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  • You are currently browsing the archives for the The 5th Quarter category.
  • The FIfth Quarter: New Orleans Saints


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    Sure the New Orleans Saints were injury depleted as they travelled to FedEx Field to square off against the Washington Redskins. Sure Jim Zorn brought out the Skins in white-on-white, forcing the Saints to wear dark gold pants and black jerseys in the 94-degree weather. The burgundy and gold still went out, overcame missed kicks and poor red zone performance to earn Jason Campbell his first come-from-behind victory as a Redskins and Jim Zorn his first as head coach.

    Passing Offense

    Campbell had what was perhaps his best day as the Washington field general. He started off slow and steady, but eventually got into a rhythm that proved fatal for the Saints injury-riddled secondary. The offense seemed to come alive when Campbell got Chris Cooley involved in the second quarter. Cooley’s ability to get open, sure hands and desire to plow over people to gain extra yardage always seems to fire up his teammates and force the defense to think about more than Santana Moss. And speaking of Moss, Campbell threw his finest pass as a professional with that fourth quarter bullet to Moss. From section 420, that pass looked phenomenal, and is hopefully a harbinger of things to come for number 17.

    3 quarters

    Rushing Offense

    After the “scandelous” comments of Clinton Portis earlier in the week — and the backlash by fans and media — no one could know how CP would respond. Well, wonder no more. Portis looked more patient than this writer can remember in recent memory. He also appeared to have a quick acceleration step once his running lane had been chosen. The offensive line appeared to be opening decent holes on the left side and Mike Sellers did a good job keeping his pads low on blocks, sealing the hole for Portis to scamper through. It was surprising to see the stats following the game, as it seemed sure that Portis had gained 100 yards, but he was close enough and came up big when the team needed him to.

    3 quarters

    Defense

    The defense was dominant in the first and fourth quarters. They seemed to have trouble containing Reggie Bush for the second and third though, and that coupled with the offense’s inability to finish off drives in the first half almost proved fatal. Luckily, when the chips were down, the defense stepped up — especially rookie sensation Chris Horton. You aren’t supposed to be able to lose your job due to injury, but Horton made his case to his coaches that sometimes you should. Granted, there were plays that it seemed Horton wasn’t sure where he was supposed to be, and his film grade may ultimately decide whether he gets another start or just increased playing time, but its hard to argue against a fumble recovery and 2 picks, one of which iced the game. Also, one shouldn’t forget that Jason Taylor got his first sack as a Redskins and generally looked better against the Saints than he did the Giants. The pressure on the whole was good in the two dominant quarters, but certainly was not in the two quarters that the defense struggled. Coincidence? I think not.

    3 quarters

    Special Teams

    Wow. Considering the way the rest of the team played, this unit, the stong point of last week’s game, came up lame this week. Shawn Siusham missed 2 field goals, although one was a pretty long one that he’d probably like to have back and the other was a botched hold by the rookie punter. And speaking of the rookie punter, that had to rank as one of the worst punting performances in franchise history. Not only were the punts bad, but one of them was bad enough that Reggie Bush took it with a running start and just ran around the punt coverage unit for the score. With Frost punting well in Green Bay, the rumblings had already started, and this performance will do nothing to help quell them. The best thing Durant can do is practice holding for Suisham, practice punting and stay away from newspapers, television and the internet. He’s got talent, but weeks like this are not going to cut it.

    On the other side of the ball, Antwaan Randle-El fumbled a punt that led directly to the Saints first score and wasn’t able to do anything with the ball when he held on to it. The Saints covered punts well, and the Redskins blocking left a little to be desired, which, coupled with more east-to-west running instead of north-to-south running made the punt return unit less than effective. At least Rock Cartwright had a good game, although even Rock hesitated on a catch in the end zone before coming out, resulting in possession on the 17. Danny Smith will be fired up this week in practice.

    1 Quarter

    Coaching

    New to this year’s Fifth Quarter is a coaching grade. In the first half, the Redskins used all three of their time-outs in the first quarter, and were ineffective in the redzone. The defense had a bad second quarter as well. At the half though, Coach Zorn and the offensive assistants made good half-time adjustments that led to the offense ramping up for that big fourth quarter. Specifically, the slant to Moss on fourth and 2 with a couple of minutes left was brilliant. No one saw that coming. As for general play calling, Zorn did a good job of mixing things up and not being to terribly predictable. The defense also made good adjustments in the fourth quarter.

    3 quarters

    Well, after week 2, the Redskins find themselves at 1-1 preparing for the Arizona Cardinals. The Cards used to be perenial pushovers, however two former Skins in Ken Whisenhunt and Russ Grimm have begun to turn that teams around. Kurt Warner is playing well, and the receiver tandem of Boldin and Fitzgerald might just be the best in football. It won’t be easy for the Skins. They’ll need to start off the way they finished if they have any hopes of being 2-1 going into the two divisional road tests waiting for them on the other side.

    Edit: This blog was archived in May of 2016 from our original articles database.It was originally posted by Scott Hurrey

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    The Fifth Quarter: Seattle Seahawks


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    The Washington Redskins, who were on their greatest winning streak since the six-game 2005 run that put them in Seattle for a divisional playoff game against the Seahawks, fell flat in the final minutes of Saturday’s wild card game. It ended a season of tremendous tragedy and accomplishment.

