30-27… that’s the last thing anyone imagined after the third quarter of yesterday’s game against the Texans. My thoughts are sporadic. So I apologize in advance if this post comes off a bit sloppy (much like our loss yesterday).
Before I get into the game too heavily, I want to reiterate the point that, the Redskins did more to lose this game than the Texans did to win it. In fact, I can pinpoint the moments of the game that really sickened me into the knowledge that we could very well give the game away. Devin Thomas’ unforgiveable kick return in the third quarter, taking it out of the endzone with the lead-off blocker telling him to take a knee. Thomas managed a somewhat successful return, but there was a penalty on Cooley for an illegal block that brought the Redskins back to the 16. While we did manage to score on the drive, the unbelievable disregard for his team by Devin Thomas, to me, shows why coaches have little faith in his contributions mentally to the game.
Larry Johnson’s horrible cutback for a loss of 10 yards was also severely disappointing. Johnson has to know he’s not a cutback runner even with a huge open field to one side… he’s not fast enough to outrun defenses. The fact that he also cut back going backwards 7 yards from where he made his cut completely displays how horrid of a fit and decision-maker he is. I can forgive the Redskins for the reverse to Moss, they faked it two or three times in the game and it was worth a shot, just a great read by Houston to cut it off in the backfield.
Some things that impressed me from this game?
Donovan McNabb’s poise. I expected him to be able to pass a little bit this year, though I’ve been adamant in my requests that the Redskins go after a TJ Houshmandzadeh or a Vincent Jackson. Yesterday, McNabb proved to me that he’s definitely as good as, if not better than 28 quarterbacks in this league. Santana Moss is a very good receiver, whom I think is severely underrated; the Redskins do not have a big-play, game changing receiver like an Andre Johnson, Miles Austin, Larry Fitzgerald, Reggie Wayne, etc. Yet McNabb was able to amass 400+ yards passing with Moss, Galloway, Armstrong, Cooley, Davis, Sellers, (Roydell) Williams… Devin Thomas wasn’t even a contributor on offense.
Clinton Portis’ hustle and effort. His block to spring Fred Davis for extra yards was all heart and mental toughness. Portis showed incredible burst to spring past Davis and lay an incredible block on a Texans DB. Portis injured himself on the play, but it speaks volumes as to what he’s willing to do to help his team win. Portis and anyone involved with the Redskins in any way can see that we’re not a good running team… Portis knows he’s got to make plays when he’s not the one getting the credit for the yards gained. After a volatile week for Portis, it was this play that reminds fans why we love Clinton Portis the player, as much as any Redskin we’ve ever cheered.
Joey Galloway – despite the drop on the long ball in the endzone, Galloway constantly burned receivers more than a decade younger than himself. He caught the ball well, low, high, right in stride, behind him… his hands were there.
Chris Cooley – never mind the penalty on the aforementioned kick return (not that Cooley has ever prided himself in special teams) had an amazing game. He found holes in the defense, caught everything thrown his way, and continued to fight for yards after the catch. He was also solid with his blocking in both phases.
Defensively, LaRon Landry is establishing himself as THE BEST strong safety in football. I’ve said since he was drafted that he’d be that guy… his efforts were thrown off with the passing of Sean Taylor and having to move to free safety. But back in his natural position, playing the game the way he loves to play it, Landry has been an amazing force on this defense. He’s making all the right reads, taking great angles, and blowing guys up (and wrapping up sound for all you technical tacklers).
Carlos Rogers played a very solid game. He got beat outright by Jacoby Jones in the endzone… and several of his shallow zones got beat by some intermediate throws, but Rogers made a lot of very good reads and breaks. Haslett’s scheme of Buchanon on Johnson was more for familiarity (Johnson obviously more familiar with Buchanon) so Rogers saw a lot of time covering Walter in the slot… but I think he continued to show his dominance… he’s a really good fit for this defense.
The front seven was physical and dominant. One thing that stood out exceptionally? Bryant is a great Nose Tackle and Haynesworth’s absence clearly wasn’t a factor. Sure he’d be nice for depth purposes and rotation, but I feel like we’ve got more contributors on the line than Haynesworth would be. I think yesterday’s game could have made it easy to cut ties with Albert in any way, shape, or form. The rest of the line outside of Bryant was solid… Carriker played a very physical and smart game.
Reed Doughty continues to be a problem for me. I love his heart and sure tackling of ball carriers… but he’s really an undersized linebacker if anything. His coverage is very poor, and his angles in coverage are even worse considering his lack of speed. Kareem Moore is much-needed in this secondary for his big-hits, speed, and athletic prowess.
I’ll contribute more thoughts later in the week when I have more time to put this game together.