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Posted at 5:06 PM ET, 11/21/2010

Redskins-Titans, Best and Worst

By Dan Steinberg

(By Jonathan Newton - TWP)

Best and worst from the Redskins' 19-16 overtime win over the Titans.

Best Summary: I'll turn to Grant Paulsen from 106.7 The Fan, who wrote this on Twitter:

Redskins were without 4 starters when day began. Lost 1 guy pregame and 8 for the game during play. And won...a week after losing by 31.

That's what happened. The rest is just commentary.

Worst Field: The Titans' strategy of sprinkling the Redskins' side of the line of scimmage with land mines, banana peels, oil slicks and really really pointy tacks worked brilliantly. Seven Redskins players had suffered leg injuries by halftime, including a pair of offensive linemen and a pair of running backs.

Best Patch Job: And yet, for all that mayhem, the team held together, the offensive line held together, and no one was using the word "embarrassed" this week. Stephon Heyer at guard? Maybe that's his natural position. Three different offensive line groups in the first half? Sure, whatever. Washington racked up 14 first downs and 242 yards in the first half, amid the carnage, and Donovan McNabb had plenty of time to pass for much of the second half. How that happened? I have no idea. Might as well let these guys play another week, though, right?

Worst Start: The Redskins' past three games have all started horrendously, ridiculously, atrociously, diabolically. Against Detroit, there was a three-and-out, highlighted by Donovan McNabb slipping and falling on the first snap. Against the Eagles, DeSean Jackson scored on the game's first snap. And against the Titans, McNabb again fell on the first snap, and the Redskins again went three-and-out.

Best Fourth Quarter:: After being shut out through three quarters, Chris Cooley had seven catches for 91 yards in the fourth (and overtime), all for first downs. And on each of them, the salute from Redskins fans in Tennessee was easy to hear.

Worst Tackle: Some guy named Rusty Smith, apparently a quarterback, hit Nate Washington for a deep ball in the fourth quarter, and what was already a big gain got bigger when Kareem Moore ricocheted off the receiver. The play went for 52 yards, and the Titans wound up with a go-ahead field goal on the drive.

Best Look: My initial opinion was that the white tops and gold pants worked. That, no matter what you say about the team's new front-office structure, they've just nailed the uniform thing. But when someone suggested online that the Redskins looked like the official pro football team of McDonald's, I couldn't stop thinking of that. Seriously, that's what they looked like. I still think I approve of the combination, but I need to purge that McDonald's image from my mind.

Worst Opportunism: Smith's godawful interception gave the Redskins the ball in Tennessee territory late in the fourth quarter. The Redskins went 3-and-out, and the game lasted a lot longer than it needed to.

Best Penalty Sequence: The Titans went heel in overtime, drawing back-to-back 15-yarders to move the Redskins from 3rd-and-forever in their own half of the field to the brink of field-goal range.

Worst Penalty Sequence: The Redskins' special teams somehow lined up in an illegal formation on the team's second punt of the day. After offsetting penalties, they kicked again. This time, the Titans took it back for a touchdown, although it looked for all the world like Reed Doughty was blocked in the back. The Fox analysts praised the above block, so maybe I'm wrong.

Best Forgotten Play: Graham Gano's last-second miss will be the lasting memory from the final drive of regulation, but let's not forget the 15-yard pass to Brandon Banks, in traffic, for a first down. Banks is the smallest player in the NFL, but his first career catch for positive yardage was large. If that had been Danny Woodhead getting creamed and holding on over the middle of the field, several broadcasters might have been overcome with emotion.

Worst Job of Playcalling, Part I: The Redskins have an atrocious pass defense, and were without LaRon Landry and Carlos Rogers. The Titans didn't throw a pass in the first quarter.

Worst Job of Playcalling, Part II: Easy for me to say, but Washington's third-down give to Mike Sellers from about the 3-yard line in the first half seemed entirely hopeless. Sellers didn't come close to the end zone.