    On to the Fifth Quarter rankings, which are based on a scale of 1 to 5 Quarters:

    Passing Offense:

    Todd Collins continued to play the wily veteran, leading a well-managed passing attack that kept the Redskins’ yard-marker chains moving. Although the team managed to overcome a thirteen-point deficit and lead by a single point early in the fourth quarter, the Seahawks would blow the game open in the final minutes of the fourth quarter off of two interceptions returned for touchdowns. Aside from the chaotic final minutes, which were the result of panic, Collins had a solid performance, recording 29 completions for 266 yards and 2 touchdowns in addition to his interceptions.

    Dropped passes, which have plagued Washington at times this year, became a significant problem during the first half. Three of the drops came on third-down attempts, killing the drive and forcing the Redskins to punt.

    Of all receivers, Antwaan Randle El had the best day, with ten catches for 94 yards and a touchdown. Santana Moss recovered from his slow start to contribute 68 yards on six catches and the Redskins’ other touchdown, although a misunderstanding between him and Collins caused the first of two interceptions that were returned for six points. Chris Cooley and Clinton Portis had average days but both dropped at least one pass.

    3 Quarters

    Rushing Offense:

    Punt, punt, punt, punt, punt, punt. Those are the results of the Redskins’ first six drives — and very rarely are victories built on such foundations. Instead, Washington fell behind early in the game, practically ensuring that Clinton Portis’ workload would decrease as time passed. He finished the day with 52 yards gained on 20 carries. Mike Sellers had only four yards on three carries, but more importantly he failed to convert on a fourth-and-one late in the first half that might have given the Redskins some points going into the locker room. Instead, the Redskins had to rely heavily on their passing attack in the third and fourth quarters.

    This was likely the last time that Washington will see Chris Samuels, Pete Kendall, Casey Rabach, Jason Fabini, and Stephon Heyer as its five starters on the offensive line. The rag-tag, bench-player line played hard but ultimately couldn’t get a good push against the Seahawks’ powerful front seven.

    2 Quarters

    Defense:

    LaRon Landry takes the ‘player of the game’ award for the Redskins’ defense. In fact, he looked a lot like Washington’s previous starting free safety in his ability to cover everything beyond fifteen yards: twice he raced across the field to intercept a Matt Hasselbeck pass. Strong safety Reed Doughty dominated the box and had five tackles in addition to several break-ups on pass attempts. Fred Smoot played a tremendous game as well, ending the day with five solo tackles. Shawn Springs was picked on by Hasselbeck and did get turned around a few times; however, he ended the game with eight solo tackles and broke apart more than one passing play.

    Unfortunately, the front seven did far less to impact the game. Although rushing attempts were generally swallowed up by the linemen, neither linemen nor the linebackers were able to generate significant pressure on Hasselbeck. As a result, he had time to set up and make his throws, which, in combination with the west-coast style of wide receiver routes and timing, proved fatal.

    3 Quarters

    Special Teams:
    Once again, Rock Cartwright gave a great performance on returns. His two best returns suffered from (questionable) penalties called on the same plays, but he still ended the day with nearly 30 yards on average per return, with a long return of 55 yards. Washington’s coverage on kickoffs and punts was adequate, considering the Seahawks’ strength in that phase of the game. Nate Burleson had only eighteen yards on kickoff returns and botched one kick that was recovered by the Redskins’ late-season acquisition Anthony Mix.

    The kicking game suffered to a large degree on Saturday, as Shaun Suisham had a deflating miss on his only field goal attempt, which was from 30 yards out. Derrick Frost played a little better, sending two punts inside of the 20-yard line and kicking one for 53 yards, but he also had several short, line-drive kicks and ended with only a 33-yard average.

    2 Quarters

    Thus ends a 2007 campaign that became, for this team, far more than football games. This year, of course, will always be remembered for the tragic death of Sean Taylor. With the way the team responded to it, though, there is much to be proud of, even as we still reel in pain from losing Sean Taylor: father, son, teammate, and friend. We will miss you, Sean.

    Hail to the Redskins.

    Edit: This blog was archived in May of 2016 from our original articles database.It was originally posted by Daniel Coleman

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    The Fifth Quarter – Seahawks


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    THN would be remiss if we started this with anything but a thank you. Thank you Coach Gibbs. Thank you for returning to make this franchise a contender again. Thank you for bringing in your old buddies to run the Washington Redskins offense. Thanks you for bringing in Gregg Williams to sculpt a dominating defensive unit to help carry this organization back to glory.

    The road to XL is over, and the road to XLI has begun. The Washington Redskins played their guts out, but the 7-game playoff run took its toll on this team and while they made a number of potentially game-changing plays, they were unable to capitalize on the ones they did get. That being said, the Redskins had enough opportunities to win this game and had they not beat themselves up trying to get to this point, we may have seen a different game.

    Passing

    The Redskins passing game exploded in the fourth quarter with a 52-yarder to Cooley up the middle, setting up a 24-yard touchdown to Santana Moss, which Moss grabbed out of the air, after the ball bounced off two Seahawk defenders. Visions of Dallas week began appearing out of thin air, especially when Jimmy Farris forced a fumble on the ensuing kickoff that was recovered by kicker John Hall, but it was not meant to be.

    Unfortunately, the first three quarters were painful. The Seahawks kept eight men in the box, forcing the Redskins to beat them in the air, and the Redskins were not up for the task. Taylor Jacobs saw the ball early, and after botching the first ball thrown to him, he made a nice grab on the second pass thrown his way. After those two passes, on the first two drives of the game, Jacobs disappeared for the most part, missing nearly half the game with an undisclosed illness.

