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GameBlog vs. Seattle Final

Oct 2, 2005, 10:21 PM EDT

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First Half

Seattle is wearing its all-dark uniforms. It’s only 78 degrees at game time, but they’ll be in direct sun for most of three quarters. Probably only a slight difference, but that has to take something out of you as the game goes on.

Well, my call was to go deep on the game’s first play. We’ll find out here shortly.

It was for Moss, but it was a short-to-intermediate route that bounced as Moss caught it.

They game Thrash a pretty good cushion on a 13-yard completion for a first down.

The offensive line is just blowing the Seahawk defense away here on virtually every snap so far. Brunell has had good protection, too, except on the first pass. Virtually anyone could run or pass behind this bunch today. Perhaps they’ve been reading some of the recent criticism of their play in the papers.

Fourth and inches at the Seattle 20, Gibbs leaving his rookie kicker and holder on the sidelines and going for it. Portis takes the low guided Cruise missile route to the first down.

Now they have to go on anyway after a third and seven sack. Disaster as the kick never got off the ground and was blocked. Not only that, but they smacked it back about 20 yards giving them the ball at midfield. Good drive, bad ending. They got done what they needed to do in terms of establishing some offensive rhythm (15 plays), but couldn’t finish it off.

Frost and Novak are discussing what happened on the sidelines. The snap was good, the hold seemed OK, but it only takes a little bit off for a kick to go astray.

It gets them a 52-yard field goal. That one by Josh Brown was also low, as many long kicks are, but it has enough distance and snuck in the lower left corner of the end zone.

James Thrash is becoming Mr. Clutch, moving the sticks with regularity. Two third-down conversions for him in the first 10 minutes of play.

As the first quarter moves on, the Seattle DL is getting quite a bit more active. They’re getting some penetration, although they don’t seem to be able to generate a pass rush without a blitz (as is the case with the Redskins). Still, another drive that was productive without any points being scored.

If I’m Danny Smith, I put into each punter’s contract that it’s a $1,000 fine if you punt it into the end zone from inside midfield and a $1,000 bonus for each time it’s downed inside the 20. A 20-yard net on a punt like Frost just got is pretty worthless, you might as well go for it.

Good play call by Holmgren on third and three, a play action right, leaving the TE with lots of running room.

Not sure why there wasn’t a holding call on Hasselbeck’s second and 20 pass attempt. Cornelius Griffin was right in front of him and the offensive lineman was behind him and hanging on for dear life. No matter as Philip Daniels just needed about two steps of penetration to bat down Hasselbeck’s third-down pass.

Often overlooked about Santana Moss because of his speed are his hands. He has a great ability to snatch the ball out of the air and put it away in one quick motion.

We’re starting to see Gibbs’ offense at work. Third and two, Cooley lined up at fullback, no TE’s lined up, three wides, a little pass to Cooley good for 11 yards.

It’s back to Brunell having all day to throw again. Robert Royal seemed to be his fourth option on a third and ten play. It seemed like he would have had time to go back to his first and second options if he wanted to, but Royal just got the first.

Moss’ hands on display again on the catch in the end zone that was reviewed. He got the ball into his body so quickly that he got possession before he hit the ground. It was close, but it was the correct call from the view here.

Finally, a first-half touchdown. Nice touch by Brunell on the little pass to Royal on third and goal. Sixteen play drive, 85 yard drive. Four third down conversions from as little as one yard and as long as ten, Brunell 7-9 for 71 yards. Seattle generally seemed to have no idea what the Redskins were going to do and, when they did, they were unable to stop it.

Still, when a game goes like this and you’re dominating on both sides of the ball and you look up at the scoreboard and you’re only up by four, you have to be somewhat concerned. Another score before halftime would make the breathing a bit easier.

Third and 11 for Seattle in Redskins territory, crowd roaring, false start. Seems like old times.

It may seem dumb to make a diving fair catch rather than just let the ball go, especially when time is running out in the half, but Thrash possible prevented the ball from bouncing off of a teammate, which could have been disaster. If he doesn’t field the punt on the dive, he certainly pushes it out of bounds. Smart football, smart football player.