Worst Job of Play-by-Play Calling: When the Titans were called offsides on the ensuing field-goal attempt, Dick Stockton freaked out. "THIS IS GONNA BE A FIRST DOWN!!!!!" he said. Turns out it was half-the-distance, and still fourth down. Later, Stockton was ages late in realizing that the Titans' lack of timeouts meant they were out of challenges.

Best Two-Minute Drill: Not sure about his cardio, or about the terminology, or about anything else, but McNabb looked pretty slick getting his team into field-goal position at the end of both halves. Gano missed both field goals, but still.

Worst Drop: The Redskins called a timeout to prepare for a crucial 3rd-and-long early in the fourth quarter. Hate to see the timeout used there. Still, they came out of it well, with McNabb finding Anthony Armstrong for a first down. Armstrong dropped it. No first down, bye-bye timeout.

Best Emergence From Oblivion: Joey Galloway was supposed to be benched, or cut, or sent to Siberia this week. Instead, the 39-year old caught a 20-yard ball on a 3rd-and-16 at the end of the first quarter, eventually leading to a field goal. He finished with 3 catches for 32 yards.

Worst Disappearances Into Oblivion: Randy Moss. Zero catches for 0 yards. Not that great.

Best Run After Catch: Fred Davis hasn't exactly had the breakout year many were predicting, but he sure makes interesting plays. This week, it happened twice. First came a 23-yard catch-and-run, in which he seemed to run through about half of the Tennessee defense. Later there was a screen, and after breaking a tackle near the line of scrimmage, Davis went for 21 yards.

Worst Push-Off: Randy Moss didn't make any effort to hide his push-off on DeAngelo Hall in the third quarter. He just pushed him, directly in front of an official, negating what would have been a soul-crushing fourth-down touchdown grab.

Worst Warmup Routine: I have a call in to the Elias Sports Bureau to ask when the last time an NFL team lost a running back for an entire game due to an injury from warm-ups two weeks in a row. Ok, not really. But that's bizarre. What exactly are they doing during warm-ups? Do you need an extra jolt of cardiovascular endurance to endure these warm-ups?

Worst Return From Injury: For brief moments in the first quarter, Clinton Portis looked like he had spent his time off in a chamber of youth. He ran five times for 32 yards, caught a 14-yard pass, and looked far more explosive than he has in recent appearances. Then he got hurt, and didn't come back. That's makes the second straight week an injured Redskins runner has returned from injury only to get injured again.

Worst Overthrow: Santana Moss was open deep midway through the first quarter. McNabb appeared to overthrow him, badly. All the "McNabb has been bad" stories have noted that he's been excellent with the deep ball. This one didn't look excellent.

Best Save: The Redskins were reeling early in the first quarter, having endured a bad offensive series, a bad punt, and a bad first defensive play. Titans Coach Jeff Fisher had already fist-pumped at least twice. Then Lorenzo Alexander forced a Vince Young fumble, temporarily salvaging the season. Alexander would later hurt a hamstring, but he earned his check with that play.

Best Drama: The three weeks starting with the loss in Detroit and ending with the loss to the Eagles were pure agony for the Redskins, filled with soap operas and hand-wringing and tears and a dull pain in that little spot above your kidney. But, as a whole, this season has been about unaesthetic football games decided in the final minute. Those days are back. The Skins have played 10 games, and seven have been decided by less than a touchdown. Four of the past six games have been decided by three points.

Best Advice: On last week's Football Insider Live podcast, I advised listeners to bet the mortgage on the Redskins +7. This is a bounce-back league. The Redskins bounced back.

(By Ricky Carioti - TWP)

By Dan Steinberg  | November 21, 2010; 5:06 PM ET
Categories:  Media, Redskins  
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Next: These weird Redskins and the 20-point mark


THANK YOU for the post about Brandon Banks and comparing him to Woodhead. The announcers make note of Banks' size and say he is an athlete. Every time Danny Woodhead gains a first down I think Cris Collinsworth is going to cream his pants talking about how "scrappy and hard-working" little Woodhead is.

