Redskins Blog: Domination and Nailing it!

Tandler's take on the Redskins' win plus a look at his (accurate) predictions for that game.

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You can reach me by email at rtandler@comcast.net

Rich Tandler is the author of Gut Check, The Complete History of Coach Joe Gibbs' Washington Redskins. Get details and order at http://GutCheckBook.com

December 6, 2004

Domination

Someday, perhaps in the middle of the 2005 season, there will be a day when dominating a beat-up New York Giants team will not be such a big deal.
  • A two-to-one time of possession edge? Ho-hum, routine stuff.
  • Two touchdown drives of over 90 yards? Nice, but it happens so often, we lost track.
  • Over 30 points scored? Yeah, sorry we couldn't put on a better show for the fans.
  • No dropped passes? Well, duh, that's what we're paid to do.
  • Ramsey with a QB rating of 139? Gosh, I hope that doesn't pull his number for the season down too much.
  • Almost a buck fifty from the running back? Again, sorry CP was a bit off this week, we'll try to get him up to his usual production next week.
But for now, for this year, there is good reason to enjoy this one. As the Redskins were being interviewed after the game, there were grins on their faces that just couldn't be wiped off. And while the Giants are not a very good team right now, let's dispose of this nonsense that that fact takes anything away from the win. In 2004, as has been the case for much of the past 12 years, the Redskins have lost a lot of games to teams like the Giants. In fact, of their eight losses, two have come against the cream of the NFL crop in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, two against second-tier teams in Green Bay and Baltimore, and four have been against thoroughly mediocre teams in Cleveland, Dallas, Cincinnati, and the Giants in their earlier meeting. The most they could score against any of those dogs was 18. They let the offenses of each of those teams move the ball on them, something they have all had trouble doing against the rest of the NFL.

But not Sunday. They went out and whipped the Giants like a rented whipping boy.

Don't ever make the mistake of underestimating the importance of beating up on the Little Sister of the Poor. Most playoff teams get through the year beating just one or two teams with winning records. They fatten up the win total by easily winning the easily winnable games. If the Redskins are to be successful in the future, it's something they'll have to get done.

Predictions Analysis: Nailing It

First, before I get into this, I need to let you know something if you're not a regular reader of this blog. Every week, I make predictions about what will happen during the upcoming game. In the day or two after the game, I always come back and put my predictions up against what really happened (except when I correctly predict a Redskins loss, since that's no fun). I've been very off base sometimes and I've been kind of close sometimes, but I always come back to face the music one way or the other. It's important that you know that because:

I really nailed this game!

and I want to make sure everyone knows that I'm not one who comes out and takes the bows when I'm right and forgets everything that was said when I'm wrong.

I see how well my predictions held water and then give them a number of buckets from one to five to indicate how accurate they were. Sometimes, I give each prediction a number; today, baby, they're all

Five Buckets!

Tiki Barber, just like in the first meeting, won't find much running room. He ran for just 42 yards, one of his lowest outputs of a season in which he's averaging over 100 yards per game. Put him down for another 42 yards and a (rare for this season) fumble.
Barber ran for 38 yards and fumbled (the Giants recovered).
That will make it tough going for Manning, but even though Gregg Williams will bring the house at him and pressure and confuse him, I don't think that the rookie will fold. He won't lead them to a win, but he won't be the reason that they lose.
This is somewhat subjective, but Manning didn't turn the ball over and took just one sack. I don't think he's the reason they lost. If you have an opinion to the contrary, please pass it on to me.
Ramsey will have one of his best games. He'll have time to throw and will be able to connect on one or two bombs, assuming that the receivers can gather in balls that are in their hands. If things go well, he won't have to pass that often so he won't have a big yardage total. Let's say he passes about 20 times for right around 200 yards and two TD's.
While he didn't connect on any bombs, he passed 22 times for 174 yards and three TD's. Close enough in my book.
Portis will not be complaining about a lack of work after this one. Thirty carries, 125 yards.
Portis had 31 carries for 148.
This time, the Redskins will do it right. The first time they get the ball they will march in for a touchdown. Then they will keep that lead for the rest of the day. Redskins 24, Giants 10
First Redskin drive was 13 plays, 93 yards, 7:15 for a touchdown and a lead they never relinquished. Final 31-7. Like the Redskins, good performance this week. The key is consistency and that's been an issue, again both here at the blog and at Redskins Park. We'll see next week.

