Monday, September 13, 2010

Week 1: Redskins v. Cowboys

Hold on just one second. Hold on there. Hold it. Hold on. Hold this for me.

OK, we're ready. I had to get my fix of holding jokes before we started. In case you missed it (and you have no excuse, I stayed up until the clock expired and woke up at 5am this morning), the Skins beat the Cowboys in the final seconds 13-7 when a holding penalty on Alex Barron nullified a game winning touchdown pass to Roy E. Williams (where the 'E' stands for Egregious Excuse for a Wide Reciever).

Let's recap this game the only way a Redskins fan knows how, with blatant homerism and an unabashed pummeling of whatever is left of the Cowboys dignity. There will be high fives and repetitive jokes galore!

In celebration of the victory, let's have a 'holding' themed recap. Here we go!

Hold on to that Feeling- Redskins fans everywhere have forgotten what it feels like to hang on to a lead late in the game and not lose in the final seconds. In fact, last year we lost to Dallas on a touchdown pass in the final two minutes after leading the entire game. So enjoy this win Redskins fans. It is a huge victory for a very competitive division. Every win counts, no matter what Dallas fans are saying this morning.

By the way, this is what Dallas fans are saying this morning:
1) "We beat ourselves, too many stupid mistakes. Skins didn't win that game." - Not arguing with that, but we did force a fumble and score off it, and held the Boys to one score all game.
2) "It's just one game, we wanted to give you guys a win so you remember what it feels like. No biggie."- Let's see if you're still saying that at the end of the season when the division is neck and neck.
3) "It's Jason Garret's fault, he should have called for a kneel down at the end of the first half!" - Classic deflection. Let me guess, it was also JFK's fault for driving in a convertible?
4) "Dem Cowboys make so many scores dat Rudskins no have points to put on boards!! Go for downtouches Cah-bayysss! Make Bowl Super!" - *ahem* Sorry. I just hate the Cowboys.
5) "Mmm, warm apple pie would be so good right now."

Sorry, that last one was Wade Phillips.

Hold Your Horses- In one game, Mike Shanahan has won more divisional games than Jim Zorn did all last season. Not only was it against Dallas, but it was opening night in DC. This is a special win for Washington fans. However, lets take a second and remember the Redskins didn't dominate this game. They were just more consistent than Dallas was and made fewer mistakes. Let's not crown the Skins yet. They will not be winning (or playing in) the Super Bowl this year.

Hold on to DeAngelo Hall- I've lambasted many Redskins defensive players in my day, and I've never particularly liked DeAngelo Hall (mostly because he went to VA Tech). However, DeAngelo was clearly the player of the game this week. He showed a lot of maturity and growth this week, continually hawking the ball and forcing a big play turnover. What I've been impressed with most by him, however, is that he's a fighter and he's scrappy. He's not afraid to get in the face of the opposing team and stir things up. He brings a fire and a passion to the defense that only London Fletcher has shown in recent history. We need guys like him to make plays and put the pressure on.

That said, he still isn't a great tackler and will get beat from time to time. But his intangibles are so valuable to a defense that needs a spark.

Oh, and Tech lost to JMU this weekend. The football gods were smiling upon me.

Hold the line!- I was not throughly impressed with the offensive line this week, but I suppose it could have been a lot worse. I think rookie left tackle Trent Williams did a pretty good job against one the league's premiere pass rushers, DeMarcus Ware. They were gunning for McNabb, but he maintained his composure and was able to get rid of the ball quickly when pressured. Something Campbell never did well.

On the other side of the ball, I thought the defensive line was getting good pressure on Romo. He was forced into making short, quick passes most of the game. Brian Orakpo would have ended that game with about four sacks if Barron knew how to play right tackle without employing the "Strangle Hold" technique. I loved seeing Defensive Coordinator Jim Haslett consistently going after the quarterback even on Dallas' final drive of the game.

Hold onto the Ball- Of course the big play of the game was Tashard Choice's fumble that was run back for a score by D. Hall to end the first half. To me, however, the bigger missed opportunity was Carlos Rogers dropping an interception on Dallas' final drive. That was a quintessential Carlos "Stonehands" Rogers play. The pick would have ended the game and saved me from wetting the bed. Let me tell you, its not fun changing the sheets at 11:45pm.

Hold it right there- I've been, um...well...harsh on LaRon Landry. Zorn played him at Free Safety last year, which worked about as well as trying to start a car with a hamburger bun and a bag of sawdust. Haslett, who is not a massive idiot or suffering from a head injury, moved Landry over to Strong Safety, and brought him in closer to the line of scrimmage to stop the run, clog up lanes and get to the quarterback. It was almost inspiring watching Landry's closing speed and strength. He was highly touted coming out of LSU as a play maker and a big hitter, but he left Skins fans scratching their heads as he consistently missed coverages and was beat on double moves last season. This year seems to be a new start for Landry. Here's hoping Haslett keeps him where he is so he can play in a position he excels at.

Hold your head up- It was not an impressive game from McNabb, the Redskins wide receivers, the Redskins running backs, or the Redskins play callers. Portis averaged 3.5 yards per carry, a sub-par number. McNabb only threw for 171 yards, with a completion percentage under 50%. Washington called consecutive fade routes to Anthony Armstrong on 2nd and 3rd down that both failed. Armstrong, by the way, is only 5'11", not a prime candidate for a fade route, but what do I know. Only Chris Cooley and Santana Moss could catch the balls from McNabb, accounting for 12 of his 15 completions.

The point being, there is still a lot of room for improvement from this Washington team. Yet, we were able to get the win by playing great defense, forcing turnovers and keeping our composure when things were tight.

I mean, we just beat the Dallas Cowboys without scoring an offensive touchdown. How often will that happen this season?

Hold the door- As in screen door. As in screen pass. As in, the Cowboys called approximately 37 screen passes to rookie wide out Dez Bryant last night. This is my frustration with Jerry Jones. He gets a new toy and wants to showcase it. So instead of letting his play callers do their job he forces us to watch Dez Bryant catch screen pass, after screen pass, after screen pass. All for 0 yards. I think Bryant can be a stud in the NFL. He has the look, the size, speed, skill, and the name of a prime time wide out in this league. I think his future is bright. But please stop throwing him screen passes just so he can catch the ball.

Hold Brian Orakpo by his neck- and lose the game. Dallas' offensive line struggles are worse than we may have feared at this point. Barron is clearly not a competent lineman, and shouldn't be starting for this team much longer. Doug Free did well at left tackle, but Romo was pressured often and Jason Garret's play calling was structured on three or five step drops and quick, short passes. It kept Romo clean (he was sacked only once), but it took away the deep threat. Dallas isn't a team that can win games with a bunch of short throws and abandoning the run, which they did this game. They'll need better play from the O-line if they want to live up to the Super Bowl hype surrounding them....again....for the 10th year in a row....even though they've won 1 playoff game this decade.....the same number as the Redskins....I hate the Cowboys.

Hold to the Redskins- Pardon me, I mean Hail to the Redskins.


  1. look AJ, everyone knows carlos rogers' nickname is mittens.

  2. Go straight to the minute marker 3:17 on this video...

  3. I look forward to reading your blog because you are just amazing. I literally laugh out loud to myself at work, and end up with my students looking at me like I'm nuts. Thanks! And I hate Dallas as well (and their fans!)

  4. haha, you guys are awesome.

    @Ralph- that both hilarious, and an adept explanation of the rule. Someone show that to Alex Barron.

    @Kendra- I'm glad you like it! And I take great pride in being the source of strange looks from your students, haha.

    Hail to the Redskins.