    Mark Brunell finished with decent numbers, but it seems clear that he was never the same after injuring his knee against the Giants in week 16. Whether he was still injured remains to be seen, but Redskins fans know from 2004 that Brunell will not use an injury as an excuse, so we may never know.

    1 Quarter (the fourth)

    Rushing

    The Seattle Seahawks came out with the sole purpose of stopping the running game, and that they did. The Redskins were never able to get anything going with Portis early. They found themselves losing the field position game badly, forcing the Gibbs-led coaching staff to stay conservative so close to the end zone.

    Clinton Portis played admirably in other aspects of the game. His pass blocking was excellent as always, and he made 3 catches on the day, the best of which was called back on a penalty.

    0 Quarters

    Defense

    The defense played hard all day, but was unable to make the plays they had been making over the past few weeks. Shawn Springs was tested early, and Darrell Jackson beat him badly. Jackson went on to have a career day against the Washington defense, while Springs finished the day with one tackle.

    When Shaun Alexander went out in the first quarter, the Seahawk fans must have been thinking that the history was going to repeat itself, but it seemed to make things more difficult for the defense. Maurice Morris stepped up big early, seemingly able to run for first downs at will. It seemed as if the Redskins whole plan was based on stopping Shaun Alexander, and when he left the game, the Redskins were unsure as to what to focus on.

    That being said, the defense played well against the number one offense in the NFC in their home stadium. Matt Hasselbeck made enough plays to win, and the Redskins were unable to capitalize on the mistakes they were able to force him into early.

    Probably the defining moment of the game came on the first play of Seattle’s first scoring drive. Carlos Rogers read Hasselbeck’s eyes perfectly, jumping a route on the 20 yard line that was an easy score. In previous weeks, the ‘Skins would have been up 10-0 and the Seahawk fans would have been taken out of the game. This week however, Rogers is unable to pull in the interception, and the Seahawks are able to march down the field for a score.

    3 Quarters

    Special Teams

    What a day for the Washington Redskins coverage units. They started by recovering a muffed punt in the second quarter, which lead to the Redskins taking a 3-0 nothing lead. Then in the fourth quarter after the offense scored a touchdown to pull the team to 17-10, Jimmy Farris forced a fumble on the ensuing kickoff that John Hall recovered. Unfortunately, Mr. Hall followed up the great play with a missed 36-yard field goal.

    Derrick Frost spent more time on the field then any other Redskin it seemed. His stats turned out ok; however he was punting from his own end zone for most of the first quarter. All in all, the Redskins special teams earned the best grade of the day, despite the missed field goal.

    3.5 Quarters

    The Redskins are back folks. The culture of losing has been changed. The team played with character, heart and determination all year and especially in the last 7 weeks. While we all wish they were still playing, it is hard to be disappointed looking at where the team is now, as it compares to where it was when Coach Gibbs pulled up to Redskins Park last year. Here’s to a first round bye and home field advantage in 2006!!

    Edit: This blog was archived in May of 2016 from our original articles database.It was originally posted by Scott Hurrey

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    Fifth Quarter Playoff Edition – Tampa Bay


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    Yesterday’s game was a typical Joe Gibbs playoff game. It was not perfect, it certainly was not pretty, but it was a Washington Redskins victory. Thank you coaching staff and players for a great season thus far and a great run. Seeing the culture of losing removed from Redskin Park, and bringing the franchise from the depths of despair made this season a success, so this is all gravy. That being said, three in a row, and we win the show!!

    Passing

    It’s kind of hard to grade this aspect of the game. The offense only really had three drives that were in anything other than run out the clock and try to get a first down mode.

    Brunell had a rough day (7/15 or 47%, for 41 yards and an INT, good for a 25.7 passer rating), but when you are in Run-Run-Pass offense, it is difficult to get things rolling. On the few drives that we were legitimately trying to score, Brunell had a few nice 6-7 yard outs to Moss for 8 and 10 yards respectively. Sadly, Moss led the offense with 2 for 18. Portis missed a wide-open Santana Moss early for a score on a half back option, which continues to be an effective play with defenses keying on Portis on first down. Brunell also missed Moss on a pass along the sidelines that would surely have resulted in a long score. Somewhere along the line, teams decided that if they shut down Cooley rather than Moss, our offense would stall.

    1 Quarter

    Rushing

    Portis went out early and often due to re-aggravating the stinger in his shoulder. Unfortunately, defenders hit harder in the playoffs, making the likelihood that it gets better before it gets worse a far-fetched hope. Betts filled in and played hard, but against a fast, swarming defense like Tampa’s, Ladell was unable to find much running room.

    The offensive line has played better games, but in fairness they were playing one of the best defenses in the league, and Samuels was facing his nemesis in Simeon Rice, who just has his number. Samuels has played well all year, and he will undoubtedly play well next week in Seattle, but Rice is one of the best ends in the league and has had phenomenal success against the Washington Redskins.

    Portis had a beautiful 6 yard run following Arrington’s interception in the first quarter, but other than that and an 11-yard scramble by Brunell for a first down, the running game was basically nonexistent.

    1 Quarter

    Defense

    What a performance. Has there ever been a more dominant performance by a Redskins defense? The defensive linemen were told this week that Chris Simms will be throwing a lot of short and intermediate routes, eliminating the need for a lot of blitzing. The D-line’s job was to get a couple of steps into the back field and jump, and that they did.

