"DC" Skins Postgame #5 - Pack It Up

This is definitely one of those games where I don't mind being wrong. Most of what I wrote in the last blog turned out to be untrue, from how the game was going to be played, down to the prediction. As far as these prediction blogs, I will always take a Redskins win over being right.

Got to give it up to the Redskins during this game. They played the game short-handed, with Portis being out with injuries, and with Haynesworth gone from grieving the loss of his brother, and it definitely showed. Portis' absence definitely showed, because that Redskins running game looked like as bad (if not worse) than it has all season. Not only that... but one lesser appreciated fact about Portis, is that he is one of the best pass-blocking tailbacks in the game. He is usually effective blocking linebackers. Up until he got injured late in the game, Green Bay linebacker Clay Matthews abused the offensive linemen all day long. As far as Haynesworth, he could have definitely helped against the Packers running game. For example, Green Bay RB Brandon Jackson had a 70+ yard gain in the first quarter, which eventually set up a touchdown. In my opinion, there was no way he would have gotten that with Haynesworth plugging up that D-line. The Packers running game has been bad all year, but the Redskins actually made it look good for 3 quarters.

The Redskins gutted out that win. They came back down 10 in the 4th quarter, and ended up tying the game to force it to overtime. McNabb made some plays through the air (because there was no running game), and wide receiver Anthony Armstrong had a few big catches down the stretch, including a 50+ yard touchdown catch. But more importantly, the defense made a lot of key stops down the stretch when they had to, pressuring Aaron Rodgers, and hit him when it counted. They also got off the field quick, and gave the Redskins offense some opportunities towards the end.

But, with all that being said, there are still major concerns about this Redskins team. They still played pretty bad for 3 quarters. I found this game very hard to watch for most of the game. Aaron Rodgers had his way most of the game, and he was leading that team up and down the field. And like I said a few paragraphs ago, the defense (most especially Clay Matthews) was having their way with the offense for most of the game, and McNabb had his share of hits. Their running game is still pretty bad. Until they find a solid running game, it will be hard to discuss them as a serious contender.

This Redskins team was also fortunate a lot of times. In my opinion, if Green Bay tight end Jermicheal Finley wasn't hurt in that first series, Aaron Rodgers would have had another huge option, and the score might not have been as close. Not to mention, Clay Matthews, who proved to be a Redskins killer all game, was out most of the final quarter, because he got hurt. If he was playing in the end, the offense might not have made the plays they'd have made. And Green Bay was also a "doinked" field goal away from winning the game in the last few seconds of regulation.

However, you can't take anything away from the Redskins defense. They really kept the Skins in the game all day. They held a really solid offensive Packer team to 13 points. Despite the Packers marching up and down the field, they held them to one touchdown, and usually had them kicking field goals. The Packers pretty much won all statistical battles (except final score), and the defense had a lot to do with that. They even had a crucial 4th and Goal-line stand in the game that prevented a touchdown early in the game, which ultimately made a difference in the final score. This defense came up tremendous in overtime, stalling the first drive with a huge sack on Rodgers, and with Redskins safety coming up with a huge interception in Packer territory, that all but sealed the game.

So what next? What does this mean in the next game? Like I said, they really need to find an effective running game. Not having a great running game would be a huge concern in their next game, against a team like the Colts. Everyone who knows football, that the best way to beat the Colts is to keep Peyton Manning and his offense off the field. The best way to do that, is to have a ball-control ground game, which the Redskins clearly don't have right now! As far as the Redskins defense is concerned, although they have been solid in the last two games, they have been bad in the two games previous, allowing 30 points in each of the two losses. Most of the time, a Peyton Manning-led Colts offense can put up 30 points against anyone. However, I would say that one glaring factor about the Colts that could really give the Redskins a chance is that their defense hasn't been great. That defense lost them two crucial division games, and if the Redskins can take advantage of that, by having putting up points early, and have a great running game that will control the clock, then they have a great chance of winning. Not to mention, over the years, the Colts defense was always known for being relatively weak against the run. So, again, it is CRUCIAL that the Redskins find their running game against the Colts.

But, no matter how ugly it was, this was a GREAT win for the Redskins. It keeps them on top of the NFC East, and for now, one of the top teams in the conference. And like I said, it is against a solid team who was one of the favorites to go to the Superbowl early in the season. So to all Redskins fans, definitely enjoy this win. Hopefully, they can continue to build on it, as there are still some tough games in the next few weeks.


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