That’s how you spell heartbreak. There’s hand wringing aplenty in Redskins Nation this day… though, for the life of me, I can’t really understand why.
This game is really an indication of how far our team has come from the pathetic lost children of 2009, of how close it is, to becoming a new power in the NFL. With virtually no running game, it took a team that was built to defeat the juggernaut Indianapolis Colts to the wall… and SHOULD have won.
The Redskins were one first down shy of salting the game away at one point. It was not the Texans that stopped that drive…but an anxious, normally reliable, tackle, looking to get a leg up on driving his opposite number backward.
The Texans appeared to overload the right side on the following field goal attempt. No one called time-out. No adjustment was made. As a result, Fred Davis had to choose whom to block. He attempted to chip the man who ultimately got a hand on the ball, but pretty much whiffed. Ultimately , that Field Goal would created a 10 point versus a 7 point differential.
A 51 yard field goal to win the game was hit in OT… but, gamesmanship in the form of a last second time out forced a redo… (this is not sour grapes… anyone who has read my comments in the past know how I feel about such shenanigans… they are unsportsmanlike, and I detest it when done, including by the Redskins) I was pleased that Shanahan did not reciprocate… it’s a cheap school yard tactic that, in my opinion, should result in an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, rather than be rewarded occasionally. It thrills me to no end on the occasion when a coach pulls it, only to see the kick miss… and the second one get nailed)
Anyone who EXPECTS the Redskins to be a playoff team is at risk of severe disappointment. It’s clear that this team is dramatically improved over the team we endured last year. Unfortunately, there are simply too many unknowns to have confidence in the season’s cumulative outcome. This is a work in progress… it is not yet close to it’s final form. None the less… I would not be surprised to see the Redskins make a very strong bid to be in, or to actually become a playoff team, and am certainly hoping for that to happen.
Confusion in the defensive backfield resulted in at least one, possibly two touchdowns scored by the Texans. Andre Johnson caused damage even when tightly covered… but, that’s what Andre Johnson does. Run defense was minimally improved, but coverage breakdowns (and Andre Johnson) killed us. Reed Doughty was all over him on that jump ball in the end zone… As much as I love Doughty, I think we really missed Kareem Moore this week… he would have matched up a lot better on Johnson.
Matt Shaub found that he had the bootleg to the right available all game, and killed the Redskins with it. Yet, he was also sacked 5 times. There was plenty of pressure. It’s clear that the plan to improve coverage by increasing pressure only worked half way. The Redskins surrendered almost 500 yards in the air.
It’s also clear that Matt Shaub is the real deal. His confidence never waivered… he consitently shook off the pressure, extended the play, and found the open guy. It never hurts to have an all pro quality, clutch receiver on the other end. It just didn’t matter whether he was well covered… or wide open… Andre Johnson made plays. He is an artist, and a pleasure to watch… despite the pain he inflicted.
The Redskins offensive line may have taken a couple of steps backward in it’s development. At this time, I don’t know the status of Trent Williams, who injured his knee. It’s clear that his status will dictate what the Redskins can do. Even though they would move Brown over to LT if the Silverback is unable to go, the RT spot would be assumed by Heyer… a significant downgrade in pass pro.
The running game has yet to make an appearance, though I don’t think it was really a large part of the game plan. When Portis burst into the end zone for his first touchdown, it was the first positive yard for the run game. It was looking like Portis was just starting to get his game legs on in the second half, when he injured his wrist/hand… Johnson entered the game, and the team promptly realized that he was in over his head. I don’t see him doing much to contribute to this team, and I cannot grasp why we would have him trying to run to the edge…
On the other hand, McNabb’s detractors now have reason to pause… and to reassess. He was absolutely masterful. It was clear that he has made the adjustment to Kyle Shanahan’s offense, and knows how to take advantage of matchups.
The press and fans of Houston are singing the praises of Mario Williams. Yeah, yeah… his first sack came because Trent Williams went down with a knee injury as he turned to engage Mario. He pretty much had a straight shot as a result. His road to the quarterback got a lot easier once the rook went to the bench.
I’m not taking anything from Mario… he is clearly a premiere pass rushing DE, but he was stoned all game by the rook… and he only showed up after the rook went down. You can accuse me of sour grapes, but the facts bear it out. I have no reason to believe that if Trent’s knee doesn’t give out on that sack play, that he doesn’t surrender the sack, and Mario stays bottled up. Personally, I think that was the point of no return for the game, though I credit bad luck… Houston’s fans, of course, will credit the fire of Mario Williams…
This loss IS hard for Redskins Nation to bear… yet, before the game, most realists expected that, while the Redskins had a shot, Houston would probably win. The first half, and carrying a 17 point lead in the 3rd quarter gave us all a sense of victory… only to see it fritter away, and lost in the wild emotional swings of the OT. Ultimately, mental errors cost the game… small things.
Kudos to Houston. Kudos to the Redskins. That was a fun game to watch… until the end.
Clearly, there’s a bright light at the end of our Redskins tunnel… heading to St Louis this week… perhaps thinking of getting that running game going again. There’s the potential of a “trap” game… you know how hard it will be to not look past this game to the one at the Linc…
Then, on to Philly! I’m sure that the Eagles will be game planning hard to take McNabb off the table, and force the Redskins to rely on the run game. See? Even I am doing it! But, I can’t help it… and I don’t play the game.
It’s good to have a real quarterback… It would be even better to see Philly fans bemoaning that.
More By Mike Keys
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