First of all, broadcast to open the game was horrible. Now, I know McNabb isn’t Brett Favre; but this story is still insanely huge, and even bigger considering the events of this season. The way it was hyped up the whole entire week and all we got was a 5 second edited clip of McNabb’s introduction? C’mon son!
Needless to say, it was something different to see McNabb cheered in Philadelphia (for once) and be appreciated for all he gave to that organization. Eagles fans all the way up until that moment talked so much about how they made the right move; but they stood up for #5 and kept it real… and when the game started, they treated him like any other Redskin, Cowboy, or Giant (though I think they incredibly forced their emotions on McNabb for every little detail.
The game started out fast, strong, and bizarre. The Redskins held the Eagles on their first offensive series, making it clear how they’d play the game. Haynesworth did a reasonably good job holding his block to let the rest of the pass rush close the lanes before ripping off to pressure Vick… and Landry ran in and smacked Vick often. Punt.
Uh-oh, Brandon Banks gets his hands on the football and hits the sideline and he’s taking off. Shoved outta bounds after a 53 yard return sets the Redskins up with short field position. Redskins run a reverse, Quentin Mikell (he got picked on all game) with a penalty. Portis with a good run, Torain in… he runs over Mikell on his way to a 12-yard touchdown. Philly with a more reasonable start to this next drive, but Haynesworth comes up big on 3rd down to stop McCoy… Washington takes the ball over at the 22 after a decent punt return by Banks.
Portis with a couple of big runs, then McNabb misses Davis (miscommunication – these two need to do more work together because Davis looks nothing like he did at the end of last season) but the Redskins go back to pounding the ball. Then McNabb hits Cooley in stride in the seam from 31 yards out for a beautiful touchdown pass, Redskins go up 14-0.
Philly (well, Vick) puts together a real strong drive to follow up, but it was this drive where the game sort of buried itself completely for Philadelphia as Vick scrambled with laundry on the ground (clearly a hold) and made it to the 1 where he was sandwiched by DeAngelo Hall and Kareem Moore. Vick up and wincing, keels over at the 20 yard line walked off holding his chest/shoulder/ribs. Vick would leave the game and never return. Now McNabb’s heir apparent reassumes the reigns……………
Philly walked off that drive with a field goal, 14-3.
Redskins next drive gets them all the way to 1st and goal at the 3 after an incredibly beautiful pass from McNabb to Armstrong for 57 yards. Armstrong lost his balance, he had the defense beat for an obvious touchdown but he rolled over and fell out of bounds. He’ll need to work on that (but it’s amazing how DeSean Jackson-like this kid looks at times with McNabb throwing him the football). Heyer with a holding penalty with Banks lined up at halfback for a sweep that netted no gain but would have kept us at the 3 had Heyer not been an idiot (run was away from his side)… that’s when the momentum left the Redskins offense.
Philadelphia runs off 9 minutes just about with their next drive, Washington missed tackles left and right. It was very bizarre watching these guys just go for big hits instead of wrapping up for sure tackles. Kolb gave us plenty of chances to get off the field, but McCoy bounced off almost every torpedo for less than 3 yards and turned runs into decent gains. Then there was the overly long review of McCoy’s run at the goal-line (where he clearly didn’t make it). The Eagles had plenty of time (whether fourth and one or fourth and inches) to make a decision on the sidelines. After the review, Philly took a 30-second timeout and milked off 25 seconds from the playclock after the timeout. (Reid should have given Kolb 2 plays in the review period based on the situation when he got out on the field, horrible coaching). Delay of Game… no, the referees are NOT supposed to make an announcement after a timeout that the playclock is running, and everyone in the world who was acting like the referees fucked some shit up… go watch baseball!
Anyways, Eagles settle for a field goal, Redskins go into the half at 17-6.
Redskins come out of the half making some good plays, Eagles committing stupid penalties to keep the drive alive. On 1st and 10 McNabb launches one deep and it’s picked off… guess fans wanna see that after the last two years, but the interception doesn’t sit well with me… I still much like a successful run-game to continue to be successful on 1st down with the lead.
The rest of the game was up and down. More poor tackling, decent running, McNabb’s passing game stumbles. Heyer continued to do his best Alex Barron impersonation, making us miss Trent Williams even more.
Kareem Moore came up with a very big fumble recovery to stop a decent Eagles drive. Heyer screwing us over on 3rd and 7 with a false start to bring it to 3rd and 12.
Portis out and unable to return.
Eagles eventually get a TD. Then go for 2 and fail to convert. 17-12 Redskins lead.
More Heyer miscues on short yardage backing the ball up and forcing us into settling.
Kolb takes over with a minute left and does everything he can to put the ball back into Redskins possession (Carlos Rogers undercut a route and had the ball in his hands and… as we’ve grown accustom to, sets it on the ground). The Eagles get good use of the lateral on 4th and 10 and get out of bounds with 4 seconds left. Kolb launches one to Avant in the endzone, he has it in his hands, but squeezes it out before he comes down, and none other than DeAngelo Hall there to snatch it out of the sky to end the game……….