Second Half
Halftime stats show Alexander with 12 yards rushing, showing that you can’t gain yardage while you’re on the sideline. Brunell has a triple-digit QB rating at 104.7, probably a first for him with the Redskins even for a half.
Some dumb football by Seattle on the second-half kickoff. On a high kick, the receiver called for a fair catch, sort of, but took off anyway. It cost Seattle five plus the few yards that the return was for.
Good drive going on by Seattle, they’re giving Hasselbeck time to throw, or, rather, they’re having him throw quickly. They’ll need to tighten up the coverage some if they’re going to stop the West Coast Offense death by a thousand paper cuts.
A sack was critical, as was a picked-up flag on Springs that would have resulted in a first down. For Seattle, it was death by a 47-yard FG try that was short. Without the sack yardage, it would have snuck through. They said that Springs made illegal contact with a receiver and he essentially admitted it, but it was after Hasselbeck was already underneath Lamar Marshall.
The offensive line is inconsistent so far, sometimes getting a good push, sometimes Seattle can blow up plays in the backfield.
Mike Sellers isn’t just an offensive tackle with an H-back’s number. He can actually catch passes and score touchdowns. That PI call to set up the score looked pretty shaky to me, but it’s not as though such flags haven’t been thrown against the Redskins over the past several years.
To show my East-Coast bias, I never realized what a good receiver Darrell Jackson is. He catches anything thrown in his ZIP Code.
A blitz—and a good blitz pickup—leaves Engram all alone on third and ten. Looks like Seattle may get closer here.
They do on an Alexander TD run up they middle. Not a good series by the Washington defense there. They paid for blitzing on a couple of occasions, the last one converting the third and 10. Credit Seattle with doing a good job of picking it up.
It’s OK to throw to a receiver who’s at a dead stop short of the first down if the receiver is Clinton Portis. Great move to pick up the first on third and nine.
We have had a big-time Chris Cooley sighting today. After being mostly silent after his TD in the Bears game was nullified, he’s picked up some nice yardage today. Gibbs is finding ways to work him open—usually wide open—and he’s catching the ball with all kinds of running room.
Nick Novak needed that one—a 40-yard field goal with plenty of distance and right down the middle.
That’s the second straight kickoff that’s been high and short. Seattle did make the fair catch on this one. Are they kicking off that way intentionally?
A Smart play by Cedric Killings. He slammed on the brakes when he recognized a second and 15 screen instead of shooting in on the quarterback. He turned and helped make the tackle after a short gain. Looks like all that NFL Europe playing time did him some good.
Another smart play sighting. Portis swept out on third and two and instead of stopping and cutting in an attempt to make a big run, he turned sideways, slid through a crack, and make the first down by plenty.
Sack specialist Demetric Evans in the game at left end. Let’s see if he can get something going as far as a pass rush from the front four.
Fourth and one at their own 34. Will Seattle actually go for it. Lots of time left, a stop ends the game. They’re almost certainly going to pass as Alexander has been hitting a brick wall for most of the day.
Good call—or maybe good play by Hasselbeck—to pick up the first on a scramble. Well, you can’t allow a 14-yard completion on third and 15.
Alexander is picking up some steam as this game goes on. You certainly can’t accuse Mike Holmgren of giving up on him.
First and ten at the 12 for Seattle. The Redskins didn’t take advantage of their early domination and they could end up paying for it.
They do as Seattle ties it up. Drove it 90 yards, 14 plays down the Redskins’ throat with the screaming crowd that grew quieter on each third-down as it seemed inevitable that Hasselbeck would convert. No hint of being a soft team on the road there, that’s for sure. And my dark uniform theory is pretty much out the window as well.
That’s the way the ball bounces. Seattle’s got a shot to steal the win.
Wide left. New life. Dodged a bullet, not time to go downstairs just yet.
A mini recreation of the last five minutes in Dallas in overtime with Brunell picking up key yards on a scramble and Moss making the catch and run that win it.

Post Game

It was a happy locker room, but under control. They realize that they’ve won nothing yet and there’s a long way to go. Still, there was a little more excitement there today. As Gibbs left the podium in the interview room and Moss was approaching the front of the room, the two exchanged enthusiastic congratulations. Later, I was passing by Brunell, who might recognize me from Redskins Park but we’ve never had a one-on-one conversation, and he gave be a big smile and slap on the back like I was an old college buddy.

