Saturday, January 05, 2008


It was a hell of a ride. And, it was an incredibly emotional ride.

They had the game. They would win.

• Fourth quarter;
• They just scored their second TD in a couple of minutes to take their first lead;
• They kickoff and the ball bounces over the returner’s head and the Skins recover at Seattle’s 14. It was actually returned for a TD by Mix, who has done an outstanding job on specials this year since they picked him up off waivers in the middle of the year, but the rule says that kickoff teams cannot advance the ball;

So, the Skins have a first and ten from Seattle’s 14-yard line, with about 12-minutes left and have a 14-13 lead. Game over, right?


• Incomplete to Cooley;
• A few more stops;
• 30-yard FG…missed;
• Seattle drives for a TD and two-point conversion to take a seven point lead;

Even Landry’s second pick of the day to kill a Seahawk drive was not enough. An inexperienced Collins tried to force two passes into coverage and had both picked and returned for TDs making a very close game—right to the end—appear like a blowout.

But, the loss is not on Collins. He did reasonably well under the circumstances. For the Skins, the loss has to be pinned on the offensive line. Their injuries finally caught up to them. Portis had little running room and Collins was under pressure all day. Almost all of the pressure came from the Skin’s right side where Skins stars Jansen and Thomas would have been playing if healthy. Next year.

There are silver linings. Actually many silver linings. A lot depends on whether Gibbs comes back, but my gut says he will. I think he realizes that this team is very close.

One silver lining is that a lot of young guys played their first playoff game today, earned a lot of valuable experience, and did well. In some cases, the young guys played “superstar’ well. I’m thinking specifically of LaRon Landry who moved over to play Taylor’s free safety spot after Taylor’s death. What a game he played—two picks and the first gave them their first lead, and it came in the fourth quarter. What an athlete he is. The future is very bright for him and the Skins. Can you imagine the defense they would have had if Taylor was back there with him next year? Only in spirit, now.

Heyer and Fabini, filling in for Jansen and Thomas, earned valuable experience. They will make great backups next year and they are very cheap. The skins O-line should be very solid with those six and maybe one other offseason pickup. Doughty, who won the strong safety spot after Landry moved over, played very well, too. He is another find who came cheaply. The only drawback was that Jason Campbell wasn’t able to get any playoff experience because of his injury. But, they probably wouldn’t be there without Collins.

Do you think the skins have to worry about a backup QB? I think they will make Collins happy in the offseason. It shouldn’t take a ton of money, either.

The Skins have a great core of young guys. They should be able to make some simple moves in the offseason to make this, not just a good team, but a dominating team. Their defensive line found great backups in Evans, Golston and Montgomery…and Alexander who played offensive line, too, when all of the injuries hit that unit. What a valuable guy he turned out to be…and he would be tackle-eligible and go in motion…go figure.

They also found out some good things about some veterans. Carter hit double digits in sacks from the DE spot. Randle El CAN play wide receiver. Kendall was a great pick up from the Jets. Thanks Mangini. Suisham is very good…forget the miss today. Cartwright is the reincarnation of Brian Mitchell. I believe he led the NFL in kickoff return average, and he is a fiery guy. He had some great returns today; two that were called back on penalties.

In summary, I think they just need to add a little talent—say their top two draft picks—on each side of the line.

I am very sorry and sad that the run is over. The memory of Sean Taylor will fade quickly for the media and will fade for many casual fans. As long as the Skins were alive that would not have been true. New players will join next year. Let’s hope the chemistry and cohesiveness that brought this team together does not disappear. They are not far from a Super Bowl championship.

The Redskins’ road to the Super Bowl begins next year by winning enough regular season games to get home field and never have to face the piped-in noise in Seattle again. In fact, I would love for the skins to return the favor next year. I would love to see Seattle try to play in Landover in January next year.

(note: i wrote this quickly and may need to edit)


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