December 4, 2004

Redskins vs. Giants Bold Predictions

The struggling Redskins get another shot at the team that their current woes started against.

You remember, Week 2, September 19. Washington had beaten Tampa Bay in the season opener a week earlier and was coming in to play a Giants team that had been noncompetitive in losing to Philadelphia. On their first drive, the Redskins moved smartly downfield as Clinton Portis rushed for 24 yards and Mark Brunell launched accurate passes to Laveranues Coles, Sellers and, finally Cooley for the touchdown.

A couple of possessions later, early in the second quarter, the defense stoped New York on a fourth and one at the Redskins 35. The Redskins were getting ready to go on a roll and put the Giants in a big hole.

But on third down Brunell fumbled and Michael Strahan recovered at the Washington 38. On the next play, Kurt Warner went from being a broken-down has-been to a comeback player of the year candidate as he launched a touchdown pass to tie the game. On the next Washington possession, Coles lost 16 yards on an end around. After the teams exchanged punts, Portis fumbled for the first time in forever and the Giants recovered and took it in for the touchdown.

The tone had been set and Redskins' season has been going downhill ever since.

The Giants, on the other hand, used that game as a springboard as they won three of their next four games. It's been a hard landing back to earth as they have lost their last four straight.

The ironic aspect of that September meeting was that the Redskins turned the ball over seven times and were still in the game well into the fourth quarter. Had they turned the ball over "just" six times, or perhaps five, they probably would have won the game.

Patrick Ramsey, who came in after Brunell injured his hamstring in the second half, accounted for three of those turnovers as he tossed a trio of interceptions. That performance, many theorize, is why Gibbs was so reluctant to bench Brunell even when the veteran was posting single-digit completions and double-digit passing yardage week after week. If that's true, and there certainly seems to be a good deal of logic there, that September game had repercussions for the team that lasted well into November.

Ramsey is now the starter for the Redskins. The Giants have benched Warner and have made rookie Eli Manning their starter. In Manning's limited action, he's completed about 39% of his passes for about 5.6 yards per attempt with one touchdown and four interceptions. In other words, the Redskins should be very afraid.

This isn't Jonathan Quinn they're facing. It's the first overall pick in the draft, son of Archie, brother of Peyton. It seems to me that it's in their third start that a lot of quarterbacks start to get it. The speed of the game is not longer such a shock, they've had a couple of week's worth of their own game films to analyze and they start to develop some rhythm.

Now, am I saying that Manning is going to throw for 350 yards and four touchdowns? No, but the Redskins had better be prepared to face a better, more confident quarterback than they're seeing on film.

Ramsey, meanwhile, has to come up big. His low output in his first two starts was excused by the fact that the games were on the road against two of the NFL's three best teams. Now they're at home, facing a beaten-up outfit. Strahan is out along with two other d-line starters. Their secondary wasn't that good to begin with and it's banged up as well.

If Patrick Ramsey is going to be the quarterback of the team's future, that future starts now.

So, a lot of theorizing so far; now, down to some predictions:
  • Tiki Barber, just like in the first meeting, won't find much running room. He ran for just 42 yards, one of his lowest outputs of a season in which he's averaging over 100 yards per game. Put him down for another 42 yards and a (rare for this season) fumble.
  • That will make it tough going for Manning, but even though Gregg Williams will bring the house at him and pressure and confuse him, I don't think that the rookie will fold. He won't lead them to a win, but he won't be the reason that they lose.
  • Ramsey will have one of his best games. He'll have time to throw and will be able to connect on one or two bombs, assuming that the receivers can gather in balls that are in their hands. If things go well, he won't have to pass that often so he won't have a big yardage total. Let's say he passes about 20 times for right around 200 yards and two TD's.
  • Portis will not be complaining about a lack of work after this one. Thirty carries, 125 yards.
This time, the Redskins will do it right. The first time they get the ball they will march in for a touchdown. Then they will keep that lead for the rest of the day.

Redskins 24, Giants 10

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