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Skins-Seahawks First Take

Nov 23, 2008, 9:46 PM EST

Some initial observations, in no particular order.

  • The Washington Redskins went back to the formula that worked early in the year. They battled even through four quarters and then dominated the fourth. Seattle ran all of five plays after they scored to tie the game at 17 with 13:24 left in the fourth quarter. Washington wore down the Seattle defense for 45 minutes and then pounded them in the final 15.

  • Ladell Betts had no business fighting for extra yardage there. When it was clear that he was down, he needed to go down. He should buy Shawn Springs a big steak dinner for bailing him out (or buy Hasselbeck one, what was he looking at?)
  • Portis made up about 60 yards on Adrian Peterson today, but he still trails the Vikings’ back by about 60. No matter, if you define it the way you should, he’s the league’s MVP. No player is more valuable to his team, period. Backed up at the three, crowd alive, he carries three times for 40 yards. It got quiet in a hurry.
  • Santana Moss didn’t have a huge day, but he’s shaking out of his midseason slump. He had one bomb just get knocked out of his hands, he drew a pass interference flag that converted a third and 20 to set up the Redskins’ first score and he set up the Redskins’ final score by gaining 24 yards on a bubble screen. The numbers weren’t great, four catches for 72 yards, but he was in the middle of a lot of good things for the Redskins.
  • The Washington defense was either on or off. They allowed touchdown drives of nine plays (72 yards) and ten plays (62 yards). No other Seattle drive lasted more than five plays and only one, the one that resulted in their first field goal, covered more than 12 yards.
  • They got two interceptions for the second week in a row. The two last week stopped promising Cowboy drives and helped keep the Redskins in it until the late going. One this week set up a touchdown and the other ended the game. And all four of them have been by different players.
  • Decent offense, strong defense. Special teams? Next question. Suisham short from 43 yards. I thought it must have been wind, but after looking again I saw that the streamers atop the posts were limp. Big kickoff return to start the second half. The defense bailed them out. Plackemeier three punts for a 28.3 gross average.
  • Malcolm Kelly got a few shots. He hauled in two for 12 yards; those aren’t numbers that make him that elusive other threat, not just yet anyway, but he bears watching.
  • Zorn went to the Sellers well once too often in the fourth quarter. He’s a beast but he’s not a pass catcher or ball carrier. Yes, he has to catch that ball, but that’s not what he was built to do.
  • The Redskins are in the midst of a four-team chase for the two Wild Card playoff spots. They’re ahead of the 7-4 Cowboys based on a better conference record right now, but they won’t be if things play out as they should and Dallas beats Seattle on Thanksgiving and the Skins lose to the Giants. Atlanta also is 7-4 and Tampa Bay and Carolina are 8-3. It still seems probable that 10 wins will gain a playoff berth. If they lose to the Giants, the Redskins would have to win three out of four from games at Baltimore, at Cincinnati, at home against the Eagles, and at San Francisco. Of that group, only Baltimore has anything to play for.

  1. boss hog - Nov 24, 2008 at 10:00 AM

    Absolutely right about Betts. In fact, if we’d kneeled the ball instead of that run, and then kneeled again on 3rd down, the Seahawks wouldn’t have gotten the ball back with more than 20 seconds left. Really silly to be fighting for yardage there.

    Slight disagreement about the defense and offense. The O won this game — absolutely dominated the clock, didn’t punt once in the second half, scored TDs when we needed them. The D made enough plays to keep us in the game, but also (uncharacteristically) missed tackles and failed to stop a mediocre Seattle rushing attack. I’d give the offense a B and the D a B- today.

    About the wildcard, is it too early to be looking at tiebreakers? We have a very important 1 game lead on the Cowboys in conference record — if we’re both tied at 10-6 at the end of the season, it’s very likely the Skins will have the edge. The only way we’d lose it is if Dallas has a better record in its 3 remaining Div games — NYG, Phi, Sea — than we do in ours — NYG, Phi, SF. This won’t happen unless Dallas beats the Giants and we lose — and in that case, it’s hard to see how we’ll both be tied at 10-6.

    Against Atlanta, the picture is murkier. It may come down to ‘common games,’ in which case the Falcons game vs. New Orleans in 2 weeks could be huge. Go Saints! Otherwise it may come down to Margin of Victory, which, if you’ve watched any Skins games this year, is not good news for us. That would be a truly terrible way to bow out — but given our frustrating inability to dominate lesser teams, arguably a fitting one.

  2. allen - Nov 24, 2008 at 10:03 AM

    In looking at the stats of Brooks vs. Plackemeier. Plackemeier has only averaged slightly better than 1/2 yd. better per kick. Brooks also had 9 punts land inside the 20 and Plackemeier has only 4 in just about the same number of punts (26 for Brooks, 23 for Plack). Plack also has had 1 punt blocked. If we weren’t happy with Brooks, we should be less satisfied with Plackemeier.

  3. Rich Tandler - Nov 24, 2008 at 7:24 PM

    I see what you’re saying about the O, Boss. It certainly wasn’t a case where the offense struggled and the D bailed them out. Campbell, Portis and company did their share. The units complimented each other well, with the O allowing the D to stay well rested and the D getting the ball back to the O promptly in most cases.

    It’s a bit too far out to put the tiebreakers under the microscope because with five games left there are hundreds, if not thousands, of potential scenarios. And the games played are uneven. The Redskins hold the tiebreaker over the Falcons based on a 6-3 conference record vs. 5-3 for Atlanta. Since when it’s all over they will have played the same number of conference games, is it all that meaningful at this point?

    And, Allen, I agree. They should be opening up tryouts for punter.

  4. Anonymous - Nov 25, 2008 at 10:32 AM

    About the Sellers drop, I disagree. I think he is quite capable. The drop pass to the touchdown was on Jason.

  5. Doug - Nov 28, 2008 at 4:23 PM

    The dropped pass by Sellers was not on Jason. The ball was thrown a bit high, but Sellers put both hands on it and dropped it. Sellers has to make that catch.

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