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  • You are currently browsing the archives for the The 5th Quarter category.
  • The Fifth Quarter – Tampa Bay


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    In a match-up between the top-ranked and seventh-ranked defenses, one would have expected a low scoring game. What we saw was anything but. As usual, the Washington Redskins were in the game until the end, but with a chance to gain ground against the Giants, the Redskins fell just short.

    Passing

    The passing game got off to a rough start, with Mark Brunell throwing two fluky interceptions in the first 11 pass attempts, both of which resulted in Mike Alstott Touchdowns runs. Without the two interceptions, Brunell’s passing stats were actually pretty good. Brunell completed 66% of his passes, including a 42-yard strike to Santana Moss.

    Besides Moss, Brunell also connected with 8 other receivers, including Chris Cooley who paced the team with 6 receptions. Patten and Betts both finished the game with 3 catches each. Mike Sellers also checked in with yet another touchdown reception.

    This grade would have been much better, if not for the two interceptions and what has become Mark Brunell’s only major flaw: his propensity to put the ball on the carpet.

    3 Quarters

    Rushing

    The Redskins offensive line seemed to open up large holes all day for both Clinton Portis and Ladell Betts. The ability to run on the number one defense in the NFL was surprising, yet it kept the Redskins in the game by grabbing huge chunks of yardage and eating up clock to keep the Bucs offense on the sidelines.

    Portis demolished the Bucs defense for 144 yards on 23 carries for a 6.3 yard average per carry. He also torched Tampa Bay for the longest run they have allowed all season, when he scampered 31 yards early in the first quarter. Betts also picked up 26 yards in relief, showing again his value as Portis’ back-up.

    4 Quarters

    Defense

    The big story for the Washington defense was the big play. Coming into the game, the ‘Skins had given up a number of big plays on rushes to the weak side of the defense. Today it was the big pass play. Joey Galloway had his way with the Redskins secondary, seemingly open on every play. Whether it was the absence of Sean Taylor or just bad coverage is unclear, but what is obvious is that the Redskins were off their game today.

    On the other hand, the Redskins run defense held the Buccaneers to just 61 yards rushing, and looked as good as ever. Big Joe Salave’a had a huge hit on “Cadillac” Williams in the second half, which resulted in a rare turnover for Washington. Unfortunately, the run defense could not stop Mike Alstott on the goal line, which allowed Tampa Bay to score a controversial 2-point conversion with 58 seconds left to take the lead for good.

    1 Quarter

    Special Teams

    Ladell Betts proved a lot of detractors wrong today. Many people around Washington have been saying that Betts was the wrong choice for kickoff return duty, but his 94 yard return of the opening kickoff in the third quarter proved to some that he has the ability.

    John Hall had a decent day, with 2 field goals and all 3 extra points. Derrick Frost, who only had 2 punts the whole game, averaged 41.5 yards per punt. All in all, this was one of the best special teams’ performances in recent memory for the Burgundy and Gold.

    4 Quarters

    The Redskins missed out on a huge opportunity, with the Giants loss opening up room at the top in the NFC – Beast. This was a tough loss, but an exciting game that came down to the wire.

    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: Eagles


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    The Redskins shook off a terrible performance last week against the Giants and gritted out a 17-10 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles. The win was a valuable division and conference victory and put the Redskins just one game back of the division leading Giants at the halfway point in their season. The victory came on the heels of some very solid efforts:

    Passing:

    Mark Brunell was simply terrific. While he only posted 224 yards, he was extremely proficient going 21 for 29 (72%). It wasn’t just the numbers Brunell put up that made the performance impressive; it was the way that he commanded the game. The Eagles defense were very aggressive as expected, and lefty showed a lot of poise. Whether he was hitting the check down receiver, or scampering a few yards to eke out a first down, it seemed that everything Brunell did came up roses. His only blemish on the day was a fumble when the Redskins were in the red zone at the end of the first half.

    Chris Cooley tainted another great performance with a fumble after a textbook Brian Dawkins hit. For once, lady luck was on the Redskins side and Derrick Dockery recovered the fumble on a great hustle play. Other than the fumble though, Cooley had one of his best performances in burgundy and gold. He caught seven balls for 85 yards and made tough yards after the catch all night long.

    Santana Moss continued his phenomenal season, though he was quiet in the second half. He also finished with seven catches and added another 79 yards to his season yardage total. Moss’ production dropped in the second half simply because the Redskins ran the ball more and tried to control the clock. The work that Moss put in early was a large part of the Redskin offense’s success both early and late. Teams have to respect his speed and ability to make the big play and it’s opening up the field for everyone.

    4 Quarters

    Rushing:

    While the numbers weren’t huge, the effort was. The Redskins were held to less than 80 yards rushing, but both of their majors came on runs. Clinton Portis had a nice 6-yard touchdown run to highlight a 21 carry, 67-yard performance. The numbers belittle Portis’ effort considering he continues to battle through injuries and made some great blocks out of the backfield. He also made a touchdown-saving tackle on Brunell’s first half fumble.

    Mike Sellers added another touchdown to his ever-impressive 2005 dossier on a rare run. Sellers made a great effort to stretch the ball across the plain of the goal line.

