomas (R.Ayers).

An attempted screen to Thomas. The problem is, both Fred Davis (at RTE) and Stephon Heyer (RT) think they’re supposed to head outside to be part of the blocking convoy, so neither one bothers to block the OLB rushing from the offensive right. Campbell ends up throwing it right into the guys hands, and if the LB had had his wits about him this could easily have been a touchdown in the other direction.

2-10-WAS 33 (10:37) L.Betts up the middle to WAS 38 for 5 yards (D.Williams).

Rabach and old/new RG Chad Rinehart double team a DT and smother him, then Rabach sheds off and puts a LB on his back, creating Betts’ running lane. Fred Davis controls the RDE well enough that Levi Jones is free to bear down on another LB and drive him backwards right out of the play.

3-5-WAS 38 (10:00) J.Campbell pass short left to L.Betts ran ob at WAS 44 for 6 yards.

1-10-WAS 44 (9:33) R.Cartwright left end to DEN 39 for 17 yards (B.Dawkins).

Levi Jones and Fred Davis seal the RDE and ROLB to the outside (remember the Broncos run a 3-4, so the OLB will often be filling a role similar to that of a DE in a 4-3 defense). The interior line is less successful at sealing the inside, but they trip the Broncos up enough to buy time and Rock is quick through the hole. The Broncos defenders are probably also thrown off by the fact that Rock again runs through the down and distance graphic and briefly straddles the worlds of the living and the dead. During this play Rock Cartwright may or may not have gained the ability to foresee how you will die.

1-10-DEN 39 (8:55) J.Campbell pass short left to A.Randle El to DEN 29 for 10 yards (B.Dawkins) [M.Haggan].

A LB blitzes up the middle. Rock picks him up and tries to block him low, but the LB leaps over him and has a shot an Campbell. Jason steps aside and takes only a glancing low blow, and with his feet still tangled up makes an accurate throw to Randle-El on an out pattern.

1-10-DEN 29 (8:11) J.Campbell pass short right to F.Davis to DEN 5 for 24 yards (A.Davis).

Davis makes the catch in the flat off of Campbell’s bootleg, and gains 22 yards after the catch without leaving his feet once. He’s learning! By my count, he gets past five defenders by keeping moving forward and using minimal direction changes to prolong the time before contact. It’s like Cooley loaned Fred Davis his open-field running talent, since Cooley doesn’t need it at the moment.

1-5-DEN 5 (7:21) J.Campbell pass incomplete short left to D.Thomas.

Thrown a bit behind Thomas, but still counts as a drop in the end zone. A talented WR should bail his QB out on that kind of “close-enough” throw.

2-5-DEN 5 (7:17) L.Betts right guard to DEN 2 for 3 yards (D.Williams, R.Hill).

Jones, Dockery, Rabach, and Rinehart form a wall hemming in most of the Broncos front seven to the offensive left. Heyer successfully kicks his guy out to the right. Randle-El runs a fake slant pattern and takes out a DB in the running lane. Unfortunately Rock cuts left into all the traffic – if he cuts right he could have a touchdown.

3-2-DEN 2 (6:37) J.Campbell pass short middle to T.Yoder for 2 yards, TOUCHDOWN.

Pass rush punches through the line, but a bootleg makes it irrelevant. Just like last week, an opposing defense is once more victimized by their lack of respect for Yoder as a receiving threat, as the Broncos ignore him to focus on Malcolm Kelly at the back of the end zone and Rock in the right flat.

S.Suisham extra point is GOOD, Center-E.Albright, Holder-H.Smith.

DEN 7 WAS 7, 12 plays, 78 yards, 6:15 drive, 8:28 elapsed

S.Suisham kicks 57 yards from WAS 30 to DEN 13, out of bounds.

Denver Broncos at 6:32

1-10-DEN 40 (6:32) K.Orton pass short right to T.Scheffler to DEN 49 for 9 yards (D.Hall).

2-1-DEN 49 (5:55) C.Buckhalter right end to WAS 48 for 3 yards (A.Haynesworth).

1-10-WAS 48 (5:17) B.Marshall left end to WAS 39 for 9 yards (L.Landry). End around

Andre Carter overpursues to the inside and is hoplessly out of position for the end-around. The only other Redskins with a chance to hold the corner is Rocky McIntosh, but he is taken out by the TE.

2-1-WAS 39 (4:46) C.Buckhalter right end to WAS 31 for 8 yards (L.Alexander). FUMBLES (L.Alexander),RECOVERED by WAS-R.Doughty at WAS 31. R.Doughty to WAS 31 for no gain (C.Buckhalter).