    Cornelius Griffin and Joe Salave’a each tipped 2 Simms’ passes, two of which resulted in interceptions that were almost identical. Phillip Daniels had a sack, as did fellow defensive end Demetric Evans, who filled in admirably for the fallen Renaldo Wynn.

    The linebacking corps also had an outstanding day. LaVar Arrington recorded 10 tackles (8 solo) and an interception to set up the first score of the day. Marcus Washington’s stat line looked the same, except he added a forced fumble and recovery, which he fumbled to Sean Taylor for the second score of the day, and the second score for Taylor in as many weeks.

    The “decimated” secondary that Michael Irvin predicted would lose the game for the Redskins had an outstanding day. The game plan seemed to be to keep the Bucs receivers in front of them, and they were successful in this regard for most of the day. Let’s face it: when your opposing quarterback throws 38 times with 25 completions and fails to gain 200 yards, your game plan is working.

    On a side note regarding Sean Taylor, on high-def, 55-inch television with TV, at no time did this reporter see any spit come out of Taylor’s face mask, although far be it from me to question the integrity of Mike Carey. Carey is one of the best in the game and was 2 feet away, but it did not appear that Taylor ever stopped talking making it more likely that spittle may have come out while jaw-jacking than a full-fledged loogie. In either case, how can you not call a penalty on a guy who throws a punch 2 feet in front of you Mike? You ejected Taylor as per the rule, but when was the rule altered to say the person spit on gets a free punch first?

    Regardless, the team needs you next week Sean. The team needs your swagger and the team needs your physical presence on the field. Be careful out there, but not too careful.

    4 Quarters

    Special Teams

    Derrick Frost looked good out there on Sunday. As often as THN has blasted this guy in fifth quarters this season, Frost was booming them yesterday — well, other than that 12 yard bomb at the end of the game, which tarnished an otherwise real NFL punting performance. Frost has played increasingly better since the winning streak has begun, and he will need to keep up the improvement as the Redskins progress. No more 12-yarders, friend.

    John Hall started as he has for most of the season, looking average while compensating for his injuries; that all seemed to change as the game progressed. At some point, Hall must have gained some confidence in his leg. After the first two kickoffs landed at the 14 and 12 respectively, his kickoffs seemed to return to the Hall kickoffs of old. His third kickoff landed at the 5. Then following a 47 yard field goal to put the Redskins up 17-3 –a kick that had plenty of distance – Hall dropped the ensuing kickoff on the Tampa Bay 1 yard line. Is the elite John Hall back? If this game is any indication, I say yes – and just in time for a playoff run.

    The Redskin coverage teams had their hands full with Michael Pittman. Had John Hall not found his leg, this could have been a much different game. Pittman averaged 24 yards per return including a 27 yarder. Luckily, the defense was stout or this could have been a major problem for the Redskins.

    Finally, Antonio Brown had a quiet day, except for the muffed punt that he eventually recovered himself. This particular play was baffling. Number one, who’s responsibility was it on that play to yell, “Fair Catch”? The returner relies on this guy so that he can concentrate on the ball. It’s hard to catch a punt when you think you are safe until the last second when you see a defender in your face about to lay you out. That being said, this is the NFL and further more, this is the playoffs. You have to catch that ball whether you are going to get drilled or not.

    2 Quarters

    Bottom line Redskins fans, is that this team pulled out a gutsy performance, winning a playoff game with the lowest offensive output in the history of the NFL (ironically enough, Washington also holds the record for the third lowest). While that makes for an interesting trivia fact, the bottom line is that the Redskins are preparing for Seattle, while the Bucs are preparing for vacation.

    Welcome back to respectability. Not bad for a 4-12 team, huh Dr. Z?

    Edit: This blog was archived in May of 2016 from our original articles database.It was originally posted by Scott Hurrey

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    Fifth Quarter: Eagles


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    This week’s match-up with the Philadelphia Eagles had all the makings of a trap game. The Washington Redskins came in needing a win to reach the playoffs for the first time since 1999 and only the second time since Coach Gibbs retired the first time. The Eagles had nothing to lose and the Redskins were coming in after two emotional wins against playoff contenders from the NFC – East. Luckily, the Redskins overcame their early miscues and pulled out the win, 31-20.

    Passing

    Mark Brunell was a bit off on Sunday. Brunell told Troy Aikman prior to the game that he was a little sore and a bit stiff coming off of a sprained MCL suffered in last week’s victory over the New York Giants. His 9 of 25 passing performance was the worst of the season for Brunell.

    Santana Moss took advantage of the Eagles secondary, pulling in 4 catches for 83 yards and surpassing Bobby Mitchell for the most receiving yards in a single season in franchise history – although Bobby set the record in a 14-game season. While Moss was held out of the end zone, he averaged over 20 yards per catch on the day.

    Chris Cooley had one of his least productive games in the burgundy and gold, being held to just 8 yards on 2 receptions. Cooley was visibly frustrated on the sidelines throughout the second half, so look for the second year pro to try and make up for it in Tampa Bay.

    James Thrash also added a spectacular 41 yard grab in the second quarter to set up a John Hall field goal. Mike Sellers once again found the end zone for his eighth touchdown of the season trailing only Portis with 11 and Moss with 9 on the season.