    3 Quarters

    Defense:

    It’s tough to gauge the defense’s performance when there is so much turmoil surrounding the offensive unit that they faced. Obviously without Terrell Owens, the Eagles are a far less dangerous team offensively. However, Donovan McNabb is still their best player and unfortunately, McNabb played like McNabb. He threw for over 300 yards and a touchdown and also ran for 12 more yards.

    But the entire Eagle offense only managed 45-yards rushing as the Redskins’ defense stymied drive after drive. Stuffing the run so effectively made the Eagles one-dimensional and ultimately that hurt them when they got to the Redskins’ half of the field.

    Lavar Arrington had a much, much more disciplined game. He maintained his lanes better and was still able to make some great tackles for losses. He led the team again this week with 6 tackles and continued improvement from Lavar can only mean good things for Gregg Williams’ defense.

    Phillip Daniels hasn’t made a huge splash in Washington, but he had arguably his best game Sunday. He finished tied with a team high 6 tackles and also added one of the Redskins’ two sacks (Marcus Washington had the other). The Redskin defensive line is banged up and needed someone to step up like Daniels did.

    Walt Harris continues to struggle and missed several tackles again. The veteran cornerback played great in 2004 but has struggled in 2005. Perhaps the time has come to give rookie cornerback Carlos Rogers the bulk of the snaps – injuries permitting.

    4 Quarters

    Special Teams

    The special teams were just awful. It’s awful to close a performance ranking so dismally but what choice is there? James Thrash must have been told to not try and run any punts back, right? While he was solid fielding those kicks, there were several times where he could have gained yards by just catching the ball and diving forward. Players often call for too many fair-catches when their confidence is down and that’s what it looked like against the Eagles. Trying ‘not to make a mistake’ is a safe way to play football but a tough methodology when so much of your team’s success depends on the field position battle.

    Derrick Frost was awful. He did manage to pin the Eagles inside the 10 once but he was kicking the ball short all game. The only time he got a hold of one was a 50-yarder that sailed into the end zone resulting in a net punt of 30-yards. In fact, his 6 punts yielded a paltry 38 net yard average and even that was grossly over-inflated by some very fortuitous 15-yard bounces in his favor.

    The only bright spot on special teams came on a Ladell Betts kick return. Reminiscent of many great Brian Mitchell returns, Betts took off straight up the middle behind the wedge and kept right on going up the field until he was tackled at the Eagles’ 48-yard line.

    2 Quarters

    It was a huge win for the Redskins’ franchise and closed out a very good half season of football. At 5-3, the Redskins can legitimately make a run at the playoffs and respectability for the first time in years. Washington travels to Tampa bay next week to take on the suddenly struggling Buccaneers.

    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: Redskins vs. 49ers


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    Washington Redskin fans were treated to something rare this week, a ‘comfortable’ win. Mark Brunell threw three touchdown passes, and Clinton Portis ran for three more to pace the Redskins to a 52-17 drubbing of the San Francisco 49ers. The offense was firing on all cylinders as they pounded out over 450 all-purpose yards, including over 200 on the ground.

    Here are the fifth quarter rankings:

    Passing:

    Mark Brunell continued his progress in making Joe Gibbs’ offense work for him. He continues to work well within the system and put on his most impressive display in a Redskin uniform on Sunday. Brunell threw three touchdown passes and looked sharp putting up 252 yards and putting the San Francisco 49ers away early.

    Mike Sellers caught two passes on Sunday, both for touchdowns. He now has 4 touchdowns on just five receptions for the season. Sellers also blocked well for the running backs in perhaps what was also his best performance in the burgundy and gold.

    Santana Moss continued his great season with another 100-plus yard performance. Thanks to a 43-yard reception, and a 32-yard touchdown reception, it only took Moss five catches to post 112 yards (22.4 YPC). The ability of Moss and Brunell to connect on the long ball is stretching the defense for Clinton Portis as well, which is exactly what Santana was brought in to do.

    4 quarters

    Rushing

    There was a huge cathartic sigh throughout Fed Ex as Clinton Portis ran in for a 5-yard touchdown in the first quarter for his first rushing touchdown of 2005. It was a sign of things to come as Portis would add two more 1-yard touchdown runs. The strong performance came against a ripe, banged up San Francisco defense, but Portis ran hard in his third 100-yard game of the season (19 carries, 101 yards) and the confidence gained from finally reaching the end zone is invaluable.

    Ladell Betts returned from injury with a very strong performance. The Redskins continued to spell Portis with Betts as soon as he’s winded, and Betts got some extra carries later in the game with the results a foregone conclusion. Betts posted an impressive 92 yards on just 12 carries for a stunning 7.7-yard average.

    Rock Cartwright also got some carries late and he also managed to register his first touchdown of the season on a 5-yard run. It was the Redskins seventh touchdown of the day, their fourth on the ground.

    The Redskins were able to run with any back because the offensive line dominated the 49ers front four. The fact that it was the 49ers requires that it is looked on with tempered enthusiasm, but it was a dominant performance nevertheless. Their dominance was in fact the driving force in the offense’s success as they also gave Brunell a solid pocket to throw from.

