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Skins-Eagles: Monday Morning H Back

This was another team win.

The first quarter Sunday was rough in all three phases - the offense wilted against the blitz and couldn't move the ball, special teams gave up a return TD, the defense gave up an epic opening drive. Then everything clicked for the final three quarters and the Redskins simply dominated.

Jim Zorn set the tone again with his aggro playcalling - loved going for that run on fourth-and-2 to put the game away. Greg Blache again put his defense in position to succeed and the ball kept rolling.

While Washington did not win the game on the scoreboard in the second quarter, to me that's when they won this thing. Everything began to swing in their favor, and they took the Eagles out of their game. Zorn stuck with the run - even though the Redskins were trailing by two touchdowns early and facing the NFL's best run defense - and attacked the ends. The yards started to come and the tide of blitzes began to subside.

Jason Campbell began to figure out where to look against that blitz. He was seeing six-and-seven man lines, with linebackers mugging all over the place. The Eagles would overload the left side, then the right side. They batted down balls, knocked down the passer, wreaked havoc. In the second quarter Campbell began to find his spots - screens to the tailbacks, quick hits to tight end Chris Cooley as he released off the line - and everything changed.

Campbell was 0-for-5 in the first quarter, but 11-for-14 in the second quarter; he was 9-10 for 84 yards throwing to the backs and tight ends, finding his footing, slowing things down. That 8-minute, 19-second drive didn't result in a TD, but it forced the Eagles to change their identity. They had to start playing the Skins straight up because they were moving the ball on the ground and through the air.

The Redskins went 6-for-8 on third-down conversions in the quarter (it might have been better had JC not lost his footing on one play and effectively knelt the play dead), getting them both on the ground and through the air. The game had changed.

Campbell again showed that he loves the shotgun - he finished that quarter in the gun for the final five plays before Shaun Suisham's 50-yard field goal, going 4-for-50 for 40 yards. Sure, the Skins still trailed, 14-9, at the half, but the stage had been set and the game flowed their way for the duration. They had a blueprint, while the Eagles scrambled to adjust.

JC wasn't as sexy this time, but that big scramble, all those third-down plays, protecting the football, taking charge of the huddle, adjusting protections against that fearsome blitz ... it was heady stuff. Take out the first quarter - when he was forced to operate under too much duress - and he completed 67 percent of his passes. You cannot ask for much more than that.

Philly held the ball for nearly 12 minutes in the first quarter, while Washington held it for 12:12 in the second. The Redskins scored on three straight drives - very similar to the Dallas game the week before - and in the second quarter the defense began a stretch of five straight drives allowing four plays or less (including 4 three-and-outs).

Andy Reid went out of his way to flaunt Brian Westbrook on that opening drive, showcasing him in the pass and run, and then linebacker London Fletcher began to pound and shadow him. Rocky McIntosh was a tackling machine, sniffing out the ball. Andre Carter had his best game in quite some time, knocking down balls, getting in the backfield, stuffing the run. The secondary continued to eliminate the big play - can't figure out why Reid took so few deep shots facing usually just a single high safety - and DeSean Jackson was not a factor after his punt return.

The crowd was taken right out of the game and Philly couldn't buy a first down.

Washington's run game became relentless, with Zorn sprinkling in Ladell Betts. Jon Jansen has had a big impact on the run game up here and the Redskins are running to the right side now and are much more balanced. All of the outside zone plays look a whole lot like 2005, when things were really cranking on the ground, with guards pulling and the tackles pancaking people.

Portis came into Dallas with a career average of just 3.9 yards per carry against NFC East teams, then ripped the Cowboys for 121 yards. He followed that up with 145 against Philly (a team that was allowing 2.9 per carry and 53 yards on the ground per game). That's levitation, holmes. Skins post 203 rushing on the Eagles; that's a statement that will ripple around the NFL, with the offensive line getting more physical by the week now.


Over the final three quarters (45 minutes), the Redskins held the ball for 31:08. Washington went 11-for-17 on third downs over that stretch; the Eagles were 1-for-7. Donovan McNabb was never any real factor out of the pocket or doing anything with his feet (as suspected given that sternum injury). Westbrook had to miss a stretch of play in the second quarter and was never the same. The Eagles look like a ragged, beat-up bunch, and at 2-3 they already find themselves in crisis.

