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Posted at 4:15 PM ET, 11/28/2010

Redskins-Vikings, Best and Worst

By Dan Steinberg

(Photos by Jonathan Newton - TWP)

Worst Fate: In this, of all seasons, to lose on a Brett Favre third-down scramble....that hurt. Smarts. Stings. Smells. Reeks.Tastes like rancid turkey casserole. Favre's Vikings entered the week with the NFL's worst turnover differential, a -13. They didn't turn the ball over once.

Best Trend Bucking: The Redskins have been converting third downs at a historically awful rate this season, and entered the game last in the NFL with a putrid 25 percent. But on their first drive against the Vikings, they converted all four third-down attempts, leading to jubilation in the stands.

Worst Trend Returning: And after that? The Redskins converted two of their next 10 attempts, which is actually worse than their season average.

Best Player: Ok, ok, ok; not best, per se. But for at least the third or fourth time this season, Brandon Banks made the most exciting individual plays, the plays that could cause a horrible momentum deficit to lessen and fans to smile and the sideline to bounce. It's hard to imagine what this season would have been like without him. One return set up a field goal. Another would have been a touchdown but for an accursed block-in-the-back flag for a totally meaningless block.

Worst Block in the Back: Perry Riley. Yeah. Next time, please do block in the front. That's a great place to block.

Best Quote About That Play: "That's football in the National Football League," Mike Shanahan said. And that's a quote in a press conference in FedEx Field in Landover in Maryland in the U.S. on planet earth.

Best Start: Last week, one of the hot jokes was about how the Redskins' first drives of games were marked primarily by Donovan McNabb falling over on his own. This week, he went 8-for-8 for 84 yards in about the prettiest opening drive the rules allow.

Worst Follow-Up: And yet, before everyone could finish saying "That was the Redskins' best drive of the season," the defense watched the Vikings march down the field for their first opening-drive touchdown of the season. The balance of this always-near-.500, always-in-overtime team was restored. Eight of this team's 11 games have now been decided by less than a touchdown.

Best Pre-Game Tweet: Banks, in a rout:

So I just woke up and out of no where and I was using my playbook as a pillow! Lol gosh I love the game!

I do that with my laptop all the time, Brandon.

Worst Half-Time Speech: Whatever happened in the locker room during halftime, it didn't seem to work. The Vikings came out and drove down the field for a touchdown, the first time they'd done so in their first drive after halftime this season. The Redskins, meanwhile, gained 11 yards on their next two possessions.

Best Three-Years-Late Innovation: Say, look! It's the Wildcat! That's weird! I didn't know Washington-based teams were allowed to do that! And in a related story, credit to Tom Boswell for immediately wondering whether a Banks-led Wildcat should properly be called the "Wild Kitty."

Worst Pre-Game Trend: For the third time in three games, a Redskin went down before the game. Against the Eagles, it was Ryan Torain, who aggravated a hamstring injury. Against the Titans, Chad Simpson went down during warmups. And against the Vikings, Albert Haynesworth got ill before kickoff, although he was on the field before the first half was over.

Best Downfield Coverage by a Linebacker: London Fletcher, keeping up with tight end Visanthe Shiancoe 40 yards downfield. If I had to bet on a 4000-meter race between those two, I think I'm taking Fletcher. In the marathon, I'll go with Haynesworth, I guess.

Worst Best Play: The 45-yard bomb to Anthony Armstrong in the fourth quarter was great. The fact that it might have been a touchdown if it traveled a few more yards wasn't. Maybe it was on McNabb, or maybe it was on his lack of protection, but whatever the cause, the Redskins didn't get another first down on the drive and were stuck with a field goal that left them behind by four.

"I tried to get as much as I could into it," McNabb said later. "I didn't want to overthrow him. Maybe I pulled the string on it a little bit."

Best Haynesworthiness: A sack on 3rd-and-goal to force a field goal? That's the reason you make him run 75 conditioning tests and give him 17 bazillion dollars.