    5 quarters

    Defense

    A 72-yard run by the 49ers’ Frank Gore late in the game masked another workman-like performance by the Redskins’ defense. Perhaps the biggest difference in the performance on Sunday was that Lavar Arrington played an active role in it. With seven tackles, Arrington led the defense and was fired up all day long. He made some big plays and staked a claim that he belongs more time in the line-up. Hopefully the entire Arrington fiasco will benefit both parties as it is clear that while the defense can be better with Lavar in it, Gregg Williams will not compromise his system to suit any one individual.

    Williams gave rookie quarterback Alex Smith a performance to lament over with constant pressure and aggressive blitzing. The Redskins’ defense sacked Smith five times with Cornelius Griffin registering his third sack of the season, Lemar Marshall his second, and Marcus Washington his first. Washington also jarred the ball loose from Smith on his sack and Philip Daniels recovered the ball at San Francisco’s 19-yard line. Brunell immediately hit Sellers with a 19-yard touchdown pass and punished San Francisco for the turnover. Marcus Washington continues to lead this dominant Redskin defense.

    The lack of offensive competition and late 72-yard TD run affect their fifth quarter ranking.

    3 quarters

    Special Teams

    How do you rank a unit that had so little to do with a result, despite a decent performance? James Thrash had a good day returning punts posting 50-yards on four attempts. Rock Cartwright got some playing time at kick returner and was solid as well. Both runners were the recipients of good blocking from the special teams unit as a whole.

    Nick Novak kicked seven PAT’s and a 27-yard field goal but was very average on his kickoffs. Derrick Frost was equally unremarkable on his four punts, but also had an errorless performance.

    3 quarters

    The win moves the Redskins to 4-2 on the season and gave them an important conference win. The Redskins won’t get long to bask in the glory of the victory though as they face a huge division battle next week against the New York Giants.

    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: Kansas City Chiefs


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    For the second time in as many weeks, the Washington Redskins wasted a dominant offensive performance, losing to the Kansas City Chiefs, 28-21. Also in keeping with the tradition of the 2005 Redskins, the game came down to the last play.

    Passing

    Mark Brunell and Santana Moss have obviously established a chemistry that is uncanny. Both Brunell and Moss set career-highs yesterday, including Moss’ 78-yard touchdown off of a screen pass, which is Santana’s longest career TD and ties Brunell’s longest career TD pass.

    Brunell’s increasing comfort with Chris Cooley was also evident, as the two hooked up for Cooley’s second touchdown of the season. The Redskins passing game has far exceeded everyone’s expectations so far this year.

    4 Quarters

    Rushing

    Clinton Portis had another outstanding game early, grabbing large chunks of real estate in the first half, before the team found themselves playing catch-up in the second half, forcing them to throw more than they would like.

    Rock Cartwright played well in the absence of the injured Ladell Betts, but his fumble in the third quarter was devastating, as Sammy Knight scooped it up and took it 80 yards for the touchdown.

    3 Quarters

    Defense

    The defense was able to contain the Chiefs vaunted rushing attack to under 100 yards (including a paltry 18 yards on 14 carries for Priest Holmes), but once again they gave up a big play, allowing Holmes to take a screen pass 60 yards for what turned out to be the winning score in the fourth quarter.

    In the passing game, they were able to hold Trent Green to 181 yards passing, but as is becoming a pattern on the season, they were unable to force any turnovers. The pass rush did improve this week, with Cornelius Griffin recording a sack. Trent Green took a pounding all day, but was able to make enough plays for the win.

    3 Quarters

    Special Teams

    Also held in check all afternoon was Dante Hall. Hall is known as one of the most dangerous return specialists in the league, but the Redskin coverage units maintained their lane discipline and prevented Hall from finding a seam.

    Novak had a decent day, converting all of his extra point attempts and placing kick-offs where he needed to, to allow his coverage team to make plays. Derrick Frost also had a good day punting, with 4 attempts for a 41.3 net average.

    3 Quarters

    The Redskins are showing the signs of being a playoff-caliber team. The mistakes have been the difference these last two weeks. It is nearly impossible to win in this league with a negative turnover ratio, especially in one of the toughest stadiums in all of professional sports. The team has been in every game until the end, and eventually they will limit the mistakes and when they do, look out league.

    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: Denver Broncos


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    Another week is in the books, and the Washington Redskins tasted defeat for the first time at the hands of the Denver Broncos. The Redskins continued the trend of playing hard for sixty minutes, and almost pulled out another dramatic comeback at the end, but this time it was not meant to be.

    Passing

    The passing game faced a huge challenge in Denver on Sunday, as the rain poured from the heavens for the entirety of the game. Even with the torrential downpour, Mark Brunell set a career-high with 53 attempts, completing 57% of them. The number could have been even better, but the wet ball reeked havoc on both receiving corps.

    Santana Moss continued to show Redskins fans why Coach Gibbs brought him in, posting 116 yards on 8 receptions, including a long of 32 yards in the second quarter. Chris Cooley also caught 8 balls for 82 yards and a touchdown, while Patten put up 63 yards on 7 catches. Patten also had a 38-yard touchdown catch nullified in the first quarter by a weak offensive pass interference call.

