Nov 21, 2010

Post blogger Cindy Boren will be online immediately following Washington's match-up with Tennessee to talk about the game.

Good afternoon! Nice to be able to talk about a win today, although there were certainly plenty of injuries. Still, the Redskins are 5-5, not a bad place to be at all. So let's chat. 

Have to say, I was wondering after last week if this team had any heart/fight/whatever-cliche-you-want-to-use left in them, and I think today answered the question. They still look bad at times in every phase of the game...but still you have to like the way they responded today.

I was thinking about that today, too. They certainly showed character, if not heart. It helped that Tennessee failed to check itself before it wrecked itself there in overtime. But you and I have seen Redskins teams fail to capitalize on something like that before. Nice to see 'em pull it together. They were converting on third downs...Cooley was huge there in the second half. 

They were playing a 3rd string QB most of the game, and were the beneficiaries of two horrible calls in OT (unnecessary roughness and illegal contact), and they won on a long FG in OT. Yippee, this team is going to the Super Bowl.

Breathe deeply. Go to your happy place. They probably aren't going to the Super Bowl, but they didn't give up ... and after having their doors blown off Monday night, they easily could have. Look at all the players they lost: they were playing with a patchwork offensive line. It wasn't a thing of beauty, by any means, but it was what this team needed: a win.

I thought they played with a lot of pride and the defense held Chris Johnson. What win! Not saying we are Super Bowl bound but they really showed in a big way in someone else's house. One dig, I thought the difference in the O-line was Montgomery at center, he held his ground against that rush pretty well. I also like Heyer at guard on the right with Jammal Brown.

Montgomery acquitted himself well. I'm still not certain why McNabb and the center keep having problems with their footwork. I honestly haven't seen that happen so frequently with a pro team, especially this late in the season. But Heyer was no liability. It was a strong effort by the whole crew. Shanahan is talking to the media now and saying that he's never lost this many players in a game before. 

...at least I can finish drinking earlier the rest of this season! Or keep drinking for longer. I'm confused. Did the 'Skins just win? Shooting... pain... left... arm.. Gano! Steve.

They did win. And, um, you might call 911.

I did think overall the play calling was much better this game. The two major exceptions being the 3rd down give to Sellars at the goal line and the last play before the game winning field goal- a long pass when a 6 or 7 yard pass made a lot more sense considering Gano just had missed a field goal from the same distance. What are your thoughts on the play calling?

I agree that it was better. It's kind of tough to tell whether that was by design or by necessity because of all the injuries. One big quibble -- can a quibble be big? -- I had was the lack of involvement of Chris Cooley in the first half. I think Wise pointed out that Tanner Cooley had the same number of receptions. Fred Davis had a few nice receptions, of course, but Cooley is such a difference maker. He nearly busted loose on that one reception for a TD.

McNabb looked real shaky today. The O-line played great, especially Heyer coming in at RG and doing a real solid job. The D was outstanding. So the one weak spot seemed to be McNabb. Even some throws he completed were poorly thrown (especially the short passes). He got really lucky that that pass in OT wasn't intercepted. Is there any hope in his play improving?

I don't think he did as badly as you did, but he wasn't great. And I do agree that he had his lucky spots. At this point, what you see is what you're going to continue to get, I'd say.

Isn't it obvious we need Brandon Banks on the field as much as possible? Particularly on a team in desperate need of someone who can make plays

The way these guys are falling, you may just get your wish.

Did Clinton plat the whole game today?

He went down in the first quarter. Shouldn't have been out there.

Why is Joey Galloway not watching the game from home? Is he "really" the best that we can do besides Moss and Armstrong? So frustrating watching him...

I agree and would have gone in a younger direction earlier. Maybe he should be coaching up the young guys.

Of course it shouldn't be to much of a surprise that we won this game because everyone thought we would get creamed. Next week at home against a very down Minnesota team, who everyone will think we should demolish, is the game to worry about.

Yep. Going into every season, a Redskins fan who's a friend and I go over the schedule and predict which they'll win and lose, I had this one down as a loss and Minnesota as a question mark. At this point, though, Minnesota is a complete mess. I was keeping an eye on that game today. There was mutiny on the sidelines, a dreadful QB, a coach who's lost his grip...which, of course, means that I share your concern! 

what was the deal with that field? Did they have a horse race on it yesterday? Shovel convention? Mole Family reunion?

It was like a rink out there. I kept thinking I was watching the Winter Classic.

Clearly the difference in the game was the O-Line. Just an aberration or do you think this could be the start of something? Do you think Heyer was playing out of position this entire time and now we have unmasked a Pro Bowl Guard? :)

UPDATE: Chad Simpson will have to have surgery on a bone in his foot; he was injured in warmups.

Listening to Haynesworth's presser...he was joking about being asked if he could play the offensive line. He said, "Not really. If you think I have a problem with a 3-4, we'd have a real big problem with the O line."

I think people have said for a couple of years that Heyer is better at guard. Not sure he's a Pro bowler or that this group will work out next week. If I'm the coach, though, I look at the film and contemplate whether to make some of these changes more permanent.