    2 Quarters

    Rushing

    The Washington Redskins have really discovered their identity over the past 5 weeks, and that identity is Clinton Portis. Portis may try to hide from the public with his outrageous costumes every week, but he can always be found on game day, running over defenders and carrying the Redskins on his back.

    Portis broke 1500 yards on the season with his 112 yards in Philadelphia, while adding two more touchdowns to his season total. Portis joins only Earl Campbell and Barry Sanders in NFL history to gain 1300+ yards in each of their first four NFL seasons.

    The offensive line has as much to do with Portis’ success as does Clinton himself. Ray Brown has filled in admirably for the fallen Randy Thomas and Jansen and Samuels have really poured it on the last few weeks. Even the much beleaguered Derrick Dockery has been solid. If the line continues to dominate the way they have in recent weeks, there’s no telling how far the Redskins can go in the playoffs.

    4 Quarters

    Defense

    They started cold, but as the game wore on, the defense warmed up. The star of the game was undoubtedly Sean Taylor. Not only did Taylor lead the team with 9 tackles, but he also drove the nail in the Eagles’ coffin when he scooped up a Koy Detmer fumble in the fourth quarter and sprinted to the end zone. Taylor has become feared by opposing receivers and it is a joke that he was not voted into the Pro Bowl.

    Ryan Clark and Marcus Washington both turned in solid performances, each man forcing a fumble and recording a sack. Cornelius Griffin and Phillip Daniels also continued their impressive run, with each recording a sack and generally providing good pressure in the second half.

    The defense would have earned 4 quarters had they only played the second half; however the first half would have earned 0.

    2 Quarters

    Special Teams

    Mike Sellers, who should have represented the NFC as a special teams player in the Pro Bowl, recovered a muffed punt in the first quarter to set up the Redskins first touchdown.

    John Hall hit 4 extra points and a field goal; however he also sent a kickoff out of bounds in the fourth quarter after the Redskins had taken a 24-20 lead, giving the Eagles the ball on the 40 yard line with 12 minutes left in the game.

    Derrick Frost had a decent afternoon, with a 41 yard average on 10 punts, including a 52 yarder.

    3 Quarters

    Next week, the Redskins are in Tampa Bay to face the Buccaneers for the right to face the Seahawks. The way Coach Gibbs has the team playing, coupled with owing the Bucs for the “two-point conversion” game, as well as the botched field goal attempt in the ’99 playoffs, could make for a long day for the Buccaneers.

    Edit: This blog was archived in May of 2016 from our original articles database.It was originally posted by Scott Hurrey

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    Fifth Quarter: Cowboys


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    In what was perhaps the best game the Washington Redskins have played since Joe Gibbs first tenure, they demolished the Cowboys 35-7 to move to 8-6 and keep their playoff hopes alive. It marks the first time that the Skins have swept the season series with Dallas in ten years.

    Passing:

    Mark Brunell only completed 12 passes on 20 attempts for 163 yards but four of those passes were for touchdowns. That tied a career mark for Brunell, as he captained the offense well and looked rock solid all game long.

    Three of Brunell’s touchdown passes went to Chris Cooley and were all before half time. The young H-back continues to make a name for himself league-wide and he continues to endear himself to the Redskin faithful more and more each week. Cooley’s six receptions led all Redskin receivers and his three touchdowns were equal to his season total before Sunday.

    Santana Moss wasn’t a huge factor with only two catches… but they were for 73 yards. Moss may have caught fewer balls over the last few weeks but he continues to be a huge impact player for the Skins. He was brought in to stretch the defense and he has done just that with his incredible long-ball ability. He’s just going after the ball and getting it done whenever he’s given the opportunity.

    4 quarters

    Rushing:

    Clinton Portis might finally start getting some of the respect that he’s earned in 2005. Sunday was his third straight 100-yard rushing game and the running game really seems to have found some identity. Portis ran tough and carried the ball 23 times despite being banged up a few different times. He helped the Redskins offense dominate a Dallas defense that has been solid this year. Washington ran at will, and Portis

    It’s ironic that Randy Thomas went down late in the fourth quarter with a season-ending broken fibula. Ironic because it destroyed what was the best performance by a Redskin lineman since Joe Jacoby was playing tackle here. The entire offensive line was dominant, but Thomas specifically was devastating all day long with some text book pulls. He will be sorely missed and what a shame for the line to suffer such a huge loss when they are really, really starting to gel.

    Ladell Betts also was strong spelling Portis with 44 yards on 12 carries and he also logged the Redskins only touchdown on the ground.

    5 Quarters

    Defense:

    Gregg Williams had a game plan. The Redskin defense executed it to perfection. The defensive mastermind had Dallas reeling from the opening whistle and he never let up. This was a dominant performance from start to finish with several noteworthy performances.

    Phillip Daniels broke out on Sunday with 4 sacks and 5 tackles. He also set the tone early by batting a Drew Bledsoe pass into the air that Cornelius Griffin intercepted, and ultimately led to the Redskins’ first touchdown. Daniels owned Cowboys tackle Torrin Tucker and was in Bledsoe’s face all day.

    Surprise, surprise… Marcus Washington stepped it up when the defense needed him. He also sacked Bledsoe twice and intercepted him once. Marcus has become the heart and soul of this defense and is fast becoming one of the most complete linebackers in the league.

    Griffin also dominated inside and provided pressure from the middle. Together with Joe Salave’a, Corny stuffed run blocks and penetrated into the backfield consistently. It was the healthiest the Skins front four has been for a while and it showed. The Redskins were able to get a good pass rush from them alone and consequently Bledsoe was running for his life and sacked seven times.