They are both great players who are undersized. BUT, Woodhead is white so he is unique apparently.

Great play by Banks either way, and I hope he gets more involved in the passing game.

Posted by: goose33 | November 21, 2010 5:33 PM | Report abuse

Huh huh, you said "Woodhead getting creamed." Huh huh.

Posted by: wahoo2x | November 21, 2010 5:50 PM | Report abuse

Woodhead also plays regularly for a quality team, has umpteen more touches than BB, and is on national TV every week. Put the race card back in the deck.

Posted by: mocmao | November 21, 2010 6:38 PM | Report abuse

Actually, to those of us over 50 (in my case well over), they look like the Redskins in those uni's. Can't help but wonder what McNabb might have done given the chance in the last 2 minutes at Detroit.

Posted by: truke | November 21, 2010 6:54 PM | Report abuse

"But, as a whole, this season has been about unaesthetic football games decided in the final minute."

Which season are you talking about, exactly?
















Or 2010?

Posted by: asdf2 | November 21, 2010 6:59 PM | Report abuse

You are en fuego, Dan. Excellent blog entry.

Posted by: swowra | November 21, 2010 7:01 PM | Report abuse

just a suggestion to the Redskins, next time you need to pick up 3 yrds, how about using that behemoth of a man that you are paying 100 million $$$ to. Surely he can move the pile backwards a few yards. remember the " refrigerator " Perry??? or use him as a lead blocker something besides the nickel package only, get creative PLEASEEEEEE!!!!

Posted by: greenstheman | November 21, 2010 7:42 PM | Report abuse

this article and Football Insider Live are two weekly musts, besides having the redskins make my heart explode with nervousness and overeating until my heart explode with goodnessnes

Posted by: parkerbros | November 21, 2010 7:47 PM | Report abuse

Agreed with Steinz on the Redskins bouncing back this week. Skins +7 was no brainer. Am also grateful the team didn't quit as quickly as some fans. This team has heart.

Posted by: Barno1 | November 21, 2010 8:08 PM | Report abuse

why did you have to mention the McDonald's uniform? MUST! ERASE! MENTAL! IMAGE!

Posted by: sa11231 | November 21, 2010 8:58 PM | Report abuse

Sigh. OK I'm happy to get a win this week. Whatever. This team is years - years - away from being a competitive playoff team.

I can't remember the last time we won a game decisively. At a certain point a collection of Gano's limp-legged kicks to eek out 3 point wins has to make you question our progress.

Posted by: drnosewater | November 21, 2010 9:12 PM | Report abuse

Sigh. OK I'm happy to get a win this week. Whatever. This team is years - years - away from being a competitive playoff team.

I can't remember the last time we won a game decisively. At a certain point a collection of Gano's limp-legged kicks to eek out 3 point wins has to make you question our progress.

Posted by: drnosewater | November 21, 2010 9:12 PM | Report abuse

I don't often agree with you Steinberg, but when I do.....
Worst Job of Playcalling, Part II....Indeed...Get the ball to Cooley!! Best Job of Playcalling....the indside shovel pass...well done Kyle.

Posted by: jnbergquist | November 21, 2010 9:18 PM | Report abuse

"The Redskins looked like the official pro football team of McDonald's" -- close, but no McLean Deluxe. That prize goes to the KC Chefs. Get a good look at their gear week in and out and you'll be searching for absurdly long, goofy clown cleats every time. The burgundy is close, especially in the whites, but it doesn't compare to the McDwayne's.

Is anyone else unable to enjoy the awakening of the two-tight end offense we're suddenly executing out there? Fred Davis looked great, and Cooley was COOOOley... and all it took was a few months of the offseason, the entire preseason, and 9 games worth of ranting from fans, bloggers, and radio hosts alike to see our greatest receiving strengths thoroughly utilized along with a screen game that should have been clicking since day one. Right? With our o-line issues, teams blitz us 12 times out of 10, so TE and RB screens should have been the primary focus of our week-to-week offensive adjustments, but what do I know?