WAS-D.Hall was injured during the play. His return is Questionable.

The RT pulls to the outside, and goes low to take out a (unidentified) DB. Purely by luck, this manages to trip up three pursuing Redskins who otherwise would have stuffed the play after a yard. Lorenzo Alexander initially gets hung up at the line, but after the play is long past him he comes out of nowhere to surprise the RB with a hit from behind and knock the ball loose. Alexander gets a point for hustle.

WAS-D.Hall was injured during the play. His return is Questionable.

Washington Redskins at 4:36

1-10-WAS 31 (4:36) L.Betts right tackle to WAS 32 for 1 yard (R.Fields).

2-9-WAS 32 (3:59) (Shotgun) J.Campbell pass incomplete short right to L.Betts.

Awful throw, missing Betts while he was wide open on a swing route. There was no pressure to serve as an excuse.

3-9-WAS 32 (3:56) (Shotgun) J.Campbell pass incomplete short middle to S.Moss.

A second inaccurate throw to an open receiver with no pressure.

4-9-WAS 32 (3:49) H.Smith punts 43 yards to DEN 25, Center-E.Albright, fair catch by E.Royal.

Denver Broncos at 3:46

1-10-DEN 25 (3:46) K.Orton pass deep middle to B.Marshall for 75 yards, TOUCHDOWN.

The play action slows down the pass rush, except for Orakpo who almost fights through the TE to lay a hit on Orton but is a split second too late. DeAngelo Hall plays outside leverage apparently thinking the safeties are responsible for the middle, but the nearest safety (unidentified) jumps an underneath crossing route and takes himself out of the play. No way to know who screwed up here, but someone did because WRs aren’t really supposed to be open by 15 yards in the NFL.

M.Prater extra point is GOOD, Center-L.Paxton, Holder-M.Berger.

DEN 14 WAS 7, 1 plays, 75 yards, 0:11 drive, 11:25 elapsed

M.Prater kicks 71 yards from DEN 30 to WAS -1. R.Cartwright to WAS 24 for 25 yards (S.Larsen).
PENALTY on WAS-C.Wilson, Offensive Holding, 9 yards, enforced at WAS 18.

Washington Redskins at 3:35, (1st play from scrimmage 3:20)

1-10-WAS 9 (3:20) L.Betts right end to WAS 15 for 6 yards (R.Hill).

Rinehart, Heyer, and Davis seal defenders to the outside to create the inside cutback lane. Rinehart in particular mauls his guy.

2-4-WAS 15 (2:46) L.Betts right end to WAS 15 for no gain (M.Thomas).

Levi Jones blocks to the inside, and with no TE on the left there is no one to seal off the backside pursuit.

3-4-WAS 15 (2:06) (Shotgun) J.Campbell pass deep right to A.Randle El pushed ob at WAS 41 for 26 yards

Heyer (remember he's at RT now) and Rinehart are threatened to the outside by the LDE and DT, but manage to take them far enough upfield to survive. Rabach and Dockery double team the other DT and smother him completely. Jones is almost overwhelmed by OLB Elvis Dumervil but buys enough time for Campbell to step up and escape the pressure. Campbell makes an accurate throw right into Antwaan Randle-El’s hands as he works the sideline.

1-10-WAS 41 (1:39) J.Campbell pass incomplete deep left to S.Moss.

Campbell stand behind a solid wall of blockers, and just overthrows Santana who had badly beaten the CB.

2-10-WAS 41 (1:32) L.Betts left guard to WAS 47 for 6 yards (L.Smith, A.Davis).

Interior line forms an inside seal, Jones kicks his guy outside, and Sellers puts a hat on the first LB in the hole.

3-4-WAS 47 (:50) (Shotgun) J.Campbell pass incomplete short middle to F.Davis.

Campbell has plenty of protection, but senses pressure where there is none and scrambles forward to throw on the run when it’s not necessary. Because of this his throw sails high, although it hit Davis’ hands and he should have made the catch.

4-4-WAS 47 (:45) H.Smith punts 38 yards to DEN 15, Center-E.Albright. E.Royal to DEN 15 for no gain.

Denver Broncos at 0:38

1-10-DEN 15 (:38) K.Moreno left guard to DEN 20 for 5 yards (R.Doughty, L.Fletcher).

Haynesworths gets penetration on the LG’s outside shoulder, so Moreno cuts inside where an unidentified DT is buried by a double team and an equally unidentified LB misses a straight-on tackle at the line of scrimmage (if you guys want to take up a collection to get me HD we can end all this “unidentified” crap).

