Redskins-Jaguars, best and worst
Best and worst from the Redskins' 20-17 win over the Jaguars.
Worst Way to Write a Best and Worst Column: Sitting in your parents' dining room and listening to ESPN 980's Internet broadcast. Look, it was that or sitting at the Fredonia, NY Applebee's and watching the Skins at the bar while listening to the Bills-Patriots audio. I asked my editor which would be better.
"Stick with the radio for a variety of reasons," he wrote to me, "not the least of which is no one should have to spend three hours in an Applebee's.
Whatever. Those Applebee's ads where the waitress asks Coach to hang up the photo that says Always Our Coach still make me tear up. Anyhow, bear in mind, this is based on audio, not video.
Best Stat, Part I: Thirteen of the team's 22 opening-day starters did not start against the Jaguars. Want names? Galloway, Dockery, Hicks, Brown, Cooley, McNabb, Sellers, Portis, Kemoeatu, Golston, Orakpo, Landry, Doughty. Cooley and Sellers played a lot, but that's still a 50 percent overhaul.
Best Stat, Part II: In his first two starts -- against Dallas, and the defense-averse Texans -- Donovan McNabb threw for one touchdown. In his first two starts -- against Dallas and the defense-averse Jaguars -- Rex Grossman threw for five touchdowns. Both guys went 1-1 in those games.
Best Stat, Part III: Eleven of the Redskins' 15 games have been decided by one score or less. Their record is 6-5 in those games. That means they're 0-4 in non-close games. Also, eight of the Redskins' 15 games have been decided by a field goal or less. Their record is 4-4 in those games.
Best Stat, Part IV: The Redskins have played in four overtime games this season, a franchise record. They've lost the overtime coin flip in all four games. And yet they're still 3-1 in overtime. That means they're 3-8 in all other games.
Best Stat, Part V: The Redskins have six wins. They've scored at least 20 points six different times. Sunday was the first time both those things happened on the same day.
Best Drive: For a while on Sunday, you could complain that the Redskins were abandoning the run, and that they were third-down failures (0 for their first 7). That all ended in a long, boringly effective 14-play, 68-yard drive spanning the end of the third and beginning of the fourth quarters. They converted three third-downs on the drive, ran like crazy (10 times on the drive), and punched it in on a 4th-and-goal after nearly eight minutes of possession. And yet...
Worst Quote: "This is Redskins Weather," Doc Walker said before kickoff on ESPN 980's pre-game show. When it gets snowy and windy in D.C., the Redskins practice at Lifetime Fitness. I'm not sure what makes that Redskins weather.
Best Change of Pace: I was almost positive that there was an NFL rule that the Redskins couldn't throw passes to Chris Cooley in the first quarter. Or maybe that was a UN rule or something. But on Washington's first snap, Rex Grossman threw to Cooley for 10 yards, and he kept looking in 47's direction. And yet....
Worst Drops: Chris Cooley. Four in the first half? The first, and worst, came in the end zone. He's frequently pledged to break out the peanut butter jelly dance on his next touchdown reception. He must have been rehearsing the steps in his mind while that ball floated toward him. "He just doesn't do that! That's Chris Cooley!" Sam Huff said. A few minutes later, he dropped another pass over the middle. "I've never seen that!" Huff said. "I mean, he was wide open. That's not the quarterback's fault. He put it on his fingertips." He possibly dropped two more in the second quarter, leading Huff to lament that Cooley couldn't catch a cold.
Best Old Man Rant: Sam Huff, before the game, suggested that too many players on both teams were concerned about celebrating Christmas rather than getting ready to play. He suggested that's why so many players were missing due to injuries.
"Don't tell the doctors and trainers that you're hurt, unless you want out," Huff insisted.
Best Younger Man Rant: Like every breathing Redskins fan, Larry Michael did not agree with the officials' ruling on the Rex Grossman interception, in which the Jaguars' defender appeared to have a foot on the line. "Well, I don't know what they're looking at," Michael said. "If that's replay challenge, they ought to get rid of it. That is horrible. Horrible. What are they looking at? There's no way. That's a horrible call....One of the worst calls we've seen all season."
Worst Call: Well heck, I didn't see it, but it sure sounds like the above interception would qualify. (See images here.) "Stunningly awful," Steve Czaban wrote on Twitter. "Unbelievable call," Matt Terl said. "Horrible call," David Elfin write. "That might have been the worst call ever," 106.7 The Fan's Sky Kerstein wrote.
Best News: To the best of my knowledge, Donovan McNabb's agent managed to make it through the entire game without issuing a strongly worded press release.
Worst Discipline: The Jaguars, at home, playing to stay alive for the playoffs, against a 5-9 team, decided to explore the deepest recesses of the rule book. They were called for 6 penalties for 55 yards in the first half.
Best Surprise, Minor Version: During a shaky season, Graham Gano knocked me over stiff by knocking that 48-yard first-quarter field goal stiff. In a brisk wind, as they say. He later hit the game-winner. Seriously, how do you make a 48-yard field goal in the cold and wind and miss a 24-yarder in perfect weather?
Worst Job of Throwing the Ball at the Opponent After a Punt Return: Brandon Banks.
Best Surprise, Major Version: Carlos Rogers caught the ball. I repeat, Carlos Rogers caught the ball. I repeat, this is an all-news alert: Carlos Rogers caught the ball. Carlos. Rogers. Caught. The. Ball.
Worst Delay of Game: Rex Grossman. Awful lot of chatter about increased tempo, and better execution, and all the rest last week. But when the Redskins had a key 3rd-and-8 late in the game, Grossman took a delay call. On 3rd-and-13, they gained 12, and then had to punt.
Best Surprise, Serious Version: Adam Carriker and Jeremy Jarmon got in a disagreement in the weight room this week. Then, against Jacksonville, they each got their first full sack as a Redskin. Fighting works, kids. Rob Jackson, just activated off the practice squad, also got a sack. In fact, the Redskins put 37 defensive linemen on the injured list this week, and seemed to generate their most consistent pressure of the season. I mean, the NFL is so bizarre. I couldn't recognize about a quarter of the Redskins' active-roster players right now, and yet they seem at least as good as they were to start the season. Darrion Scott? Joe Joseph? Or is it Scott Darrion and Joseph Joe? Really not sure.
Worst Punt: Sam Paulescu, the man brought in to help fix the poor hang time that afflicted Hunter Smith, unleashed a 35-yard line drive late in the fourth quarter. It was returned for 21 yards. Thirty-five minus 21 is....not a lot.
Best Weirdness, Part I: Brandon Banks took more snaps at quarterback than a healthy Donovan McNabb. I don't know that I'd have predicted that in May.
Best Weirdness, Part II: The secondary of DeAngelo Hall, Phillip Buchanon, Macho Harris and Kevin Barnes....don't know that I'd have predicted that in May, either.
Best Reversal of Fortune: Some fans were mocking Kevin Barnes for whiffing on David Garrard during an early-game blitz. (Watch it here.) The kid redeemed himself nicely with the game-turning interception in overtime.
Worst Realization: Even when the Redskins are frustratingly, heartbreakingly, soul-scorchingly mediocre, I manage to look forward to Sundays every week. We're only doing this one more time. Sure, the offseason stuff is fun, but it's fun the way the intermission ice hockey mites are fun. I really like the games. And there's only one left.
| December 26, 2010; 4:57 PM ET
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