The 5th Quarter: Eagles
Posted: Nov 22 2004
By Scott Hurrey
While the final score was 28-6, this game played much closer. The Redskins kept the Eagles to one score in the first half and went into halftime down by 1. The Redskins looked like they were in it with a chance to win, until First and Goal on the 9-yard line, turned into First and Goal on the 30-yard line after a multitude of dumb penalties. It’s hard to beat anyone when you finish a game with 12 penalties for 115 yards, but especially a team as good as the Eagles.
Well, the stats looked much better and the passing game actually bordered on efficient. It was certainly one of the best performances of the season for a Redskins quarterback. Ramsey was 21/34 for 162 yards. He did throw 1 interception, after a fourth quarter pass ricocheted off of Rock Cartwright’s hands into Ike Reese’s lap. Chris Samuels had the play of the day, by batting the ball out of Reese’s hands during his over-dramatic celebration.
One thing of note here, seemingly 75% of Ramsey’s throws were screen passes to the wide receivers. The Eagles defense began playing the screens aggressively and, at least in this writer’s opinion, set up the Redskins for a fake screen and a deep ball. That sadly never came to fruition and unfortunately, the improved performance ended in a familiar result. Oh yes, and still entirely too many dropped passes. Also of note, Ladell Betts was the leading receiver with 6 catches for 39 yards.
One question comes to mind when analyzing the run game. What happened to Clinton Portis? Whether he was hurt or benched for some reason is unclear at this time. What is clear is that Ladell Betts had more playing time in this game than the rest of the season combined. The Eagles stuffed the run early, and the injury to Randy Thomas just made it worse. This was easily the worst performance by the Redskins rushing attack this season. Ramsey finally gets his chance to run the offense to it’s full potential and the vaunted rushing attack that had carried this offense for the majority of the season vanished into thin air.
The defense played well in the first half, holding Terrell Owens to 2 catches for 24 yards. Sean Springs played extremely well against his old nemesis, all though he did stumble on a crossing pattern in the end zone, allowing Owens to catch his only touchdown of the day. The game plan seemed to be shut down T.O. and make the Eagles beat them with Pinkston and Mitchell. Unfortunately, the Redskins allowed a wild card to come into play. Brian Westbrook averaged 5.2 yards per carry, showcasing just how important Cornelius Griffin is to the Redskins run defense. Brandon Noble, Joe Salave’a and Jermaine Haley filled in well. Haley had a nice sack, forcing a fumble by McNabb and recovering it. All three gave the Redskins defense a good push up the middle for most of the day.
Sean Taylor had another interception – only the fifth by McNabb this season – and is steadily improving each week. He also made a nice tackle on McNabb a full yard short of a first down on a third down play in the second half (although the bad spot gave McNabb the first down anyway). Unfortunately, after the debacle that was first and goal from the 30 turned into 3 incomplete passes (2 of which were dropped) and a missed field goal, the whole team deflated and the defense allowed the Eagles to score two touchdowns in the fourth quarter.
Special Teams came up with mixed results on Sunday. Teams looked good at times (i.e. Thrash downing two punts on the 1 yard line, one of which was rules a touchback). The also looked bad at times, gave up a 39-yard punt return to Lito Shepard and committing several penalties in the second half on Redskins’ punts. Kimrin missed ANOTHER field goal, but atleast we can always count on Tupa. Tupa had 4 punts for an average of 40.75 yard per punt, including a 61 yarder in the second quarter. Ladell Betts had a decent day on Teams as well, returning 4 kickoffs for an average of 24.5 yards per kick.
The game was closer than the final score indicated, but a loss is a loss, no matter how you slice it. We have shown a tendency to beat ourselves. Coach Gibbs is working to correct the perception of losing on this team, but it will take time. Luckily, we have the right coach for the job.