    3 Quarters

    Rushing

    Clinton Portis went into this game hoping to show Denver fans what they lost in the trade that brought Champ Bailey to the Mile-High city in 2004. Portis had decent numbers on the afternoon, posting 103 yards on 20 carries, but unfortunately for Portis, he was upstaged by the player taken with the second round pick Washington included in the trade, Tatum Bell.

    Betts showed well in relief, especially during a brief period in the second quarter when Portis suffered a leg injury that held him out of the game. The Washington run-game looked decent, but Denver’s looked better.

    3 Quarters

    Defense

    If THN could give out game balls, Ade Jimoh and Carlos Rogers would be the recipients. Starter Walt Harris was inactive for the game due to a calf injury, giving rookie cornerback Rogers his second start. The defensive unit’s thinnest position suffered another setback in the first half, as Shawn Springs suffered a bone bruise that kept him out of the rest of the game, forcing every ‘Skins fans’ worst nightmare to come to fruition.

    Ade Jimoh answered the call; better than anyone could have anticipated. Ashley Lelie beat him early for a touchdown, but after that, Jimoh turned up the heat. He knocked people around all over the field, including a slobber-knocker on Jake Plummer for a safety that was eventually reversed due to the dreaded “tuck rule”.

    The Redskins defense shutdown Mike Anderson, but could not stop Tatum Bell, who gained a game-high 127 yards on just 12 carries, and the pass rush was fairly non-existent all afternoon.

    2 Quarters

    Special Teams

    Coach Danny Smith must have felt as if he was on a roller coaster ride on Sunday. Nick Novak had his second field goal attempt blocked in as many weeks, and also saw a 54 yard field goal negated by an offside penalty at the end of the first half. Novak made the rest of his attempts on the day.

    The coverage units played fairly well on the afternoon 74 yards on 4 kick-offs, but the bright sport was a blocked punt by backup linebacker Chris Clemons to start the Redskins comeback in the fourth quarter. The return units did equally as well, gaining 24 yards on 3 punt returns and 85 yards on 3 kick-off returns.

    2 Quarters

    Looking at the stats, the Redskins should have won this game going away. Washington put up 447 yards, holding the ball for 33:49. Unfortunately, the one statistic Washington also dominated in was penalties, giving up 67 yards on 10 penalties.

    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 5th Quarter: Seahawks


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    What a great game of football played by the Washington Redskins and the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday. It was fitting that the game was decided in overtime considering that two teams both won one half of football. The Redskins dominated the first half, the Seahawks the second. In the end though, Washington came out on top 20-17.

    Passing:

    Mark Brunell played a great game at quarterback. The numbers themselves don’t reveal just how good a performance the southpaw put in against Seattle. The only flaw on his docket was the interception late in the game that could easily have resulted in a Redskin loss. It was perhaps his only bad pass all day long. The best word to describe the 20 of 36 for 226-yard performance is ‘clutch’. Seattle blitzed early, often and heavily, and though the offensive line picked it up very well on most occasions, Brunell did a great job of moving around in the pocket. He looked comfortable in the protection and was stepping up and making good throws and solid decisions.

    Once again, Santana Moss made a case for the notion that the Redskins got a better receiver than they gave up in the Moss / Laveranues Coles trade. What seemed like lip service on a situation gone badly in the Coles incident, has been more fact than fiction through the Redskins’ first three games. Moss led all Washington receivers for the third straight week with 87 yards on 6 catches including a 30-yard strike. He also made a great touchdown catch that the officials robbed him of with an ‘out of bounds’ call. While it was a tough replay to overturn, it cheated Moss of a phenomenal toe drag catch on the sidelines. Moss now has 342 yards on just 15 catches through three games for an impressive 22.8-yards per catch and that ability to stretch the field is exactly what the Redskins were hoping that he would provide.

    4 Quarters

    Rushing:

    The one, two punch of Clinton Portis and Ladell Betts was strong. Both players put in workman-like performances in staking the Redskins to a hard-fought 141 yards on the ground. Portis led the way with 90 yards on 25 carries, but Betts’ was effective almost every time he came in (12 carries for 35 yards). The great running back combination should not be overlooked as it allows Portis to stay fresh and moreover stay healthy throughout the rigors of a long NFL season.

    Ironically, for the second straight week the biggest Redskin run in both yardage and importance came from Mark Brunell. In overtime, Brunell took off on a big third down attempt and went 18 yards for a Redskin first down to keep the eventual game-winning drive alive.

    The offensive line owned the Seahawk defensive line, especially in the first half. Not only did the pave the way for the running backs, but they protected well as well. Jon ‘Thumbs’ Jansen and Randy Thomas were paving lanes for both running backs to take advantage of. Also worthy of note was Chris Samuels’ control of Grant Wistrom in pass rush – a very difficult prospect. Overall the o-line gets top marks for a tough day at the office.

    4 Quarters

    Defense:

    The mighty defense was definitely tested by the high-octane offense of the Seahawks. Seattle moved the ball effectively all day long, and were it not for a couple of big stands by the defense, the result could have been much different. Statistics dictate that the defense doesn’t get a glowing grade, but certain consideration must be given to the fact that the Seahawks had the number two ranked offense in the NFL coming into the game. The Redskins’ defense did actually manage to limit Shaun Alexander to less than 100 yards… just. Alexander broke one run, a 34-yard scamper, on his way to 98 yards and a touchdown over 20 carries on the day.

