Before yesterday, I had missed 4 games in 9 years of owning Redskins season tickets: 1 came for my marriage, the other 3 came after or in the days leading up to the birth of my 1st child. Yesterday was the 5th. This time I was not overjoyed by a life-changing event, but a 102 fever which continues to keep me bed-ridden. As such, I have no tidbits to share, no bashing of Eagles fans (which apparently were present, but not in hordes of the last two years), and I have no insight to share about what the game looked like from high atop section 449. My seat was occupied by my co-worker April, a staunch Redskins fan who, from all indications, fit in quite well with the rowdy crowd in section 449.
23-43 is the record the Redskins had against the NFC East from 2000-2009. Abysmal. There was only one glimmer of light in those dark ten years: 2005 when we went 5-1 in the division and at the end of the year has the best year of anyone in the division even though the Giants won the division. With Shanny’s arrival, the one thing I had hoped for was a better record against division foes. So far this century, we are 3-6. More a propos, we are 1-2 five games into this new year and while the Giants and Eagles have also already lost division games, it already feels like we are slightly against the 8 ball considering even an optimist could hope we win 2 out of the 3 remaining division games.
The Redskins looked slightly flat yesterday at the outset of the game, but really yesterday’s game, more than anything else demonstrated how fragile an NFL game is and how it hinges on a very few plays and calls. There were three crucial moments in yesterday’s game all of which went against the Redskins.
1. On the play where Orakpo was whistled for a helmet-to-helmet hit on Vick, it was obvious that there should have been an intentional grounding call made on that play as well. While Orakpo may have hit Vick with his head (and even if he hadn’t, all of Vick’s recent whining necessitated that the referee make a call,) at worst the result of the play should have been off-setting penalties which would have resulted in Philly having a long 3rd down to convert. Instead, they got a free 15 yards on a play which should have cost them big-time, and probably a safety at the most. This propelled them to their 1st scoring drive which gave them the confidence they needed to rack up 20 1st half points.
2. After the ‘Skins picked off Vince Young, Grossman’s interception on the following play was absolutely awful. While I was not at the stadium, I have yet to see an angle that justified Grossman going for that throw at that moment. This play happened right below section 449 and my old man told me today that Davis was covered the entire time and that Grossman should have NEVER thrown the ball. If we score a TD then, the lead is 20-13 with more than a quarter to play and momentum is totally going in our direction. We very likely would have won the game.
3. After we cut the lead to 20-13, our defense, which played very well from about midway through the 2nd quarter and on, could not stop Philly when we knew they were going to run. That brought back so many memories of past games sitting in section 449 and watching another team eat away at your heart by slowly running the ball when everyone in the whole stadium knows that they are going to run. It essentially was using classic Redskins football against us.
On top of all that, it’s shameful that the Redskins did not come out fired up. Landry and Fletcher admitted that the defense was playing a little too cautious in the 1st half and was not being aggressive. God knows why. This was the game we needed to propel our season forward! We were coming off a bye. We were playing at home and we had the revenge factor on our sides and we let Philly beat us with only 1 half of good football. AHHHH!!!
It is admirable that Fred Davis said two of the interceptions were his fault. It’s nice to hear he and Moss stick up for Rexus. But at this point, what else is there to see? Rexus was good in the Giants game and at times, particularly in the clutch, he was great in the Arizona game. But since then, he has two TD throws and 7 interceptions along with one fumble lost. He did not lose us the Dallas game, but he contributed to it. He did not lose us the St. Louis game, but he almost contributed to it, along with suspect play-calling to even ask Rexus to throw in that spot, and he definitely had a LOT to do with us losing yesterday.
Shanny has to weigh this decision carefully. The whole season hinges on this Carolina game. If we win this week, which we should be able to even though Cam looks like a dangerous offensive player, we are 4-2 and are in 1st place in the NFC East, still 2 games ahead of the Eagles and probably one game ahead of the Cowboys who will likely beat the Rams on Sunday. If we lose, the chances of having a successful season will likely be lost.
The logical thing to do, with the injuries to the offensive line, is to play Beck. On top of it, how much worse could he do than 2 TD and 7 interceptions in less than 3 games of play? (I may have to re-visit that question in a couple of weeks). But at the same time, this Redskins team, despite what everyone is thinking on the outside, seems to have a mojo which makes them believe in themselves and Shanny doesn’t want to screw with the team chemistry in changing to Beck. I gotta think though, after Sexus’ 3rd quarter pick inside the 20 yard-line that every last player on the team though perhaps calm and workman-like on the outside, looked like Munch’s ‘The Scream’ on the inside. So what does Shanny do?
Grossman could obviously rebound, as the moron Wilbon said today on local radio, again criticizing the DC fan base and praising Chicago sports fans like they are the wise ferrymen among US sportsfans, but what if he doesn’t? Switch to Beck again? That would look a little crazy. On the other hand, if Beck does badly, Grossman will be ready to prove Shanny was wrong for benching him. I say go with Beck.
Yesterday sucked in every way imaginable, but much will be forgotten if we right our season’s course and win against the 1-5 Panthers. I just hope our captain knows when to “about ship”.