On one hand, I'm overjoyed to see Davis and Cooley getting some attention in the gameplan, along with the screens and shovel passes that were looking great today. Maybe it was due mostly to the fact that Moss was beating their DBs deep early, so the under was more open than usual... but I seriously doubt it.

On the other hand, the inability of Baby Genius to break out of the rigid playbook/scheme that garnered him so much success down in Houston to actually try and capitalize on the specific strengths of OUR PERSONNEL to put points on the board until WEEK ELEVEN has me ready to cry like a Hoggette in the rain last week. It utterly baffles me that Shannifam didn't look to alternate receivers as soon as they realized that Galloway wasn't going to cut it, Armstrong was unpolished, Moss was going to take a while to get sync'd up with McNabb, and Devin Harris and Malcolm Kelly weren't going to be on the field. And yes, I left out Roydell Williams b/c I'm not exactly sure he still plays for the team (where ARE you, Royd?).

I just hope the progress we saw on offense with the use of the tight ends and backs in the passing game is something we will see built upon moving forward, and that whatever magical potion they gave to the o-line to make things click like they did this week doesn't run out.

That and Landry and Rodgers back on the field as soon as humanly possible; Kareem Moore and Reed Doughty couldn't be more unreliable as a last line of defense. Did you see the deplorable coverage on the punt return TD where DIESEL Lorenzo Alexander pulled up lame and Moore stood around afterward looking exasperated because he has NO business starting for our D? That dude has UFL written all across his face and all I can think of is the weeks early on I spent saying things like "I can't take one more blown coverage by Reed Doughty! Wait until Kareem Moore gets healthy, he's supposed to have really come on this offseason and will save us from the human achilles heel." GET WELL SOON, LARON!

Posted by: Peakfest | November 21, 2010 11:49 PM | Report abuse

In retrospect, I suppose I was a bit extreme in my remarks and engaged in some aggressively unfair summarizations of the offensive gameplanning to date. What can I say? I'm a die hard Skins fan and I'm emotional about our mediocrity (and was really looking forward to seeing our TEs dominate this season).

A win is a win, and we won. Congrats to Graham Gano for a clutch kick to win the game, and to a much improved team for the win, especially the guys who picked it up on offense that haven't factored as much as others in recent weeks, and to our secondary that was able to execute effectively in light of the fact that two of our best players were sidelined. We kept C. Johnson in check considering his talent level, and played with confidence all 4 quarters and through OT.

It took a lot of guts and determination to put last week's kick in the groin behind us and go out on the road and beat a good defensive team the way we did. Keep it up and let's see if we can't leave Eli with a dumb look on his face after we're done with him next week.

Wait, nevermind.

Posted by: Peakfest | November 22, 2010 12:06 AM | Report abuse

Nice post, Dan.

The Redskins are a flawed team, especially as far as Offensive talent, so this is how they will get their wins. It will be at least 2 years before they can realistically contend for anything of significance, but it's a heckuva lot better than it has been. I think they're better than they have been the last couple of years and are headed in the right direction.

Posted by: themantoyou | November 22, 2010 12:37 AM | Report abuse

I still can't believe we won that game. The Titans managed to play worse than the Redskins. There were very few bright spots. The smartest thing the offense did was play around with the snap count. That moved our offense more than anything else.

Our defense just looks so slow. On one play Kareem Moore and H.B. Blades looked like they were running in place chasing the runner. It was painful to watch.

Also, did anyone actually think poor old Portis would finish this game? Not a chance.

Posted by: Chigliak | November 22, 2010 1:12 AM | Report abuse

that disgraceful mess is leading me to never watch another NFL game. that was 22 bums chasing each other around like ankle biter's. both teams should be banned from T.V. and only allowed to play on Saturday at noon EST. Dusty Smith for Chrisss Sakes!! and skins fans are jubilant?? On why the Resdskins gave a game ball to the referee after calling 3 consecutive penalties in OT the lead official would only say "That glass eye of coach Shanihan was starting to creep us out. I had to do something to get us out of there." Shameful. Dusty, Tyra Banks, Guano..WTH is that ??? UTEP vs UCONN at best. I Quit..

