Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Redskins 16 Saints 10

The Redskins defense showed up for two games this year: The Panthers game and this week against the Saints. It didn’t show up for the win against the Cowboys—it gave up about 400 yards in that one. It didn’t show up for the win against the Jags. The offense saved that one...in OT. It didn’t show up in any of the losses. But, against the best offense in the NFL, it showed up. This is why Redskins fans are frustrated this year. If the defense had played the way everyone expected them to play for the whole year they would have coasted to the division title. Hell, if they just played that way in six other games they would have coasted.

The win on the road against the Saints was excellent. Campbell took care of the ball. That’s three times in five starts that he took care of the ball. He looks poised and he made at least one great throw—the one to Moss for the touchdown. And the swarming defense made it hold up. It was fun.

Quick hits:
1. On the Comcast postgame show, as the Redskins were celebrating victory, Steve Czaban complained that Gibbs didn’t go for a touchdown on fourth down, late in the fourth quarter, with a 13 – 10 lead. I’m tired of this guy nit picking. The field goal forced the Saints to drive 62 yards for a touchdown. Instead they only drove 46 and the Redskins took over on downs. Had Gibbs gone for it and failed to get the two yards he needed, the Saints would have tied it at the end of regulation and forced overtime. Does anyone think the Redskins could have pulled out an OT win on the road and in a dome? Lets just say the odds weren’t with them. Does anyone believe that after an overtime loss that Czaban would have congratulated Gibbs for his guts? Puhleeze. Czaban needs to be quiet…for the rest of the year.

2. Carlos Rogers showed me up. I made a joke about how Rogers can’t catch anything, not even a disease, and so against the Saints he gets his first INT of the year (second? of his career). It wasn’t easy, though. As one Redskins player said, he caught and bobbled it three times so he probably wants credit for three INTs. He bobbled it despite having position, squaring up to it, and getting both hands extended. This is the picture I was looking for: (Hat Tip: Curly R).

It is no coincidence that the two games in which the Redskins defense showed up were also Rogers' two best games of the year. Against the Panthers he shut down Smith and Keyshawn whenever they lined up on his side. Against the Saints he gets a huge pick and deflects the Saints game winning touchdown pass in the endzone. I expect this first-round pick to play like that in all sixteen next year.

If Rogers and the defense play that way, the Redskins will dominate next year. This year they had four losses by three or fewer points, and two additional losses in which they led at halftime (Colts and Falcons). It won't take much to turn it completely around.

3. Back in October I posted about an article that I read on the Giants in the Newark Star Ledger (NJ’s newspaper with the largest circulation and one with big-time Giants coverage). At the time the Giants were 4 – 2. In the article, which spanned about 75% of the front page of the sports section, Mike Garafolo ticked off the reasons why the Giants would easily win twelve games and walk away with the division championship. BWAA HA HA HA.

I pointed out that there were six tough games that Garafolo gave to the Giants as victories without much question—the Bucs, Bears, Cowboys, Eagles, Saints, and Redskins. I said that at best they can count on four wins from those six games and probably would lose three and not win the division, especially if two of the losses were to division foes. Hell, I conceded the sweep of the Texans and Titans. Wrong.

So the Giants lost to the Bears; then they lost to the Jags; then the TITANS; then Dallas…all in a row. The Skins showed them how to beat the Panthers and they followed the script. But last week’s loss makes it three losses out of those tough six including two to division foes; and guess what? They won’t win the division.

Guess what else? After Paul Needell, Magaraci and Garafolo pissed on the Redskins all year; writing about how bad the Redskins were; how Joe Gibbs is on the hot seat; how Mark Brunnell sucked; how happy they were that Dan Snyder could not field a winner (ignoring last year’s playoff run that went deeper than the Giants’ run); how, in the “What We Learned” column, how the Redskins were the worst team in the division; guess what?

The Giants will probably lose to the Saints this week which sets up their last game of the year as the game to decide if the Giants even make the playoffs. The Giants play the Redskins that game. How sweet would it be to knock the Giants down into the basement, tied with the Skins with the same record? After the Star Ledger pissed on the Redskins all year, they will probably wind up with the same record with a season series split. Local papers should never celebrate Super Bowl Championships in October.


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