1. Do the Redskins have anything left?
We thought they had something left defensively. A return to health, we thought, would make a big difference (though if you saw our predicted final score, you'd have thought I felt otherwise). It did, though much more than we would have imagined. The Redskins had their entire cast together and it showed how versatile they were, with D-linemen, among others, spying on Brian Westbrook. They rotated safeties, getting Kareem Moore action and even using Shawn Springs deep middle at least once.
2. Are they playing for Jim Zorn's job?
We believed they were. We also believe a win like this should end any speculation. Fire a coach after he wins at least eight games? That's only one less than the previous year and he had to implement a new offense. Yes, Jim Zorn has his faults. But winning this game should make him safe. It makes the Redskins 3-3 in the NFC East. Heck, this could be the first back-to-back winning seasons since 1996-97. Back to Zorn. More than a few players seemed pleased for Zorn, especially London Fletcher. But more than anything the players felt good to win.
3. How important is it to have Marcus Washington back?
We thought it was huge. Anyone notice a lot of long runs? OK, Philly doesn't run the ball a lot, but still. Washington does such a good job at the point of attack and holding his ground on blocks that he clogs things up. It's one of those things that don't show up on stat sheets, but is darn important.
4. How have the Eagles turned it around?
We thought it was because their defense had been pretty consistent, generating pressure and making big plays. They failed to make those plays tonight. They weren't able to recover a fumble and dropped a potential interception. They looked like, well, the Redskins – aside from this game, that is.
5. Can the Redskins stop the blitz?
They did it. But it's not as if the Eagles blitzed a lot. Just a guess, but it seemed like they only blitzed a quarter of the time. For the most part Washington handled it well. It helps to have Clinton Portis back on third downs; he's so much better than anyone else in this role, though Ladell Betts did well here and even Chris Cooley stayed in one time to protect.
6. Can the Redskins run on the Eagles?
They ran enough. Washington managed 122 yards on the ground, a big difference from the first meeting. But that was enough to control the game, as they had a nearly seven-minute advantage in time of possession. Washington used more of its stretch runs than it did a week ago and was able to get on the edges against the smaller ends. But the Eagles also run blitzed often and had eight men up near the line.
7. What ma tchup is the most worrisome offensively?
We worried about the tackles vs. the Eagle ends. Jason Fabini showed why, allowing one sack and a pressure or two. Also, both tackles were knocked back on run plays because the ends were quick to gain leverage.
8. Can they stop Brian Westbrook?
Yes, they can. Westbrook hurt them with a 47-yard gain, but that mostly stemmed from two guys blowing an assignment. Lorenzo Alexander pulled his right hammy on the play trying to chase him down. For the most part, though, the game plan was fantastic. They spied Westbrook with a number of players, keeping the Eagles guessing. They doubled him with linebackers. He finished with 116 combined yards from scrimmage. Except for one play he was a non-factor.
9. Who needs a big game?
We thought Santana Moss needed one and it certainly would have helped had he done so. He only had five catches for 28 yards. Turns out, the ones who had the big games were LaRon Landry and Jason Taylor. Taylor didn't make a lot of plays, but he made a couple that had an impact, forcing a fumble on a sack that set up Washington's lone touchdown. Landry played as physical as he's ever played in Washington. He's becoming more comfortable in the secondary; perhaps it helps that he can play up on occasion, too. The entire secondary played well.
10. Will the Redskins win?
We said they would pull off the upset and win by a touchdown. And then someone changed it to the Eagles winning by 11. I'll have to get to the bottom of that. Oh well, wrong again. The players could not have been more happy and relieved after the game. More than a few played their last home game at FedEx Field. But that didn't matter Sunday night. Washington did not make mistakes offensively and played an excellent game defensively. We can't understand why Westbrook only got the ball 18 times, but give credit for a big part of that to Washington's defense. The Redskins won't make the playoffs, but they still have a chance to finish 9-7. Zorn might not be perfect, but that's still a good record.
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