    Lemar Marshall helped hold Alexander in check, and posted a team high 7 tackles along with the Redskins only sack of the day. Carlos Rogers also deserves mention, as he was solid all day long taking over for injured Walt Harris. Rogers was beat on a couple of plays but played tough cornerback football making 6 tackles and even forced a fumble. The physical play of both Rogers and former Seahawk Shawn Springs (4 tackles) helped the Redskins hold Alexander to a modest day by constantly sealing off the corners well.

    3 quarters

    Special Teams:

    An otherwise dismal performance is rescued by a clutch game-winning field goal by Nick Novak. Novak struggled all day long missing a field goal and with terribly short kickoffs, but do you cut a guy that just posted a game winner for you?

    Probably.

    Thanks Nick, the Redskin fans appreciate the contribution.

    The punting wasn’t much of an issue, with newcomer Derrick Frost only having to punt twice all day long thanks to a good day for the offense. His forty-one yard average is decent on the surface but one of his two punts sailed into the end zone and resulted in just a 22-yard net punt. It’s not inconceivable that Washington look to make changes at both kicking positions this week if John Hall is still injured for next week’s game against the Denver Broncos.

    2 Quarters

    Perhaps the most interesting thing about Sunday’s game was that both teams actually played well. That sounds ridiculous but in the days of parity, often a team loses a game more than their opponent wins it. That wasn’t the case in the Redskins victory. Seattle played a good, tough away game… just not quite good enough.

    Though it hasn’t always been pretty so far, the Redskins are 3-0 for the first time since their 1991 Super Bowl season. The offense is slowly rolling into shape, and the team is learning how to win.

    Hail to the Redskins. Hail to Victory number three.

    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 – Dallas Cowboys


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    After three quarters of futility, the groundwork was being laid for the opening to the fifth quarter. The Redskins were on their way to yet another collapse in Texas Stadium. Parcells was looking smug on the sidelines (and why not, he was 77-0 when leading at any point of the fourth quarter). Then something strange happened. The Washington Redskins — Mark Brunell and Santana Moss specifically — miraculously scored 14 unanswered fourth-quarter points en route to a 14-13 victory.

    Passing

    This was a game of two halves. In the first half, Brunell went 9-of-12 for 56 yards and an interception. In the second half, and more accurately the fourth quarter, Brunell blew up completing 11 of 22 passes for 235 yards and 2 touchdowns.

    Santana Moss had a breakout game, beating Roy Williams for 2 touchdowns in the fourth quarter. After going 7 quarters without breaking the plane of the goal line, the Redskins scored twice in 1:11. Moss looked great, however the rest of the receivers were for the most part, non-existent.

    2 Quarters

    Rushing

    Other than Brunell’s 25-yard scamper to keep the first scoring drive alive, the running game, and by proxy the offense, sputtered throughout the game. Portis had a paltry 52 yards on 17 carries for a miserable 3.1 yards per carry. Betts had four carries, but fumbled in the waning moments of the first half to squelch the Redskins first decent drive of the game. The Redskins MUST improve these numbers if they are to continue their current winning streak.

    1 Quarter

    Defense

    The strength of the Washington Redskins is definitely their defense, and it showed Monday night against the Cowboys. The defense blitzed aggressively early, and when Dallas was able to pick up the blitz, they easily transitioned into a coverage team. The pass rush was visibly absent, however the defense was still able to stymie Bledsoe and Company with the exception of one long pass on the Cowboy’s first possession of the second half.

    Marcus Washington further solidified himself as the leader of the defense, posting a game-high 11 tackles, and Sean Taylor made up for getting beat on the Cowboy’s only touchdown by demolishing Patrick Crayton to effectively end the game.

    3 Quarters

    Special Teams

    Nick Novak may have had the play of the game. After scoring the second touchdown, Novak sent the kick-off 62 yards towards rookie Tyson Thompson, who promptly broke through the coverage sending memories of past last minute collapses through the collective consciousness of ‘Skins fans everywhere. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, the rookie Novak made an excellent play to push Thompson out of bounds on the 49, saving the Redskins from another disheartening defeat against Dallas.

    Punter Andy Groom and Long Snapper Ethan Albright both had solid outings, and the Redskin coverage units played well, with the exception of the aforementioned break through. The punt unit seemed to just miss blocking punts all night long.

    3 Quarters

    It was an ugly game, but it was a win.

    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 – Bears


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    It wasn’t pretty. It was a war of atrition. It was a hard-fought battle. You know all the cliches that go along with a 9-7 NFL game. The Washington Redskins may not have changed anyone’s mind about their offense against the Chicago Bears, but they did eke out a victory nonetheless. For a team that lost a lot of close games in 2004, it’s good for the Redskins to win a game by a hair.

    Here are how the various Redskin units performed on Sunday:

    Passing

    Patrick Ramsey took a cheap shot from Lance Briggs and left the game, but not before he had thrown an interception, and fumbled on the Briggs’ hit. He seemingly recovered from the clothesline, but he was not put back into the game. Was this Ramsey’s only shot at being the 2005 quarterback?