    5 Quarters

    Special Teams:

    Derrick Frost punted. John Hall kicked. Antonio Brown returned.

    There weren’t any critical mistakes, but there wasn’t anything wonderful either.

    2 Quarters

    It was a wonderful weekend for Redskin fans. Not only did the Redskins beat the Cowboys for the sweep, but the Vikings and Falcons also both lost putting Washington in the sixth and final NFC playoff spot. With two games to go, two victories would mean a Redskin playoff berth.

    Edit: This blog was archived in May of 2016 from our original articles database.It was originally posted by Mark Solway

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    Fifth Quarter: Arizona Cardinals


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    The word of the day was turnover, as the Washington Redskins and Arizona Cardinals combined for 4 interceptions and 3 lost fumbles, yet the ‘skins pulled out the win, keeping their slim playoff chances alive.

    Passing

    Mark Brunell came into this weekend leading the league in touchdown-to-interception ratio. That is likely no longer the case, as Brunell throws 3 picks on the day. While the Cardinals secondary played well, two of the interceptions were on the Redskin receivers who failed to pull in passes they would normally catch.

    Chris Cooley had a fairly quiet afternoon, hauling in 2 catches for just 25 yards. Cooley also lost a pass off his finger tips resulting in an interception that killed the first drive.

    Santana Moss led the Redskins in catches once again, with 7 catches for 56 yards. Moss continues to fight off double teams in the secondary to contribute every week. If the Skins can find another receiver to play with Moss, this will be a dangerous offense.

    1 Quarter

    Rushing

    Several weeks ago, the Washington offensive line went to the coaching staff and pleaded with them to let them run block. Since that meeting, the Washington running game has carried the team to victory two weeks in a row.

    Clinton Portis led the way with 26 carries for 105 yards, including a 15 yard scamper in the third quarter in which Mike Sellers literally pulled CP to the end zone. In the fourth quarter, Portis answered his critics, by dragging 6 defenders 6 yards for the game-sealing first down.

    The offensive line has been spectacular of late and Sunday was no different. The team has really found something with the right-side sweep in which Jansen, Thomas, Sellers and Royal destroy the defense, allowing Portis to pick up huge chunks of real estate.

    4 Quarters

    Defense

    The defense stepped up big, keeping the game within reach in the first quarter. Every time the Cardinals forced a turnover, the defense answered with a takeaway of their own.

    The Washington secondary played an excellent game against the top-ranked passing offense. Sean Taylor had a spectacular game with the exception of one drive in the second half in which he missed two tackles and dropped an interception he had in his hands as he hit the ground. With 6 tackles, an interception and a forced fumble, Taylor more than made up for his transgressions.

    Carlos Rogers also had a big day, leading the team with 7 tackles and making a big stop in the fourth quarter at the goal line. Also in the running for top defensive performer is Pierson Prioleau, who had 6 tackles, 1 sack, and a forced fumble that he also recovered. Prioleau also stepped up in man-to-man coverage in Walt Harris’ absence.

    4 Quarters

    Special Teams

    What a great day for Antonio Brown. Coming into the regular season, the Washington coaching staff had spent weeks praising the diminutive Brown, but after a poor showing in week 1, Brown was unceremoniously released.

    Brown got a second chance three weeks ago when Ladell Betts went down with an injury and Brown has made the most of it. In the third quarter of Sunday’s game, Brown took a Nick Novak kickoff 90 yards for a score. From the moment Brown caught the ball, the seam up the middle of the field was wide open and Brown did not disappoint.

    John Hall made his opportunities and his kickoffs were decent, but his fellow specialist Derrick Frost continued to struggle. His 43 yard punt average is a testament to Danny Smith and the Redskins coverage unit. Their play has been outstanding this season in spite of poor punting.

    4 Quarters.

    Coach Gibbs improves to 21-4 lifetime against the Cardinals. Now that the Arizona game is out of the way, IT’S DALLAS WEEK!

    Edit: This blog was archived in May of 2016 from our original articles database.It was originally posted by Scott Hurrey

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    Fifth Quarter: St. Louis Rams


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    To quote the great Yogi Berra: “It was like déjà vu all over again”, as the Washington Redskins found themselves up 17-7 in the fourth quarter. On their next possession, Mark Brunell fumbled the ball out of the back of the end zone for a safety, leading many Redskins fans to start thinking of the past three weeks’ fourth quarter collapses. This week however, ended much differently.

    Passing

    To just glance at the stats, one might think that the Redskins passing attack had a tough day. Brunell’s 156 yards passing was the third lowest total of the season in his twelve starts. Upon closer review however, Brunell had his most efficient game of the season, completing 66.7 percent of his passes on the day.

    Santana Moss continued to battle through double and even triple teams as the Redskins try to establish a receiver on the other side of the field in the void left by the injured David Patten. While Moss’s 3 receptions was his lowest total on the season, his 30-yard catch on 3rd and 9 to close out the third quarter was huge, as he beat triple coverage to keep the drive alive that put the Redskins up 17-7.

    Chris Cooley continued to impress, once again leading the Redskins in receiving. Cooley had 5 catches for 58 yards and a touchdown catch to extend the Redskins lead to 24-9 in the fourth quarter. His sure hands and ability to get tough yards after the catch are a big part of the Redskins success.