Sunday, November 15, 2009

A great win for the Redskins, or so I hear

I had a family obligation today, and I missed the first half entirely and listened to the radio broadcast of the second half. This sounds like it was a good win, not just a fluky one, but of course given the circumstances I don't have a real good idea what went on.

I've been wondering about the questions below. I'll have my own opinions after going through the TiVo, but that's not til tomorrow night and, dammit, I want to know what happened. Let me know your take on these, or anything else you think I should know about the game.

- I know the Redskins didn't allow a sack in the first half. Did the gameplan allow for Campbell to get the ball out quickly, or did the line play much better than we're used to?

- Speaking of which - I gather Levi Jones looked pretty solid. Were they giving him a lot of help? Does he look like a keeper?

- How lucky are we to have faced Chris Simms for most of the second half? Was he giving the game away or was it quality play from our defense? Or both?

- Am I reading Redskins Insider correctly that after giving up the big touchdown Carlos Rogers was removed from the game completely? I can see benching him, but it seems hard to keep him off the field even in nickel and dimes situations...

- In general, do you feel like this can be a source of optimism moving forward or was this probably a one-off performance?

Let me know your thoughts.

And for those of you as impatient as I am, Curly R already has a game recap up.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Redskins at Falcons, 4th quarter review

1st quarter review
2nd quarter review
3rd quarter review

Washington Redskins continued.

1-10-ATL 19 (15:00) J.Campbell pass incomplete short left to S.Moss (C.Houston).

2-10-ATL 19 (14:56) L.Betts up the middle to ATL 12 for 7 yards (E.Coleman).

3-3-ATL 12 (14:19) (Shotgun) J.Campbell scrambles left end to ATL 7 for 5 yards (C.Lofton). R13
PENALTY on ATL-M.Peterson, Defensive Holding, 4 yards, enforced at ATL 7.

This hold was hilarious. Rock Cartwright runs a pass route out of the backfield, but the LB somehow seems to think he has the ball (there was no fake handoff) and tackles him to the ground. Campbell is forced to scramble after he almost gets sandwiched between his two OTs again.

1-3-ATL 3 (13:54) (Shotgun) R.Cartwright left tackle to ATL 3 for no gain (T.DeCoud).

2-3-ATL 3 (13:13) J.Campbell pass short right to T.Yoder for 3 yards, TOUCHDOWN.
Atlanta challenged the incomplete pass ruling, and the play was Upheld. (Timeout #1 at 13:05.)

Campbell’s first read was to either Betts or Sellers, but both were well covered. Campbell rolls out to the right to buy time, and it’s a good thing he buys a lot. Yoder starts out at LTE, gets hung up in the traffic getting off the line, then runs a long slow drag across the back of the end zone. He is being tracked by a DB and a LB, but they fade as Yoder nears the right-hand corner of the end zone. This was a very nice catch by Yoder, but I think it’s partly the result of the defenders’ getting lazy due to their lack of respect for Yoder as a receiving threat.

S.Suisham extra point is GOOD, Center-E.Albright, Holder-S.Paulescu.

WAS 17 ATL 24, 13 plays, 81 yards, 1 penalty, 6:50 drive, 1:55 elapsed

S.Suisham kicks 66 yards from WAS 30 to ATL 4. E.Weems to ATL 27 for 23 yards (H.Blades).

Atlanta Falcons at 13:05, (1st play from scrimmage 13:00)

1-10-ATL 27 (13:00) M.Ryan pass short right to O.Mughelli to ATL 35 for 8 yards (R.Doughty).

Another bootleg. Doughty lines up in the box and gets frozen by the play action. This may have allowed the completion to the FB, but he does a nice job of recovery to bring the guy down from behind.

2-2-ATL 35 (12:22) M.Turner left end to ATL 42 for 7 yards (R.Doughty).

Haynesworth uses an overhand swim move to get past the LG with minimal contact. The C was trying to pull to the outside but had to turn around to cut off Haynesworth, who otherwise would have pulled Turner down from behind. Carter is at LDE and is controlled by a TE. Rocky McIntosh is neutralized by yet another excellent block from Michael Jenkins, and the LT pulls to the outside to take out Doughty and secure the corner.

1-10-ATL 42 (11:36) M.Turner left tackle for 58 yards, TOUCHDOWN.

