Redskins-Colts, Best and Worst
Best and worst from the Redskins' 27-24 loss to the Colts.
Best Feeling: Remember the swinging gate on Monday Night Football a year ago? Needless to say, Washington's professional football team will no longer embarrass itself in primetime on national television. You will be entertained for a full 60 minutes. "We didn't give up, like the Redskins of last year," Fred Davis said on Comcast SportsNet's postgame show.
Worst Final Play: With the way the fourth quarter was going, I was convinced that this game would go down to the final play, as four of the five previous games had. Silly me. Instead, the game was decided on the second-to-last play, that insane Aaron Francisco interception. The last play was a kneel-down. My keyboard will be lacquered with dried sweat by the end of this season.
Best Breakthrough: Washington's first scoring drive showcased Ryan Torain in all his glory: oddly upright, sometimes awkward, tackle-breaking, and, ultimately, effective, . He wound up in the end zone on that drive, and with Washington's first 100-yard rushing game since last November. Bless Clinton Portis's heart, but the drive also showed why you don't want a running back who is willing to go down in traffic to protect the football.The Janky Spanky Era had many many highlights, but barring something bizarre, it's over.
Worst Urgency: The Skins' final touchdown drive seemed awfully slow-paced, considering the ticking clock and the fact that they were down by 10 points. Like, that might have been a good time to stop huddling. And to stop pretending that Andy Reid was on the sidelines. They got the touchdown, and eventually got the ball back, but spending nearly six minutes on that drive was painful to watch.
Best Broken Play: The end result was a glamor-free short catch for a first down, but the play itself -- Donovan McNabb pressured and on the verge of going down before he broke free, spun away and found Mike Sellers, who broke three tackles and kept running -- sort of symbolized why this team is likable, if nothing else. They sure seem to try hard.
Worst Hands: Hahahahahahahahahaha. Never ask this again. If Carlos Rogers were in Field of Dreams, the touching scene where Ray Kinsella has a catch with his dad would have been some sick nightmare horror gimmick that would have ended with blood in the cornfields.
Best Matchup: Phillip Buchanon on Reggie Wayne? Who knew. Buchanan mostly held his own all night, and then shined in the final minutes, making two outstanding pass breakups. He's certainly the least-quoted member of this secondary, but you couldn't have asked more from him this week.
Worst Ball Security: The Colts fumbled four times, losing three.
Best Hands: Peyton Manning could throw a ball high over Rogers's shoulder 43 million times, and he would never make the catch that Pierre Garcon made with his fingers near the end of the first half, seen above. Ditto for the Francisco interception. The Rogers stuff used to make for great jokes, but now it's actually costing the team games.
Worst Realization: Some critics have gotten on Jim Haslett for the lack of turnovers forced by his 3-4 defense, which was installed partly for its ability to force turnovers. But maybe the 3-4 just forces balls to hit defensive backs in the hands. The Colts' first two touchdown drives could have been prevented by caught interceptions, and four dropped interceptions this season would make the stats look a lot differently. "We had opportunities today to get a few turnovers early, maybe the difference in the game, but we didn't capitalize on those," Mike Shanahan said.
Best Karma: I know the Redskins have had placekicker issues forever, but now they're profiting on the misery of others. During one magical stretch, their opponents missed 3-out-of-4 field goals, starting with Mason Crosby's potential game-winner last week and continuing with Adam Vinatieri's brutal first half on Sunday. I credit the Shanahan glare.
Worst Stat: The Redskins are virtually assured of having one of the worst defenses in the league for weeks to come, based on the yardage stat used by the NFL. Here are the game-by-game totals this season: 380 yards, 526 yards, 365 yards, 353 yards, 427 yards and 469 yards. This might not be the greatest way to measure a defense, and the NFL should find a better ranking system, but this is not good.
Best Decision, Silly Edition: Loved the return to the gold pants. It's just a brilliant look, especially under the lights. It looks like a team you want to cheer for.
Best Decision, Less Silly Edition: This is Steve Czaban's theory, but I'll parrot it: if you're the home team and you win the toss and defer, your crowd will go crazy on the first drive of the game and possibly make a difference. If you win the toss and receive, the other team will get the ball first in the third quarter, when fans are still in the bathroom or in line for beer. Stadiums are louder on the first drive of the game than on the first drive of the second half. That's Czabe's theory, anyhow. He tried to explain it to Jim Zorn once, but Zorn had no idea what he was talking about. Would love to hear why Shanahan elected to defer.
Worst Response: When the Redskins got that forced fumble and subsequent touchdown early in the second half, it suddenly felt like last week all over again: a miserable first half, followed by a bizarre comeback win. Instead, the Colts got a nice kickoff return, the longest run of Joseph Addai's career (at 46 yards), and a quick touchdown. Then it didn't really feel like last week any more.
Best Special Teamer: If Brandon Banks can stay healthy, avoid fumbles and remain in Washington for three or four years, he will be popular in this town for the rest of his life. If you can't like this kid, you surely also dislike chocolate cupcakes and baby pandas. He is, in every way, the anti-Randle El. (And yeah, Lorenzo Alexander was probably the actual best special teamer Sunday night, but he's not nearly as huggable.)
Worst Television Sequence: Shot of Albert Haynesworth, lounging in luxury suite. Shot of Daniel Snyder, wearing Redskins tie. Seventy-third recitation of The Albert Haynesworth Story, interrupted finally when Addai fumbled and the ball was, you know, rolling around on the ground.
Best Broadcaster Line: Cris Collinsworth, "If Carlos Rogers could catch the football, he'd be in the Pro Bowl every year....The guy cannot catch."
Worst Broadcaster Line: Collinsworth, "Once you play in the Intense League, you play intense-ly."
Worst Broadcaster Line, Part II: Collinsworth, on the Hogettes: "Is that supposed to be the Hogs' wives? I don't know that I've ever fully understood that." Al Michaels followed up with "your guess is as good as mine." No, gents. They're just supposed to be cheerleaders for the offensive linemen, in the model of the dress-wearing early NFL cheerleaders. Someone in research better be fired by Monday morning.
Best Drive: Colts, post-McNabb first quarter interception. One play, 57 yards, 0:09, touchdown.
Worst Drive: Redskins, post-that touchdown. Three plays, minus-9 yards, punt.
Best Divisional News: The Cowboys are the dregs of the NFL.
Worst Divisional News: The Eagles and Giants both won, and the Redskins are no longer tied for first.
Best Pre-Game Scene. The alumni parade around FedEx Field was awesome. Just awesome. I can't think of a single bad thing to say about it. Also, I'm furious that Pat Fischer isn't my uncle. Thanksgiving would be amazing. I'll have more on this later.
Worst Post-Game Answer: Shanahan saying Albert Haynesworth was deactivated because the gameplan had already been installed didn't seem credible.
Worst Post-Game Controversy: And yet, I'm so, so, so, so, so, so sick of hearing about No. 92. "I'm worrying about the Redskins winning football games, not Mike Shanahan's ego beating up over Albert Haynesworth's ego," Brian Mitchell said during Comcast SportsNet's postgame show. "We definitely could have used him tonight," Buchanan said on the same show. "We want him out there," Lorenzo Alexander said. "We definitely want him out there."
Best Point Spread: Indianapolis (-3). Vegas does it again! They've now hit the number exactly in two of Washington's six games.
Best Parity: The Redskins are 3-3. Six of their next seven games come against teams within a game of .500. At least eight of those games will be decided in the final two minutes.
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