…that last play REALLY looked like it was Avant’s in live coverage… Eagles did as much to lose this game as possible.
McNabb’s leadership. He’s an unquestionable leader, no matter what Terrell Owens might say. McNabb’s got these guys playing with a fire. I look across and see Kolb with all the talent in the world surrounding him, and not celebrating with guys, not playing with any intensity… and then I see McNabb dancing on the sidelines and joking with the defense and hanging out with the entire offense… he’s just a team-guy (we need more former point-guards on our team, apparently).
Run game – finally looked to be in very good shape. I was impressed with the blocking and the patience that Portis and Torain showed. I still wish Portis had some of that burst he used to have, but I think he’s so conditioned mentally to play physical Joe Gibbs-football that we’re not going to see anymore of that. Torain’s vision appears a lot better than you’d expect, and although he’s not breaking 74 yarders… he looks eerily similar to Arian Foster.
Anthony Armstrong – Yeah, he fell, but he made the catch. He also had a spectacular grab later in the game but was out of bounds… but the fact he grabbed it and held it, you’ve got to understand he’s got the ability to find the ball. His speed is incredible, and again, it’s crazy how much he looks like DeSean Jackson running deep with McNabb throwing the ball… maybe McNabb didn’t walk into an entirely new ballgame after all.
Pass-defense – Sure it’s the Eagles… but damn it was nice seeing Carlos Rogers and DeAngelo Hall JAMMING receivers at the line & playing man-to-man. Rogers should never be utilized any differently than what he was yesterday… now if only he’d have come up with that INT, he would have found himself looking at talk of being one of the best in the league… love his ability to make hits in the open field as well. Hall played sound, and while his INT will make him brag about how he saved the game, that ball was uncatchable when Avant let go… he could have just smacked it to the ground and walked away.
Albert Haynesworth – This was by far his best game as a Redskin. There were times when he showed a premature rip (playmaking instinct) or backpedaled on his own giving up a lane or two… but he made some very good stops and abused blockers for thinking they could hold onto him. It was also nice seeing him interact with the rest of the defense and get himself into a couple of the celebrations. Good job 92!
Kareem Moore – In just his second week back from his injury, Moore played sound. Last week he missed a few tackles which really hurt us, but I don’t expect anyone to be MVP-caliber returning from a knee injury/surgery, even Manning looked shook when he returned from his a couple seasons back. Moore batted down a couple passed, was in on tackles making good reads and taking good angles. His fumble recovery was a heads up play… everyone thought it was dead, no whistle, he went in for it and took it. Landry already feels like Defensive PotY to me, and Moore’s play felt like a great compliment.
Lorenzo Alexander – Fans are brutal on Andre Carter, but need to remember it wasn’t his choice to be played out of position. He bleeds burgundy and gold and wanted to be a part of this team in any way possible, and we knew his pass-coverage wasn’t great. I’ll get to Dre in a moment though. Lorenzo REALLY is a one-man-gang. He’s insane. Kick coverage, OLB, ILB, down DE, down NT… that’s a Redskin if ever there was one. He played brilliant yesterday (loved his save of a TD with the shoelace tackle).
Andre Carter – Handles everything like a professional (well, a good one). Lost the starting nod, but played plenty of downs. Found himself in on a sack and didn’t do horrible in coverage when his number was called.
Defensive scheme – The defense showed up with a good gameplan. Again, poor tackling on the initial hits, but we played sound. Didn’t give up big yardage often… again, that man-to-man on the outside was spectacular. Yesterday’s game made the last two games look like experiments, and I’m fine with that. We’ve come up with some takeaways and we’ve worked to see who fits where. Playing against your offense in OTA’s and Training Camp isn’t comparable to live-game… so we didn’t really know what we had. BTW, the Saints Super Bowl defense (although they went 13-0 before losing, and played with huge leads) was ranked very poorly… I see plenty of potential once we figure out what works in the long-run. Redskins favorite Gregg Williams (Saints D-Coordinator for Super Bowl and now) used to say “a gameplan isn’t set for a season, it’s week to week with adjustments, changes, substitutions… and you have to figure some things out on the fly” (well, I’m sure the language was a bit more colorful as well >_>).
Chris Cooley is reestablishing himself as the best. I see list after list every year where Cooley doesn’t make top 5, but every year he’s as dominant as any… and he’s still above Gates and Witten in some categories… you do the fucking math! *HINT* – It DON’T ADD UP!
Dislikes? Initial hit tackling… McNabb’s timing in the second half… Heyer… Devin Thomas still not seeing time (something tells me it’s his blocking that is keeping him out of the mix)…
But a win is a win, and I’ll take ‘em, ESPECIALLY in the division.