Orakpo is lined up at RDE and is fighting a TE and works to the outside. Orakpo works to the outside, which is where the RB is headed. The problem is, Rocky McIntosh reads the initial run and gets himself even farther to the outside, so he is walled off by Orakpo’s body when Turner cuts its back inside. In other words, one of them loses gap responsibility. Fletcher has been run out of the play by the RG, who came clean off the line. Landry has a clean shot at him but just rolls at his feet instead of making a grown-up tackle, and Turner just jumps over him. I could swear that Landry has been avoiding contact with Turner all day – as if he’s afraid of being Brandon Jacobed all over again. Of course I would never say that to Landry’s face, because he probably wouldn’t feel compelled to avoid contact with me.

J.Elam extra point is GOOD, Center-B.Pittman, Holder-M.Koenen.

WAS 17 ATL 31, 3 plays, 73 yards, 1:42 drive, 3:37 elapsed

M.Koenen kicks 70 yards from ATL 30 to end zone, Touchback.

Washington Redskins at 11:23

1-10-WAS 20 (11:23) J.Campbell scrambles left end to WAS 21 for 1 yard (J.Babineaux). WAS-J.Campbell was injured during
the play. His return is Questionable. WAS-M.Williams was injured during the play. His return is Questionable.

Will Montgomery lets a DT beat him, but he manages to recover and carry the DT to far upfield to make a hit on Campbell. However, it forces Campbell to step up right into John Abraham, who has fought through Stephon Heyer’s inside shoulder and is now in the middle of the “pocket.” Campbell spins away from him and escapes to the outside, but the DT who beat Montgomery and allowed himself to be run all the way back to the 10 yard line somehow recovers and makes it back in-frame to dive and take out Campbell’s legs from behind. Campbell is cocking to throw as he feels the contact, and does a good job of pulling the ball back in and securing it.

2-9-WAS 21 (10:57) L.Betts left tackle to WAS 24 for 3 yards (C.Jackson, E.Coleman).

3-6-WAS 24 (10:22) T.Collins pass short left to M.Mitchell to WAS 35 for 11 yards (C.Houston).

1-10-WAS 35 (9:44) L.Betts up the middle to WAS 44 for 9 yards (E.Coleman).

The Redskins line crashed right and manages to trap most of the Falcons front seven there, while Fred Davis does a good job of sealing the RDE to the outside, so a big hole is opened up. Devin Thomas is the flanker on the play side and, one would assume, has the responsibility of blocking one of the two DBs lined up on that side. Instead he just jogs casually in Betts’ direction, then when he sees Betts has found some room and there could be a significant gain, he makes a belated and half-hearted attempt to get in the way of a DB who has no chance to make the play anyway. I could handle it if he blocked poorly, but Thomas is repeatedly choosing not to block at all, and it’s really starting to piss me off.

3-1-WAS 44 (8:36) PENALTY on WAS-D.Batiste, False Start, 4 yards, enforced at WAS 44 - No Play.

3-5-WAS 40 (8:11) T.Collins pass short middle to A.Randle El to WAS 47 for 7 yards (E.Coleman).

LBs blitz, so Collins and Randle-El make them pay with a quick slant.

1-10-WAS 47 (7:34) T.Collins pass incomplete deep right to S.Moss (E.Coleman) [M.Peterson].

A LB comes on a delayed blitz – delayed just long enough that Betts thinks he doesn’t need to block anyone and goes out into a pass route. The LB comes clean and Collins takes a shot to the chest as he throws, but still manages to hit Santana in the hands downfield and he is unable to come down with the ball.

2-10-WAS 47 (7:27) L.Betts up the middle to ATL 44 for 9 yards (J.Abraham).

Draw play, and after crossing the LOS Betts displays some good field vision to make it most of the way to the first down marker.

3-1-ATL 44 (6:45) L.Betts left guard to ATL 44 for no gain (V.Walker).
Timeout #1 by WAS at 06:12.

Dockery and Rabach don’t get much push, but there’s enough space that Betts should have been able to get his 1 yard, except that Montgomery and D’Anthony Batiste (in at RT with Williams hurt) allow themselves to be pushed back to collapse the running lane. Betts also stumbles just a little after taking the hand off, so he can’t hit the line with full force.

4-1-ATL 44 (6:12) T.Collins pass short right to M.Sellers to ATL 46 for -2 yards (M.Peterson, C.Lofton).

Sellers is lined up as one of two TEs on the left hand side, and a yard off the LOS. He drops back, and tries to pass behind the line to slip into the right flat undetected, the defenders being distracted by the play action to the left. The play action works, but D’Anthony Batiste blocks in on a DT unnecessarily and the RDE comes in clean, and Sellers has to dodge the penetration so he is late to his destination. This gives the LBs time to recover from the play fake, and Sellers is stuffed. This is a play that would obviously be wrecked if any penetration is allowed – so why is it called (or even drawn up) with this Redskins’ line, especially with the 3rd string RT in the game?

