Monday, October 16, 2006

Never Right

No, this isn't a post about Joe Gibbs or Mark Brunnell in case you wandered over here from

My birthday was sandwiched by Redskins’ losses to the Giants and Titans. Okay, the Giants game was on the road against a tough division foe, so that was not unexpected. The disappointing thing about the Giants game was that the Redskins offense didn’t show up after it raised my expectations the week before by dismantling one of the top defenses in the NFL. But, lose to the Titans at home? Come on.

It took us four and a half hours to get from FedEx Field to NJ after the game last night because of traffic, so I had to listen to the first four innings of the Mets game on the radio. Readers know I am very nervous about this Mets team. I was at Shea for the very disappointing loss to the Cardinals on Friday night. Then, they lost on Saturday to go down 2 – 1 in the series with the prospect of Oliver Perez pitching game four. After a Redskins loss to the Titans, that was almost unbearable. But, that was a great win last night. Do you think Carlos Delgado is making the most of his first playoff appearance in his thirteen year career?

And, once again, Beltran has come through for this team. Considering that a year has gone by and he still has not forgiven Mets fans for the way they treated him last year (no curtain calls, etc.) it is unlikely that he will ever embrace them. That’s too bad. It affects his play at home. Let’s just hope he improves on his major-league-low home batting average next year. If he improves just a little, he’ll win the MVP award.

But, back to the Redskins, can someone please help me understand this team? Last week the offense didn’t show up after destroying the Jaguars’ top-ranked defense the week before. This week the defense and special teams didn’t show up after performing well against the Giants. Which unit will fail to show up next week?

Look, there are injuries on defense, I know. Shawn Springs made his first appearance of the season yesterday and got on the field for about five uneventful plays. And, on the day he came back neither of their starting defensive tackles, Cornelius Griffin and Joe Salave'a, played due to injuries. Readers know that I think Griffin was the Redskins defensive MVP last year, so he is a big loss. The Titans took full advantage of it and ran right down the Redskins throat. Vince Young handed off thirty-two times to Travis Henry who ran through the A and B gaps that defensive tackles normally defend. Henry had his best rushing game as a pro with 178 yards. But, the Redskins should have enough depth on the defensive line to stop a winless football team from running right through them.

It looked like the Redskins looked past the Titans to the upcoming game against the Colts. They easily jumped out to a huge 11-point lead in the first 15:05 minutes of the game and then stopped playing. Then, they frantically came back in the fourth quarter in a drive that took three plays and 1:15 to score a touchdown and a two-point conversion to tie the game. But, because they did not kill the severely wounded Titans when they had the chance, it allowed one bad play—a poor Redskins punt—to lead to the Titans winning field goal with 5:11 left in the game.

And, I hear what the coaches are saying about how they are one or two plays per game from a 5 -1 or 4 – 2 record. But, when are they going to make those plays? Early in the game against the Giants, Carlos Rogers dropped an Eli Manning pass that hit him right in the hands at mid-field. It was reminiscent of his drop against the Seahawks in the NFC division playoffs, except in the latter case it was a sure touchdown and a likely trip to the NFC championship game. Against the Giants, it would have given the Skins great field position early and who knows? Yesterday, early in the game, Marcus Washington dropped a Vince Young pass that hit him right in the hands at mid-field. There were two Titans fumbles that they had a chance to recover and didn’t. They have to start making those plays.

If the Redskins beat the Colts next week, they will be back on the pace that I predicted at the beginning of the season. But, the Colts are undefeated, playing at home in the dome, and are coming off of a bye week. This, by the way (bye the way?), is the second time in three weeks the Redskins are playing a team coming off of a bye. The Redskins are already a ten-point underdog and that spread should widen. A loss to the Colts would mean the Redskins would likely have to run the table to win the NFC East because it is probably going to take eleven wins to accomplish that. Certainly at this point, they have to run the table in their four remaining games against NFC East opponents, but three of those four games are at FedEx, so that is not as much of a stretch.

I expected the Skins to be 3 – 4 heading into their bye and they can still get there with a win over the Colts. I expected the Skins to be much better in the second half of the season than the first. But, I didn’t expect the Skins to overlook the Titans.

I expected the Mets to beat the Cardinals, but I didn’t expect them to blow a three-run lead on Friday. I didn’t expect guys named Perez and Maine to make two and maybe even four starts in a seven game series. The only hope I foresaw last night was that the Cardinals pitcher was no better than the Mets’ Perez. I’m worried about 40-year old Glavine pitching on only three-days of rest. I guess if the Mets win tonight and Glavine pitches well, I’ll have a near-perfect record of predicting everything wrong in the past ten days, which bodes well for the Redskins in the Colts game.

If a Higher Authority had given me a choice between a Mets or Redskins win yesterday, I would have chosen the Mets because their season would have been essentially over with a loss. The Redskins season is still very much alive despite their loss, despite what many of their fans think today.


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