Analyze This: Redskins 27, Seattle 20

Finally. The streak is over. The Redskins can exhale. The fans can celebrate. And life is good again. All because the Redskins figured out that, when they protect Patrick Ramsey, they can win. Suddenly, at 4-5, they have the same record as the defending Super Bowl champion Buccaneers as well as the New York Giants.

They also have a better record than Pittsburgh and Oakland. Had anyone suggested before the season that this would be the case, you'd have thought the Redskins would be playoff locks. Still, give them credit for winning. And give Steve Spurrier credit for calling a classic Ball Coach game.

Good call: Say what you want about Spurrier, but for someone who has a supposed big ego, he certainly shelved it this week. The thing I've always liked about him is that he doesn't walk around acting as if he's invented the game -- as Norv Turner used to do. Spurrier, though, has a strong belief in his system. Yet he put that aside and looked for a way to tweak his offense. And he called Denver's Mike Shanahan, asking about delegating the playcalling duties. Spurrier decided to let Hue Jackson call the plays and it worked very well. In the end it was still Spurrier's game plan and maybe they would have scored just as much with Spurrier calling the plays. But the fact that he was willing to try something different speaks volumes.

Gutsy: Spurrier's decision to go for it on fourth and one from his own 25 ranks with one of the gutsiest decisions of alltime. Good thing they made it, but I would have applauded him even if they hand't. Seattle had started to move the ball and all it would have taken was one or two solid completions to put it in scoring territory. I liked that Spurrier took a chance to change their losing ways. Every player I've talked to has said they all wanted him to go for it. And those on the sidelines said all they heard were players yelling to try for the first down.

Dumb move: Apparently Ray Rhodes didn't think blitzing was a good strategy against this offense. Guess he didn't watch film of Washington's past two losses. Even Tampa Bay, which usually doesn't blitz much, did so often. But Rhodes helped Washington's offense heal by blitzing only a couple of times. All he did is prove that when given time the Redskins' offense can be dangerous.

Good meeting: During a team meeting on Saturday, coach Steve Spurrier started off by saying, ``Yeah, I hear I've been getting criticized this week.'' To which linebacker LaVar Arrington said, ``Me, too.'' Soon the room was full of ``me, toos'' and a tense subject had been raised without much tension. Actually, it may have broken it a bit.

Hustle: Receiver Laveranues Coles made a play that saved the game, and maybe the season. After Damien Robinson intercepted a pass inside the 30, Coles missed the tackle. But he stayed in the play and chased Robinson, stripping him from behind at the 2-yard line. Guard Randy Thomas recovered the ball in the end zone for a touchback. Instead of a 21-3 deficit, the Redskins still trailed just 14-3 thanks to Coles. And they capped their good fortune with a touchdown.

Sound strategy: Patrick Ramsey didn't look smooth rolling out, but I applaud the decision to have him do so. It's a good way to move away from the pressure, which they most assuredly will face in coming weeks as teams resume blitzing against them. Thing is, Ramsey must learn that he can stop, plant and throw. He doesn't have to keep moving because when he does he's not very accurate.

Start thinking: Ade Jimoh committed a dumb penalty when he shoved a ballcarrier out of bounds on a kickoff return. He also appeared to have made a mistake on Bobby Engram's five-yard touchdown reception in the first quarter. It appeared safety Matt Bowen was waving at Jimoh to stay outside rather than go with the man in motion. That left Engram wide open for the touchdown.

Highlight play: The lateral pass from Rod Gardner to Trung Canidate. The Redskins caught Seattle in man coverage and saved this play for the perfect time. It worked as Canidate was wide open. Gardner was very proud because, as he said, he didn't look like a receiver throwing a pass. Gardner, of course, was a high school quarterback.

Sense of relief: The Redskins' locker room took a collective sigh of relief after the win. Now the national media firestorm should slow down. The players had grown tired of it and one coach ordered negative stories to be excluded from the clip package that would go into the players' lockers.

Overrated: Though Hue Jackson received a lot of credit for his speech to the team Saturday night, and it made for a good story, most players say that they don't need motivational talks to get ready. Some said they liked the speech a lot, but many said, though the speech was good, it had little impact on them.

Did you notice: Safety Matt Bowen blitzed in the first quarter, one of the few times he had done so this season. The Redskins actually blitzed more than they had in a while. They wound up with three sacks.

Big star: Fullback turned tailback Rock Cartwright gave Washington a strong running game. His size makes him hard to spot behind the linemen, but he also has such good balance, maybe because he's lower to the ground. He has less of a target area and he has good-sized thighs, which helped him break tackles. He made a habit of forcing the first defender to miss him, something Trung Canidate almost never does. Canidate did not look good Sunday, perhaps because of his ankle. But for a fast guy, he rarely shows much speed. He only has two plays measuring between 22-25 yards all season. In 56 fewer touches, Chad Morton has three such plays.


Breaking Burgundy Top Stories