For years, I’ve wondered why this team refuses to win games it should, or why it gets so close to winning the games it shouldn’t, but loses anyways. The only answer I’ve been able to come up with is emotion, or lack thereof. Yesterday was a magnification of the problems surrounding this team for the past decade+ and it hurt more knowing that we’ve not changed the culture around here yet.
I said last week after the loss to the New York Giants that it was time to find players who wanted to play for this team next season, guys who would sacrifice it all for the team, and yesterday I believe we found what we wanted from some of these guys. There was emotion on the field, for the first time since the playoff loss to Seattle after Sean Taylor died. Sure we saw hints of emotion against Dallas earlier this year, but there was no carryover at all from that game.
Yesterday, there was emotion in Torain’s running in the first half. McNabb showed emotion when he knew an opportunity was lost, and Santana Moss showed plenty of emotion left and right. The defense showed emotion, Mike Shanahan showed emotion… special teams didn’t show any emotion whatsoever. For years our offensive group has talked about how they need to just score points and keep the field goal kicker off of the field… yesterday, that has never been more true.
But my plight with yesterday’s game vs. Tampa Bay revolves around one play and one play only. Josh Freeman’s 41-yard pass down the seam to Kellen Winslow for a TD. The coverage wasn’t as horrid as the announces tried to make it seem… McIntosh actually had good coverage and the ball slipped in past his fingertips, his defense slightly off time. I can’t be mad at that. But whoever was back deep as well (I believe it was DeAngelo Hall) pulled off a slide looking like he was trying out to be a pinch-runner for the MLB… and Winslow jogged around him. But I’m not even mad at DeAngelo… the play never should have counted.
In the backfield, Bucs Tackle Penn lassoed Brian Orakpo around the neck (as has every tackle on both sides for every team in every game so far this season) and yanked him for at least 5 seconds all the way. By rule, that’s a hold… by view, it should be a penalty worth a fine. With the NFL wanting to focus so much on player safety this season, they’ve seemed to have forgotten about the defensive players’ safety. Not only is this clothesline illegal, it’s probably more dangerous than any other technique in the NFL.
First and foremost, it’s a grab around the throat… and that can result in a crushed throat, or broken neck. Then consider the paralysis that puts someone in so they don’t hurt themselves, if they fall in that situation, they can injure themselves in any number of ways. Perhaps the most disturbing part about this is the possibility of paralysis or, God forbid, even death. Knowing the NFL, that’s going to have to be the case before they do something about this… so I say to every one of you defenders in the NFL, please don’t ever let it get to that point… try your hardest to avoid it……..