Atlanta Falcons at 5:53

1-10-ATL 46 (5:53) M.Turner up the middle to WAS 46 for 8 yards (R.Doughty, L.Fletcher). WAS-R.Doughty was injured during the play. His return is Questionable.

Haynesworth pushes LG nemesis Blalock into the backfield, but is unable to shed off him as Turner runs past. This is partly due to a little holding, but nothing beyond the routine holding that doesn’t get called.

2-2-WAS 46 (5:07) M.Turner right guard to WAS 45 for 1 yard (C.Griffin).

3-1-WAS 45 (4:23) M.Turner right tackle to WAS 45 for no gain. [ed: wrong – 3 yard gain before the penalty cancels it]
PENALTY on ATL-T.Clabo, Offensive Holding, 10 yards, enforced at WAS 45 - No Play.

Jarmon is at DT and gets blown right off the line by the RT, and the FB makes a good block on Rocky to keep the lane open.

3-11-ATL 45 (4:17) (Shotgun) M.Ryan pass short middle to A.Stecker to ATL 44 for -1 yards (A.Haynesworth).
Timeout #2 by ATL at 03:28.

Designed shovel pass stuffed by easy penetration. Haynesworth is at RDE, but the LT ignores him to go block LBs. Haynesworth is the responsibility of a TE (ha!) who motions inside just before the snap, but the TE only manages to slap at him as Haynesworth easily strolls into the backfield. Meanwhile Rocky comes in unblocked from the other side and would have taken Stecker down from behind if Haynesworth wasn’t already there.

4-12-ATL 44 (3:25) M.Koenen punts 46 yards to WAS 10, Center-B.Pittman, downed by ATL-C.Jackson.

Washington Redskins at 3:15

1-10-WAS 10 (3:15) (Shotgun) J.Campbell pass short right to S.Moss pushed ob at WAS 35 for 25 yards (C.Lofton, T.DeCoud).

Redskins try to freeze the defense with a fake end around to the left by ARE, who line up in the right slot. It fools no one, but it doesn’t matter because of Santana’s elusiveness. This is supposed to be a WR screen, and Fred Davis makes it outside to make a useful block, but the interior line totally fail to get out in front of the play. No block is thrown by a linemen except for a totally illegal one by Will Montgomery into a DBs back, which goes uncalled and probably doesn’t affect the play anyway. Fortunately Santana has the open-field running ability to make up for the general lack of execution on this play. Just yesterday I pontificated: "If all 11 men don't do their job [on a screen pass], the play has no chance." Twenty five yards later, all I can do is sputter and insist that this play was an exception. Dammit.

1-10-WAS 35 (3:08) (Shotgun) J.Campbell pass short right to S.Moss to WAS 42 for 7 yards (C.Jackson).

2-3-WAS 42 (2:44) (Shotgun) J.Campbell pass incomplete short right to F.Davis [J.Abraham].

DE beats Heyer to the outside, and hits Campbell from behind to force the bad throw.

3-3-WAS 42 (2:41) (Shotgun) J.Campbell scrambles right end pushed ob at WAS 43 for 1 yard.

Blocking was decent – this was a coverage scramble.

4-2-WAS 43 (2:34) J.Campbell pass incomplete deep left to M.Kelly.

Campbell was scrambling out of the pocket, and either it was a poor throw because he couldn’t set his feet or Kelly was too slow to recognize that Campbell was under duress and didn’t cut off his route in time.

Atlanta Falcons at 2:27

1-10-WAS 42 (2:27) M.Turner up the middle to WAS 43 for -1 yards (R.Doughty).
Timeout #2 by WAS at 02:20.

The game is basically over by this point, but to their credit the defense is still attacking with a purpose on these plays and trying to strip the ball.

2-11-WAS 43 (2:20) M.Turner left guard to WAS 33 for 10 yards (L.Fletcher).
Timeout #3 by WAS at 02:14.

3-1-WAS 33 (2:14) M.Turner right tackle to WAS 31 for 2 yards (P.Daniels).

Two minute Warning

1-10-WAS 31 (2:00) M.Ryan kneels to WAS 32 for -1 yards.

2-11-WAS 32 (1:18) M.Ryan kneels to WAS 33 for -1 yards.

3-12-WAS 33 (:39) M.Ryan kneels to WAS 34 for -1 yards

Play by play info taken from the NFL Game Book.