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Thoughts On Washington Redskins vs. Green Bay Packers

First of all, Donovan McNabb said today, “this one is for Albert” and that’s a sentiment I’d like to reiterate to everyone. Redskins fans have been on a rollercoaster with Albert Haynesworth, understandably so with his position with the team. Some felt more personal about Haynesworth’s situation; others just felt as though, “hey, he doesn’t want to be here, I don’t want him here.” But make no mistake about it – Albert Haynesworth is among our band of brothers. The tragic loss of his brother (again, fault is of no matter to the situation) has left a member of our Redskins family hurt, and in turn, has probably hurt more of our team.

So my game ball this week goes out to Albert Haynesworth as he deals with the loss of his brother.

Onto the game;

The opening kickoff was huge, a big stop way inside the 20… the following play (a pass to Donald Lee) resulted in Landry forcing a fumble and Kareem Moore coming up with a turnover in the third consecutive week. But a blunder on the snap on 3rd down took the Redskins out of FG range, and forced us to punt.

Green Bay pretty much had their way with us running the ball (though their average was greatly boosted by a 71 yard run by Brandon Jackson), and passing in the first half. They went up a touchdown on Rodgers pass to Lee in the redzone. After going back and forth and Green Bay getting a field goal, they kicked off the electric Brandon Banks who raced 62 yards before being shoved out of bounds; the play was called back because of an illegal block in the back by S Chris Horton.

Down 10-0 with a couple minutes left on the clock in the first half, Donovan McNabb scrambled out of the pocket, spotted Santana Moss breaking deep on his route downfield towards the sideline, and launched it deep where Moss waited with the 52-yard grab energized the Redskins. Washington settled for a field goal to go into the half down by 7.

Banks proved to be as electric as the game went on, not incredible numbers, but he energizes the crowd and teammates and his speed is blinding and his effort very much among the ranks with the best on the team.

After going down 13-3 in the third, the Redskins found their way in the 4th with a huge pass of 48 yards to Anthony Armstrong who leapt over the safety and ripped the ball out of the sky. Armstrong’s knack for finding the ball is much needed and his talents teamed up with McNabb are proving to be beneficial.

After holding the Giants, the Redskins finally got a field goal attempt and tied the game at 13. Green Bay drove into field goal position, but K Mason Crosby’s attempt bounced off the left upright and stayed out. Washington took over with 1 second left on the clock, but McNabb’s pass was intercepted and lineman Trent Williams (returning from injury) hurt his knee while covering the return.

Orakpo came up huge on third down in the Packers’ opening drive of overtime, sacking (his second on the day) Rodgers and forcing the punt. The Redskins couldn’t convert, and the Packers had good field position after a 4th down attempt failed. On 2nd and 5, Rodgers threw it under pressure from Jeremy Jarmon and the ball fell into LaRon Landry’s lap (after review he was ruled down by contact). The Redskins drove and Graham Gano’s field goal is good to end the game.

Best Performers:

Donovan McNabb – He started out ugly, was pressured all day long, but he stayed relatively comfortable in the pocket looking beat up. He fought his way through and made some huge passes when the Redskins needed them most.

Santana Moss – Moss came out and played another solid game. His routes were as crisp as they’ve looked in a while and he caught almost everything that came his way (two holds I can think of however that weren’t called).

Chris Cooley – His play all game was terrific, but his catch and broke tackles and run after the catch was a defining moment in the game which proved beneficial to keeping us in it until the end.

Anthony Armstrong – He didn’t come up with everything, but he got the huge touchdown, some big conversions (especially the diving catch on the tipped pass). This is a guy who will find himself a lock across from Moss every game before the end of the season if he keeps this up.

Rocky McIntosh – Came up huge when we needed it most, and was solid tackling (even through blocks). He also absorbed a few blocks to free up teammates to make the tackle when he could have been lost on the play and had the blocker take out the teammate upfield and free up touchdowns. Excellent play.

Brian Orakpo – I still counted too many holds that went uncalled, maybe more than past games, but Orakpo still came away with a pair of sacks (the first even had one of those holds and Brian almost gave up on the play but still made it). I’m sure he’s still not satisfied with just two sacks on the game (attribute to his heart).

Jeremy Jarmon – As unpopular a pick as this may be, Jarmon’s first action this season resulted in his contributing to the interception that helped win the game. I’m sure he also improved his standing with Haslett and coaches and will see time in the future as well.

LaRon Landry – I’ve said all season and since he was converted following the death of Sean Taylor that Landry would need to return to SS to impress, and when he did, he would prove to be one of the best in the league. Back in June, I predicted him to be #10 on my list of 20 most feared defensive players (second highest safety behind Reed) and he’s lived up and exceeded that expectation. He is who we thought he was!

Hunter Smith – Excellent job punting today, though he could have done a little better at times, he didn’t hurt us. He outkicked coverage a couple of times, but he placed the ball in good position the entire game.

Graham Gano – He had some poor kicks (though I blame the snapping) but he made the two that really counted, and that’s what matters. He could have helped us get out of the game sooner, but he showed a short memory and good focus on getting the game winner, still excellent on kickoffs.

Brandon Banks – I’ve sang his praises since we drafted him, but didn’t realize he would be THIS electric. He showed he can return kickoffs, and his heart to grab a punt in (light) traffic is unmatched in my opinion. I think it energizes our return coverage team to know this kid wants to take his chances and go… they know they have to block for him and not expect a fair catch every play… and thanks to Matt Terl over at RedskinsBlog for pointing out Banks’ nearly blocking two field goals and possibly causing the miss at the “end” of regulation.

This team still has a whole lot of growth and development ahead of them… this win wasn’t pretty at all (neither were the other 2). We’re still not out of the slump of playing down to weaker opponents or finding ways to lose games… but we’re definitely learning how to find a way to win games… and we’ll continue to grow in that area, and that’s something that excites me more than FedEx when they see Banks taunting.

We’re #1 in the NFC East, but we’re not far ahead. We’ve still got a difficult schedule ahead, and we need to find a way to make the most of these opportunities. But for now, it looks like we might be able to come out on the good side of these close games…


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