Worst Pre-Game News Break: Favre has pneumonia!!!...Favre has pneumonia!!!...Favre has pneumonia!!!... But will play. Of course. Next week, expect him to be run over by a dumptruck, covered with scalding oil, harvested for organs and shipped to Tahiti an hour before kickoff, only to be named the surprise starter at the last minute.

Best Action: The press box sprung to life in the third quarter when several fans started brawling about 20 rows up from field level. Event staff appeared disinterested in intervening. There was blood. Finally the cops showed up. Were I in the middle of that mess with my family, I'd sure be wondering what took so long.

Worst Dropsies, Part I: The Redskins saw a second-quarter drive fizzle when Chris Cooley and Santana Moss both dropped balls that appeared would go for first downs. They're lucky they're not named Carlos Rogers, or they'd have to answer a lot of questions this week.

Worst Dropsies, Part II: Moss did himself one worse in the third quarter, when a bullet from McNabb bounced off his chest and into the arms of E.J. Henderson. Later, James Davis dropped a screen that seemed to be right in his arms.

"Things happen in this game," McNabb said of the interception, which is a quote Mike Shanahan would love.

Best Homecomings: The Vikings' win was assistaed by a pair of Maryland natives. Blair product Shiancoe had 3 catches for a game-high 54 yards, while Aberdeen's E.J. Henderson had the interception that led to the Vikings' third-quarter field goal.

Worst Quarter: It's not fair or logical, but we often equate offensive football with attractive football, and vice versa. In the second quarter, the two offenses combined for 110 yards and 0 points. It felt unattractive.

Worst Stat: One Redskins tailback averaged 1.8 yards per carry. The other averaged 1.7 yards per carry. The team totaled 29 rushing yards for the game. And Favre's final 10-yard run would have been Washington's longest on the day.

Worst Omen: The Redskins have five games left. They'd need to win four to have any shot at the playoffs. Four of their final five opponents have winning records.

Worst Celebration: Favre. Blech.

By Dan Steinberg  | November 28, 2010; 4:15 PM ET
Categories:  Redskins  
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Next: Football Insider Live: Vikings recap, Giants preview and thoughts on hecklers


On both Moss' drop and deflection for an interception he jumped to catch the pass for no good reason. He does this all the time and it is usually the cause for his drops.

Posted by: goose33 | November 28, 2010 4:39 PM | Report abuse

Um, I think they were uninterested in intervening. Disinterested in the outcome of the fight. Uninterested in that as well, perhaps.

Posted by: asdf2 | November 28, 2010 5:04 PM | Report abuse

Maybe future articles on Redskins losses can include just how many millions of dollars the players make for their lack of success. Good thing they don't have real jobs that actually affect people's lives, and that they are just entertainers.

Posted by: Sutter | November 28, 2010 6:18 PM | Report abuse

really sad, frustrating performance on offense this afternoon how please tell me how can we get anywhere with this misery? this is an popwarner offense, through season and looking every snap from our victory over cryboys til this awful loss, I´m sure of there´s 2 involved on this poor performance one could be Donovan and other Kyle one send the snap and other is mainly the player involved one of these must be changed, guess who?
Whatever and sunday after sunday I´ll be on front line getting anger and anger but what else could I do?


Posted by: mexskinfan | November 28, 2010 6:31 PM | Report abuse

SALLY JENKINS........... YOOOOO HOOOOO. Where are you? I'd like to hear your comments about the game after you slammed the Vikes, saying "wow at least the Redskins aren't as terrible as the Vikes". Then Favre leads them to a victory in the skins' own house. You obviously don't know much about football, stick to prognosticating about things that you understand. G-O-A-T.

