The key to the success of the Redskins against the Colts was the O-line. This group took care of business against the Colts defense. The holes were big, the pass-protection was outstanding and this group did a GREAT job to win the game for the Redskins. Controlling the clock with 11:31 in the 1st Qtr; 8:20 in the 2nd Qtr and 9:17 in the 4th Qtr; the Colts had little opportunity to get their offense in sync. When Stephen Davis was forced to leave the game, this unit provided the grit and determination the Skins needed for victory. Alex Sulfsted was given a Game Ball by Coach Spurrier for his efforts in replacing the injured Chris Samuels, he earned it.
2. Shane's Touch
Shane Matthews was not bashful when asked about his benching. He said he was angry about it. He provided a stable, steady general-ship for the team against the Colts. In particular, Matthews showed much better concentration in his short, touch throws. Matthews used eight different receivers and added 10 yards on scrambles. Most importantly, Matthews was clutch in delivering the football perfectly for 2 TD's. Tosses to McCants and Doering for scores were picture-perfect, well-timed tosses. Both for more than 30-yards. Shane used his time on the bench to become a better QB on the field. He may not have liked Coach Spurrier's methods, but it seemed to work.
3. Make way for D.T... Again
Again, Derrius Thompson lead the Skins with receiving yards versus the Colts. Thompson is a tough guy and continues to build his reputation as a starter. Rod Gardner will continue to benefit from the presence of Thompson. Youngster, Darnerien McCants provided some excellent plays as well. All of these receivers are big, strong and have plenty of speed to give defenses fits. #88 jerseys aren't in stores yet... but keep looking. Derrius Thompson continues to get better with every snap of the football. Yes, I said the same thing last week - but there is something to be said for consistency... keep it going DT!
4. Ohalete, D - Shine
Ifeanyi Ohalete was outstanding in his first start for the Skins at safety. Ohalete covered well, made tackles and stepped in front of a Peyton Manning pass, for a superb interception near the sidelines to stop a promising Colt's drive. The second year man from USC provided a much needed spark to the Redskins defense. In spite of a poor 3rd Qtr. performance, the entire unit played well. LaVar Arrington had his best game of the season. Daryl Gardener provided outstanding push inside and Jeremiah Trotter was a dominating force in the middle. Fred Smoot made an outstanding play to prevent the Colts from scoring their second 2-point conversion of the evening and provided an interception.
5. Better Coverage - ESPN
The ESPN boys deserve some credit for Sunday night's game too. The TV crew missed two plays completely. On a drive deep in Colts territory, the Skins decided to go for a 4th and 1 near the five-yard line. I'm not sure what happened after that - the crew barely managed to catch Matthews on a rollout. Earlier, the Skins had been flagged for a Roughing the Passer penalty - which escaped the camera's eye. A fumble to end the game, clearly a fumble, was not reviewed to the dismay of Joe Thiesman in the booth. All told, this was the best coverage of any Redskins game to date. Good work boys... C+.
6. Looking for 9, One at a Time
With the win over the Colts, the Skins improved to 3-4 on the year. With nine games remaining on the schedule, the Redskins can realistically look to finish with a 9-7 record... perhaps better. Next weeks game against the Seahawks is followed by a trip to Jacksonville. We still have home and away games with the Cowboys and Giants remaining. The Rams must make the trip to DC, as will the Texans. Of the remaining games, the Redskins have a very realistic shot at making the playoffs for this season. One game at a time is critical. Next up: the Skins must pluck the Seahawks!