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Posted at 3:53 PM ET, 11/16/2010

Keys to the game: Redskins vs. Eagles checklist

By LaVar Arrington

This in my opinion was a must-win game for the Redskins. The Eagles dominated in every aspect: They out-coached and out-played the Redskins. This was a very sobering game for Washington and hopefully a much-needed wake-up call to do some things differently.

Let's look at how the Redskins fared in the keys I identified last week, starting with the offense.

Establish the running game: Yes and No. It was imperative for the running attack to be a large part of this game to take pressure off McNabb. I say yes because Keiland Williams was able to run for just under 90 yards, but I say no because it had little to no impact on the game. No first downs in the first quarter means there was no running game early in the game.

Revitalize the passing game: No. It's safe to say that Donovan McNabb and the receivers are to blame for the lack of success. Even though McNabb threw for just under 300 yards, it clearly did not mean he had a good game. Receivers dropped balls all night in some very critical points in the game. McNabb threw interceptions at critical points in the game. It certainly was not a pretty sight for Redskins fans.

Open up running lanes and protect the passer: No. The offensive continues to be the weakest part of this team. I can't figure out why this line is so consistently bad. It will be interesting to see if the Redskins can find a way to protect McNabb the rest of the way.

Now let's look at how the defense fared.

Win the battle upfront: No. LeSean McCoy, Mike Vick and some other guy I never heard of until Monday night had good success running the ball.

Stay in rush lanes to limit escapability: No. Again Vick was effective early, and so was McCoy. The Eagles seemed to have the right run call all game long> Poor tackling helped.

Rush the passer: No. The defense had its chance to shine and failed horribly; there was very little to no pressure all night. I thought that Albert Haynesworth would do something out there -- wrong! I believed that Brian Orakpo would get in the backfield and be disruptive; he did a few times but not so much. The defense gave Vick entirely to much time to pass, and he made them pay for it dearly.

Cover DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin: No. The secondary held this pair to laughable numbers in the first meeting. This time around, both got their redemption. The Redskins had no answer for their speed, and to make matters worse, on the few occasions they were covered, Vick found someone else open.

Finally, let's look at special teams

Solid return game: Yes. Fresh off knee surgery, Brandon Banks provided a nice spark in the return game, but was not as effective returning punts and kicks. Punt and kickoff coverage was solid didn't win or lose the game.

Kicking: N/A. Graham Gano really didn't matter because field goals were clearly not going to be good enough.

This was a very important game for the morale of this team. Beyond just the impact on the team's playoff hopes, it also offered a chance to erase the bad week that was following the benching of McNabb. These things did not happen, but the season is not over. They can still push through and make a run at the playoffs, but the hole they have to climb out of is getting deeper by the game.

By LaVar Arrington  | November 16, 2010; 3:53 PM ET
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Next: Redskins-Titans keys to the game: offense


It was actually a terrible passing day.

The Redskins had no passing game until the Eagles were up 35-0. McNabb seemed to come alive, but since the game was effectively over at that point, isn't it likely that this represented a lack of intensity on the Eagles part?

After the 2nd TD by McNabb, the intensity went up again, and the Eagles pushed the score back up again.

2nd half was all garbage time and thus I wouldn't count it at all.

Posted by: Ombudsman1 | November 16, 2010 6:07 PM | Report abuse

I'm just not sure they have it in them to climb out of the hole. The O line isn't getting better anytime soon. The defense had an unusually bad/horrible day, but can go back to being more effective as they usually are. D wins our games. In stingy victories we barely score, and one day you just gonna run outta luck. Coaching is a disaster. D schemes were bad, offense a tragedy

Posted by: lcribas58 | November 16, 2010 9:57 PM | Report abuse

The game was over on the 5th play.

The Eagles started by burning loud mouthed LaRon Landry for a touchdown on the first play. The Skins came back and, instead of trying to reclaim any momentum, ran three pathetic running plays (with their 4th? string running back behind the league's worst O-line), and went 3-and-out and punted.

At that point, it was painfully clear that the Redskins and Eagles were playing two totally different games. The Eagles were there to win, the Skins were caught in some self-defeating strategy-building nonsense.

The Skins finally looked like they had a pulse halfway through the second quarter when McNabb tried to open up the passing game, but by then they had already allowed 35 points and the game was over.

I don't know how many coaches and personnel changes it will take before the Skins figure out that "3 yards and a cloud of dust" never wins games.

Posted by: unclelonghair | November 16, 2010 10:26 PM | Report abuse

Where are the Hogs?

Posted by: alr47 | November 17, 2010 1:44 PM | Report abuse

When you look at our offense, you see only a couple of guys who would even be second string on most teams. Trent Williams is getting toasted every week, Jamal Brown is still injured, the guards are career backups and playing like it, the WRs are inconsistent and small, etc. The McNabb trade made some sense when it was done, but now it is clear we are never going to claw our way back with one high pick per year. We need multiple second and third rounders, but we have none. Our best bet now is to plan to try to move McNabb to the Vikes or Cards for whatever we can get.

Posted by: Iamhumongous | November 17, 2010 2:15 PM | Report abuse

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