Posted by: jabbanut | November 28, 2010 6:41 PM | Report abuse

Some solid performances to build on and some areas we need to improve.
Skins maintain concentration and focus and maybe our performance will lead to a victory next week.
NFL is full of highs and lows so Skins just need to focus on nothing but the grind and that's it. They get paid to grind. Grinding is better suited being emotionless, that is my opinion
There's a game next week so the grind continues

Less showboating though

Posted by: bigtemi | November 28, 2010 6:44 PM | Report abuse

I feel so strongly that women should keep in their place that I'm going over to the real estate section and post something attacking Sally Jenkins. I am just totally a stud.

Posted by: markfromark | November 28, 2010 8:19 PM | Report abuse

EJ Henderson also went to Maryland, by way of "local connections." It is where he won one or two awards:

* 2001- First-Team All-American
* 2001- First-Team All-ACC
* 2001- ACC Player of the Year
* 2001- ACC Defensive Player of the Year
* 2002- First-Team All-American
* 2002- First-Team All-ACC
* 2002- Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl Defensive MVP
* 2002- ACC Defensive Player of the Year
* 2002- Chuck Bednarik Award
* 2002- Butkus Award

Posted by: ckstevenson | November 28, 2010 8:30 PM | Report abuse

Dang somebody please tell mike shanny to give up the 3/4 and go back to the 4/3 def...even last year when we was really a bad team the def was good....this year seems like every team we are facing is having their way with our 3/4 def......

Posted by: redskinsfaninnc | November 28, 2010 8:42 PM | Report abuse

That McNabb underthrow to Armstrong was just awful. McNabb didn't step up and make the throw, because he was afraid he'd get hit. It was the QB equivalent of "alligator arms".

When you're the QB, and supposedly a leader, and your team is down by a TD in the 4th quarter in a game you pretty much HAVE to win, you HAVE to step and take the hit in order to get the TD.

I'm not a McNabb hater, but that was just terrible. To win, you gotta go all in... and instead he held back.

Posted by: spunkydawg1 | November 28, 2010 9:55 PM | Report abuse

These are getting less funny every week. Is Tracee Hamilton helping you write these?

Posted by: tristesse27 | November 29, 2010 6:15 AM | Report abuse

Tyra Banks on penalty after game "i looked over and saw coach Shanihan's glass eye going back and forth like a pinball and ran for my life". Referee's asked about their make up call for the 3 in Tn. on the final drive last week Ed Hochulee said "well that Shanihan glass eye was really starting to creep us out and we had to do something to protect the officiating crew". At 5-6 with the leagues worst defense, having been walked on by a white full-back that runs a 5.6 40 yd. dash, it might be time to "shut it down Hancock." We are a disgrace to pro sports.

Posted by: doyouktt | November 29, 2010 7:00 AM | Report abuse

Congratulations to the Redskins. Not counting Houston (0-1), they're the only NFL team to never have beaten Brett Favre.

(Please don't tell me about his mop up duty in 1991.)

What a joke of a franchise.

Posted by: Scoonie97 | November 29, 2010 9:35 AM | Report abuse

I was 2 rows above the brawl in section 108. It initially was two girls fighting that led to 2 drunk guys fighting about 1-2 other people. Cops took the drunks away. The saddest part was the wife of one of the drunk later asking to walk through everybody's row looking for her husband's wedding ring.

Anybody interested in hearing more of the tale can check the game recap over on It Is What It Is...Another Redskins Blog

Posted by: nwoking | November 29, 2010 9:38 AM | Report abuse

"Worst Omen: The Redskins have five games left. They'd need to win four to have any shot at the playoffs. Four of their final five opponents have winning records."

Considering the theme of this season is improbable win followed by loss, I fully expect the skins to beat the Giants, Tampa Bay, and Jax while losing to the Giants and the cowboys to finish at a very zen like 8-8 for the season (and miss the playoffs).

Posted by: jbanks979 | November 29, 2010 11:39 AM | Report abuse

I don't know about you guys but I kinda miss the Laron Landry celebrations after tackling a running back who had just gained big yards for a first down.

Posted by: playahatah | November 29, 2010 2:55 PM | Report abuse

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