Philly outgained the Skins 133-16 in the first quarter, and was out-gained 372-121 for the duration. The Eagles took away Santana Moss, but spent so much effort doing it, that others roamed free (the inability of any of their LBs to man-up on Cooley and prevent him from simply releasing off the line into routes was shocking).

Durant Brooks recovered from his weak punt on the Jackson return to be solid and help maintain the advantage in field position. Suisham continued what could shape up to be an outstanding season. Some kickoffs were a little shorter, but he nailed more long field goals again.

As much as we've all raved about the lack of turnovers, I'm most stunned that the Skins have played three road games, all in the division, and have yet to commit a turnover of any sort. That's pretty amazing. You've got to tip the cap to all of the guys who filled in for starters - Demetric Evans, Jansen, Fred Smoot/Leigh Torrence, H.B. Blades.

Campbell has attempted 153 passes without a pick, and has a 96.7 passer rating on the season. Portis and Betts have combined for 146 carries without a fumble. The Redskins have caught 99 passes, and none of those guys have coughed up the ball, either.

The Redskins have posted 23 points or more for four straight games, and eight of the last nine games dating back to last season. The Redskins did not post four straight games of 23 points or more under Joe Gibbs until his final four regular-season games here.

Washington has outgained opponents 733-427 on the ground and has held the ball for an average of 32:54. They've run nearly 50 more plays than their opponents through five games - 10 per game, fairly huge.

And with the way the schedule sets up the rest of this month - dogs St. Louis, Detroit and Cleveland on the horizon - they could build something really special. Even if they slip in one of those games, you're talking 6-2, and in the second half you get the division at home, and the road games are against teams you should be able to handle (San Fran, Seattle, Cincinnati, Baltimore).

Game balls all around.

...

Want to watch some video? Sure, you do. Dan Steinberg has the links.

By Jason La Canfora  |  October 6, 2008; 8:59 AM ET
 
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Comments

first!

Posted by: Schroeder12 | October 6, 2008 8:25 AM | Report abuse

time to get your H-back on. and steinz will have a post shortly on the egging of the bus and cooley's initial idea for retaliation....

Posted by: CindyBoren | October 6, 2008 8:24 AM

Retaliation: There should be a publicity shot done with Cooley standing over a fallen Eagle in a Captain Morgan pose, while wearing his burgundy short-shorts.

Posted by: tafka | October 6, 2008 8:31 AM | Report abuse

Hail to the REDSKINS!! 2 HUGE Wins, 4 in a row. and Shaun ShaZAMM is kicking like a man on a mission!

Is anyone else listening to Redskins Radio now? Riggo is getting annoying with his "I'm an INSIDER" shtick. I'm kind of starting to lose some respect for the guy.

Posted by: ColumbiaRd_SportsGuru | October 6, 2008 8:31 AM | Report abuse

I, for one, never saw any of this coming. As much as it grieves me, I tip my hat to the Danny and the Vinny. They rooted around in a mudhole long enough to find an acorn. Can't wait to meet the Jints again.

Posted by: Schroeder12 | October 6, 2008 8:32 AM | Report abuse

Great win yesterday, just fantastic all the way around.

Thanks again to Suzanne, who pointed out that Fox switched over to the BETTER/MORE Exciting game finally.

Good stuff, Jansen, Portis, good play all the way around.

Posted by: BeantownGreg | October 6, 2008 8:33 AM | Report abuse

I'm trying to keep an even keel and reminding myself that it's a long season. But it's getting really hard to do that because these guys look like they're legit.

Posted by: Original_etrod | October 6, 2008 8:36 AM | Report abuse

Here's one link from Steinz; the egging link is going to take a little longer.


http://blog.washingtonpost.com/dcsportsbog/

Posted by: CindyBoren | October 6, 2008 8:39 AM | Report abuse

Portis averaged five yards per carry yesterday. Betts did almost the same. And Philly has one of the best run defenses?

Nice.

Posted by: tafka | October 6, 2008 8:40 AM | Report abuse

Everybody is getting down on Brooks and he needs to get better, but the coverage team needs to make tackles there were guys down there who missed Jackson, the punter can not always be great the coverage team needs to help out.