I asked Novak about the short, high kickoffs and he confirmed that they were by design. He almost told me what they call that type of kick, but he caught himself, afraid of giving away company secrets.

Novak’s a good kid, easy to root for. When he was asked whether or not he watched John Brown’s potential game-winner at the end of regulation, he said that he did, but that he didn’t openly root for Brown to miss, not wanted to create “bad karma”. When a reporter followed up and asked what he meant by that, Novak looked puzzled that anyone wouldn’t get it. He asked back, “Don’t you understand what bad karma is?” A classic response to a dumb question.

  1. oneampoet - Oct 4, 2005 at 11:32 AM


    Help a lonely redskinfan brother out here in California and let us know what is really going on with Arrington. Is it an issue? Is her getting traded or dropped at the end of the season? Is he still hurt?

  2. Joe - Oct 5, 2005 at 10:33 AM

    The Post had an article about it yesterday and today. Most likely he’ll be cut at the end of the season. Someone on the coaching staff doesn’t like him but no one’s saying who or why. Chief Justice Roberts gave more direct answers than Gibbs and his staff.

    The defense could have used Lavar this past Sunday when they gave up that 90 yard drive that forced overtime. It’s baffling that the defensive coaches openly admit that they need to force turnovers and make big plays, but then choose to leave their biggest playmaker on the bench.

    I hope the coaches that have a grudge against Arrington would put it behind them and let a player play.

  3. oneampoet - Oct 5, 2005 at 2:29 PM

    It makes no sense to me that they wouldn’t use him, even if they only use him to up his trade value at the end of the year, unless he really isn’t in good enough shape or can’t grasp the defensive schemes.

  4. Kounter Trey - Oct 5, 2005 at 5:56 PM

    It’s hard for me to argue with Greg Williams’s results, but like you guys I don’t really understand why there can’t be a place for a playmaker like LaVar. Maybe he just can’t play in a system at all–maybe he’s just too undisciplined and therefore detrimental.

    Kind of reminds me of when the Skins picked up Wilber Marshall, who until that point had been a huge sackmeister and wreaker of havoc on defense, and turned him into a boring (but effective, I guess) system guy.

  5. Joe - Oct 5, 2005 at 6:14 PM

    I can argue with the results. They gave up two drives of over 80 yards on Sunday. For the first time since Gibbs returned, the defense had to get bailed out by the offense in OT.

    Make no mistake, this defense has not picked up where last years left off. Our pass defense is average (ranked 16th) and we can’t generate sacks (31st) or turnovers (31st). Fortunately, the team is still winning and hopefully improving from week to week.

  6. mbarnes202 - Oct 6, 2005 at 10:20 PM

    Take a look at the statistics of the guy who’s replaced Arrington– Warrick Holdman.

    I think he had 1 tackle against Seattle and 2 against Dallas, or something like that.

    Now, sure, he may be taking on the blocker so others may make the tackle, but really? 1 tackle the whole game??

    Seems to me also that Arrington could help this team on D.

    I thought the coaches said that EVERYONE had to check their egos at the door, not just the players. I hope Lindsay checked his.

  7. Doug - Oct 7, 2005 at 8:34 AM

    In Greg Williams’ scheme of things, players are rewarded with playing time by virtue of their exploits on the practice field. Maybe LaVar needs to crank it up a notch or two in practice. The “All-Pro, Makes A Lot of Money” label cuts no ice with Williams.

  8. Anonymous - Oct 8, 2005 at 11:28 AM

    Am I the only one who has watched LeVar be out of position and get burned on a regular basis over the past several years? (I guess the coaches noticed this too). He tries so hard to make the spectacular play, that he’s often out of position and gives up critical plays that go for first downs at critical times during the game. I would prefer a “boring” system player who consistently prevents third down conversions than a player who gets lucky once or twice on a gamble and makes a big play. I like LeVar’s personality, he has lots of charisma and spirit, but he’s too undisciplined. I actually love watching players like Washington and Marshall who have abilities that LeVar doesn’t. I like it when they crowd the line of scrimmage threatening blitz, and then the second the ball is hiked, the back-pedal ferociously into coverage and break up a pass. I’ll take that over LeVar getting burned on a screen play because he tried to go after the QB when he should have covered the TE or RB. Archives

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