Posted by: doyouktt | November 22, 2010 7:46 AM | Report abuse

Giant shoes and red curly wigs. Yeah thats the ticket.McNabbs McDees.

Posted by: vexed50verizonnet | November 22, 2010 8:25 AM | Report abuse

I've always thought the Redskin's colors reminded me of McDonald's (or Hardees). Especially the seat colors at FedEx. While I'm at it I also think their helmut is way too 70's. Too many different colored stripes going down the middle.

Would you like fries with that?

Posted by: arlingtonJAM | November 22, 2010 9:03 AM | Report abuse

I don't care what others say, Skins are playing the uniform exactly right this year.

It doesn't matter if you win or lose, you got to look good doing it. Someone should let the Vikings, know.

Posted by: alex35332 | November 22, 2010 9:08 AM | Report abuse

If you watch that Moss open deep (not) overthrow you will notice a pretty good bump on Moss that slowed him down - the bump & run is alive and well in the NFL & not called consistently

Posted by: mdepo | November 22, 2010 9:33 AM | Report abuse

that disgraceful mess is leading me to never watch another NFL game.... I Quit..

Posted by: doyouktt | November 22, 2010 7:46 AM | Report abuse

Barno presents...Real Men of Genius

Today we salute you, Mr. I-Don't-Enjoy-It-When-My-Team-Wins-Guy. (Mr. I-Don't-Enjoy-It-When-My-Team-Winssss-Guy!) Unlike most fans, you know that a win is not a win, unless it's by 65 points or more. While everyone around you is celebrating, you know that your team isn't winning the next 5 championships, so what's the point of even getting excited (Oh I hate my life!). So get on the blogs and demand new coaches and players after every win, and drink up an ice cold bud light as we salute you....Mr. I-Don't-Enjoy-It-When-My-Team-Wins-Guy.

Posted by: Barno1 | November 22, 2010 11:01 AM | Report abuse

Are you done trolling yet doyouktt? You hate the Redskins with a passion yet somehow you end up on this message board at the conclusion of every game posting incoherent babble about whatever little thought crosses your little pea brain. Get of the computer and read a book, dorkus. HAIL TO THE REDSKINS!

Posted by: Tiffany010 | November 22, 2010 11:22 AM | Report abuse

Well done, lol. Though I would like to avoid having a heart attack every weekend watching the game, a win is a win. HTTR!

Posted by: rymensch | November 22, 2010 12:32 PM | Report abuse

As a tribute to the folks who ended up on
the Offensive Line due to injury to the starters, they should be grandfathered in as the starters against the Vikings. Not
only to say thanks, but because they performed better, especially at Center. They all played with heart and focused on
the job-at-hand. Too, Banks needs to be out there on Offense as well.

Posted by: DeployedFan | November 22, 2010 12:47 PM | Report abuse

Barno FTW!!
(Love those Real Men of Genius ads...)
But seriously, while I will enjoy every "W" the Redskins can put up in that specific column, I'm still hesitant about McNabb and his abilities. Really, I don't know why, but for some reason, maybe I'm holding him to a higher standard than Jason Campbell.
Also, the Dougie has gone just way too far. Did anyone catch the Titan doing it just as it cut to a commercial break?

Posted by: EddieP1 | November 22, 2010 2:24 PM | Report abuse

@Steinberg: Nice job. But...McDonald's? I think of the San Diego Padres in the '80s and that godawful turd-brown color combined with yellow.

@truke: White pants are FOR PRACTICE. I love the colors this year; they remind me of the '70s teams and Pop Warner. We wore gold pants all the time--except for practice.

@Barno: LOL.


Posted by: giantfig | November 22, 2010 4:10 PM | Report abuse

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