    4 Quarters

    Rushing

    For the first time since 2002, the Washington Redskins had two backs go over 100 yards in the same game. Clinton Portis broke free for a 47 yard touchdown in the first quarter to put the Redskins up 7-0. That play was executed flawlessly with Robert Royal and Randy Thomas throwing key blocks 30 yards down field to ensure that Portis ran untouched into the end zone. Portis finished the day with 136 yards on 27 carries and 2 touchdowns.

    Then there was Rock. Fan-favorite Rock Cartwright had a career day at the expense of the St. Louis Rams defense. On his first carry of the day, Rock took the ball 52 yards to set up a 38-yard John Hall field goal. His second carry went for 28 yards and a few plays later, his third carry went for 25 yards before being negated by a Casey Rabach holding call. When all was said and done, Cartwright set a career-high 118 yards on just 9 carries.

    The offensive line was phenomenal against St. Louis on Sunday, and as a result, the Redskins, and more specifically the Redskins rushing attack, dominated this game.

    4 Quarters

    Defense

    The Redskins defense came into this game looking to make things as difficult as possible for the Ram’s rookie signal caller Ryan Fitzpatrick in his first career start. The first step was to take Steven Jackson out of the game, and that they did. The second year running back gained just 24 yards on 11 carries for a paltry 2.2 yards per attempt.

    The Rams did not fare much better in the passing game, as Fitzpatrick was harassed all afternoon. The Redskins defense sacked the Harvard grad 3 times, and disguised coverages and blitz packages throughout the game. Fitzpatrick did score the only touchdown of the game for the Rams on a 7 yard scramble in the second quarter, but the Rams should never have been in that situation. The Redskins defense forced an incomplete pass on fourth down and two to go, only to give the Rams a first down on a face mask penalty on Sean Taylor.

    All in all, the Redskins turned in a dominating performance, producing a steady pass rush all day and forcing two turnovers, including an interception by Carlos Rogers to seal the game.

    4 Quarters

    Special Teams

    Derrick Frost may have had his best game as a Redskin, but he paled in comparison to the former Redskin Bryan Barker. The punting game has been a sore spot for most of the season for the Washington Redskins, and watching a professional like Barker drove that point home. If Tupa is not healthy next season, a serious upgrade at the position is crucial to the future success of this team.

    John Hall had a decent day, but his second quarter was “no good”. Hall missed a 45 yard field goal to open the quarter, and then, after hitting a 38-yarder to put the Skins up 10-7, sailed the ensuing kick-off out of bounds giving the Rams the ball on the 40 yard line.

    Antonio Brown seems to be protecting the ball at all costs since being resigned by the team two weeks ago. As a result, the electrifying moves that Brown has shown in the past are no where in sight. Still Brown was effective in this game, averaging 7.6 yards per punt return and 21 yards per kick return.

    2 Quarters

    The Redskins were far from perfect in this game, but the offense broke the 20 point threshold that has eluded them for much of this season and the defense was able to close out the game in the fourth quarter. As a result, the Redskins broke their 3-game losing streak and evened their record at 6-6, keeping the playoff hopes alive.

    Edit: This blog was archived in May of 2016 from our original articles database.It was originally posted by Scott Hurrey

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    The Fifth Quarter: Chargers


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    It was there… and then it wasn’t. Despite having every opportunity to win Sunday’s game against the San Diego Chargers, the Washington Redskins blew a lead late and lost in overtime to sink below .500 at 5-6.

    Passing:

    Mark Brunell and the Redskins had a solid first half. They even had a good drive to score the go ahead touchdown mid-way through the third quarter. Apparently that’s all they had in them. Brunell would complete just two more passes on five drives after that touchdown. Perhaps the quarterback just got tired of watching people drop passes.

    Robert Royal… sit down. When you miss that many passes, you deserve a spot on the bench if not on the waiver wire. He is the RECEIVING tight end, so it’s his job to catch balls. Isn’t it?

    Santana Moss was the brightest element of the Redskins’ passing game. His 6 catches for 66 yards put him over 1000 for the 2005 season, and his 22-yard touchdown reception was his sixth of the season.

    Also worthy of note was the markedly better performance by Taylor Jacobs this week. He caught four passes for 44-yards, but three of them were first downs and big pick-ups.

    2 Quarters

    Rushing:

    Clinton Portis just couldn’t seem to find much running room on Sunday. The Chargers defense did a good job of protecting themselves against the cut backs, and limited Portis to tough yardage all afternoon. Portis put in a workman-like effort with 29 carries for 87 yards, but the Redskins couldn’t move the chains in the fourth quarter when they needed to most.

    Rock Cartwright scored the Redskins only rushing touchdown when he went untouched into the end zone on a 13-yard run. It was his only carry of the day.

    2 Quarters

    Defense:

    The defense played well for the most part on Sunday, but unfortunately, they do not seem to be able to shake their penchant to give up big plays. Despite containing running back extraordinaire LaDainian Tomlinson for most of the afternoon, L.T broke two long runs for touchdowns including the game winner in overtime. His 32 and 41-yard touchdown runs gave him 3 TDs and 184 yards, and gave the Chargers their 7th win of the season.

    Carlos Rogers made the absolute most of his additional playing time with his best game as a pro. He had one of the Redskins’ three interceptions (Shawn Springs and Walt Harris had the others) and had eight tackles (7 solo, 1 assist). He didn’t play perfect, but he did play tough and showed that he has the ability to continue to play more and more.