    Mark Brunell came in and also struggled early on. But he settled in and perhaps most importantly, he didn’t make any mistakes.

    Ramsey finished 6 of 11 for 105 yards, while Brunell had 70 yards on his 8 of 14 effort. Hardly gaudy numbers, but not far off what fans can expect when you’re grinding the game out on the ground.

    Joe Gibbs didn’t say in his press conference one way or the other who would start against Dallas but the fact that he didn’t would seem to indicate that he’s leaning towards Brunell.

    Perhaps the only note-worthy passing play came from Santana Moss when he took a Ramsey pass 52 yards. Thanks to that pass, he finished the day with 96 yards on just four receptions. Those are the types of numbers that the Redskins hoped they would see from him. When they’re successful with the long ball, the running game will just be that much more effective.

    2 quarters

    Rushing

    Clinton Portis had a tough time finding running room as the Bears stacked the box with eight men early and forced the Redskins to beat them with the pass. But as will often happen in a Joe Gibbs offense, as the game wore on, the defense wore down. By the end of the first half Portis was finding more space and finished the half with 35 yards on 12 carries. Ladell Betts added 17 yards on 4 carries.

    Portis continued to post steady gains and then busted one for 41-yards to close the third quarter. It took a while to get it going, but Clinton and the Redskin offensive line pounded out 121 yards on 21 carries. Betts complimented Portis nicely in posting 41 yards on 12 carries. They carried the Redskins down the field late in the game with some steady clock control running. While they ended up having to punt the ball back to Chicago, they had eaten enough clock to ultimately get the job done. The defense did the rest.

    4 quarters

    Defense

    Gregg Williams is simply marvelous. What a great performance to begin the 2005 season by the Washington Redskin defense. They held the Bears offense to just 166 total yards. Chicago did manage a touchdown but only because Antonio Brown fumbled and gave them the ball on the Washington 23-yard line. Bears running backs were held to just 41 yards on 13 carries by the swarming front seven. The new leader of the defense, Marcus Washington, led the way with seven solo tackles and was all over the field.

    Antonio Pierce leaving was one of the biggest ‘issues’ of the off-season but it seemed moot on Sunday. Lemar Marshall had a superb debut at middle linebacker with 6 solo tackles, 2 assists and a crucial interception in the Redskins end zone to thwart a Chicago drive. He was fluid, looked comfortable, and when the opposing offense manages just 40 yards in a North/South running attack, a lot of the credit belongs to the MIC.

    The interior defensive line also deserves a lot of credit for stuffing the run. Cornelius Griffin and Joe Salave’a battled inside all day to make room for Marshall to make plays. Griffin also registered one of the two Redskin sacks on the afternoon; Demetric Evans had the other.

    Sean Taylor had a good game with 4 tackles but perhaps more interesting was Gibbs putting him in on the offense when they were in the red zone. After the game, Gibbs said in the press conference that they like how tough Sean is and how he can fight inside for position. It seems that Mr. Taylor might be getting a few chances to add to his prowess, and ultimately give the Redskins another red zone weapon.

    In a game viewed as ugly by people just looking at the scoreboard, it was a game of defensive dominance as much as one of offensive ineptitude. Washington’s defense started the season with an inspiring performance.

    5 quarters

    Special Teams

    John Hall led the Washington Redskins to victory. With field goals of 40 yards, 43 yards and 19 yards, Hall’s nine points were all the Redskins needed to post a 9-7 victory over the Bears. Unfortunately, Gibbs reported after the game that Hall had injured his quadriceps; in fact, Gibbs thought it was the exact same injury that took Hall out last year. Unknown at the time of press, the Redskins may find themselves again in need of a kicker.

    Brown continues to struggle with his only statistic worth mentioning being the aforementioned play when he fumbled a kick-off return on the 23-yard line. It gave the Bears their first points, the lead, and got a deflated team back into the game. While it isn’t very chic to use a starter on special teams, perhaps its time to put Moss back in on punt return duty. Brown may have fielded his last kick for a while. With Betts, Moss and James Thrash all capable, and all already playing, it’s a valuable roster spot to give up to someone who fills no other starting role.

    Andy Groom didn’t look like Tom Tupa by any means with just a 37.7-yard average. Perhaps he knew he could improve his average if he kicked it 39-yards for a touchback late in the game rather than angle it out anywhere inside the 20-yard line. Too bad it meant a net punt of just 19 yards. He won’t be making Redskin fans forget all about Tupa any time soon, but he didn’t make any glaring errors either in his NFL regular season debut. Hopefully he will settle in and consistently start booming the ball like he is capable of.

    Hall saves an otherwise very average special teams performance, but will he be doing it again any time soon?

    3 quarters

    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 – Ravens


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    After 3 quarters of nearly flawless football, the Washington Redskins appeared to have locked up their second victory of the 2005 NFL preseason. However, in the fourth quarter the team fell apart. Though the Redskins drove the length of the field in 1:46 to tie the game and take it to overtime, the Ravens put the Redskins away quickly in overtime to steal the win from the clutches of the Redskins’ faithful.