Mcnabb's comments were a joke, he is not fooling anyone, his team got there a$$es kicked and he played like sh!t, a true professional would have stood up and put the blame on himself.

Posted by: Flounder21 | October 6, 2008 8:42 AM | Report abuse

re: the article about LaRon from Steinbog - that shirt looks like it was found in a tack room.

Posted by: tafka | October 6, 2008 8:46 AM | Report abuse

Yeah cyn, Cooley was on Eitm... said the iggles fans were egging on the way in and out. On the way out, some peeps mooned or gave the bird, but said the tinit was prolly too dark for any of them to see.

Also said on that scrum near the end he was in... They were holding up Betts, whistle blows, BDawk is in there ripping and trashing at the Ball, so he wasnt having it, and stuck him. Then Dawk was saying it was a punk move like 19 times and cooley responded that his was the punk move.

Good stuff

Posted by: Zeebs | October 6, 2008 8:47 AM | Report abuse

Eagles may realize after this season its rebuild time.

Posted by: alex35332 | October 6, 2008 8:48 AM | Report abuse

Screw Dawk, over-rated ja, and screw McNabb too.


Posted by: BeantownGreg | October 6, 2008 8:53 AM | Report abuse

"You made a punk move!"

"No way, you made a punk move!"

"Nuh uh, you made a punk move!"

(slap fight ensues)

Posted by: NateinthePDX | October 6, 2008 8:56 AM | Report abuse

That was the gist Nate... CC thought it was comical;.


BTW, Greg, so true, Dawk obvi didnt study enough film of our game against Zona, cause the El throw was exactly the same and he voided the zone to chase El... wide open cooley.... TD!!

Posted by: Zeebs | October 6, 2008 8:58 AM | Report abuse

did JLC just used the word 'aggro' at the top of this posting?

I didn't know you're a WoW fan too Jason :D

Posted by: hankkuo | October 6, 2008 8:58 AM | Report abuse

Donovan,
If we punch you in the face, date your girlfriend, grab a nice homemade meal from your mom, and leave a steaming load in the bowl, then you have every right to call it "a nice visit from a friend".
Let's do it again this fall.

Posted by: daggar | October 6, 2008 8:59 AM | Report abuse

"I was embarrassed these last two weeks," McNabb said. "I mean, we lost to two teams we shouldn't have lost to. When you make mistakes and you don't capitalize on opportunities, things like this happen.

"Not taking anything away from them, but there is no way that team is better than us. The same went for last week and then you find yourself here wondering why. It's what we didn't do. Not what they did, but what we didn't do."

-
This is the thinking that has the Eagles 2-3 right now...and I love it.
-

http://www.philly.com/inquirer/sports/20081006_Eagles_knocked_down_by_Redskins.html

Posted by: joeblazin | October 6, 2008 9:04 AM | Report abuse

BTW, Greg, so true, Dawk obvi didnt study enough film of our game against Zona, cause the El throw was exactly the same and he voided the zone to chase El... wide open cooley.... TD!!

Posted by: Zeebs | October 6, 2008 8:58 AM

Dawkins hasn't been the same player at all since Yoda knocked him out last year.

Posted by: tafka | October 6, 2008 9:09 AM | Report abuse

This Philly fan sees it different then McNabb.

"I predicted last week, Andy and his crew would be outcoached by a rookie coach and his crew, and he was for the final 3 quarters. This is another mirage team, just like last year, and many years, when the division stunk, and we looked better than we were. Reid and McNabb's time here, is past done."

http://www.philly.com/dailynews/sports/20081006_Eagles_-_Eagles_seem_delusional_in_loss_to_Redskins.html

Posted by: joeblazin | October 6, 2008 9:09 AM | Report abuse

All I can say is "Howard Eskin, start walking!"

Eskin (radio guy in Philly) was adamant on Vinny's show last week that the Eagles would win...said there is NO WAY the Skins beat them and that he would walk from Philly to DC if they did.

Posted by: Lisa_R | October 6, 2008 9:15 AM | Report abuse

Anyone who is anyone knows Mcnabb's comments were ludicrous. Coulda woulda shoulda. Surprised he didn't use injuries as an excuse. Making those comments was the biggest mistake he made (aside from being born, but that's his Mom's fault)...because the Redskins officially have bulletin board material for the next game.