    While the defense couldn’t hold off the Chargers’ offense and lose marks for the long runs, they did play almost well enough to squeak out a victory. When the offense went three and out consecutively in the fourth quarter, the defense tired and lost their edge. That’s when the big plays came.

    3 Quarters

    Special Teams:

    Derrick Frost is a liability. His first three punts were good for an average net gain of just 32 yards, the last of which gave San Diego the ball at their 43-yard line. That field position resulted in San Diego’s first scoring drive of the afternoon and put them ahead 7-3.

    And those three punts were better than his fourth; that one was good for 23 yards. Joe Gibbs plays a ball control offense and this guy Frost is just throwing away yards. He finished up with 9 punts on the afternoon and grossed less than 38 yards (37.9) for an average. That just isn’t good enough as a net, let alone as the gross. He couldn’t even down the ball inside the 20-yard line when he kicked from the Chargers side of the 50-yard line.

    Walking papers should be imminent. Mr. Frost should be unemployed Monday morning.

    Antonio Brown returned to return duties but with very unremarkable results. The fact that he didn’t put the ball on the ground at all will likely guarantee him another shot next week. Perhaps he can punt too.

    John Hall kicked a 38-yard field goal but was short from 52 with the potential game winner. His kickoffs also continue to lack length and that hamstring injury doesn’t seem fully healed yet.

    1 Quarter

    On to St. Louis next week to face the Rams. The Rams, like the Chargers, won in overtime 33-27 after trailing most of the game (to the struggling Texans). They share the Redskins 5-6 record but will be tough after their big win, being at home, and the Redskins sudden inability to win close games again.

    Edit: This blog was archived in May of 2016 from our original articles database.It was originally posted by Mark Solway

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    The Fifth Quarter: Raiders


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    It was a terrible loss for the Redskins, and a brutal display from most of the Redskins’ respective units. The loss puts the Redskins at 5-5 and two games back of the division lead as both the Giants and Cowboys won their respective games. Ultimately, this may be the loss pointed to if Washington falls short of the playoffs.

    Passing:

    Mark Brunell had a tough afternoon. Despite a gritty effort and some heads-up plays, Brunell has to shoulder the blame when the offense sputters so badly. Brunell managed just 155 yards in a 14 of 32 performance and the offense failed to score a touchdown.

    In fairness to Mark, the Redskin receiving corps was completely ineffective. The loss of David Patten for the season didn’t seem that large when announced, but it looked big on Sunday. It didn’t help when James Thrash went down with a hamstring injury,

    It doesn’t look like Taylor Jacobs is going to be the answer to any of the Redskins’ receiver problems either. Jacobs got ample opportunity with the injury to Thrash but he was covered like a blanket all day long. The ‘speedster’ wasn’t getting any separation on long routes and finished with a paltry 17-yards on 3 receptions.

    1 Quarter

    Rushing:

    While it was a promising beginning for Clinton Portis, it quickly went south. The normally dependable back put the ball on the ground twice for his first two lost fumbles of 2005. While Portis ran the ball well on all other occasions (22 carries for 92 yards), the two turnovers cost the Redskins points and valuable momentum. Maybe ‘Dollar Bill’ should look for some stick um this week instead of worrying what happened to Jerome.

    Rock Cartwright had a decent performance that was highlighted by a beautiful stretched out 17-yard catch for a first down. Cartwright got the start in place of the injured Ladell Betts. Unfortunately there is a slight drop off between the two and the Redskins were not able to as successfully spell Portis with Cartwright when Clinton tired.

    1 Quarter

    Defense:

    The defense also started with a bang and then waned. On the first drive of the ball game it looked like it was going to be a breakout game for the defense as Lemar Marshall returned a Kerry Collins interception for a touchdown. While the defense has been decent this year, they have struggled to force any turnovers. Marshall’s return was huge and would turn out to be the only Redskin touchdown of the day.

    At first glance, it would actually seem the defense played well all around. They held the Raiders to field goals several times when put in tough positions and Oakland struggled to move the ball effectively in the first half. They held Lamont Jordan to just 52 yards rushing despite 27 carries. But this was the 3-6 Raiders and they allowed Collins to finish with almost 300 yards passing (19 of 36 for 289 yards).

    Despite holding Randy Moss in check (3 catches for 40 yards), Jerry Porter had a field day. Porter ate up the secondary for 142 yards on 6 catches including a 49-yard touchdown.

    If the offense had shown up at all, the effort by the defense would have been enough as they held the Raiders to just sixteen points after scoring seven themselves.

    3 Quarters

    Special Teams:

    Frost-y. Doesn’t anybody else see what a handicap Derrick Frost is right now? The only good kicks he has are the ones that bounce twenty yards, but thank goodness he appears to get nearly every single fortuitous bounce. It was another stunning 36.2-yard performance… and that’s gross yardage folks… not net yardage. Gross indeed. If the bounces ever stop going his way then he should be good for about a 20-yard average.

    The only bright spot all day long for the special teams was a solid 35-yard return from Rich Parsons in his Redskin debut. Parsons proved he’s worthy of the special teams’ roster slot again next week.

    2 Quarters

    On to San Diego to face a tough Chargers team next week. The Redskins will have to play a lot better on all units if they want to have a chance at moving back over .500 on the season and keep their playoff chances alive.

    Edit: This blog was archived in May of 2016 from our original articles database.It was originally posted by Mark Solway

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