    Passing

    First String
    Patrick Ramsey only lasted two uneventful series in which the Ravens defense was good and the Redskin quarterback appeared shaky. Ramsey was sacked twice and seemed a bit off target, and the offense sputtered as a result. The good news was that Ramsey didn’t throw any interceptions.
    1 Quarter

    Second String
    Mark Brunell looked sharp again; his mobility and renewed arm strength helped him to get the offense rolling. In the second quarter, Jimmy Farris introduced himself to Redskin fans as Brunell lobbed a pass to him on the right side of the end zone, giving the Redskins a 10-3 lead. Antonio Brown got open early and often, but unfortunately for the second-year man out of West Virginia, he was unable to bring in any passes. His most spectacular drop came on a fly pattern in which he blew the Ravens secondary away, only to have Brunell’s pass bounce off of his face mask. As a return specialist looking to get time on offense, he has to make plays, but Brown was 0-6.
    3 Quarters

    Third String
    Redskins’ fans got their first extended look at Jason Campbell last night, with mixed results. Campbell made a few rookie mistakes, but also was able to drive the Redskins’ offense. He hit Jimmy Farris for a 34-yard strike in the third quarter, and also put together a drive resulting in a game-tying field goal, which sent the game into overtime. Unfortunately, he also threw two picks and committed four penalties: one for intentional grounding, two for delay of game, and one illegal forward pass. Campbell will learn from experience and eventually will be able to cut down on the mistakes. Without them, he has a bright future with the Washington Redskins.
    2 Quarters

    Rushing

    First String
    Clinton Portis only carried the ball twice – for 16 yards. If Portis can maintain his preseason per-carry average, the Redskins will have no choice but to win. He has been spectacular in the limited action he has seen and Thursday night was no different. Between Portis’ talent and the domination of the trenches by the new Hogs, the Washington Redskins’ running game should not be an issue this year.
    4 Quarters

    Second String
    With Ladell Betts out because of the injury sustained on the somehow legal horse-collar tackle during last week’s Pittsburgh Steelers game, Rock Cartwright and Nemo Broughton got the chance to battle in this game. It will be difficult for the coaching staff to cut either one of these guys. They have both performed well running the ball, catching the ball out of the backfield and playing special teams. This week’s game was no different.
    4 Quarters

    Defense

    First String
    The Redskins starting defense gave up 18 yards and no first downs. End of story.
    4 Quarters

    Second String
    Rufus Brown played himself off the roster last night, with costly penalties and the inability to cover Randy Hymes. However, other than Brown, even the back-ups were able to shut down Kyle Boller and Anthony Wright for most of the evening. It was the unlikely hero Derek Anderson, Baltimore’s third string rookie quarterback, who was able to run the offense most effectively. Unfortunately, while they played well for most of the game, in the end they blew it. So, they receive 1 quarter for each quarter of football that they played well for.
    3 Quarters

    Special Teams

    The special teams unit has been unbelievable thus far, and last night was no different. Antonio Brown continued his solid performance in return duty, and rookie Rich Parson had two electrifying returns that were each one broken tackle away from pay dirt. The coverage units were steady as well, blocking a field goal in the first quarter and giving up only one large return, which was negated by an illegal block in the back penalty. Speaking of penalties: the Redskins committed five penalties on punts, and that will certainly be a sore spot for Coach Smith going into the season opener.

    Chris Mohr got the majority of the punting opportunities last night, and after a rough start he was able to get things going. Andy Groom is certainly the better punter, but the thought was that he may not be experienced enough to hold for big kicks. Groom quieted those doubts with a solid hold for the game-tying field goal as time expired. Groom was pushing Tupa for the job before, and with Tupa out for the season, Groom has got to have the upper hand.

    In the kicking game, what can be said other than the obvious: that John Hall is one of the best kickers in the league? He was true to form, kicking a last second field goal right down the middle of the goal posts to force overtime.
    3 Quarters

    Now that the preseason is over, the Redskins head into the regular season, and seem to have the pieces in place to vastly improve their 6-10 record from a year ago. Look out Bears, the ‘Skins defense, special teams, offensive line, and running game are firing on all cylinders—and the passing game is getting closer.

    Note: Redskins’ rookie H-back Manual White ended a tough summer last night with a broken fibula. White was making the difficult transition from college running back to NFL H-back, and, unfortunately for him, this injury will set that transition back quite a bit.

    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 5th Quarter – Steelers


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    The Washington Redskins hosted the 2004 AFC North Champions and put on their best showing of 2005. While little can be gauged by meaningless pre-season games, it’s always good to see improvement. The Redskins were solid throughout the lineup and managed to come away with a 17-10 victory, their first victory of the year. The 5th quarter normally only ranks the various units’ performances, but for the pre-season, it seemed prudent to critique at least the first two strings for each unit.