Bye Bye Eagles. See you next year.

Posted by: chris_rollins2k3 | October 6, 2008 9:15 AM | Report abuse

Has anyone taken a look at the blogs up in Seattle? Man they are pretty ticked that Zorn was not retained and named the successor.

I just hope Zorn is very happy here and has no intentions of going "home" any time soon.

Posted by: Skins1 | October 6, 2008 9:16 AM | Report abuse

"That's the story of these 2-3 Eagles. They talk like they're good, but they're not. They've deliberately put themselves at a disadvantage with poor personnel decisions up and down the roster. They've got a bad plan, it's being poorly executed by players that aren't that good, and the Eagles keep losing games they should win.

Add it all up, and yes -- that really is the head coach's responsibility."

Reach Kevin Roberts at kroberts@courierpostonline.com

***

This sounds like the kind of stuff that was written about the Redskins after the Giants game. I guess it happens in every NFL city occasionally.

Posted by: tafka | October 6, 2008 9:16 AM | Report abuse

What was Jim Mora Jr.'s record as a HC for all that time he had in the position? Jim Zorns is sitting at a solid .800 to start.

Posted by: alex35332 | October 6, 2008 9:22 AM | Report abuse

People can't wake up, it makes you laugh. The Eagles still think its 2004... Everyone wakeup. The Redskins are one of the better teams in the NFC. They are not a gmae you "should have won." The Eagles had every advantage in the world and couldn't win. That's when you know one team is better. When everything is stacked against them and they still win.

Posted by: Pleepleus | October 6, 2008 9:23 AM | Report abuse

Has anyone taken a look at the blogs up in Seattle? Man they are pretty ticked that Zorn was not retained and named the successor.

I just hope Zorn is very happy here and has no intentions of going "home" any time soon.

Posted by: Skins1 | October 6, 2008 9:16 AM

Redskins' 2008 record with Zorn: 4-1 in the NFC East.
Seahawks' 2008 record without Zorn: 1-3 in the NFC West.

And some people want to wait another year or so before giving Zorn a new, longer contract with bigger money? Weird.


Posted by: tafka | October 6, 2008 9:24 AM | Report abuse

Didnt get to see the game but listened to it on the radio. Even with the iggles up two scores early, I never felt like the game was over.

I think thats what you get from Zorn. No matter what the deal is on the field, I always think the next drive will be the one to get things rolling.

I still feel stunned with what the Skins are doing so far this year.

Posted by: CheyenneWY | October 6, 2008 9:29 AM | Report abuse

on a side note, in case anyone cared, my wife decided to surprise me for our 13th wedding anny., and suggest a trip down to DC in November to see the Skins play the Cowboys. First trip to Fedex, First Skins game. I'm beyond happy about this...

Posted by: BeantownGreg | October 6, 2008 9:30 AM | Report abuse

From Peter King:

"And the Redskins have this incredible scheduling advantage: They've finished all road games in the NFC East. They'll host Dallas (Nov. 16), the Giants (Nov. 30) and Philadelphia (Dec. 21) at FedEx."

Winning turns a disadvantage into an advantage.

Posted by: Markin21132 | October 6, 2008 9:31 AM | Report abuse

Thats exactly what it looked like Chey; medium.

This teamis an extension of the coach. Gibbs looked so nervous and timid, and we tended to play that way.... especially campbell.

Now we have a quiet, workmanlike confidence.... pure Zorn.

Posted by: Zeebs | October 6, 2008 9:32 AM | Report abuse

Greg, sounds like she's a keeper

Posted by: alex35332 | October 6, 2008 9:34 AM | Report abuse

Beepers

Posted by: Zeebs | October 6, 2008 9:38 AM | Report abuse

Alex, I married up, no doubt. Still not sure what she saw in me, but yeah, I'm keeping her.

Posted by: BeantownGreg | October 6, 2008 9:39 AM | Report abuse

on a side note, in case anyone cared, my wife decided to surprise me for our 13th wedding anny., and suggest a trip down to DC in November to see the Skins play the Cowboys. First trip to Fedex, First Skins game. I'm beyond happy about this...

