1. We asked: Will the weather be a factor?
We thought it could have
been worse, given the forecasts earlier in the week. But the wind was a
concern and rightly so. That was horrible and when leaving the stadium
after the game, exiting out of one of the tunnels, the gusts were very,
very strong. Made you wonder how anyone completed a pass. Todd Collins'
pass to Chris Cooley in the end zone was greatly affected. It was hard
to pass in rhythm or with any timing. You had to throw it earlier than
normal just to get it there on time. Collins' arm strength was a bad
fit for this weather. Eli Manning's passes were affected, too. But his
inability to put any touch on his short passes didn't help.
2. We asked: What should we expect from Collins?
It was hard to say
considering he hadn't started in 10 years. We also thought Sunday night
would reveal a lot about him, but it was an unfair night to measure any
QB. To Collins' credit, he did not turn the ball over and he usually
made the right reads. And he won.
3. We asked: What must the Redskins do with Collins in the game?
said: Protect the heck out of him. They did. There were some pressures,
but considering the apparent mismatches, it could have been worse. In
fact, we were expecting worse given Collins' immobility behind a
patched-together line. Chris Samuels was often one on one with Osi Umenyiora and only got beaten once, resulting in a hurried throw. But
Samuels won this battle. The real pressure came up the middle.
4. We asked: What about the Heyer-Strahan matchup?
Yes, this was
supposed to be a tough one. Heyer had some problems in the run game,
but the way the Redskins would slant their lines on runs and the way
they used him in protection, Heyer wasn't always paired against
Strahan, a smart move. But give the kid credit, he wasn't a problem at
5. We asked: Did the off weekend help Washington?
We thought it did and
they are playing with a lot of energy, evidenced by the defensive
effort last night. The Redskins are having fun playing football and
given what they went through with Sean Taylor, it's easy to understand
why. For many, that's their escape. The question we had was did they
have enough left to make a run. The answer is yes.
6. We asked: Will the ground game get going tonight?
We said it had to
given the expected conditions. Clinton Portis made sure it worked, too,
gaining 126 yards and averaging 5.0 yards a pop. That was Clintonesque.
We worried about the NY ends, who play the run well. But the Redskins
did a nice job slamming between the guard and tackle and Portis hit the
hole as hard as he has all year. Ladell Betts had the best run, the
14-yard scoring run on third and 9. We thought the Redskins would have
to run more up the gut because of the ends and the inability to seal
the backside. But they had success in many areas.
7. We asked: What must the Redskins do defensively?
That was easy:
Pressure Eli. He makes mistakes or sloppy throws under duress. There
were times last night when Manning threw to an area where nobody was
at. He started throwing with confidence in the third quarter, but that
didn't last for a while and his receivers clearly did not help with at
least eight drops. The Redskins blitzed him a fair amount, but their
safeties also disguised their intentions well and a few times
definitely caused Manning to pause a bit after making his initial
8. We asked: Can they handle Plaxico?
We thought it would be up to
Shawn Springs to handle him, but it fell on Fred Smoot's shoulders and
he responded with an outstanding game. Maybe his best in a couple
years. Smoot excelled at taking away the inside passes to him and was
athletic enough on some downfield throws to knock away the jump ball
9. We asked: What's up with the linebackers?
Well, we said Rocky has
been playing hurt and then he gets …. Injured. We'll find out more
about his status today after his MRI. And London Fletcher was OK, but
still not as effective as he was earlier this season. H.B. Blades
seemingly did a good job as McIntosh's replacement and the coaches also
rotated in Khary Campbell, who had a QB pressure and was pretty solid.
The linebackers had to produce and they were largely fine. But the
Giants did have a good night rushing the ball.
10. We asked: Will the Redskins win?
We wanted to pick the Redskins but
just couldn't. Aren't they too banged-up to keep winning? Well, we
thought so. And the Giants always seem to win the big game in New York.
But the Giants played uninspired, especially compared to the Redskins.
Washington continues to show a lot of fortitude this season and
deserved to win. Whether or not the Redskins make the playoffs remains
to be seen. But a strong finish would do wonders for this franchise
heading into the offseason and next year. Given what they've been
through, it would be quite an accomplishment.
Ten Spot Review: Redskins 22, Giants 10
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