    Passing:
    1st String: Patrick Ramsey’s search for confidence started disastrously. He threw an interception early and it was returned for a touchdown. It looked as though his struggles would continue but he bounced back well. He would finish 12 of 19 for 141 yards with Santana Moss being the biggest recipient with 40 and 28-yard receptions. David Patten also caught 4 balls for 37 yards. Ramsey climbed all the way back from the interception when he hit a 4-yard touchdown pass to Chris Cooley that capped a 10-play drive to end the first half. After the touchdown pass, Patrick was jacked up and Chris Samuels and Randy Thomas looked jacked up for him as well. Patrick wasn’t great, but other than the interception, he was improved. Most importantly, he showed that as he gets more comfortable, his play improves dramatically.
    3 quarters

    2nd string: Mark Brunell continued his steady 2005 performance. He made very few mistakes and finished a gaudy 6 of 7 for 60 yards. Brunell managed to take the Redskins all the way down the field on a 12-play, 85-yard drive on his first possession. The drive culminated in the Redskins second TD and put the Redskins ahead of the Steelers for the first time in the game at 17-10.
    4 quarters

    Rushing:
    1st string: Well it started with Clinton Portis and it just filtered on down through the ranks. Portis was near unstoppable and made the vaunted Pittsburgh defense look ordinary. He needed some work having only carried the ball once in the pre-season, and he made the most of nearly every single touch. His 8 carries for 48 yards was proof that both the offensive line played well, and that Portis himself is more for comfortable with the running schemes this year. A 6-yard average is much more like what Redskins fans and coaches have been hoping to see from Clinton since he got to Washington. Portis also added an 8-yard reception giving him 56 all-purpose yards.
    4 quarters

    2nd string: Ladell Betts’ per carry average may not have been quite what Portis’ was, but his performance was every bit as impressive. Betts’ 9 carries for 41 yards included some really tough, straight up the gut runs — a staple of the Gibbs offense. Betts added 2 catches for 14 yards as well giving him 55 all-purpose yards. He not only looked capable of backing up Portis, but he is making an indelible impression on the coaching staff that he deserves more playing time.
    4 quarters

    3rd string: If it wasn’t already so before this week, Rock Cartwright put his name on the 2005 Redskins regular season roster Friday night. The 12 play, 85-yard drive mentioned in Brunell’s synopsis included eight touches from Cartwright that netted 48 of the 85 yards on the drive. One of those runs was the 10-yard TD run by Rock. He finished with 8 carries for 24 yards, and had 2 receptions for an additional 26 yards giving him 50 all-purpose yards as well.
    4 quarters

    4th string: Here is Redskin fans’ Nemo watch. The rookie from the Citadel continues to move the chains for the Redskins. Albeit playing against second and third stringers, Broughton continues to play well as he chalked up 46 yards on 12 carries. He continues to make a claim for making this roster – and not just the practice squad. Though just 4 yards short, Nemo was the only Redskin RB to not register 50 all-purpose yards.
    3 quarters

    Note: Despite not being a 5th quarter staple, it bears mentioning that ALL of these Redskin running backs were successful because the first and second units of the offensive line played very well. They dominated the trenches and put a hurting on a good Pittsburgh defensive line all night long.

    Defense:

    1st string: Say what you want, it’s hard to see the 2005 defense being much different from 2004’s 3rd ranked Redskins defense. Gregg Williams continues to field units that do not yield yards. The Steelers managed just 130 yards of offense in the first half but 51 of those came on a Willie Parker run. Even with that run, the Redskins starting defense held and limited Pittsburgh to just a field goal. Ben Roethlisberger managed just 57 yards on a 6 for 15 night. The only Steeler major came on the Ramsey interception, so the defense held Pittsburgh to just 3 points. Shawn Springs had an impressive 6 tackles on the night but perhaps the best tackle from a CB came when Carlos Rogers stuffed Jerome Bettis on a run.
    4 quarters

    2nd string: The second unit for the Redskins was just impressive as the first. Lavar Arrington returned to action and played with the second unit. His impact was noticeable and it doesn’t look like it will take long for L.A to return to full form and knock the rust off. There were a few stand out performances as well — Pierson Prioleau and Khari Campbell both staked big claims for making the roster. . With Ryan Clark not playing, Prioleau made the most of the opportunity with an interception, 3 tackles and defending 2 passes. Campbell only had two tackles but was all over the field and did a good job of commanding the defense from the MLB spot. With cut week on the horizon, there are some tough defensive decisions ahead.
    4 quarters

    Special Teams:

    Unfortunately, special teams were not much of a bright spot for the Redskins against the Steelers. Antonio Brown made a couple of bad decisions on fielding balls, but most of the special teams’ malaise on Friday came through penalties. There were three or four penalties that cost Washington decent run backs and Danny Smith will not be happy with the lack of discipline. The brightest spot for special teams was undoubtedly Andy Groom. It might be hard to grasp how good a night Groom had if you were to just look at his 7 punts for a 39.3-yard average. He boomed a 52-yarder and pinned the Steelers inside their own 20 four different times. It is going to be so hard to cut this guy, but Tupa is just more consistent. Regardless, the organization has to be looking at their respective ages and wondering what they can do to keep Groom on the roster. Maybe Bubba Tyer will find a slight hamstring pull in Groom that would put him on the IR all year and protect him.
    3 quarters

    Notes: Safety Matt Bowen had to leave the game with a rib injury but Joe Gibbs mentioned that he thought Bowen was alright after the game.

    Several Redskins did not play due to injuries: Ryan Clark (knee), Walt Harris (quad), Tom Tupa (back), and Taylor Jacobs (toe).

    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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