Posted by: BeantownGreg | October 6, 2008 9:30 AM

Greg,

That is a great girl, there is no better birthday present then that.

Posted by: Flounder21 | October 6, 2008 9:39 AM | Report abuse

The thing was Flound, she was more excited about it than I was. She's already looked on Stub-Hub for tix. She also had a choice between the Pitt game, or the Dallas game, and she picked the right one.

Posted by: BeantownGreg | October 6, 2008 9:40 AM | Report abuse

Speaking of Seattle assistant coaches who were involved in the Skins' latest coaching search, a cautionary tale, perhaps:

"In 2004, Jim Mora was hired by the Atlanta Falcons as their head coach. He led the Falcons to a record of 11-5 and a first round bye in the playoffs. Atlanta hosted and defeated the St. Louis Rams 47-17 in the divisional round, and advanced to the NFC Championship Game, where they lost 27-10 on the road to the Philadelphia Eagles."

Not just Mora Jr. replacing Dan Reeves, but there's kind of a recent pattern of dudes who replaced legendary/otherwise old-school coaches and had a really good first year... see also: Gruden replacing Dungy (ultimate example, since he took "Dungy's team" and won the SB); Tomlin replacing Cowher; Norv replacing Marty in SD; Wade replacing Parcells...

I thought I'd carry this idea through to some exciting theory or conclusion, but as it turns out, I got nothin', yet again...

Posted by: NateinthePDX | October 6, 2008 9:40 AM | Report abuse

nice beantown!

Posted by: chrislarry | October 6, 2008 9:41 AM | Report abuse

Anytime Greg. Just glad you got to see 1/3 of it!

Posted by: suzannepdc | October 6, 2008 9:45 AM | Report abuse

Yesterday... The Eagles looked like... Well they looked like the Redskins from previous seasons.

Posted by: peterandmeredith | October 6, 2008 10:16 AM | Report abuse

"That's levitation, holmes"

JLC, way to pull the Tenacious D quote!

Zorn is dominating this league "with mind bullets"

Posted by: terlin1 | October 6, 2008 11:04 AM | Report abuse

That's telekinesis, Kyle!

Posted by: jcabana | October 6, 2008 11:35 AM | Report abuse

Wow.

1) I am still eating crow for believing we would be team bingus in the 08. It tastes amazing when topped with Philly sadness sauce.

2) I am astounded that our D could be so effective without hitting dmcnabb.org once. We haven't really pressured the QB at all the last couple weeks. I'm concerned about that going forward.

3) I have not been a Carlos Rogers fan in the past. But, it's important to point out that he started off hustlin' and ended up ballin'. He has been unreal.

4) The 'spread them out' on short yardage is an AMTTS staple in Madden. When the real world imitates the video game world, we all win.

5) I have no idea how I'm supposed to behave right now. Am I an arrogant AMTTS? I am smug? What am I supposed to be doing right now? I haven't been here much since the early 90s. I could use a refresher on how to act when your team is tight!

Posted by: ArtMonkToTheSticks | October 6, 2008 11:55 AM | Report abuse

Impressive set of back-to-back wins for the Skins (On the ROAD, no less).

Not a big Skins' guy, but I have to give them some props for their never-say-die attitude. Looked at first as if Philly would blow them off the field, but they perservered.

Nice job. St. Louis should be nearly a guaranteed win. Same with the pathetic Motor City Kitties in Detroit.

Posted by: owiz | October 6, 2008 12:05 PM | Report abuse

WHEN IS TONY K TAKING OUT THE "BWAGON RIDE"? I'LL HELP HIM WASH IT AND TAKE CARE OF IT WHILE HE DOES HIS MONDAY NIGHT GIG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: FormerClerk | October 6, 2008 12:15 PM | Report abuse

"I'm most stunned that the Skins have played three road games, all in the division, and have yet to commit a turnover of any sort."

Not to get TOO technical, but ARE did commit a turnover on that one fumble (what was it - a kick-off or punt return?), which I'm sure will come back to haunt him in January as the only blemish in an otherwise turnover-less season.

All hail to Our Boys!

Posted by: DCexpatinMN | October 6, 2008 12:40 PM | Report abuse

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