I'm all for being critical and realistic, but it only took two questions for someone to write in with the stereotypical "The Redskins were lucky to win they still suck" comment? Come on...it's not like Vince Young was unbelievably effective out there when he was in, and the Redskins made the plays they needed to to win, and the Titans didn't. Going into this week, there's no doubt the Titans were the better team, but the Redskins went out there and won. It wasn't a pretty win, but it was a good

Unless you're a great team, this is how you win games, gain an edge, hope to get a wild card and get on a roll. I think the earlier reader's frustration is with the team's inability to rise beyond what we've seen for a couple of years now. 

Were you as suprised as me to see Mcnabb in there in 2 minute offense in the end of regulation

UPDATE: Portis says he'll have an MRI tomorrow. He's not sure yet just how bad it is and says the time was right to try to play. He says it was all a matter of being hit awkwardly.

Now, your question. I was waiting for the sideline camera to show Rex Grossman warming up...and hoping I wouldn't see that. 

I can just hear the Skins fans' heads exploding from Oregon: "We beat the Titans, the Titans beat the Eagles, what deep meaning does this have?!!! SUPERBOWL." I thought this was our best game all season, top to bottom, even though we did our Skins thing and kept it close by making too few plays. Even last week in embarrassing defeat, we look like we have a truck full of guts , as Gibbs would say. Is it just me or does this group of guys look like they're playing with more passion than they have been in seasons past?

I'm not sure passion is the right word. I think they played with great determination, real stubbornness and, yes, guts. They took a real beating and just kept coming back. 

In looking over the play by play, it does appear that McNabb was more consistent in moving the ball. Also an improvement in 3rd down conversions, right?

Third-down conversions were infinitely better...meaning that the Redskins made some.  Particularly laudable given the personnel issues.

I thought McNabb was...overall...pretty good today. Made passes to keep the chains moving, avoided pressure. He drove them down the field at the end of regulation and put them in position to win the game. Definitely would like to see more consistency in the red zone than what we saw today, but given the level of talent he has around him, I thought it was a solid day for McNabb (and he threw for over 300 yards).

Absolutely. A much better day for McNabb.

I thought it was a solid game.. McNabb had a couple over thrown deep ones, but the glaring weakness today was special teams. 2 missed FGs, 1 shanked punt, and allowed 1 punt return for a TD.. 5-5 is still 2 games up on the 'Boys.

The wind, according to Dan Hellie, was swirling as the game went on. But I'm not excusing the special teams. Their play has kept them in some games, but in this one it could have been the difference maker and wasn't. Maybe the teams guys were fatigued from playing on O and D, too.

This is the first game season that I have seen the two tight-end set brought to bear with both Davis and Cooley making key plays. However, it seems that the team is not really jazzed by the prospect because it kept abandoning what's working. Case in point: overtime. Redskins didn't need a touchdown. They just needed to be in Gano's range. While the 48-yarder was successful, it is still suspect range. Why not move the chains a bit by going to the two tight-end set and move your kicker into a more predictable 30-40 yard range? I still get a nagging feeling that the Shanahans are trying to force-feed a theoretical offense rather than playing to the team's practical strengths. Thoughts?

Although it was more like, one TE in one half, one in the other, wasn't it? The two TEs can be very effective and, like you, I wondered why they weren't using it more. And I share your nagging feeling. I understand the Shanahans have a souped up offense in mind, but the personnel isn't there. When I hop into my Mini, I don't pretend it's a Porsche and race people on the Beltway.

Was Haynesworth a factor today or not? I think I just spotted him once in Young's face, but maybe he was doing more in the pile.

I don't recall seeing anyone in his grasp repeatedly, but I did see him pressing. You can't cheat when he's in there. You have to pay attention to him and that can have a substantial effect, no matter whether he comes up with quantifiable stats.

Johnson had almost 150 yards rushing. The Titans played a 3rd string QB for most of the game, and he looked 18. So, no, the Skins defense really wasnt that good today. And stop talking about injuries. The Titans were stuck with a 3rd string QB. I am sure they would have rather had the same types of injuries the Skins had, with Young in there. If that happens, the Skins lose by a bunch.

You can't say Vince Young was very effective. The Titans problem is that Kerry Collins was hurt, too. If he'd been healthy, the Redskins might well have lost. I felt bad for Rusty Smith.

Why would you want throw a deep ball when you're already in the field goal range? An interception, a holding call or a sack could very easily take you out of the field goal range. Keep running the ball and try and get closer or try some screens.

That's what I'd do, yes. Going deep is very puzzling and can actually shorten viewers' life expectancies. Clearly, they wanted to get every yard they could for Gano, especially in that wind and because of his miss(es).

Part of me wants to smack him, and part of me wants to hug him. This must be what it's like to have a puppy who's not housebroken yet.

Ha! Which is why there are newspapers. Hope you'll check ours out tomorrow (shameless plea and horrendous segue). I have to scoot along now. Steinberg and I will be doing the DC Sports-o-Meter tomorrow, so shoot us your nominees for best and worst of the last week (Monday night doesn't count, fyi). Ping us on Twitter @dcsportsbog and @CindyBoren. We're live at noonish. And join Tracee Hamilton for the First Things First chat at 9:30 a.m.

Thanks, as always, for joining me. Until next week, I'll see you on The Early Lead. Join the conversation there.

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Cindy Boren
Cindy Boren blogs for The Early Lead and has edited Redskins and NFL coverage for the Post. Follow her at @cindyboren on Twitter.
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